Evernote Use #25- Documenting Classroom Observations #50EduEvernote

When I observe a classroom, I use Evernote to document my observations– both for me and for the teacher. Here is my documentation system I’ve been working for an informal/min-observation:

1. Before entering a classroom, I open a new note Evernote on my phone.

2. As I am observing the lesson, with the new Evernote note open, I try to snap a picture of what’s going on in class, something written on the board, or a classroom display. Other than snapping a picture or two, I just watch and listen rather than type notes– that’s for later. However, I will type something quickly to post on Twitter.

3. Once I’m finished observing, I step into the hallway and type a few notes, questions I have, or a reminder for me. (Since I’m usually walking in the hallway, I tap the microphone on my keyboard and speak my notes.)

4. Following Kim Marshall’s method of observation, conversation, and documentation (click here to learn more), I try to have a conversation with the teacher later that day or the next. (Note:  I’m still working on this. It’s harder than it sounds!)

5. After I have a conversation with the teacher, I go back to the Evernote note I started in Step 1, and I type my observation and ideas from the conversation. I save the note in my “2013-2014 Teacher Observations” notebook and I tag the note with the teacher’s last name.

6. When I’m finished, I email the observation note to the teacher.

Informal Observation Documentation

I’m still learning how to do this whole admin thing, but I’ve found that this system works– I just need to use it more consistently. I’ve found that Including a picture in the observation is great for documentation, and tagging the notes with the teacher’s last name is great because I can do a quick search to pull up all of my observations for each teacher.

Hopefully this gives you some ideas on how you could use Evernote for documentation. Don’t forget about the audio recording capabilities in a note. I’ve used that for some observations and found it helpful.

There isn’t one right way to use Evernote for documenting observations. How do you use Evernote to documentation observations? Share below.


Evernote Use #23 – Digital Learning Portfolios #50EduEvernote

As both a parent and an educator, I place great value in documenting a child’s progress and growth. However, providing detailed information regarding growth isn’t as convenient as checking a box or assigning a grade. Documenting growth takes time– but it is certainly time well-spent.

Last year, my son was in PreK-3 and in December we received a progress report. It was my first “report card” experience as a parent– very surreal. I enjoyed reading over his progress report and it took every part of me to not want to “fix” all of his “deficiencies” (which we didn’t “fix”).

But let me ask you something:  Which of the following tells you more about my son’s progress with using scissors?

Option A- Progress Report Checklist

Progress Report

 Option B- Picture of Cut-Out

Picture of Square Cut-Out

Option C- Video of Student Cutting Out a Shape

Clearly, the video communicates progress more than the checklist and picture! How awesome would it be if teachers would combine video and audio along with a checklist to document their students’ progress in a digital portfolio that parents could access at any time?

Evernote is perfect digital portfolios. Click here to read how I used Evernote for digital writing portfolios in my 8th grade English class.

If you’d like to learn more about using Evernote for digital portfolios, here are some great resources:

Digital Portfolios Workshop (perfect for faculty training/professional development)

Evernote as Portfolio blog by Rob van Nood

The Power of E-Portfolios by Rob van Nood (ebook)

Principalcast Podcast interview with Matt Renwick

Reading by Example blog by Matt Renwick

Evernote Use #18- Curate and Share Information w/ a Shared Notebook #50EduEvernote

Over the next few weeks, I will be posting 50 different ways school administrators and educators can use Evernote to be more organized and more effective. I’ll be using #50EduEvernote on Twitter to further this discussion and share ideas. If you’d like, click here to follow me on Twitter.

Evernote Use #18- Curate and Share Information w/ a Shared Notebook

As an English teacher, I used a shared notebook to provide my students resources, study guides, homework assignments, helpful links, video tutorials, school handouts, and any other helpful information. I shared the notebook with my students and also made the notebook public and shared the URL with my students’ parents (click here to see a sample shared classroom notebook).

As an administrator, I created a shared notebook notebook to share resources, helpful links, video tutorials, school information, and any other helpful materials with our faculty. I invited each faculty member individually, but I did not create a public URL because some of the information shared needs to be kept in-house.

I also created a shared notebook for our administration team to use for discipline documentation, field trip requests, technology issues, insightful articles, and any other information that would benefit our administration team. I invited each of our administrators to join.

Creating a shared notebook is quick and easy to do.

Create and Share a Notebook

Create and Share a Notebook with Specific Individuals

The invitees will receive an email asking to join the notebook. Once they join, the notebook will be synced with their Evernote account, so anytime you add content to the notebook, they will see the updates.

If you’re looking for a great way to share information, consider using shared notebooks. You’ll just need to decide if you want to share the notebooks with individuals (meaning the invitee will need to have an Evernote account) or if you want to share the notebook with a public URL (anyone has access to the notebook and no Evernote account is required to view the notebook).