Some of you may be interested in knowing how I keep general records of lessons and observations in my classroom. As we know, keeping notes and information regarding children's activities is paramount not only to the success of a Montessori educator, but also to the child's overall experience in the prepared environment. As mentioned in this post about record keeping specific to Sandpaper Letters, I have experimented various methods of general record keeping as well. Last year, I changed my system to a table format (made using Word) and is easily accessed on my clipboard (which is pretty much with me at all times during our work periods).
Other reasons why I enjoy this method of record keeping include ongoing opportunities for me to model writing! The kids love to see me writing - especially something about them! Oftentimes, they want to see for themselves which lessons they have completed, allowing the chance for them to scan the table for their names and read the lessons. Also, I use these notes when redirecting children, if needed. For example, if a child needs guidance choosing an activity, we will look at the table together and see what that child has already completed. From there, he can choose what he would like to do next. This is particularly helpful because the child is still able to make his own choices, a key component in the Montessori setting!
The notes gathered through this table are also used to transfer information to my students' records at M.O.R.E. Montessori. This is an excellent, free, web-based Montessori record keeping program. I will say, however, that it takes some time getting used to its formatting - I recommend checking it out if you are interested. It is a resourceful tool in creating school forms, keeping documents, and overall curriculum data for each child. I have found the ability to create individual newsletters highlighting a student's Montessori lessons especially helpful in sharing information with parents.
I would love to make my simple table available for you to download, but I do not know how to do that! If anyone would be so kind as to explain to me how to provide downloads, I would be very grateful. In the meantime, I can always send an attachment if you email me directly...