Home » Tech Coaching » How to Make an Electronic Conferring Notebook

How to Make an Electronic Conferring Notebook

I would like to first start by thanking Karen Keenan for inspiring me to make my conferring notebook using Google Docs on my iPad.

I have been using the Daily 5 program in my classroom for three years. My conferring notebook, also called the pensive, was the most valuable part of my reading program. It allows me to record what happens each time I meet with students. This binder that I used contained how the students were doing, what they were working on and what they needed to work on next. It showed their ‘aha’ moments’, their times of struggles and all the great success each and every one of them were making.

There was only one problem. I love technology and am not even a little bit a fan of binders. I found the binder big, clumsy and hard to lug around. It didn’t provide me the freedom to work just anywhere with ease. One day while I was reading the #daily 5 chat on twitter Karen Keenan started to talk about her pensive that she had made using a Google Form. With that, I contacted her to see what hers looked like and I was off to the races. By the way, did I happen to mention ‘I love my new iPad conferring notebook’!

This is how I made it:

1. Go to Google Docs and creat an account if you do not already have a Google account.

2. Sign in to your google account.

3. Click Create, then click the Forms link. This is what you will see.

4. Once you have this screen you can enter the questions that you want your conferencing notebook to ask each time you use it.

Here is a picture of my conferring notebook.

Tips from Karyn Keenan on her website The Tools 4 School to make your Google Form work most efficiently.

  • No need to have a date, google will time stamp it when it goes into the spreadsheet
  • The more drop downs, the faster you can fill out your form
  • It is necessary to have more than one strength/needs section so that you can more easily sort needs for groups
  • If you are going to record Text Level or any other level, make sure to include an N/A choice in your drop down list or else you’ll inadvertently end up with incorrect information
  • Adding an “additional notes” column helps with anything that might not quite fit in

5. Be sure to save the URL that is provided for you form in a place that is easy and convenient for you. I made mine as an app image on my iPad and iPhone, as well as, I put it on my favorite bar on my computer.

6. Begin using your Google Form. After entering a couple of entries you can then go to your Google Docs account to see how your information is put into a spread sheet for you.

Here is a picture of my spread sheet of information.

7. It is important to use consistent wording in any category that you want to be searchable. For example if you want the computer to be able to sort the needs column then you need to use identical wording for your strategies. The other option is to put your strategies in drop down menus so that they will always worded the same.

Happy conferring with your students! I hope you enjoy your electronic pensive.

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