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April 18, 2013

Conferring Tool #2: Evernote!

Welcome back, guest poster Shelby!  Please continue to wow us with your conferring genius:

There’s another great option for conferring using a Together Teacher favorite: Evernote. We’ve featured Evernote on our blog a few times and it is really a jack-of-all-trades for teachers.

Setting up your conference notes on Evernote is pretty easy. Plus it comes with these unique advantages:

  • iPhone and Android users have access to Evernote
  • Evernote notes and notebooks are accessible on your computer
  • Teachers can customize their system for their specific classroom

The following directions assume a bit of Evernote background knowledge. If you need help with the basics, check out Getting Started with Evernote.

In order use Evernote for conference notes, I first create a notebook for every student in my class for each subject.

Then, I drag and drop them on top of each other to make a stack, which I name after each section. If you teach two sections of 2nd grade writing, you’ll want a different stack for each section so you can keep your student data organized by section.

Shelby Evernote Notebooks and Stacks

Now it’s time to start taking conference notes! Before I get started working with an individual student, I’ll copy and paste the outline I use for every conference. I can also include the Beginning Writer’s Rubric (or my own school’s rubric) at the bottom of my draft note.

Advanced Trick: I can even open the rubric, annotate using Preview or Adobe and take a quick screen shot to add to that day’s notes!

Shelby Evernote Writing Conference Template

As I work with Alyssa, I start to fill out information about the writing piece she is working on.

Shelby Evernote Writing Conference Note

After I finished working with Alyssa, I took a minute to tag her strengths and areas for growth. This will help me do two things: (1) identify strategy groups (small group instruction for students with specific areas of growth) and (2) pair students with matching strengths and areas of growth  for peer tutoring.

*Warning*: It’s important I keep an organized list of all of my tags. Otherwise I may tag one note as  “quotations” and another as “quotation marks” – which would prevent them from showing up together when I’m looking to make groups.

Advanced Trick: I could even take a PICTURE of Alyssa’s writing on my gadget that would automatically pop up in this note. Wouldn’t it be amazing to quickly scroll through notes to show parents their child’s progress!

After a week or so of taking notes like this, it’s time to enjoy the benefits of electronic note taking! I go to my “Tags” organizer and look at the notes I have so far.

Shelby Evernote Tags

It looks like I have 3 students struggling with using quotation marks.  Now I know I should pull those kiddos for a strategy group! I just click on the quotation mark tag and the 3 students that are marked for “- quotation marks” come up. After my strategy group, I can quickly delete those tags from the notes so I don’t accidentally pull them again later.

Shelby Evernote Strategy Group

Evernote is a great option for taking conference notes. If you’re electronic like me, give it a try!

 Together Teacher Discussion Question: How do you track and use your conference notes? Any follow-up questions for Shelby?

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  • Mark Isero

    Thank you for your excellent post! I particularly like how you tag each note to use later (for strategy groups). That’s genius. But do you find that creating a notebook for each and every student too cumbersome? Others are telling me to create one (really long?) note for each student. What do you think are the pros and cons of each approach? Thank you again!

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