Mission #8: Conduct and Archive Running RecordsAt least once each six-week term, teachers at my school are supposed to conduct a running record as a guided reading level assessment. We use the Fiction Level Reading Assessments provided by the Teacher's College Reading and Writing Project, and before my move to paperless, this system was a mess for me. I'd have one binder that was all the student copies of texts, and then I'd have a huge paper pile of blank assessments that I could fill in as I worked with students. Invariably, I'd have a ton of kids reading on level S, for example, and I'd run out of my copies of that assessment, so it was back to the copier to make more. Then I'd have to deal with recording the data and filing them all, and it was a bit of a nightmare.
Paperless rocks. The nightmare is over.
In this tutorial, I'll share how I'm using Dropbox, GoodReader, and Evernote to conduct running records anytime and anywhere on my iPad. You might want to get a good iPad stylus, too, if you like that "pen in hand" feel.
Step 1. Download all of the running records to a folder on Dropbox.
You will also want to print one student copy of each assessment. I still keep all of those in page protectors in a binder so I can hand one over for the student to read off of, but I never make copies of these. It's a one-time paper expense that I'm happy to live with.
Step 2. Import the guided reading assessments into your GoodReader app.Once you're done saving them to Dropbox, open up GoodReader and connect to DropBox. There's more information about this in the previous GoodReader tutorial, Mission #6.
Step 3. Choose the appropriate level, and open up the teacher copy in GoodReader.The first time that you want to annotate the document, you'll be prompted to "Create an Annotated Copy" or "Save to This File." You will want to choose "Create an Annotated Copy" so you don't lose your blank copy. Otherwise, you'll have to download these files every time you want to use them, and that's only marginally better than running to the copy room -- trust me.
Step 4. Use the annotation tools to mark up student reading as you normally would.I won't lie -- the first couple times I did this, it felt a little awkward. You have to remember to save the document if you're switching between tools or trying to scroll/resize. But it does get better quickly, I promise! The more you use the tools, the more fluid your movements will be. It didn't take me long to get back to the level of proficiency I had with paper copies, and while my writing is a little messier on the iPad, it definitely gets the job done.
Step 5. Rename the file using the manage files option on the home screen of GoodReader.To get back to the home screen, tap the center of your screen -- away from any annotations -- and it should show you the main menu or "My Documents" up at the top left.
Step 6. Move the renamed running record over to the student's notebook in Evernote.To get there, go into Manage Files again, and then select Open in. . .
You'll be prompted to flatten annotations. Make sure you choose this or your annotations may be lost.
Select Evernote, and it will launch your Evernote app. From there, you can move it into the appropriate notebook and type in any notes that you want to remember about the student's reading.
Extra Credit: Create a simultaneous audio file in Evernote.This is something that I've been playing around with lately, and I think the possibilities for this are amazing. Once I have everything set up so that my student has the student copy of the text and I have the right running record file open in GoodReader, I go into Evernote, open a new note, and start an audio recording using the microphone icon. I tell the student to start, and then I use 4 fingers to swipe quickly from right to left across my iPad. This takes me back to GoodReader (or whatever my last open app was) without having to go through my home screen. When the student finishes, I use the 4-finger swipe in the opposite direction to pause the recording.
In the end, I have an .mp4 audio file of the student reading in addition to my annotations on the running record. This is great because it's evidence I can use in RTI and parent-teacher conferences, and it also enables me to play back the audio so the student can hear him or herself read -- something that rarely happens. We can then talk about patterns I'm noticing and ways to improve reading fluency. It's a great teaching tool.
Your assignment: Try doing a few running records on your iPad and leave me a comment about how it's going. I'd love to hear other ideas or suggestions to fine-tune this process, too. I've only been doing it for about 6 weeks, so I know there are things that could be improved. Hopefully this is enough information to get you started, though!
Thanks for reading!