Saturday, August 3, 2013

Did you document that?

One of the things that I felt the least prepared for after graduating college was the world of parent contact, discipline, and documenting both.   As a first year teacher this was slightly overwhelming.  Why?  Because a large portion of the expected documentation isn't standardized for every teacher!

I heard things such as:

  • Make sure you document that phone call home!
  • Did you write down that intervention?
  • Don't forget, four interventions is a referral!
Now don't get me wrong - I was very willing to soak up all of the advice thrown my way.  The problem was that everyone told me what to do, but not how to do it.  I finally figured out the "document" was a fancy way of saying "write that down."  I figured out that "intervention" can mean anything from a gentle request to a full out argument with a student depending on the teacher involved.  Most importantly, I figured out that in order to keep up with all of this in my own classroom I needed something to keep myself accountable.  Just remembering what happened - no way.  Putting it on the district's online discipline log - great, but still not accessible for me.  I was, as you can probably tell, a confused mess. 

Thus began what I have decided to call the "Disciple Log Saga."  

It started off as basic as it comes: a piece of paper in a binder on which to list any discipline problems or parent contact that I had for each student.  Good in theory, confusing in reality.   

My second year of teaching I borrowed an idea from a very successful teacher at my school.  I quickly learned that what was great for him simply wasn't enough for me.  He had created a table where he recorded which intervention each student was on.  Each student had a page (at least the students who earned such a page), but this method didn't have enough information available for my anal-retentive self.  

My third year of teaching things got better.  I used a pretty decent version of a discipline log, and probably would have continued to use it if I hadn't met Pinterest this summer.  You can see this log in the image below.  One row per referral, space to give brief details, what more could you need, right? 
 
Wrong.  The downfall to the above version is still a lack of space to write what really happened, as well as no way to see at a glance whether appropriate parent contact was made.  As a newly converted Pinterest junkie, I started to see tons of discipline/communication logs online.  They were all awesome, but not quite right for me.  Finally, I created a version that I think (fingers crossed) will work for me.  I saw that someone else included a space for parent contact information, so I added that to my version.  I saw a really cute elementary school version that had checkboxes for the type of contact made.  I loved the idea, but needed something a little less...cutesy.  And so, may I present to you...my Parent Communication Log for this school year.  If you like it, click the image to download your very own copy. 
I know that this version has its own shortcomings, but I think it will work for me.  I tried to finagle a way to show when the fourth intervention is reached, and thus a referral, but it just wasn't working for me.  I decided I would simply mark any consequences such as detentions or referrals under Summary of Contact.  There is also a backside to this page which is simply a continuation of the Communication Log portion.   


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