What is an anecdotal note?
An anecdotal note is a factual, written record of a child. It includes who, what, how and sometimes where and when. It is written so that the reader can picture exactly what happened without interpretation. It does NOT include what you think a child is feeling or what you think a child was thinking. Instead it is simply based on EXACTLY what you observe. At Gee Whiz, we view anecdotal notes as an authentic assessment tool.
Why are anecdotal notes important?
Anecdotal notes are very important because they are based on fact. They help teachers plan experiences for children based on what they know about their levels of development in all areas. They are also very helpful when talking with parents/caregivers because they are based on facts…not opinions.
What does a good anecdotal note look like?
A strong anecdotal note includes the following:
- A brief description of the setting
- A summary what happened
- Direct quotes…if possible
- ONLY the facts!
The best way for you to learn how to write good anecdotal notes is to give you an example. Here is one:
Date: August 31, 2020
Thomas and Jose are playing side-by-side in the block area. Thomas has a stack of 5 plastic blocks in front of him. He picks up another block and puts it on the top of the stack. The stack wobbles slightly. Thomas watches the stack and when it stops wobbling, he smiles and says to Jose, “Look how tall my stack of blocks is now!” Jose nods his head and picks up a block and puts it on top of another one. The block falls off. Jose bends his head downward toward the ground.
Note how the description details exactly what happens. It is, “just the facts.” To learn more about recording anecdotal notes and then reflecting upon them, check out our User’s Guide! There is an entire section in this guide that is dedicated to recording anecdotal notes, making reflections and then using this information to individualize. We even have a special form, our “Observe and Reflect Grid” to help this this task. To get your copy of the User’s Guide, just click this link: https://geewhizeducation.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/Individualization-Authentic-Assessment-1.pdf