November 30, 2013

Using Address Labels For Collecting Data

I have been meaning to write this post since starting this blog, but I am just now getting around to it. One of the aspects of being an SLP that is constantly evolving for me is the way I keep and collect my data. Since data collection is such an integral part of our jobs, it is important to develop an efficient way to do so. I think everyone has their own way that works for them and it takes a lot of trial and error to figure out what that best way is. I wanted to devote a quick post to the evolution of my own data collection methods.

When I first started working in the schools, each of my students had an individual folder that held their data sheets and goals. The main reason I did it this way was because this was the system my master clinician used during my internship. Even though the folders were color coded (e.g., Yellow for all the Monday kids, Orange for all the Tuesday kids, Purple for all the kids who see me more than once a week, etc.) I found that this method didn't really work for me -- there was too much wasted time in having to find the right folders, getting the papers out, shuffling the progress sheets around trying to get data down onto the right page, and then getting the papers back into the right folders. After about one year of this process I abandoned the idea of individual folders and moved to a binder system.

I subsequently made two binders, one big one for all of my regular ed kids, and one smaller one for my SDC students. I bought tabs to divide the binders into sections for each student (alphabetically organized by the students' last names). Each tab then contained the data sheets for the student. 

My Speech Binder.
3 rows of tabs inside.
While I really liked having all of the sheets accessible in one single place, I found that I always seemed to scramble getting data down in the right section. Because of this, I eventually started taking data onto Post it notes. The major pitfall with this strategy was that I had to transfer the data from the post it notes into my binder at the end of the day, which in turn took forever -- resulting in wasted time I didn't have. This year I finally discovered my magic elixir to eliminate this problem : Avery address labels.

Now I simply stick a sheet of sticky labels onto my clipboard and record any data onto them (each label is marked with student initials so I know whose label belongs to whom).

Avery address label data collection.

This is what it looks like up close.
At the end of the day, I simply have to flip through my binder, record the date and what we did, and stick the label into the progress section and add a little note if needed.

Major time saver!
So far, this is the system that seems to work best for me. However, I would be surprised if my ways won't change again. Like I said, trial and error!

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