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How to Document High School Student Behavior

written by: goldwriter • edited by: Elizabeth Stannard Gromisch • updated: 8/2/2012

Just how do you keep track of inappropriate behavior, like talking, tardies, or insubordination for high school students? Keep a behavior notebook.

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    You Need a System

    Throughout the school year, it becomes necessary to document student behavior. It’s easy to procrastinate on documenting behavior and end up giving parents and administrators vague responses to questions concerning student behavior. One of the best techniques that I’ve found to document and keep track of student behavior is to keep a notebook and jot down all inappropriate behavior by date. Here’s how I set up a documentation notebook for high school students.

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    Get a Basic Binder

    I use a three ring binder and use dividers to separate the periods. In my school, we have six periods a day, and teachers get one period off for planning. My binder will, therefore, have five divisions. I give each student a page to start. I use regular, lined notebook paper and label each page with a student’s name. So, if I have 30 students in 5th period (or the 5th hour of school) I have 30 pages in my binder for that particular period.

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    Document Specific Observations

    As I observe disruptive behavior, I write it down, immediately. I try to be as specific as possible about the behavior, writing what the child said or did. For example, if a student is talking while I am giving directions, I would write that phrase and try to write the topic of the child’s conversation. If a student has disobeyed a request, I document exactly what the request was and the student’s actions or lack of action.

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    Did You Contact Parents?

    Add parent contacts to your notebook. It’s helpful to list in your notebook any phone calls made to parents and what was said. That way you can see that after every three or four disruptions you informed parents.

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    Which Strategies Did You Use?

    Lastly, you can list in your notebook any strategies that you tried to solve discipline problems with your students. Did you conference with the child? Did you refer the student to an administrator? Did you incorporate a system for praising the child for positive behavior? This documentation will you to track effective strategies for working with the student.

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    An Organized Result

    By documenting your students’ behavior, parent contacts, and strategies used to deal with the disruptions, you will have thorough information to help you determine the number and depth of disruptions, which strategies are effective to use with your students, and how you have attempted to put and end to the disruptions.