Sunday, July 31, 2011


As my husband and I were driving home from the Teacher Appreciation Day at Office Max, I totally got into "teacher talk" mode.  (Side note - My husband is not a teacher.)  I was telling him about how I just started using i-FANS in my classroom.  He was less than impressed and hardly entertained by my company, so I thought, "Ya know what, Amber, just blog about it.  Maybe somebody out there will care."  :)

So I previously posted about Cindy Middendorf and how much I love her, her books, her ideas, her seminars, etc.  She's great!  Anyway, in her book Differentiating Instruction in Kindergarten, she talks about i-FANs.  What are i-FANs, you ask?  Well!  Let me tell you.  An i-FAN is simply colored index cards (one for each student in your classroom) with student names written on them; they are held together by hole punching the corner of each card and then joining them together with a metal O-ring (I found these at Office Max, but maybe your secretary can give you some).  This little creation becomes a portable, simple tool for recording on-the-spot observations.

Perhaps you all already do this (I am just starting my third year and I am learning as I go).  But I used my Math i-FAN for the first time on was a magical experience!  I loved going back and reading the notes at the end of the day.  I know these will help me plan my interventions, plan enrichment experiences, and when it comes to report card / PT Conference time.  I also created seperate i-FANs for Reading and Writing.

I will try to remember to take a picture when I go back to work tomorrow and add it to this post.  But I think you all can figure it out regardless.  Have fun!

Okay, so since last posting about i-FANs, I have taken a few pictures.  After re-reading my post, I realize I did not use COLORED index cards as I suggested to you.  Silly me!  Anyway, I really do think colored ones would be better (for locating names faster and for organization purposes).

I hung these guys using magnetic hooks on my metal shelf behind my desk.  That way they are not visible for those who should not be reading my notes, yet they are easy for me to grab when I need them.

Here is a close-up shot.  Easy enough, right!?

You might even want to use tabs to more easily locate each student's card.  I have not done that yet, but I am thinking about it.

How do YOU takes notes when informally assessing your students?  I would love to hear about it!  :)

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