You will probably be tempted to fill out your rubric before taking notes. Resist! Taking notes helps you keep your observations as objective as possible. Use this guide to take notes objectively and effectively.
Effective Notes

  • Use factual and objective terms. Write what you saw, not what you are thinking about what you saw.
  • Can stand alone: Someone who was not present should be able to read your notes and figure out what happened.
  • Focus on interactions.
  • Contain specific quotes (you may have trouble recalling quotes after observations, so paraphrasing is fine).
  • Describe the setting, materials used, what can be seen in the space.
Less Effective Notes

  • Use subjective terms, such as “The kids were having fun,” or “She was upset.”
  • State opinions: “I thought she really improved today.”
  • Make assumptions about internal states, such as, “She was bored and didn’t care.”
  • Are too vague, lack detail, such as “The youth did a group activity.”
  • Summarize discussion instead of using quotes: “They talked about the park” instead of a direct quote.