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Anecdotal Record

Whereas anecdotal records are the written observations – word for word, action for action – of exactly what a child is doing and saying.  A transcript, if you will, on an event, series of events or even throughout the day. 

Anecdotal records have many benefits.  The first is that, if done accurately, it is a true and unbiased account of precisely what is occurring.       Look at figure 3.9:

Anecdotal Record 

Activity: ____Learning center – Table toys_                  Date: _____11/09/02______

 Name: ______ Tommy Tantrum__________   Recorder: ____Tina Teacher___

 _____Tommy ran over to the table where other students were completing puzzles shouting, “Here I come!”  He then approached another student and asked, “Can I have that puzzle?” Other student: No, I’m not finished.  Jimmy: But I need that one to build my rocketship. Other student: Mrs. H says you have to wait your turn.  Jimmy: Mrs. H, Mrs. H, can I have that puzzle now?  Mrs. H: when ___ is finished, you may have a turn.  Jimmy: Set the timer then. (to other student) You have 1 minute, right Mrs. H?   Jimmy then sat at the table with his face supported by his hands and repeated 5 times, Time is almost up.  When the timer rang, Jimmy took the puzzle and dumped it and began assembling it himself.___________


Anyone reviewing this record can “see” exactly what occurred at the table.  Notice how bias words such as “demanded”, “grabbed” or “whined” are omitted.  An anecdotal record should be written in a positive tone. It needs to emphasize what a child is doing and his or her achievements as opposed to what the child is not doing.   These records help defend and/or support other observations or opinions concerning a child’s skill.  They are particularly helpful in areas of social/emotional and behavioral skills.


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