Brain Books = Data Collection that is FUN

Report cards are due next week. If you have ever seen a Kindergarten report card, you know that means I have to assess a million different things for every one of my students. One on one. During class time.

This used to be a HUGE headache. I used to get overwhelmed, and then put it off, get even MORE overwhelmed, then finally do it in a rush and work late every night until they were finished. And when they were finished I would say to myself: there has to be a better way!

A good friend showed me how she kept all of her data in a binder. Keeping data together was a breeze because everything she needed to test was ALREADY there. Another friend showed me how she kept data in individual folders for her students. I decided this was the path for me. Brain books. Simple, concise, and you only have to worry about putting them together ONCE.

I keep all of my students papers in individual binders. I could place them all in a single spot for easy access (I know people who do this and it works well for them!), but by putting them in binders, the kids have ownership. Their binders are so important to them and they love, love, love to track their own learning.

My brain books have pages for EVERY single standard we learn and test (plus a few more I find important) over the year. Each week,  I have a goal like “I will test all of my students on this skill,” or “I will grab so-and-so who is brand new and test all of his literacy knowledge so I can put him into a reading group this week.”

It’s magical.

And the COOLEST thing is – no one hates testing.

I’m going to say it again because it is a miracle sentence: NO. ONE. HATES. TESTING.

In fact, they love it. I love it.

I enjoy that time with my students because it is some of the only time I have to be one-on-one with them. We are focused on a certain skill and we get to celebrate the fact that they know more than they did the last time! How amazing is that?!

My students love come to my teacher table because they get to add to their brain book. Maybe they get to color in a few more squares on their sight word graph or make a new learning goal. Whatever the case may be, it is enjoyable for them.


I am all about letting them choose the color I test with, the color they fill their data in with, the sticker they put on their shirt, the way I holler their achievements to the rest of our class.

I am telling you, 100% truthfully, data collection is one of my favorite things about Kindergarten. I think it is a very special time of growth and teacher-student time that is incredibly valuable to our classroom community.

Oh, and I finished my report cards in one day. How, you ask?

I already had the data 😉

Does this sound strange to you? Do you have questions about how I make it work? Please ask! You can either comment here or email me at

I would love to help you make testing and data a more enjoyable part of your life!

Looking for a resource to get you started? I have just posted my literacy brain book on Teachers Pay Teachers. It is my first product so I would love any feedback you have to give!


Thanks for reading! I appreciate you!


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