Cool Tools for School, Thing 34:Annual Reports-Make Them Better

Wow, so  many great examples to look at with this cool tool! My personal favorites were:

  • Kirkwood annual report-I liked how she spelled right out why the different information mattered and what it meant. It saves the reader the trouble of figuring out why they should care-and I liked that it gave a purpose to a lot of the data we naturally collect and want to report on (like circa stats and latest acquisitions).
  • Debra Kachel’s Annual Report Guide-I loved this! This handy chart is what I’ve been looking for my whole librarian-report-making-life!!! I also liked how the data and types of examples lines up nicely with three types of information that Jeri Hurd recommended collecting in the EBP cool tools.
  • Monthly Newsletter Sample (Elementary School) by Kathryn Cole. While looking online for the rest of the Debra Kachel article the report guide mentions, I came across an ALA page with report examples. I was particularly enamored with this one. And while I don’t necessarily think I’ll be including any of her ideas in my principal’s report, she gave me some great ideas for what to include in a monthly newsletter to teachers!
  • Stony Evans adding Twitter analytics to reports-What an interesting idea! I’m not as active on Twitter as I liked to be but, I do have an active library Instagram account and Pinterest board. I liked his point that adding these numbers to the report shows your efforts to reach out to the community in new and different ways. Plus, so many people still think of social media as young and hip and would be surprised to see how active and involved librarians and libraries are on social media. It would be a great way to buck some of those stereotypes that still linger in our buildings.

So,what do I want to include in my reports? 

  • In the principal report, I’d like to focus on the objectives in Debra Kachel’s annual report guide. But, since I’m doing it monthly and not annually, I don’t think I need to try to hit all seven objectives in each report. I’ll make it a goal to hit at least one objective from the three main areas each month and all seven by the end of the school year. I’ll also try to have all three types of information (data, examples, and stories) in all of the reports each month.
  • I’d also like to make sure I have spot for the social media stats and what other things I’ve been up to outside the classroom.
  • And of course, I’ll need to include the “why does this matter”/”what does this mean” sections I loved so much in the Kirkwood report.
  • For my teachers’s monthly newsletter, I liked to use the ideas from Kathryn Cole’s FPG newsletter with celebrations, ideas for thematic teacher-librarian collaboration, and availability of generic lessons for library instruction.

What data have you been collecting? What do you still need to collect?

  • This brings us right back to our EBP discussions doesn’t it? I have some examples of student work from the writing project I’m working on with 1st grade right now. I’m also in the middle of collecting some data on my 3rd graders from a unit we’re doing on how to use the OPAC catalog. I can easily explain how those skills matter not just in library but in general research/searching settings. I also could start collecting some data on our 2nd grade Caldecott unit.
  • I requested our testing data at the beginning of the school year so I have that to pul out and show the weaknesses areas that I’ve been able to address during my instruction.
  • Going forward, I need to start collecting some kind of pre-lesson data so I can offer up an analysis of what/how much students learned.
  • I also need to make sure I have a way to collect and record the less tangible assessments of student learning that takes place (this is where recording what students say during the day might come in handy).

How often do you want to share reports with your administrators and staff?

  • I like the idea of going back to monthly reports for my principal like I’ve done in past years.
  • I like the idea of re-launching a monthly newsletter for teachers as well.

What tools might you use to present information so it’s easier to understand and more appealing?

  • For my principal, I loved the looks of the infographics people have created. I also like the idea of creating some image files using Canva to include in the infographic.
  • For my teachers, I think keeping it simple with Google doc or a Smore newsletter would be the best. I want to be able to embed links in it if I need to but I don’t want it to be something they have to do too many steps to get to or I’ll lose them before they’ve even read it.

Here’s what I’ve come up with so far for my February report for my principal:

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(function(d){var js, id="pikto-embed-js", ref=d.getElementsByTagName("script")[0];if (d.getElementById(id)) { return;}js=d.createElement("script"); js.id=id; js.async=true;js.src="https://magic.piktochart.com/assets/embedding/embed.js";ref.parentNode.insertBefore(js, ref);}(document));

(If this isn’t loading properly, click here to see it.

And here’s what I’ve got for a March newsletter for my teachers.

My principal loved the new format, especially the “why” boxes. And, I figured out how to copy the Piktochart so I can just update what I need to update month to month and keep the same basic format/color scheme (when you have your Piktochart open in edit mode, under the File drop down menu, there is an option called Save As. This allows you to copy the Piktochart you’re editing). I already started the one for April. Which is a good thing because now I don’t have to reinvent the wheel each month and that will make it easier (and thus, more likely) for me to keep going with this project. I’ve already added the April lessons and reasons, added a few event/activities they library has promoted, and started adding some of my professional contributions. When of my teachers responded positively to the March Newsletter I sent them and I was even able to open up the April report and add her quote as a pull quote next to “started a monthly newsletter for teachers” in my “other contributions section”.

There’s still plenty of room for improvement, like adding examples of student work, but overall, I’m really happy with how this has started to come together.

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One thought on “Cool Tools for School, Thing 34:Annual Reports-Make Them Better

  1. Fabulous! Nice work with the infographic. Great to hear how well it was received. And I love the example you found for a monthly collaboration ideas newsletter. Terrific way to stir up some interest,

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