HOW TO TAKE NOTES IN VIPKID CLASS

After a lot of trial and error, I have finally come up with the perfect method (for me) to take notes during my VIPKid classes. It solves so many of my note-taking issues and saves me a ton of time. I wanted to share it here in case it could help YOU as well!

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One thing I’ve noticed since working with VIPKid is that the “best” way to do feedback is quite the topic of conversation. Some people swear by Feedback Panda, others type everything from scratch for each student, and some people cut and paste from templates in a lesson bank.

The options are endless and, I’ve found, there really is no “best” way to type up feedback. So I won’t be giving my opinion about that. Everyone is different! We all have things that we’re willing to pay money for; feedback tools may or may not be one of those things for you!

However…

No matter what method a teacher chooses for writing feedback, almost EVERY teacher still needs to take some sort of notes during a lesson to help them remember the child-specific things that they want to include in the feedback.

But even THIS is a topic of debate:

Do I take notes on paper?

How do I take notes without looking down?

Do I type my notes so that I can just copy and paste?

Do I SAVE my notes somewhere for future reference?

What if I told you that one simple card solves ALL of my note-taking issues? Because it does! I’m able to save so much time on my feedback by taking notes in this way.

I think budgeting your time is just as important as budgeting your money. The more time you spend on things “off the clock,” you are technically lowering your “hourly wage.” Plus, you are opening yourself up for burnout when you’re spending unnecessary time on tasks such as feedback. And you can’t make money if you’re on a burnout-fueled break! (I speak from experience…check out this post.)

If spending your spare time on VIPKid-related tasks is something that brings you joy…GO FOR IT! I run a website devoted to VIPKid, so I get it! But if note-taking and feedback is not something that brings you joy, let’s make it a little bit easier.

So let’s get on with it! First, let me show you what this magical feedback note sheet looks like…


Start by cutting two pieces of cardstock into fourths. (Each card is 4.25″ x 5.5″) The cardstock should be two DISTINCTLY different colors. This will be important!

Then take a third piece of cardstock (I just used white) and make eight strips. I cut them to about 1″ x 5.5″

Next, put two of the colored cards together with the shorter sides on top (so the whole card will be 8.5″ wide and 5.5″ tall). Glue a white strip over the seam on both sides. Align everything perfectly on one end and then trim whatever doesn’t line up perfectly on the other end. (My white strips were slightly off, so I just gave the card one more tiny slice. I LOVE my slicer…you can find it here.)

Repeat this process until you’ve made four cards.

Then run these cards through the laminator and trim. (My laminator is old, so it is hard to find on Amazon, but this looks like a slightly newer model of what I have. Mine has done a great job of keeping up with my crazy VIPKid laminating habits.)

So that’s it! If you would prefer to see the process in action, watch this quick video (less than one minute). Otherwise, keep scrolling to read about why this simple little card saves me so much time and trouble in the classroom…



I have been using these cards for several months now and I love them for several reasons:

NO LOOKING DOWN

I don’t have to stress about getting bad parent ratings for looking down during class, because the small ridge made by the white card helps me find my place to write during class.

On top of that, I can see the two colors with my peripheral vision easily.

NO CONFUSION

The other reason that I use two different colors is that I can keep the positive and constructive feedback separated. When I took notes in a spiral notebook, I would quickly write down a word during a class, but by the end of a row of classes I couldn’t remember if that word was something they said well or if it was something to work on!

(Yes…chemo brain is a thing. My memory is that bad. If you’re curious about my cancer story you can read it here.)

NO JUGGLING PENS

I really didn’t like taking notes with a pen or pencil, because I had to switch between a regular writing utensil and dry erase marker so often during class. Half the time I wrote my notes on paper WITH my dry erase marker. <<cringe>> That’s like nails on a chalkboard to me!

By using these note-taking cards, I just use my trusty dry erase marker for everything during class.

NO TYPING DURING CLASS

No matter how hard I’ve tried, I am no longer mentally-coordinated enough to type during class, unless I’m just typing what I’m saying to the student. (I also blame this on chemo brain.) Most of my students are Level One and Level Two, so I’ve found that my hands are just too busy with props and TPR to type during class. It feels more natural for me to jot something down with a pen.

Some people like to type their notes so that they can copy and paste them into their feedback. I’ve tried all sorts of templates, but I’ve found that by the time I have done “copy and paste,” then “find and replace,” then triple-checking the “find and replace,” it’s much faster for me to just type from scratch. (Most days, I can type most of my feedback between classes. But sometimes I prefer to do it for all of my classes at once after finishing my block of classes.)

I just need to have a few notes from each class and these little cards are perfect for me.

NO WASTED PAPER

I’m not a big record keeper when it comes to my classes. I write the parent feedback, leave a few notes in teacher-to-teacher feedback and then leave myself a note under the student’s record if needed.

This is enough for me.

As I mentioned above, I just need a few notes from each class to help me remember what I want to include in my parent feedback.

When I first started out, it took me no time at all to fill a spiral notebook with my messy notes. Since I was writing without looking down, I never wrote efficiently on the paper. I wasted SO much space in my notebook. When I looked at this full-but-not-full notebook after just a couple of weeks of using it, I felt like there had to be a better way. That’s when these cards were born.

Now, after each class, I have this one card with my positive and constructive notes, and a quick note about what reward I used, to help me record my feedback online. Then I just erase the note card after writing my feedback and I’m ready for the next day!

NO WASTED CLASSROOM SPACE

My classroom is in a corner of my dining room, so needless to say my classroom space is a little bit tight. Every item that I use during class needs to be as streamlined as possible.

The clunky spiral notebook sitting on my desk all the time drove me CRAZY! These cards are much more streamlined and I can tuck them pretty much anywhere!

Also, by making them two-sided I have doubled my note-taking capacity in half the number of cards! (If you are concerned about the writing on one side scratching off while you write on the other side…I haven’t had any problems with that.)

So there you have it! My system for taking notes during class. If you end up giving this a try, I would love to hear how it works for you!