Module 2, page 8
1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10

Running Record Observation

Now let's look at the Running Record observation. The observer creates a sequential record of anything that happens during a specific period of time. During this time, the observer writes down, minute by minute, everything that happens. When completed, this running record gives teachers insight into the child’s interests, developmental skills, and attention span.

  • The observer’s description often focuses on one child at a time.
  • The observer might want to examine how a particular child spends him or her time during free play.
  • The observer chooses a time period to observe and record whatever the child is doing.

To see an example of how a running record can be done open the two-page handout listed below. Please print out the handout for reference and review.

Activity 2: Practice Running Record Observation

Let's practice creating a running record observation.

First, open a blank Running Record (Word document | Rich Text Format) and save it to your computer so you can add text to it. Next, read the story below and as you read it, record your observations on the running record. It might be helpful for you to print out the story and read it over more than once (click here for a print version). When you are done, go over your observations with your mentor.


Behavioral Setting: Outside
Child Observed: Brittney

11:03 a.m.
Brittney is outside in the sand box. She is sitting next to Rami. Brittney is smoothing out the sand that is on the ground with her hands.

She turns around, by moving her whole body to face the other direction. She then shovels up the sand with a shovel and pours the sand into the star shape. She is griping the shovel with a palmer grip. She levels the sand that is in the star using the backside of the shovel moving it back and forth. She shovels up some more sand and pours it into the star. Brittney then levels it again, this time she uses her hands to scoop of the extra sand. She does these same steps again, shoveling up sand, pouring it into the star, and leveling it off with the shovel.

Brittney repeats this process two more times. She then gets up on her knees and turns around. She sits down on her legs and scrapes the ground with her hands. She leans forward and pulls her hands toward her leveling the sand. She gets back on her knees, turns around picks up the star. Brittney then turns around toward the leveled sand and turns the star upside down. She pushes the star down and then she picks up the star. A star out of sand is left behind, except some of it fell apart. She picks up the shovel and cuts the star apart, by pushing the shovel down on to the star. She then puts down the shovel and with her hands destroys the star. She destroys the star by moving her hands, quickly through the star.

Brittney levels the ground again moving her hands in all directions. She picks up the star shape and places it on the ground. She then pushes with her hands and her body the star into the sand. She then picks up the star shape bucket, which has made a star shape in the sand. With her fingers she is making some shapes inside the star.
Brittney then scrapes the sand with her hands again, erasing the star. She gets up onto her knees and turns around. Once she is on her bottom she picks up the shovel and grabs a castle bucket. She shovels up sand and then pours it into the castle.

Rami reaches across Brittney and says something to her. Brittney tells Rami that, “I (she) don't need that." Rami then replies "I do." Brittney goes back to shoveling sand.


Brittney pours the sand into the castle bucket. She shoves up a couple more scoops of sand and pours them all into the castle. She levels off the castle using the backside of the shovel. Michael to destroy what Rami is making and Rami starts to yell at Michael. Brittney stops shoveling and watches Rami and Michael talk to each other.

Once they were done, she gets up and turns around again, where she levels the ground with her hand. She turns her upper body around and picks up the castle bucket. She turns her body back around to the leveled sand, and she turns the bucket upside down. She then leans on the bucket to press it into the ground.

Completing the Observation

Once you have read the story carefully, record your observations on the running record. When you are done, go over your observations with your mentor.

< back