I know by now if I don't write it down, make an appointment, create a checklist, or take notes on students learning--I will not remember. I think when I first started teaching and didn't have great tools for monitoring I was probably under an illusion that, "I know my students!" To some degree I did know them and probably could make good predictions of what they could/could not do at different points in the year. However, the actual day to day notes are so powerful for my day to day teaching...I can't imagine not doing it now!
This year I set a goal to lessen gaps in student progress. I think we all want to do this, but I am going to chart it better this year. I am starting with the foundational skill of letters/sounds and monitoring much more closely than I ever have before. Here is the monitoring form I am using. I am only checking in monthly with those who have not yet met the given target. It has also helped me figure out...if a students is missing just a couple letters/sounds I can easily sit with them to work on that during independent reading.
I hope that the closer monitoring will get my "eyes on kids" a little closer and get me to be a little more intentional when I am making plans for them!