Sunday, October 11, 2009

Time for grading!!!

Well, it's that time of the year again, the time that all teacher just love and look forward to with excitingly beating hearts... (note the sarcasm!). It's the end of the first nine weeks here in Metro, and it is time to grade all of the children's artwork. After years of lugging stuff home and spending my entire weekend sorting and trying to figure out whose paper is it that doesn't have their name on it, I decided that I was not going to waste my weekends again. So a few years ago, I came up with this method of easy grading that ensures that no artwork is dragged home with me and that the no-name papers are taken care of as well. First of all, I do not grade throughout the nine weeks at all, I grade only at the end. I take the last week of the nine weeks and call it "Catch-up Week". After explaining to the children that this is not the stuff that we put on our french fries, I pass back all of their artwork (the ones with their names on it). The papers without name go in a pile on the floor by the trash can. On the board I write down a list of the projects that we completed and that I am grading, so that if they are missing something they can search the pile by the trash. I then give them the first half of the class time to finish any projects that were not quite done, and to check their craftsmanship. Halfway through the class, I start walking around and grade their artwork. In MNPS, for elementary students we are required to grade with an E-S-N grading scale (E=excellent, S= satisfactory, and N= needs improvement). After spending years writing more S's on my grade books than I dare count, after all, most of the students get an S, I finally realized that if I wrote down just the N's and E's as well as 0's for missing work, I could assume that any blank spaces were the S's and I would save beau-coups of time. After taking a walk around the room and grading, the children then have a portfolio of work to take home that day, and I throw away any artwork that is left on the floor by the trash (unless there is a child absent of course.... I'm not that mean!)

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