Throwback Thursday 1/29 To How I avoid grading stacks of assignments Part I from 1/25

11:23 AM Sarah Koves 0 Comments

Here is my Throwback Thursday from  January, 25, 2015

I have yet to meet a teacher that enjoys grading.  It has taken me over ten years to get to a point where I feel that I don't spend or don't have to spend hours grading assignments.

Two best grading pieces of advice I was ever given, but I still struggle to follow:


1) You don't have to grade everything.


2) If you only have your students write as much as you can grade, they aren't writing enough.


To that end, several years ago I started a new way of collecting and assessing work in my English classes.  One of our requirements in senior English is  portfolio of student work from high school and reflections on that work and the experience overall.  In order to prepare students for this, I decided to create mini portfolios for every novel we read.

Student are instructed to keep all the work for the novel.  Every write, vocabulary sheet, quiz that I hand back, etc.

The day before the test we have a book-making party.  They take all their work and create  an informational text of their learning.

They must have a creative cover, which they usually draw themselves.  I had a student two years ago make a color copy of Fahrenheit 451 and burn it for his cover.
 photo 20141118_145028_zpswci9jr1t-1.jpg
A table of contents is necessary for it to be organized.

The students usually save their Tables of Contents from one book to another, so they can just edit.  They can also add other outside items that connect to the book.  If there was something that I collected to look at during the novel, but a student was gone or didn't do it, they can note here that I need to look at it.

 photo 20141118_145040_zpstv638lej-1.jpg
A dedication.  These are perhaps the funniest part to read.  This one is from Frankenstein.


All of their individual writes, handouts, notes then get organized.  I tell them that they can organize it however they want: chronologically, thematically, etc.

 photo 20141118_145051_zps5qaedgwh-1.jpg
This is a page with argumentative statements and a write on the introduction to the text.

I do often add supplementary texts to our novels, so that stuff goes in the book too.

Students also put their reading check quizzes in their books.  At the end they have to create a works cited page for everything we used during the study of that novel.  We had four texts/videos for Frankenstein this year.
 photo 20141118_145104_zpshz3a2zi6-1.jpg

The last item in their book is an afterward.  I have struggled to get these where I want them.  The afterward is the one-page reflection on what they learned.  Often these have been about the story and themes or lessons from the book.  I am now telling them a paragraph has to be on skills they have developed during the study of this novel.  This is usually a large portion of the grade for the book, and the part I read most carefully.
 photo 250e798c-753f-4407-a1fb-05ce9eff7d27_zps4n85yqqu.jpg
This one was fairly well done!

They then stick the gradesheet inside the book; I don't want it attached to the binding because then I have to flip back and forth.  I then can grade 30 of them in less than an hour.  This is way better for me than collecting every assignment and recording them individually.


Here is my Frankenstein Notebook Gradesheet from this fall.


I would love to hear your thoughts on this idea or any other grading tips you have.  Post in the comments below.

HAPPY GRADING!

Check out the other Throwbacks:




How I avoid grading stacks of assignments PART I

9:22 AM Sarah Koves 0 Comments

I have yet to meet a teacher that enjoys grading.  It has taken me over ten years to get to a point where I feel that I don't spend or don't have to spend hours grading assignments.

Two best grading pieces of advice I was ever given, but I still struggle to follow:


1) You don't have to grade everything.


2) If you only have your students write as much as you can grade, they aren't writing enough.


To that end, several years ago I started a new way of collecting and assessing work in my English classes.  One of our requirements in senior English is  portfolio of student work from high school and reflections on that work and the experience overall.  In order to prepare students for this, I decided to create mini portfolios for every novel we read.

Student are instructed to keep all the work for the novel.  Every write, vocabulary sheet, quiz that I hand back, etc.

The day before the test we have a book-making party.  They take all their work and create  an informational text of their learning.

They must have a creative cover, which they usually draw themselves.  I had a student two years ago make a color copy of Fahrenheit 451 and burn it for his cover.
 photo 20141118_145028_zpswci9jr1t-1.jpg
A table of contents is necessary for it to be organized.

The students usually save their Tables of Contents from one book to another, so they can just edit.  They can also add other outside items that connect to the book.  If there was something that I collected to look at during the novel, but a student was gone or didn't do it, they can note here that I need to look at it.

 photo 20141118_145040_zpstv638lej-1.jpg
A dedication.  These are perhaps the funniest part to read.  This one is from Frankenstein.


All of their individual writes, handouts, notes then get organized.  I tell them that they can organize it however they want: chronologically, thematically, etc.

 photo 20141118_145051_zps5qaedgwh-1.jpg
This is a page with argumentative statements and a write on the introduction to the text.

I do often add supplementary texts to our novels, so that stuff goes in the book too.

Students also put their reading check quizzes in their books.  At the end they have to create a works cited page for everything we used during the study of that novel.  We had four texts/videos for Frankenstein this year.
 photo 20141118_145104_zpshz3a2zi6-1.jpg

The last item in their book is an afterward.  I have struggled to get these where I want them.  The afterward is the one-page reflection on what they learned.  Often these have been about the story and themes or lessons from the book.  I am now telling them a paragraph has to be on skills they have developed during the study of this novel.  This is usually a large portion of the grade for the book, and the part I read most carefully.
 photo 250e798c-753f-4407-a1fb-05ce9eff7d27_zps4n85yqqu.jpg
This one was fairly well done!

They then stick the gradesheet inside the book; I don't want it attached to the binding because then I have to flip back and forth.  I then can grade 30 of them in less than an hour.  This is way better for me than collecting every assignment and recording them individually.


Here is my Frankenstein Notebook Gradesheet from this fall.


I would love to hear your thoughts on this idea or any other grading tips you have.  Post in the comments below.

HAPPY GRADING!


Sunday Scoop 1/25

8:43 AM Sarah Koves 7 Comments

I just realized that it has been over two months since I linked up for Sunday Scoop.  The last time I posted I was talking about leaves!! How does time go so fast anyways?



HAVE TO:
1) Grades are due my 8 A.M. tomorrow, and I have to double check all of them.  I have two classes to double check papers for; our English department gives an Incomplete to anyone who doesn't complete the required papers.

2) I am the PowerSchool Administrator for our district, and we had an update this past Friday.  I now have to go through and double check out customization and get them back in working order.  Not a fun job.

3) I'm not sure which list: home, technology, or school that I will tackle, but something will get done, I hope :)

HOPE TO:
1) I got about 1/2 our laundry done yesterday (all except being put away), but I think there are still four baskets in the basement to finish.  I WILL GET THIS CAUGHT UP TODAY!!!

2) I have been diligently reworking my Teachers Pay Teachers store, so I hope to get one or two more done today while watching TV.

HAPPY TO:
1) It have been in draft form for a long while now.  I want to finish it and get it up.   It is done, so check out: How I Avoid Grading Large Stacks of Assignments

Check out more:





Five for Friday 1/23: Donors Choose, Giveaway, and Dinner

5:52 PM Sarah Koves 2 Comments

It has been months I last linked up with Doodlebugs Teaching for Five for Friday.


It feels awesome to be back in the blogging world again.  Although life will get busy again in the spring, for now I can relax a little and catch up.


In the last three months I have gotten three Donors Choose projects funded.  Most of my goodies arrived this week.  We got pillows and floor cushions for reading and working on the floor.  I also got a Quill-matched project this week, which resulted in card stock for task cards, poster-sized sticky pads, new scissors, and a treasure chest of post-it notes.



My students were all super excited about the pillows.  I think I was more excited about the post-its, which arrived today and were fabulous.  I hated to leave them alone at school.


I am still waiting on the arrival of my class set of Debt Free University, which should arrive in a week or so.


I have been trying to add some new recipes into our rotations.  This past weekend I found a recipe for Thai Green Curry with Shrimp.  I switched to chicken and away we went.  I will say that it was GLORIOUS.  Even my girls loved it.

The recipe is here from Cooking Light.  We added more garlic and less curry paste.  We also had broccoli on hand, so we used that instead of kale.


I broke down and bought the Frixion pens that I have seen so much about.  They, like everything else this week, ROCK.  I wish the black wrote more black and less gray, but who cares.  I pulled them out at our school improvement meeting this week, and I had to keep tabs on them because they were passed around.



We started our Motivation and Emotion unit is AP Psychology.  It is a big unit for us.  I introduced them to the chapter by having them read just the section (two pages) on Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs.  Each table then recreated the pyramid on super large sticky notes.  They had to rewrite each level in their own words and give examples.  It took a class and a half, but they were wonderful.  I have them stuck all around my room now.






I'm hosting a giveaway to help a coworker get her project funded.










Throwback Thursday to 10/13 Journals

7:01 AM Sarah Koves 0 Comments

Here is my Throwback Thursday from  October 13, 2014

I think this was one of the first draft posts I started back in July.  I am just now putting the finishing touches on it and sharing it with all of you.

I believe in writing every day in order to get better at it.  Writing Next said 70% of students are low-achieving writers.  We need our students to be writing all kinds of writing more often with different purposes. One way that I accomplish this is through daily journal writing in my English classes. 

Here is my system:


I buy the .10 single subject college-ruled notebooks in August when they appear in bulk at my local retailer.  This year I bought two colors for each class period, so I could easily tell 4th hour from 7th hour.

I begin on the first day of school (always a Tuesday here in Michigan) by having students grab a notebook as they enter the room.  At the start of the first class, the question is always the same: Why do we have to study English in school if it is our native language?  I don't give a length or anything the first day, but it is an important questions and routine to establish.  We have a short discussion about this on day one!

I go on to lay out my expectations for daily journal writing:

-20 lines every day Monday-Thursday
-They must address the topic I give them
-Once they address my topic, they may start a new paragraph with some other topic.
-I grade this on content and completeness

I also follow a set pattern for my topics:


Monday: Highs and lows of the last week-I think it is important to evaluate our lives on a regular basis to determine what we have to be thankful for and what we need or want to change to make it better.
Tuesday: Creative Writing-I like love this site for picture prompts and creative writing ideas.  I usually work through them in order over the course of the year.  These things get the juices flowing.
Wednesday: Persuasive/Argumentative writing.  The New York Times has a great list.  The ACT is part of our state assessment (at least until Common Core takes over), so students need repeated practice with this type of writing.  I also have them go back through their journals to find these writings to choose from for their full-length researched papers.
Thursday: Freewrite- The students can write about whatever moves them.  Some love this while others need me to give them a topic, and I always say the first word that comes to mind...usually an animal or food to be honest.

Other ideas I have tried are Pinterest pictures from my writing board and songs.  I have also done some mimicking of other author's styles.

By this point you are probably asking about Friday.  I do something a little bit different on Friday.  I ask them to revise and edit their entries from the previous week in a different color (I set out colored pencils for this task).  I refer them to the anchor chart above my board where the topic is written for the day.

 The original came from 3rd Grade Thoughts.  I created mine on Staples.com

I collect these every other Friday and score two weeks at a time.  I have my grades set with category weights, and journals are 10% of a student's grade.  I do this for several reasons: it makes scoring them easier on me and it motivates them enough to get them done.  

Often students ask if I read their journals, and I do, but I tell them that I don't read them like a book where I want to follow every detail and event.  I more skim-read to get the gist, make a comment on something, and see that it is complete.  I try and make one comment in each students' notebook each time I read them, but sometimes I get in a groove and forget.

The points are easy: one point for every line and five points per journal for editing and revising.  Students often forget the revision part (even after a lengthy discussion the first few times and an anchor chart).  Each day is worth 25 points, and two weeks is usually 200  (if we have class each day).  That massive amount of points is part of the reason I have to do weighted categories.  I just don't want to work harder than I have to in order to calculate grades. 

I don't count the lines as I have developed a sophisticated system: a piece of college-ruled paper folded over and numbered.  I line it up and total!  The one on the right is a wide-ruled one just in case.  They are kind of gross after years of my dirty hands on them...ewww.



I am working on getting every day for the year put into a Google Slides presentation to make my life easier.

Check out other throwbacks.

This was originally posted in Anchors Away Monday:
Check out some more anchor charts

Don't forget to enter my giveaway to raise awareness for a coworker's Donor's Choose project





Wordless Wednesday: Photos of Board and Habits

9:01 PM Sarah Koves 1 Comments

I recently started getting in the habit of taking pictures of any notes I write on the board.  I don't often put notes on the whiteboard as I have a projector hooked to my computer.



What habits in the classroom have you recently added or want to add?

Check out more Wordless Wednesday Posts:

Don't forget to enter my giveaway


Giveaway and Donors Choose

8:57 AM Sarah Koves 0 Comments

I am trying to finish a donors choose project, so I have decided to have a giveaway to help me on the way. 

I am now fully funded and am helping a coworker get fully funded.





Informational Reading and a TPT Store Make-Over

2:34 PM Sarah Koves 0 Comments

I am currently in the midst of making over my Teachers Pay Teachers store, updating products, and adding some new items.

All of my The Diary of Anne Frank products have been updated.




In addition I have a new freebie on an informational text.  I used it this week when I had a sub, and my students had lots to say about the article when I came back.  Be sure to grab it.



Check out the makeover!



2015 Goals

10:47 AM Sarah Koves 0 Comments

I am linking up with Stephanie from Mrs. D's Corner for 2015 goals.

Personal:  I need to check in more.  I need to be there with the girls as they are growing up so fast, and I don't want to miss it.  I will grumble less about going to concerts, recitals, and events.  I will get on the floor with Shmurtz and play.  I will talk more with Potumus as she enters high school.

Professional:  I want to work in coaching or curriculum, which are both things our district is looking at expanding.  I need to do some data reports to showcase my skills and desires.  I don't want to leave the classroom completely, but I would love an hour or two of helping others this way.  Anyone know of good books on these topics?

Planning: I am embracing the elementary model of self-monitored learning through stations.  I want to work this into my high school English classes with perhaps something like the Daily 5.  I have also become a big proponent of movement in the high school classroom.  I want to read more and do more of this with all my classes this year.

Organization: Grading...Do I really need to say more?  I am constantly behind.  I need to not only get on top of this, but I need to set myself up to have less to grade.  Suggestions would be appreciated.

Students:  I am hoping to incorporate more choice reading into my English classes, especially when it comes to informational texts.  I am still flushing out what this will look like and how it will work.

Motto:  I need to look to the future and what I can accomplish not the regrets I have about the past.

Happy 2015!

Be sure to check out the rest of the 2015 goals pages.
Mrs. D's Corner

January Currently

10:57 AM Sarah Koves 2 Comments


Thanks Farley for the great linky and template!  Check out the other currently posts.



Listening: Red hasn't spent the night at our house since before hubby and I were married ten years ago.  She just turned 18 and is making good on her promise to spend more time with us.  We had a good evening, and hubby is so happy to have her.  We introduced her to Clueless and The Birdcage movies :)

Loving:  I am on my 5th Cotton Malone book; it has gotten me into some pleasure reading this winter, so that is good.  The books are very much like National Treasure and The DaVinci Code.  

I keep finding all these wonderful article-size informational texts for my English 11 classes.  I can't wait to get back and use them.  Anyone have some good informational task cards I could use with them?  

I have also started to make my students move during class.  I do write around the rooms a lot with questions instead of giving them a list to do at their seats.  I stared this with my civics/economics class, but I am now moving into English.  I have two books on the subject with lots of new ideas.


Thinking:  Staying up until midnight every night and sleeping until nine or ten has to come to an end TODAY, or I will be in real trouble come Monday.  

Wanting: I really want those shoes and that DVD set, but I should probably pay off the credit card first.  Not much else to say here other than being a grown-up stinks sometimes.

Needing:  I have some kitchen cleaning and freezer organizing to get done today.  I am hoping to avoid buying groceries for awhile as a result.  Then I have to get some school work done.  I have a webpage to update, grades to put in, and lessons to write.

Yes, maybe I wish: We are looking at move in our near future and are hoping house buying will be an option.  Other than that I want us all to stay healthy and well this year.



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