Happy Birthday to Me…..and to You!



June is my birthday month!  For the first time in my life, I will be in school on my birthday (June 23), which isn’t as fun as being off.  So, to celebrate my birthday, I have decided to dedicate the month of June on my blog to a big celebration.  What does that mean for you?  Giveaways!

Stay tuned for lots of giveaways in the coming weeks!  The first two will start this week!!!

Happy Birthday to me!

What Do You Want to Know- Question #4

Great question from Susan Dee today!

I teach a 4th/5th grade looping class using the workshop model. In the fall I will return to 4th grade to begin a new loop. My biggest frustration has been around grading! We use the traditional A-F system. Any ideas for making it easier???

I addressed this a little in Question #2 earlier in the week.  I also use the traditional A-F grading system in my district and I have managed to infuse it into my reading/writing workshop.    How do I manage this?  Rubrics!  Lots and lots of rubrics.  

I grade almost all assignments using a rubric.  Rubrics make teachers’ expectations clear and show students how to meet those expectations.  From projects to letter-essays, my students know exactly what I am looking for and how I will be grading the assignment.  And the rubrics allow me room to assess each student on an individual basis.  

Because I grade using rubrics, I usually end up with scores like “34/42”.  I do not convert these to an A-F grade.  Instead, I use a point system throughout the marking period.  Each assignment is worth a specific number of points (derived from the rubric) and I put the points a student earns in my grade book.  At the end of the marking period, I add up the points a student earned and divide it by the number of points they could have earned.  That number is then their marking period average!  For example, a student who earned 178 points out of a possible 205 would receive an 86.8% for the marking period.  This would be a B in my district.  

I also like the point system because it allows me to weight certain assignments.  The homework grade is always worth 50 points, projects/tests are worth more than 50 points (usually closer to 100 points and sometimes even more) and quizzes are worth less than 50 points.  Yes, I even grade tests out of points!  For me, this is the most accurate way to reflect the work my students do.  

I hope this helps!