I was browsing one of the many
teacher Facebook groups I am in and I came across this gem of a post by Beth
from Adventures of a School Marm. I LOVED
so many of her tips that I asked her if I could share her Facebook post as a
guest post on my blog!  And she said yes!  Woo hoo! 
I have edited her post a little
so that it makes sense (headings), but for the most part this is all her!
 Isn’t she awesome!  Make sure to check out her blog!
Stop with Bell Work/ Morning
For starters, I stopped doing
“bell work” like Daily Math or Daily Language. Instead, the kids
would bring their homework (done or not!) up to the carpet to go over together.
I checked there who did it or didn’t. If they did it, they earned a Class Dojo
point. I also had a HW incentive club each quarter. (If they did “x”
amount of assignments in the quarter, they got to each lunch with me in the
classroom and get a special treat. They worked hard for this! LOL!)  Then,
we would go over all the answers. If they didn’t do it, they were expected to
do it with us right then. I never collected homework, they got immediate
feedback, and they took their paper right back home with them. I made sure
parents understood that homework was for practice and would not be included in
our grades. Not putting HW in the grade book was actually a school policy. Yes,
there were some kids that never did their homework. 
There were some kids that ALWAYS
did their homework. But I just chose not to fight that battle. We celebrated the
responsibility and hat work of those that did their HW. We grew from our
mistakes because the feedback was immediate. The immediate feedback was more
important to me than penalizing anyone that chose not to do it. But that’s just
me and I realize not everyone will agree with that. 
The Overwhelming Pile of Centers!
Next time
saver was that most centers work was not graded. I structured my ELA block so
that there was 10 min of self-selected silent reading for fun at the end. The
kids could read whatever they wanted, never be forced to write any response
about it, and could just read because reading is so much fun! I used that time
to go around the room and look over their centers work, which they collected on
their desks. They got checks, stars, or feedback if there needed to be
improvement. I kept anecdotal notes on a clipboard with a roster. Again, most
centers work was never collected or graded with the exception of the work
collected in their reading binders. 
Assessments? Make it Easy with
My last time saver was that we
graded every test together… usually the same day we took it! Kids knew
immediately how they did on their tests, which they loved. They came to the
carpet with their test, a marker or colored pencil, and grabbed a clipboard.
Again, we looked at it as a time to celebrate what we knew and get feedback on
areas to improve. Kids would circle the number of it was wrong. 

The biggest issue I had was they wanted to draw all over their test and make
lots of smiley faces for right answers, so I just trained them not to do that.
I was able to correct common misconceptions right then and there. I did spend
time teaching about grading with integrity and not lying. The kids would rat
each other out in the rare event that one tried to cheat. That usually happened
early on and then the problem would be fixed once they realized that it was
better to be honest. I did collect those tests and still double checked them
for accuracy. It still saved me a ton of time! I used to spend about 6 hours
every grading all the test we were required to give. This cut my time down to
about hour to go over all of them, double check, and record.
A Closing Thought 
Again, I realize many of these
ways are unconventional. I did see a big improvement in my kids’ motivation to
do their homework because of the immediate feedback. They liked being
celebrated for being responsible. I also saw test anxiety decrease because they
knew right away how they did. It made my instructional grouping more effective
because I knew their progress so much more quickly. 
Aren’t these fantastic tips?
 I was blown away at the value of immediate feedback while taking a burden
off the teacher! Thank you for sharing, Beth!

Click here for this great pack of FREE math centers, plus get tips and updates from me!

Published by Mandy Gregory

Mandy Gregory is a 2007 and 2012 Teacher of the Year. She has taught 4th, 3rd, and 2nd grade in both the general education and inclusion setting. She is the owner and creator of the Teaching Tips website (www.mandygregory.com) and has over 10 years of experience. She is married with two beautiful children.

One reply on “Tips to Make Grading a Snap!”

  1. Great ideas. I especially like the homework policy. I think homework should just be for practice and not be graded. Who knows which kids had lots of help at home and which had none. (Well, actually you do know 🙂 ) Thanks for sharing all of your Timesavers.

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