I'm going into my 4th year teaching and am still struggling with what do do with all the PAPERS. Between trying to stay on top of Homework and daily projects, etc. I can't stay caught up. I would love to know what everyone does in maintaining and organizing all the paperwork. I've been told not to grade everything, but that is hard for me. HELP before I drown in all the papers!
I am going into my 5th year and still struggle with paperwork. I did a lot better last year, but feel I still have a great deal of progess to make. I just found this website that has some good ideas on "avoiding the paper trap"
I am also going into my fifth year this year and last year was my worst yet of getting on top of those papers. I haven't come up with a plan for all papers yet, but I think I have one that may work for homework... I had a stamp made from vistaprint.com that says "HOMEWORK LOOKED AT, NOT CORRECTED". I am going to explain to my parents that because homework is supposed to be practice for what the child learned in school, I am going to randomly pick four or five different kids each day and correct their homework. All others will get the stamp. This way, they will still get credit for doing the homework. I am also going to mention that if their child had difficulty with the homework or they want me to look at it for any reason, they can write me a note and I will be sure to take a look. I am also going to be doing Homeworkopoly this year as an incentive for the kids to do their homework and to do it well because if it is visibly shotty, they will not get to play.
Read mspowell.com! I love her site. She has so much great info on their. Last year was my fifth year teaching and I still struggle. After reading her posts I've come to the realization that I don't have to grade everything. I definitly love the stamp idea. I might have to get one too!
I have to make more of a conscious effort to review homework instead of collecting it. I guess I've always thought if I went over homework I'd run out of time for other things. We'll see.
This past year was my first year teaching. I got so behind on everything! I vowed that this was not going to happen to me again. I visited Ms. Powell's website as well, and it was so eye-opening for me. I love the paper trap page, but the one that probably helped me the most was the Assessment page. Here's the link:
I am doing the same things with homework as well. I'm not going to be grading it for the most part. I bought a stamp from Fearless Design online that says "Read but not Corrected" as well. If there is something that will only be reinforced through homework, then I will check the entire classes. Also, I am going to be spot checking throughout and if there seem to be a lot of problems on a concept, then I will go back and reteach it. I've also had some chging feelings about homework this year as well. I think it's necessary to give that extra practice, however, I don't think it's fair to assess students when some of them get lots of help and some of them get none.
I can't get behind like I did last year. Because of it, my students weren't able to get swift feedback on things they did, and I feel as though I failed in that aspect. If they don't know if what they're doing is right or not, then they won't know what direction to go in. Hopefully, doing some of these things will help me out.
I have not actually used Homeworkopoly yet. I have a meeting at school on Monday and I had planned on printing it out there and then really sitting down to think about it. However, I did a behavior system last year where I used motivators like, "use a chair cushion for a day", "write with erasable pen for a day", "use the craft scissors for a project", "extra computer time", "take home one of my books for a night", etc. I will probably use ideas like these. I think for the Brain Binder spaces I may have them answer a Brain Quest question. If they get it right, they get a sticker. I may change that throughout the year though. Let me know if you have any ideas!
I have slowly become better at reducing my marking load, but even after 13 years of teaching it can pile up when I'm not making sure to stay on top of things.
For homework I put up sticker charts - when the students have filled out one row (5 stickers) they get to go to my prize box. I give out homework on Monday's with the expectation that the homework is returned by the following Monday.
For homework I give out my spelling words, 2 math pages and 1-2 reading, vocabulary pages.
I do not mark the homework - my parents were informed that I would put a red star on the top of the page to show that I did review the work. This year I am going to have a parent meeting to go over these little details so that the parents are more aware of why I send homework home in the first place.
For me homework is review and a chance for parents to see how their child is doing with the work we are covering in class. I also do not mark it because some children simply do not have any support at home and I don't want to penalize them. At some point - perhaps by grade 5 or 6 you can put more expectations on them. But at grade 3 their homelife still dictates a lot on how well they will do with homework.
As far as marking goes - I basically have 3 types of marking I do or don't do.
- tests, quizzes and school work that needs to be marked for assessment purposes - marks that will help form the report card mark
- school work, short quizzes, review work - work that needs to be marked so that both I and the student know how they are doing with that particular work
- school work, practice work, review work - work that does not need to be marked as I've already done similar work and will not be using this work for assessment. This work I may send home or even throw out.
I also learned for areas like math especially I can have my students mark their own work or even trade with a friend. I have them use a pen or marker so that they cannot change their answers. For speed drills, math questions, etc., it is easy to take 10 minutes out of a class to do some marking with the whole class.
Plan your marking
if you do journals once a week for example - then plan to mark 4 to 6 journals each day so they are all done by the next time you do them. Easier than doing 24 or more at a time.
CLOSE your classroom door at the end of the day if you are staying to do work. I always find that if I leave my door open, colleagues will drop by and then I will waste time chatting. While it is great to spend time with colleagues - sometimes you just have to close the door to them so that you can get your work done.
If you teach in a school that has higher grades - see if 2 or 3 students would like to do some marking during their breaks.
To ensure confidentiality - you can assign numbers to your students and have them write their number on their work instead of their names. This way no one knows who the work actually belongs to.
This was a major issue for me for years! After much trial and error, I finally have it where I'm comfortable. Here's what I do:
1. I don't give a ton of homework - usually a math sheet or LA sheet. We go over it in class and I walk around the room and put a checkmark on it. It goes in their keep side of their folder. I don't grade it. It's for practice - I don't feel like it's an accurate grade.
2. I take a classwork grade when I see they've had enough practice. It's only worth 25 points and doesn't take long to grade. Usually one a week per subject.
3. I give tests that are more multiple choice type - that's what the state test is, so they need to get used to that. They're easy to grade! Some will have a little writing on it, but nothing major.
4. Writing is done occasionally, but not every week. I have a rubric to grade the final copy, so it's faster and more accurate.
I guess that doesn't sound like much, but it really helps me! I was so overwhelmed before - now I get my grading done at my son's basketball practice once a week!
I have trays for the kids to put their papers into that are marked for each subject. This way, they are alreay organized by class. The two best things I have done to help with paper overload are:
1. Assign numbers to the students. When they get into the habit of putting their number on their paper, it makes it SO much easier to quickly put them in order, which makes grading and entering grades a lot easier.
2. I DONT HAVE SO MANY PAPERS!!! (anymore!) I used to have a TON of papers, but the longer I have been teaching, the more I realize that kids dont have to do a worksheet for me to know if they are learning. Now, I do a lot of work on dry erase boards or on chart paper that we work on together or in small groups. By walking around or scanning boards, I can quickly tell who is getting it and who is not. I still have papers, but not nearly as many!
For grading, I have three things that I do:
1. I tell the parents at the beginning of the year, that most papers are practice, I will use a check, check plus, and check minus system for "grading" them. These will not be included in their child's final grade (as they are just practice). These papers have been looked over quickly and marked to give them a general idea of their child's achievement.
2. I started going over a lot of papers together after we completed them Then the kids get immediate feedback and they then put a bit T and circle it on their paper. This way, the parents know that we graded it together and their child should have been paying attention.
3. Formal letter grades are only given on assessments and projects. I also give a grade for Reading Journals that they take home, but it is set from a rubric, so is very easy to grade. I only grade one formal writing sample every month, so the others are just practice. I allow the kids usually to choose one to edit and then publish and turn in for a grade. As long as they are the same style, I don't mind. They are also graded with a rubric for easier grading.
To make myself grade,,, I send home Friday Folders. The parents are expecting them, so I feel that I need to live up to that expectation.
I also made up small checklists for my whole class. When I grade, I put the assignment name at the top and enter the grades on down the line. I then can file their papers to go home (which the kids actually do) and I can sit down at the end of the week and enter all the grades at once. This saves time for me since we do not keep paper copies of gradebooks. I can fit 3 assignments onto one checklist.
I have to say that while there are still some times that I feel overwhelmed, these things have helped tenfold!!
I have been teaching for 11 years now and I think I have gotten the paperwork pretty down packed. First, I give important meanningful homework that I know the kids need to review. After announcements, the first thing we do in the morning is we trade papers and we check all of our homework. I teach the students how to grade the papers and how to check them. You will be surprised at how well they learn to check their papers. They are even more critical with each other than I am with them!! They then return their papers to each other and they ask questions on anything they didn't understand. They then file the papers in their appropriate folder. (They have pocket folders for each subject). I don't collect the papers, because I only need the ones that are in my gradebook. Any classwork or graded assignments, the students grade as well. Those that go in my gradebook, of course I collect and review them once more to make sure they were graded correctly. This has made the biggest difference in my paperwork and the best part is the students love it, they become very competitive and they learn from their mistakes!!!! Hope this is info is helpful.
YEAH! I thought I was the only one who finally discovered that we as teachers shoot ourselves in the foot by over assigning "paper" activities. I agree 100% with that.... I also know that I commit to staying at school really late one day a week and do my lessons plans, excess grading and totally getting ready for the next week so I don't become overwhelmed. However that is not to say it doesn't happen! I have been guilty quite often of taking my schoolbag for a "ride home" in my car and there it stays. I try and grade 1-2 sets of papers a night if needed and right away after it is turned in. I know I feel less like grading an assignment if it sits too long and I think it means little to the child too. And don't forget, sometimes you just have to circular file it!