Faster way to grade essays! - ProTeacher Community





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Faster way to grade essays!
Old 09-18-2009, 05:27 PM
 
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I am a 6th,7th, and 8th grade language arts teacher. I recently had each grade write an essay which is about two pages long. My plan was to stagger the due dates but with having to reschedule the computer lab and not getting to finish as quickly as I planned..my essays were turned in about 4 days apart.

Is there a fast approach to grading essays? I have 90 essays sitting in my room just staring at me, and I am finding every excuse not to pick them up because I know it will take FOREVER!

Any ideas?

Thanks!!


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:-p
Old 09-18-2009, 05:37 PM
 
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Essays are a PITA to grade!! . I'd like to know how to get them done faster too. I guess it's just one of those things that have to be done
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Rubrics...
Old 09-18-2009, 08:13 PM
 
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I make mini-rubrics or checklists - usually 4 or 6 to a page. I have a student helper staple them onto the fronts of each essay and put them in ABC order. Then - I go through and read (and sometimes skim!) the essays and make checkmarks on the rubrics. With a total grade at the bottom and stick it in my gradebook right away. I do not put marks on the actual essays because I have writing conferences with my students and do a lot of the marking individually then. As for written comments - I only do this as absolutely necessary - because, again, they have heard my comments during conferences. I tell them if they have ?'s and need clarification to just come see me. This way, a 5 paragraph essay usually takes me about 1 minute to grade...times 131 students = still a TON of time - but better!
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Highlighter
Old 09-19-2009, 12:25 AM
 
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I do something similar to ATeachH, but also keep a highlighter in my hand while skimming/reading.

When I come to some great word choice, voice, or anything else that stands out, I highlight it. The kids love seeing that there was something that stuck out in a positive way. I also don't have to take the time to write anything about it.

Once essays are passed back, the kids share what I highlighted, if they choose.
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I have not used this idea
Old 09-19-2009, 04:37 AM
 
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but it is in the back of my head as something to try. Right now it seems to work best if I do short conferences during the writing process and then still write comments on papers during grading. It is something that so many parents mention as desirable that I am loathe to give it up. But here is this idea, tickling at the back of my mind ... I don't recall where I read about it so I can't give credit, but here it goes ...

Use Voicethread. Have the kids upload their documents and create a Voicethread for each. If I recall correctly, VT uploads the document so each page is a separate slide.

Then use the comment functions and tools on VT (audio comments, video comments, highlighting, etc.) to talk your way through the comments you'd normally make in writing. There's a pen function, so you can point to the specific spot, etc.

I don't know if this would save any time, but it might be an easier process. I guess it just depends on your style. Like I said, I haven't tried it but am thinking about giving it a whirl one of these days.


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chunk it
Old 09-19-2009, 05:52 AM
 
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Have them write it in chunks for you to grade. For example, this week work on outlines; then grade the outlines. The next time work on great beginnings. Have them write the introduction paragraph and turn it in; you grade just the intro. The next time you work on transitions to the body. Have them write the 2nd paragraph for you to grade and so on so you only focus on one paragraph or skill at a time. By the time they have written the whole essay, you've already "graded" it piece by piece.
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Old 09-19-2009, 06:00 AM
 
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I like the chunking idea, but doesn't that stretch it out a long time? How long does it take you class to do an essay?
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The Bane
Old 09-19-2009, 06:48 AM
 
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I do enjoy reading the kids' writing (a lot), but grading almost anything has become the bane of my existence. I have over 100 as well, as many as 130 if everyone turns it in. I divide essays into piles of ten and tackle each section. Then, a brief break or reward (I know, it's pathetic and I can't believe I'm admitting this publicly.)
Like PP, sometimes I use a short checklist of some main aspects I'm looking for and typical problems--a couple of six traits, especially organization features, a few grammar objectives. Circle the ones missing, check mark the okay ones, star excellent examples. I might even include a few general comments on the slip, such as rich detail, strong conclusion, proofread more carefully. The kinds of things I find myself writing all the time over and over. I was prompted to do this when I discovered that some students could not read my comments because I write in cursive This is not because I am lazy
Other times I use the proofreader's marks I've taught them and circle/star wonderful features--no writing! I have them log the marks for an on-going record, which they use for proofreading the next paper and strive for improvement, such as a decrease in the number of fragments.
Sometimes I take a portion of the papers (like two periods worth) someplace else. I have graded essays in a fast food place (with a big diet coke to help the medicine go down), at Target in the food court (I was sitting in the back and discovered later I was taking up the employees break table! then went shopping when I was done), at the library. Takes away all the things I can stop and do at home or in my classroom.

As I'm passing the papers back, I stop at each desk for a second and reinforce or make a comment.
I welcome more, more, more ideas. Thx!
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this
Old 09-19-2009, 07:31 AM
 
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<<Use Voicethread. Have the kids upload their documents and create a Voicethread for each. If I recall correctly, VT uploads the document so each page is a separate slide.>>

This, this, this, this, this.

Kids upload their files, you call in on your cellphone to record comments. It is a beautiful thing.
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Old 09-19-2009, 04:51 PM
 
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Thank you for all your feedback! I really like the chunking idea and only looking for a few certain things. This will definitely save time! I have a tendency to read every word and ponder over each paper, and it is just taking tooooooo long!

I wish I could hire someone to just grade essays!

Thanks again!
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Old 09-22-2009, 04:54 AM
 
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You have done this!!!!! I'm so excited to find someone who thinks it works!

The cell phone ... now that's even easier than the webcam. I'm going to try it. Thanks for motivating me!
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Old 09-22-2009, 05:27 PM
 
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We have state-mandated holistic and analytical scoring rubrics and benchmark writing pieces. It really speeds things up!
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hmmmm...
Old 09-27-2009, 12:24 PM
 
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I'm glad someone else has this problem too.

I conference with my students regularly so know ahead of time what they are working on improving. I tend to be a believer if I didn't catch the mistake during the conference or have taught the skill explicitly, it is unfair to grade them on it. That makes grading the published pieces WAY EASIER at the end. I use the sticky note method to give written feedback with at lease one + and then things to work on -. That takes some time, but kids enjoy reading their feedback that way, and it helps me prepare the mini lessons for my next unit.

I CAN'T WAIT TO TRY voicethread
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I like that...
Old 11-15-2010, 03:19 AM
 
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I usually go to Starbucks, grab the back table and hog the whole section for 3-4 hrs while i sip on coffee and a muffin or 2
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