This summer a colleague and I went over the first grade report cards and revamped them....now they are more clear/specific as to what the first graders are being taught/required to learn (For example, instead of just Math, we've got things like: Is able to count from 1-100). For the most part, our grading is this:
+ commendable work
a check for meets expectations
- for work that needs improvement
We have been giving a letter grade on tests (math, spelling, etc). I feel that this is more helpful to me because a letter is easy to record in a grade book. This is also helpful for me because I will often put a + on a student's work even if it has an error or 2---when I should really only do it on perfect work. If I give a letter grade, I am able to clearly see what it should be....if it has so many mistakes, then it has to be an A- or a B... (Also, when I put grades in my book, I actually assign a number to each letter and then it's easy to count up and figure out the grade for report cards).
I am wondering what other first grade teachers do for grades/report cards? I have had parents ask about giving letter grades...some think the students are too young for this and are not too happy to see papers with grades coming home. I'm not so sure I agree...nobody's ever given too good of an arguement against letter grades.
Sorry for being so longwinded, let me ask once again, what do you do for grading?
We don't give any grades the 1st six weeks. We have a conference at the end of that grading period. Then we give letter grades for spelling, math, reading & language. All other subjects get E=excellent, S+=satisfacory plus, S=satisfactory,N= needs improvement, U=unsatisfactory
We get together and assign letter grade equivalents; for example E might =95-100.
We might give letter grades during the six weeks, but a E, S, N or U shows up on the report card.
This is for 1st,2nd & 3rd grade.
This is the letter we send with their 1st report card:
Dear Mom & Dad,
Today you will be seeing my report card. This report card will be my teacher's attempt to describe my actions and accomplishments at school. As you read the card, please remember that my teacher is describing someone near and dear to you, so please don't get "uptight" if you see a blemish. I hope you will accept me as I am.
Remember that all children do not learn to walk and talk at the same age, nor do they learn math or reading at the same rate. Please do not compare me to my brothers, sisters or friends because I am unique to this world. Be realistic in setting my goals. I need to taste success and I need to "smell the flowers" while I am still a child.
Please understand that my report card is a picture of me at school.
It is a whole different world from home. Can you imagine having 23 children my age at the dinner table tonight, or 200 children in our backyard playing? Don't be surprised to find that I respond in a different manner at school.
My teachers know me as I am at school. You know me as I am at home. The "real" me may be something in between. When these two images are blended with suffient understanding, acceptance and love, I hope you will see a unique individual who can make you proud and bring you much happiness.
Hi Happyteacher! We have a standards-based report card, so we don't give any overall grade at all. We give a number: 4, 3, 2, or 1 on assessments like you describe. We have to do it like this for the school district, so I'm certainly not arguing for it. Before, we did give an overall grade in language arts and math, and that had its pros and cons too.
My problem with grades in first grade has to do with my teaching style. I don't have anything to which I can assign a number. My kids do reader's and writer's workshop for all of lanugage arts. I don't find it developmentally appropriate to attach a number grade to these developmental behaviors. I think that at some point, children should be expected to master certain skills as certain times. BUT-- in first grade, I feel that it's unfair to give a low grade (which kids already understand the meaning and value of) to a reader who just plain isn't ready. Every single year, I have children who bloom in March, and then they are totally fine. Our educational system sometimes makes it seem as though every child will have "all systems go" to read in November or December, and that just isn't the case.
So basically, I don't give my kids grades because I don't feel I can compare them-- I don't view my kids who are coming along more slowly as "failing" and often, I don't even see them as "struggling". In the same way, I don't see my kids who come in as readers as "gifted" or "advanced". They have had different experiences-- they often just happen to be farther along on the road to reading. I tell my parents that like a flower, kids bloom at different times.
Therefore, I use that analogy to make a rubric (blooming, about to burst, growing, sprouting, spreading roots) on which I highlight indicators to let the parents see a picture of their child as a reader. I've attached it.
I agree with you totally BookMuncher. We have to give "grades" to our students on their report cards...even for language arts. The language arts grade is separate from the reading and vocabulary grades and it is so confusing for the parents. I have to make time to give specific tests or written work so I can get these grades down. It is so far removed from the way I teach. I love your rubric. I wish we could redesign our report cards especially for the first graders.
We not only have to give grades, we have to give it a number grade based on 100 point scale. 90-100 is an A, 89-80 is a B, 79-75 is a C, 74-79 is a D and anything lower is an F. Handwriting, Science and Social Studies receive an S or N. We are not given a choice about report cards. I spent the better part of the last 2 days struggling to enter grades into the district's computer program. If your district is considering a program called CHANCERY, protest long and loudly.
Actually, my district is somewhere between yours, lil annie and shelley81. We give grades, BUT we don't have to show how we came to it. As of now they are giving us the benefit of the doubt-- i know it will never stay that way. So, I use the rubric to give the entire grade. I also have one for math.