Saturday, September 7, 2013

Stock Up on Paperclips!

If you're anything like me, you hate passing back papers and assignments once they have been graded. It takes forever, students must be left to their own devices on independent assignments (just something else that needs to be graded), and there are always those students, who know they didn't do the work, asking why they got such and such a grade on the assignment. In fact, you might even put off this task until the stack of paper is so high that it takes an entire class period to complete.

Well, after a couple months of doing it this way, I had enough. It actually completely stressed me out. I hated those days and my students weren't getting feedback in a timely manner. How are they supposed to improve when they don't know specifically how they're doing?

After a little brainstorming, I started this process:

  1. Create a student packet for all the assignments from the previous week.
  2. Paperclip the papers together.
  3. Go around the room once (which isn't a big deal because I'm constantly moving anyway).
  4. Once all packets are distributed, make a second lap to answer any questions students might have.

I typically do this on Article of the Week days, when students are annotating or working in partners. I don't have to plan anything differently than I already do AND it keeps up a routine that they're used to, so I don't have to constantly redirect of repeat instructions.

These are the results:

  • Students go through the packet, piece by piece.
  • When I go around the room a second time, they have all their questions organized, so I'm not running around.
  • Those students whose confidence plummeted at the sight of a  not-so-good mark can build back up with a good grade/comment on something else. I don't have to deal with bruised egos as much and I can focus on actual productive questions that will help my students in the long run.

I was concerned at the beginning that sorting the papers and creating these packets was going to take way too much time. However, I've found that in less than a plan period, I can get all 5 of my classes sorted, clipped, and ready for distribution. I typically do this the day before, so I can just grab a stack and go!

Extra Perk: I'm forced with this routine to keep up with my grading, so it doesn't stack up and stress me out when final grades are due!

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