Skip to main content


Showing posts from May, 2009

Grades - Sigh!

I was asked to explain my grading system for my notebooks and I hate to say that I have not really perfected that one yet.

When I was teaching sixth grade to over 80 students last year the grading was OVERWHELMING. I would stay late on Friday (seriously I couldn't have found a better day?) to grade students work for the week. It would turn into a grading party with some of the the other teachers in my POD doing the same thing. My team leader seemed to have a much better way of handling grading. I've asked her to explain it in her blog (link to the right under blogs I am following - Social Studies).

Here is what I do now. Normally the notebooks are weighted at about 30% of the students grade (here is my plug for a free online grading book that I love. You can access it from home, run off reports, and give parents access to it). I walk around the classroom during the independent part of the lesson and give students grades on a clipboard spread sheet I have going. Now I only have …

Right Hand Assignments - Ideas from Unusual Places

I attended an excellent workshop on 6+1 writing traits and during it the instructor (Ruth Culham) introduced writing RAFTS.

Here is a good online definition of what RAFTS are:

R.A.F.T.S. are writing prompts that challenge students to assume a Role before writing, to write for an imaginary Audience, to write using a given Format, to write about a certain Topic, and to write with a certain Strong Verb in mind as he/she writes.

As I was looking through the book the instructor had for RAFTS in the content area (see book above which can be purchased through Scholastic) I was taken by the list of formats at the end of the book. While I am sure I should have been playing closer attention to the speaker (who really was excellent) I kept thinking how these formats can be used as right hand assignments for notebooks (from a ships log to a licence plate). Even the RAFT suggestions were great for science and could easily be used as a right hand assignment (great for getting those writing standards…

End of Year - ABC Books

I wrote in an earlier post about ABC books being a great way to review for a test or end a unit, in my case a year, in the notebook. Pictured above you will find three ways where an ABC book can be used. The first is an example from one of my students notebook, the second is the same concept but adapted for a three ring science binder, the last one is also adapted to a three ring binder but is for social studies (all of these are fourth grade examples). In all three examples we are using the same grading rubric - each block (or letter) is worth five points - three points for your three facts , one point for your picture, and one for color. Another friend of mine is doing this project with her fifth graders but decided to make the project longer then ours is currently running. In each of the examples above we gave students the term that went with the letter of the alphabet. She had her children find terms that matched the letter - after she approved the final list the students got star…

Notebooking in Three Ring Binders

We have two teams of fourth grade teachers in our school. The other science teacher on the team wanted to try the notebooking concept in her three ring binders for the remainder of the year, as opposed to starting a new composition book with her students late in the year. I shared what I was doing and simply modified the handouts and assignments for her three ring binder. It worked out well, however she still had the same problems that exist with the three ring binders that make them unattractive for me, pages getting torn out and lost. On the plus side though students had a lot more room to write/draw. The pictures above are some of the pages her students did modifying the notebooking concept for a three ring binder.