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 44 students that I am dealing with so it is much more manageable then last year. If the assignment is heavily guided (meaning they are just copying information off the board) I will give them a done/not done check. Most students get a done check but there are several students who just won't do the work. I collect several done/not dones and give them a cumulative grade (lets say 10 total). If the work is fairly independent I can quickly scan to see if they have met the requirements and give them a check, check minus, or check plus in their book and on my spreadsheet. That gives me some "wiggle" room if needed without putting a hard and fast grade in their book. The students know the basic grade ranges for the checks. The spread sheet allows me to quickly scan down and see who I might need to focus on in class or conference with. It also ensures that I am circulating around the classroom and seeing everyone. If I don't see everyone I have them stack their books open on the desk and at the end of the day I will quickly go through them.
Is this a perfect system? Probably not... but grading is something I struggle with (mostly the time consuming aspect of it). Don't even ask me about grading 44 writing papers. I've gotten better but whew talk about some long weekends. My hats are off to all the high school English teachers out there...don't know how you do it :)