One of the biggest ways I maintain my sanity and avoid teacher burnout is minimizing my grading routine. My way of simplifying and becoming a minimalist grader not only adds hours of me-time to my weeks, but adds valuable learning opportunities you may be missing out on!
I learned this method early on, and cannot go back to the old school method. Old method: Pass out papers – Students answer the questions – Students turn in their papers – Teacher grades papers – Teachers sends home graded work. This does not benefit you, and it doesn’t really benefit your students.
Ready for my simple way of simplifying?
Only grade what is truly needed for a formative or summative assessment grade. All other papers can be used as a valuable extra learning opportunity!
Here is what I do with 75% of the assignments. Instead of having students turn it in to be graded, use that assignment as a discussion piece to build understanding and correct misconceptions. This prepares students to turn in that formative assessment for a grade. Formative assessments prepare students for those summative assessments at the end of the unit.
This works both as a whole class discussion over each question and answer OR as a small group discussion. What an opportunity to have students self-assess and see their own misconceptions. What an opportunity to have students elaborate on their answers, making them better, using the ideas and discussion points of their teacher and their peers. What an opportunity for more learning than simply seeing how many questions they got correct.
For me, I plan one formative assessment per week per subject. Summative assessments are usually every 3-4 weeks depending on when units end.
Changes like this (big or small) have always been a priority for me because you cannot pour from an empty cup. Us teachers have a lot of work to do and a lot on our minds. We need and deserve to leave work on time and to have weekends to refuel.
Next Tuesday, watch for another #teacherlife 101 to help you streamline your planning and prepping. PLUS I will link to my FREE planning resources to help you gain some time and sanity back!
I hope you found this #TeacherTipTuesday helpful!
-Alicia (Elementary Ali)