Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Choosing What Matters--

When I grade papers, I always like to grade kids on an easy rubric for them to understand.  I use something from the 6 + Traits of Writing.  I like the well-rounded way of grading - and it's easy to use.  As a student, I always like to know how teachers grade - what they expect from me.  As a teacher, I've always tried to incorporate this into my grading - I want students to write and write well - but I want them to know that their ideas are important to me.  If they get a C-, it isn't because I don't think they're smart.  It's because they don't proofread!

In case you're wondering, these are the Six Traits

Ideas, the main message;

Organization, the internal structure of the piece;

Voice, the personal tone and flavor of the author's message;

•Word Choice, the vocabulary a writer chooses to convey meaning;

Sentence Fluency, the rhythm and flow of the language;

Conventions, the mechanical correctness;

•and Presentation, how the writing actually looks on the page.

from -

Each trait is given 5 points- and description on what 5 points looks like for each trait, what 4 points look like, and so on....   Uusually, I don't have a lot of questions on why the student got a 33 out of 35.  It's pretty clear cut and non-emotional.  I want kids to see What Matters - It needs to be clear cut.  Kids can't guess. 

A lot of kids take the grades on their papers very personally.  I like to take time for them to understand that I appreciate them opening up their hearts to me.  I want them to know that I think they have amazing potential.  Some kids don't open up to me - and that's ok - but they may not have a very high mark on their "ideas or voice" - and that's ok - they can still get an A-. 

I actually miss grading papers.  I will have my Spanish students write more this fall - I can use this rubric for them.

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