Thursday, August 4, 2011

Grading Science Notebooks Makes Me Wanna....

 But this year... that is NOT going to be me. (Hopefully)  I have an "idea" on what to do, and I got it at the CAMT Conference a few weeks ago.  First of all, it involves these stickers... and lots of them... but they're cheap and worth it...

  You can get them at Wal-mart or Staples.  I use them for all sorts of stuff.  Anyway... here is the idea:

1) On the first day of school (or whenever I assign notebooks), I will have students place a sticker on the  front cover of their notebook. I am going to alternate the colors so that I only repeat the color 4-5 times.  So if I have a class of 20 kids, and only 4 colors, 5 students will each have the same color.  This is important for my sanity! :)

2) I am going to tell students that I will be taking  Science notebook grades this year.  I will go over my rubric for what I am looking for in their notebooks and how I will be grading them--- which also involves these stickers.  I will pick 1-2 entries per week to grade and place a sticker on the top right hand corner of that page entry.  The stickers will mean a certain grade.
      For example :  Blue sticker = 100
                             Green sticker = 90
                             Yellow sticker = 80
                             Red sticker = 70
                             Red sticker with minus sign = 60
 I will never grade notebooks for the current week.  I will always grade last week's entries.  First I will collect the books by saying "Today I will be collecting (insert color code sticker color here) notebooks.  At the end of class, please place them here."  I will only have 5 to grade :)  (Do a little dance :)  )

When I grade, I will turn to an entry from last week that may have something special, like a graph showing an experiment, or a paragraph explaining what happened during lab, or a foldable showcasing their learning.  This will be the same on each and every student.  I will place the appropriate grade sticker in the corner for them.  

3)The next day, I will return journals first thing (since I wont hoard them for weeks on end since I only had 5 to grade) and announce the color journal I will collect at the end of the day.  This way students can have feedback for their work promptly, and I wont have to:
a) break my shoulder carrying a million journals in my bag 
b) stay up all night grading 
c) hear their constant "When am I going to get my journal back?" which is what happens when I try to grade 20 in one night.  No bueno.

The above is pretty much set in stone... that is what I am going to do.... but wait... that's not all.... (I know I write a LOT)...

Here is the little seed idea that is starting to take root in my head from CAMT-

It's a doozy and I am not really sure about it yet.......... It involves a tic tac toe board and having the stickers be removable.  
The kids remove their stickers and place them on a tic-tac-toe board that is on the inside front cover of their journal.  They want to make a tic-tac-toe with the best dots that they have. Why do they want to make a tic-tac-toe??? Great question.... but this I do not know yet, but here are my thoughts.... any suggestions are most appreciated! :)

After 9 entries have been graded, students must turn in their tic-tac-toe boards. 

1)  Whatever sticker color that made the tic-tac-toe, will go into the gradebook as a test grade... or count twice... not sure yet???  By having them turn in their boards, I can see who is doing a superb job in their journaling, and who needs some help.

2) Their tic tac toe will be worth a certain amount of bonus points on the upcoming test

3) their tic tac toe board is worth a certain prize

4) Suggestions are WELCOME :)

I am leaning towards a test grade right now, so they begin to understand how important it is to take good notes and communicate one's thinking so others can understand.

I don't think I was able to communicate clearly in this post. I want to make it fun... hence tic tac toe... but I just am not sure.   I know how to grade Math journals which I posted here.  Just unsure as to how to grade Science.  Any suggestions??? What do you think about the stickers???


  1. Love the sticker idea...I usually waited til the end to grade the entire notebook. I only take a few indiv grades from the notebook. Most of the grades come from actual assessments or projects we've done in science. I need make myself grade a little at a time so I'm not dreading report card time!!

  2. I try to do the same with my reader response notebooks - only marking 4 or 5 a night ... but I still always get behind . You could offer a "get out of handing in your science journal next time" as a reward for students who get a blue or green tic tac toe line on their board. Students love thinking they are "getting out" of something.
    Runde's Room

  3. I am doing the SAME EXACT THING this year. Grading 4 or 5 journals a day... it'll make life much, much easier. The only thing that worries me is multiple subjects. The main one I will need to check as often as possible are reading and math, though. Science is also major. I love science notebooks.

    Still, if worse comes to worse, I can have the same 5 kids with all 3 journals in one afternoon. That may not be too bad.

  4. Any tips for grading PAP bio journals...all 80 of them!!! That is probably the thing I least look forward to!

  5. Ok. a friend of mine and I have this joke right no of how prepared I am for 1st and we're like "oh gosh, watch you wind up in 5th or something!" when I do I'm coming to you for all the answers!
    Lessons Learned

  6. LOVE this idea!!! I was wondering how I am going to grade 150 ISNs in time for them to have them back ASAP!!!! Thanks!!!