Teacher Hacks: How To Grade Like A BOSS!
Raise your hand if you have left school with piles and piles of paper… only to haul them back in Monday morning untouched!
This was my life every night during my first few years of teaching. You think I would have learned to stop bringing all the papers home thinking MAYBE I’d get a blast of energy and GET ? THEM ? DONE?.
NOPE. Never happened. Not even once.
SO, after 7 years of teaching, I’m going to share all my tips to make grading fast, organized, and something you don’t dread. After trying every system and cute notebook, I finally have a system for grading that I LOVE! And, I actually don’t mind grading at all anymore!
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1. WHEN YOU LESSON PLAN, PLAN YOUR GRADES!
When you sit down to plan for your upcoming unit, or the following week, make it a priority to plan out WHAT you are going to grade!
Most schools have requirements for the number of grades that must be in the grade book each week. Decide those two assignments BEFORE the week or unit starts! This makes the grading process so much easier! You know what and when you need to grade, and you are prepared!
2. DON’T TAKE GRADING HOME!
You may ask, “then when should I do it? I can’t do it while my students are in front of me!”
When you take grading home, you are blurring the line between home life and work life. You will never be able to let go of the day if you take it home with you every night. Instead, dedicate a morning or two each week for grading ONLY. I always get to work early on those mornings, shut my classroom door (love all my coworkers, but I’ve things to do!), and GRADE! I have to make sure my lessons and copies are prepared and ready for that day, because this time is ONLY for grading! It really works!
3. GRADE IN FRONT OF YOUR COMPUTER!
I know there are so many cute paper grade books, but do you realize how much EXTRA time you waste by grading, recording the grades in a notebook, and then entering them into the digital grade book?
I grade right in front of my computer and immediately type in the grade after I write it on the paper. It saves SO much time!
I also like to grade first thing in the morning when my mind is fresh! This is when I am fully awake and able to provide my students with meaningful feedback. I also make very little mistakes when I grade in the morning (you know that one kid who catches your mistakes every time? I had to step up my grading game!).
4. GRADE WITH PRETTY PENS!
Maybe I am scarred for life from my days in school, but I will never grade in red pen. I love using bright, bold and easy-to-read markers and pens! Here are my absolute FAVORITES:
ANNNNNDDDDD if you need a pouch to hold all those pretty pens, check out my favorite pouches HERE!
5. ASSIGN SELF-CHECKING ASSIGNMENTS!
This may be my favorite tip! Self-check assignments, like my multiplication self-check bundle, cut my grading time in HALF! Not only do these assignments provide students with immediate feedback (they always know if they are right or wrong!), but they are essentially grading their assignment at the same time. I create self-checking assignments as often as possible. My students love them just as much as I do!
6. CREATE AN ORGANIZED GRADING SPACE!
Organization is my jam. When it is time to grade, I don’t want to spend 20 minutes organizing papers and finding materials. Create a turn-in system (check out my favorite turn-in hack here), so work is ready to go! Check out some of my favorite items I use in my classroom to organize paper and student work!:
7. FILE, FILE, FILE! FILE YOUR GRADED WORK!
I’m not sure what’s worse- the process of grading, or the thought of passing back papers in class. After spending so much precious time handing back papers, I came out with the idea of filing. Each student has their own file folder and can pick up their graded work any time they want (I also set the expectation to pick up work before or after class so students are getting up in the middle of the lesson to check their grades). This system has been a GAME CHANGER for me!
You can even have a trustworthy student file for you! They LOVE it!
Check out my GRADED WORK station below!
What are your favorite grading hacks? COMMENT below!