26 August 2012

Google Reader Blog Grading

Google Reader is making grading blogs possible for me. Other teachers have discovered the wonder of feed readers like Google Reader before, of course, but here are some tricks I have been using with Google Reader to manage my COMPASS mini-class blogs.

When I just have a single weekly blog post to keep up with, it's been easier to just alphabetize blog links on Symbaloo and check off whether or not the posts are there each week. However, when blogs are pretty much daily, it helps to be able to see the blogs as they come in and go back and give credit as one goes. It's also nice to have the number of how many you have to go right there under "new"!
  1. Have a smartphone? Get the app. It's relatively slow-going, but I can still knock out a comment or two while on bus duty with the Google Reader app.
  2. Tag posts for organizing grades. For instance, my students must have 4 posts a week, each post on a different assigned topic--though the order during the week is up to them. If I tag each post with the week number and topic, then I can easily look up if they have met the week's requirements with a search of their name and a peek at the numbers in the tags!
  3. Tag posts for problem areas. The assigned length for posts is 300 words each, so in addition to tags for "run-ons" and "choppy," I also have "-300" so I can easily see if students are not saying enough. I find it best to add X in front of the problem area too, so these tags will appear after most of the tags with names or categories, and they'll all be together.
  4. Tag posts for what they do well, too. If the post shows how a piece should be organized or a good way to get the reader's attention, tag with an * in front of them, like "* organization" instead of "X organization."
  5. Star items that you want to use as examples for class. If someone wrote something that you want to show the class as a model of what TO do, star them, and you will have a stash that you can easily pull up! (Consider also labeling them with tags of what they are a good example of like "voice" or "organization".)
  6. Tagging can also be useful as an indication of whether or not you have commented yet. If you simply hold off on tagging until the comment is sent, then you can easily find where you left off, even if the Reader thinks you have read the post because you scrolled past it one time.

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