30 November 2015

Portfolio Grading Tips for Future Me


It's 11:00 PM the night before grades are due, and you only have 55 e-portfolio pledges for review left on ForAllRubrics...not to mention a few late essays from SAT Prep.

Life doesn't have to be this way, amiga!

Set yourself up for success.

OK, you know now that you can get through about 20 portfolio pages in an hour. So what if you just set aside 2.5 hours on the day you collect a set--or let's say 1 hour that evening plus 1 hour the next day, plus maybe another half hour one morning to wrap up the mixed-in upper levels in the class.

Better still, add yourself in an extra half hour for each. You know you'll need to let your brain resolidify, perhaps with a little responsive lesson planning or reflective blogging...like right now...

It's just like exercise, really.
I mean, one hour! You can do that, right? Even if you have to do half of it during planning and just set aside half at home? I think that'll work a lot better than all of the broken self promises of "Just 5 portfolios...or maybe 3. One, just one! OK, tomorrow."

I mean, if there is time set aside, you'll have to do it, right? Like working out...when there's not a random meeting or practice or family event? I mean, you do that now at least once a week. Most weeks...

And let's make it even easier. You know it's a pain getting out headphones or finding a quiet place to grade portfolios, and you'd rather just flip through the VoiceThreads without extra entanglements, SO you assign the writing portfolios first. The young ones seem to mostly have decided to go the written comment route on reading, too, so maybe they could be second. And really? MOST of the listening you've already heard, so you could probably just dig out the earbuds in emergencies.

That way on the night before grades are due, you'll only have the speaking portfolios left and no more excuses not to plug in ye olde auditory devices.

Make your job easier where you can.

I'm partial to Raphael, but the kids love
Michaelangelo.
By the way, the sticker thing is working out really well to make sure kids are pledging the right levels, and I think the well-placed Ninja Turtles ended up actually being even better than hand-crafted (or inkjet printed) specialized proficiency stickers. Still, almost no one is spacing out on which level to pledge this way. The spreadsheet with the IPA and portfolio scores all together--with color codes for badges earned--is super handy for double checking to make sure they're pledging at the right level, too. Good work on that one!

And though the step down for speaking--Novice Low as the starting point instead of Novice Mid--does still throw a few kiddos for a loop, do I think North  Carolina's right about that particular skill being a step behind, based on the evidence I've seen.
This is gonna take a while.

Just be sure you get some more cool stickers--the smiley faces were less thrilling, and I think those kids felt ripped off. Cat stickers might work.

Also, the VoiceThread format is working beautifully--no more "Request Access" issues at midnight! Although it would be worth splashing a few of the more elegantly executed title pages and commenting examples on the SMARTboard for kiddos to see what looks best. Scrolling down a lengthy VoiceThread comment is no mean feat, and would be a lot smoother if each comment went Spanish sentence--English interpretation--as opposed to a numbered list through 14 in each language.

Set them up for success.

I get the feeling that my young ones aren't looking at the actual objectives they're supposed to be exemplifying. It's hard to get through all 10 steps for portfolio success in one day, especially if you have to work in creating a few more samples. The Nearpod rubric review does seem to help draw attention to the problem areas, but that means the other areas get glossed over the next go-round.

I think it's been well worth it--for progress and equity's sake--to require EVERYONE to submit 3-4 new samples each time. I like how it shows growth and makes sure that everyone is being held to comparable yet personally appropriate expectations. (Fewer complaints of, "So-and-so messes up on purpose to not have to redo much the next time.) HOWEVER, I cannot afford 20 minutes of rubric and past evidence checking every time.

So let's focus more on Step 7, reviewing the recommended samples and tagging them with aligned objectives. Sending out the Nearpod tasks as "homework" instead of a live session might work better to get everyone through the steps they need in a timely fashion.


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