I just finished grading some awesome projects for Banned Book Week. Students started by researching issues of censorship in schools. They had to form an opinion about how much control parents and community should have over school libraries and create some sort of display sharing their opinion and utilizing their research to support it. Most displays were posters, but I did get one movie and quite a few Power Points (four of which were shown on the morning announcements today).
While grading them, I saw so many opportunities for mini-lessons that could be held with students or small groups. Things like how to properly attribute a quote, how to paraphrase, how to write a clear thesis, etc. I had many students who had obviously thought about the issue, but simply hadn’t had the practice to put their thoughts into writing.
But I didn’t meet with any of them.
Projects were due two weeks before Banned Book Week, but I just got around to grading them on Monday. It isn’t a matter of procrastination, just time management. I have been working non-stop for weeks, but I haven’t been working effectively. I have a ton of excuses as to why it took me so long to grade, but the end result is I missed an opportunity to really help kids create something great. Because of me, they had to settle for just good. I have to make sure I get grades done in a timely manner.
I heard Carol Jago speak one time about the paper crunch that Language Arts teachers face. I was so eager to hear her advice. I knew there was some special secret to how to organize and manage papers that I simply hadn’t thought of. I had my pen out ready to copy down her time tested system. Her advice? Grade them now. Don’t put it off. DO IT NOW!
So I stayed at work until 7:00 last night grading. (I could have left a half hour earlier, but I had put in A Bug’s Life to amuse my girls and they wanted to see the end of it.) I dropped the girls off at children’s church tonight and sat outside and graded papers. It’s 10:30 and yes, I am grading more papers. These papers are all a lost cause when it comes to feedback, but they need to be imputed.
But we start portfolios tomorrow and I am going to make sure I can get those done AND hold writing conferences within a week’s time. Start the stopwatch….now.