Weekly Work & Automatic Grades

Anyone who’s looked at a cluttered gradebook at the end of the term knows the feeling of “gee, I guess we didn’t need to do all that.” The gradebook should contain evidence of learning to show growth, and result in a course grade. We really only need 10-15 pieces of evidence per quarter to do that. That is, 40-60 for the whole year is plenty. Here’s how to get evidence of what students have been doing, as well as a weekly score for each student with a process that’s completely managed by students themselves!

Weekly Sheet/Packet
I’ve had a lot of success with weekly sheets students would fill out each day during class. They’re basically a double-sided piece of paper students use for daily drawing, answering questions, and doing anything you might find in a notebook. In-person, this is collected and scored each week, and used as gradebook evidence to help determine how much input students receive (i.e. in my case, the whole course grade).

Now, remote learning basically messes with everything we’ve ever done, requiring tweaking to make it all work. These tweaks can be small to gigantic. Some things we can’t use at all. Other things never go away (i.e. providing input). The Weekly Sheet tweak is even better than dealing with the in-class version, although its use with management still reigns supreme. When students submit, mark in the gradebook. That’s it. Below, you’ll find two versions, each with different benefits.

Google Form
Create just one Form that students submit each week. One. If it gets out of hand, make a new one for each quarter. At the end of the week, students submit anything you expect them to. Anything. For example, I expect students to read current Latin, as well as re-read something older (i.e. new + old). I also expect them to write things down, or draw in a notebook during class. So, they tell me about what they read, and share pics from their notebook. This process is the same as if they turned in the Weekly Sheet, although more of a student-curated version I’m leaving it wide open for now, not getting too specific. However, if I’m looking for something in particular, I can just tell students in class (e.g. “When you submit pics of your classwork on Friday, make sure you include your drawings from today”). I also include an optional question inspired by John Piazza’s independent work system that asks students to share ways they’ve encountered Latin in their lives unexpectedly. The Form itself is basic, just a text box with the expectations and instructions, three short answer questions, and a file upload question.

Google Doc
Same idea, except students each have their own Doc shared with you that they update at the end of the week. If they’re also submitting other work, or filling out a survey or Form, they can include a link to this Doc at that time.

Setting up the Doc is simple. The easiest way to get someone their own copy of a shared Doc is to replace the end of the URL with “copy” where you see “edit.” Click on this template link to see how that works.

You’ll notice that I include instructions for students on how to rename, share, and keep using the template in an organized way. N.B. If assigned in Google Classroom, when you attach the Doc to the assignment, change the default setting from view only, to “make a copy,” and the document will automatically be copied to a student’s drive when they click on it. So, when using Google Classroom, you won’t need any of the the renaming and sharing instructions at the top. **Also** Each new week, just edit the same Google Classroom assignment and push back the due date. No need to create multiple assignments!

Benefits
Form vs. Doc? Read the benefits, below.

  • Documents & Editing
    The benefit of each student having their own Doc is to see the summary of all one student’s work at once. It results in as many Docs as students you have, shared with you. The benefit of the Form is making it & sending the link once, no possibility of students messing with it, and everything in one place. It results in a single Form/Sheet that you control.
  • Gradebook
    For weekly, it’s easier to see who turned in what & when with the Form. For quarterly, the Doc is a more comprehensive look at each student’s work.
  • Ease of Use
    Switching between multiple tabs, windows, and apps can get frustrating on a phone. If students are already snapping a pic, it’s much easier to do that straight from the Form (“upload” then “from device” then “take a photo”) rather than copying and pasting into a Doc, or sending the pic via email to themselves so they can put it in the Doc on the computer. Managing one’s own Doc requires more tech literacy than clicking a link and following prompts.

So, I you gotta weigh 1) how many documents you want to be working with and how you want to view them, 2) what time span and purpose you’re prioritizing, and 3) what the student experience is. Still, these are two very good solutions for getting evidence of student engagement, learning, and growth, as well as scores for gradebook.

A weekly score is all we need (vs. something from every single class), and takes a lot of pressure off coming up with random ways to see student work, while leaving it wide open for each class. For example, on a day we don’t to a Write & Discuss, we could just tell students to take a few minutes (off camera, on own) to illustrate any projected Latin. That’d go in their notebook , then that pic could be part of the week’s evidence.

Nothing more complicated than that.

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