Tag Archives: language arts

Grading Writing Papers or Will They Even Read Our Comments?

writing-document

We do a lot of writing in my classes. At this level, we are hammering how to organize their essays: topic sentence, detail sentences (or paragraphs) and conclusion sentences (or paragraphs).

 

It’s not enough to TELL them that they must do those things, you must show that their grade is related to whether or not they have met those goals.

 

Here’s the rub: it’s hardly worth my time to seriously mark up the final version. If they haven’t followed the lesson, haven’t taken my “walking around the room” advice, haven’t followed the mark-ups on the edited version, why spend the time to rehash?  They just aren’t going to do it!

 

I have to agree with the following from the Prone to Laughter blog :”A current grading technique (and I don’t know why it took me years to come up with this) is to underline everything important. The thesis, a key piece of analysis, a topic sentence that clearly states the heart of the paragraph. The advantage here is that it creates a strong impression that I’ve read and commented upon the paper, without actually requiring much effort from me. Though I don’t know why I scribble on final essays anyhow. Circling typos is also useful for this.”

 

It takes a lot of time to grade writing, but good teachers give a lot of writing work and grade it anyway! My inspiration this year has been the honors English teacher of my own children who goes above and beyond in her teaching of writing.

 

When I’m ready to give up, I think of her. I really should mention this to her, but I’ll wait until they no longer have her as a teacher so it doesn’t look like I’m brown-nosing.

 

Here’s the bottom line (putting on teacher hat for wrap-up here): before they turn in the paper, I have the student underline their topic sentence, conclusion sentence. That saves me some effort and time on my part to go hunting for these things. I can quickly scan whether they have mentioned what the body of their essay will cover.  In addition, it holds them accountable for what they were told to do.

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Filed under classroom, edit, editing, education, language arts, student, teacher, teaching, Uncategorized, writing

Free Teacher Resources and Lesson Plans from Agriculture in the Classroom

Agriculture in the Classroom is a program started by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to help students understand where their food comes from.  This is an issue near and dear to my heart. Few Americans truly understand how important and fragile our food system is.  We take it for granted.

 

But it’s not only about that—it’s MUCH more. It’s about integrating math, science, language Arts and social studies in a beautiful way.

 

You can find tons and tons of good quality k-12 lesson plans here.

 

Plus, your state agricultural extension service office has even more resources that can be purchased or rented. 

 

I was lucky to attend an all-day training session last summer that was really terrific. Many hands-on activities in all disciplines were offered.  Your state may also run these trainings for teachers.

 

I think these teacher resources are high-quality!  Let me give you one as an example that I’d like to use. 

 

It’s called “More Than One Grain of Rice: Integrating Mathematics, Geography, and (Agri)Culture” and can be used in grades 4-6.You can get the lesson plan here.

 

Among other things, students identify the major producers of grain and calculate the “Doubling of One Grain of Rice.”  What a great way to teach exponential numbers and geography! Add a little fried rice and you’ve got yourself a really cool lesson!

 

 

 

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Filed under cheap, classroom, lesson plan, teacher, teaching, Uncategorized