Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Grading in a Social Tech Integrated Classroom

Have put a lot of thought into how I am going to grade students this year, and I've decided on the following.

First of all, I'm not giving any tests or quizzes.

At least none of the traditional variety.

Instead, based on a 100 point scale per quarter: 50 points will be given for daily blogging and social bookmarking, 10 points will be giving for a series of Pixton-based vocab/terminology checks, and 40 points will be earned for completing two projects of the student's design and interest.

Abuse of Twitter and our social media community ends up in minus-5 points and a referral to the dean.

And that's it.

I'm especially excited about the blogging because that was so successful last year; I am equally excited about the social bookmarking, as I think it will encourage students to explore more widely. For these two tasks, the student will earn 50 points (.5 point per blog post up to 25 points; .5 point per bookmarks up to 25 points). They must maintain a daily schedule and I'll be regularly checking to see that they are taking the task seriously and not just giving me fluff. Part of the way I plan to do this is by having them annotate their bookmarks in Diigo. That'll also give us the latitude to share and mark up each other's findings which promises to be fun.

To give a little guidance to the blog posts, each day of the week will be themed, each day corresponding to a question; so Monday is 'Who', Tues 'What', Weds 'When', Thurs 'Where', and Fri 'Why'. This will be applied to history, grammar, literature, music... whatever we happen to be talking about that week in class.

As for Pixton, I found last year that this was hands-down the most effective tool for helping students remember vocab. Basically they create, share, and remix their own Web 2.0-based comics; each comic demonstrates the vocab or terminology in narrative form.

The two quarterly projects are going to be specific and based on student interest. I'm going to let this grow organically and will get back to you all on where it leads.

I'm going to take the approach that we are all starting at the bottom of the mountain and that our blogs, bookmarks, comics, and projects are the tools we use to get to the top of the mountain. I've just finally come to the point in my teaching where I don't like the sort of attitude and classroom environment that traditional testing and grading wind up producing. So I'm trying to create an assessment experience that better reflects the social tech thrust of my teaching.

I'm very excited for our prospects this year. It'll be my first year teaching World History and I'm really looking forward to teaching three Freshman classes -- integrating social tech into their academic experience and expectations from the very start of their high school careers.


  1. Sounds great, I really like the question-themed days. Good luck and pls report back how it goes :)

  2. Love it!

    I'm thinking of grading things 2 points for doing it on time (with effort), 1 for late. Then having students reflect on the quality (maybe with general rubric) and come up with their own score.

    Still have a couple of more days to figure it out.

  3. you have truly turned lead into gold!!

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  5. Hi, I've just recently started to follow your blog. It has given me some things to "chew" on!

    I'm still a traditional test/quiz public high school math teacher. The last I checked (kids haven't started yet), my biggest class size is 40.

    However, I do like the "commenting on blogs" idea. I was thinking of maybe incorporating it as extra credit assignment - just to try it out.

    Keep posting - I'd like to know how your plan turns out.


  6. I like the Pixton idea. Could you explain a little more about how you use it?


  7. @Ray

    You'll be sure to see examples posted here on TeachPaperless throughout the academic year.



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