Grading rubrics can be of great benefit to both you and your students. For you, a rubric saves time and decreases subjectivity. Specific criteria are explicitly stated, facilitating the grading process and increasing your objectivity. For students, the use of grading rubrics helps them to meet or exceed expectations, to view the grading process as being fair, and to set goals for future learning.
In order to help your students meet or exceed expectations of the assignment, be sure to discuss the rubric with your students when you assign an essay. It is helpful to show them examples of written pieces that meet and do not meet the expectations. As an added benefit, because the criteria are explicitly stated, the use of the rubric decreases the likelihood that students will argue about the grade they receive. The explicitness of the expectations helps students know exactly why they lost points on the assignment and aids them in setting goals for future improvement.
- Routinely have students score peers essays using the rubric as the assessment tool. This increases their level of awareness of the traits that distinguish successful essays from those that fail to meet the criteria. Have peer editors use the Reviewers Comments section to add any praise, constructive criticism, or questions.
- Alter some expectations or add additional traits on the rubric as needed. Students needs may necessitate making more rigorous criteria for advanced learners or less stringent guidelines for younger or special needs students. Furthermore, the content area for which the essay is written may require some alterations to the rubric. In social studies, for example, an essay about geographical landforms and their effect on the culture of a region might necessitate additional criteria about the use of specific terminology.
- After you and your students have used the rubric, have them work in groups to make suggested alterations to the rubric to more precisely match their needs or the parameters of a particular writing assignment.
Get acquainted with students and introduce the 5-paragraph essay structure. If used at the start of the year, it provides an early assessment of skills. An easy topic for an essay any time and can be used for preparation for standardized writing tests.
* prewriting outline matched to the essay content
*sample essay with margin labels of the parts of the prewrite
*6-trait rubric for student use and teacher evaluation
*two peer forms--one for peer editing and one for general feedback. Provides options for students to get to know each other
The sample essay features margin annotations labeling the parts of the essay, clearly showing how they correspond to the outline. Teacher suggestions for use are also included. The guidance provided by the outline and sample, plus an easy topic (themselves) encourages student success. Covers family, school, and extra-curricular interests. A great activity to use as a natural follow-up for interest surveys which are popular handouts during the first week of school; students can use the information in the essay. You will enjoy quickly getting to know your students as unique individuals!
This fun questionnaire or I Am Poem would be a fun springboard into this essay to get students thinking creatively!
All About Me Fun Questionnaires
Two I Am Poems: First Week & End of School
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Fun All About Me 'Campaign' Poster
Get Acquainted Poster for Great Bulletin Board
Get to Know You Partner Acrostic Activity
Back to School Teacher Tool Kit 6-12
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