I would like to provide some commentary on grading for the third quarter.
A grade has only recently appeared for most 7th graders due to the fact that we have been working for several weeks on building an infographic. We are doing this using PowerPoint and there are several phases to the project. Students were expected to complete the first four slides of information, based on a required list of data compiled by Miss Smith relating to the study of African countries. I created my own project for an assigned country to model the process and give visuals to supplement the written directions. Students were to email me the PPT file as an attachment to demonstrate completion of the first four slides. Some were hastily emailed with many of the requirements missing, some were done well, and some were very late with still many requirements missing.
One very big problem that many of our students face is time management, which is definitely a learned skill. There is not much time to spare for walks to the bathroom and getting a drink, or dawdling with getting something just right when that something is not even one of the required elements for the project. We barely have 40 minutes in the lab after transitioning from one location to another. Another source of lost time is not paying attention to directions, which are posted in a step by step format online and also reviewed orally on the Smart board. Yet some students think they can barrel on without paying attention to directions and just guessing or trying to figure out what comes next, only to find out they have wasted time doing the wrong thing.
I have spent a great deal of time going over each element of the first four slides that were submitted by each student, offering corrections or just advice on improving even though no points may have been deducted. It is, after all, a learning experience and I am the guide on the journey. For any number of reasons, some scores on the first four slides were very low, and students today were asked to review the many comments I made on their efforts. They were then offered this option, as hair-raising and draining an experience as it likely will be for me:
1. Required: Submit the entire set of slides including the last three for the project no later than Friday, March 28 (the due date for the first four was Feb. 28, an entire month ago.) The score for the last three slides will be the second graded assignment of the quarter.
2. Optional: In the same email also attach the Word document found in the network folder that contained the first score and my comments, and in the body of the email request that I re-score the first part. (These directions were written step by step on the Smart board and reviewed orally.) This must be done no later than Friday, March 28, as that is the last day of the quarter.
I said today that many students have an S "on loan" as their current score is not really equivalent to an S but I am loaning it to them with the hope that improvements will be made. Already in checking email, I have found several students who have submitted the request to please re-score, but did not attach the score sheet, or others who have attached the document but no message in the email body. -Sigh-
There will be open lab during Thursday and Friday recess. After these two sections are completed we will take a break from the infographics and do some work on website evaluation and Internet safety topics. Then finally the infographics will be published. The whole focus of this assignment was to use technology and design skills to put together a snapshot of an African nation and how that nation may or may not be progressing with the Millennium Goals. There are citizens of some of those nations who have visited our class blog in the past. We want to be mindful of presenting factual information to the best of our ability and demonstrate respect for cultures that may be different from our own even as we seek to know more about them.