Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Middle School Theatre Arts: Grading Made Easy!

I realize that my last post about Theatrefolk podcasts seems a bit rushed.  It was very rushed; I tried to blog on my conference.  HA!  I tried to be productive on my conference; imagine that.  I've decided if I'm going to write a coherent and helpful post I should wait until I'm not at school.  Also, we've started our musical (Legally Blonde, Jr.!) so I'm hoping my posts won't disappear.  No promises.

I had an interactive notebook quiz last week with all seven of my classes.  In the past, they were quizzed over their warm ups and it was a disaster.  I would ask what the entry was for four different dates and they would be writing the entire period and many failed because, let's face it, middle school students do not do warm ups.  My school loves them, and I do, too, because they help to focus the kids and give them a task to do before and after the tardy bell so I can deal with issues before we start each class.  Anyway... I don't want my kids to fail and putting so much weight on a warm up was not efficient.  Instead, I am quizzing them on their interactive notebook.  It's an open-notes quiz, and multiple choice.  Instead of writing the entire period, they fill in a bubble on an answer document.  Instead of spending too much time grading, I hold the answer document up to the camera on my laptop and it grades it for me!  How, you ask?


This little website is amazing!  First you must create an account.  I always use my school information when creating an account, that way I will always know it.

When you log in, your dashboard looks like this:

You must add all of your students.  This seems daunting, but many gradebooks have an export feature.  My district uses GradeSpeed and this link is on the left.  You must click this link for each period and section you teach.  It will automatically go to your Downloads folder.

In GradeCam, click on Classes and add a new one.  Import your students through the file you created and hit next until they are all there.  Do this for every class.  It seems tedious, but it's worth it.

Once all of your classes are made, create an assignment.  Make sure you create a key that is accurate!

To print forms for students, click on Forms.  There are different options for the choices and such.  I printed four copies, then cut and taped them to one paper and made several copies from there and use a paper cutter to cut them.  Saves paper.

When students take the quiz or assignment, they must bubble in their GradeCam ID, which is the same as the last four digits of their ID that was imported with your roster.  TIP: have them also write their name on the top.  We know them by name, not numbers.  So much easier when handing back.

Students can use pencil or pen.  When you're ready to grade, click on the assignment and correct class period, and hold the answer document up to the camera until it makes a little noise. Viola!  Graded!  When I enter them into my district gradebook, I make each browser small and put them next to each other and just enter the grades.  BAM!  They are done in a few minutes!  I cannot express how much time and paper and stress this little tool has saved me and it's only been one quiz!

For absent students, I place the class set of the questions with extra answer documents in a labeled folder in the dish rack I have next to the bookshelf.  When a student presents me with an excused slip and asks what they missed, I can easily give them the documents and they can take the quiz in the hall.  I can grade it in seconds and the grade is saved online to enter in later.

This can be used for quizzes, tests, take home assignments, etc.

We all need more time, and GradeCam gives us a bit more in our busy educator lives.


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