I am often asked the question, “Do you grade your students’ interactive notebooks?” The short answer is yes and no. Let me explain.
Before I start, I want to emphasize that I teach second grade so this is what works for me and my primary age students. An important piece of my interactive math notebooks does include the grading component. I will start off by saying that I DO NOT GRADE EVERY SINGLE PAGE! Not only is it time consuming but I also do not feel that second graders should be graded upon how they PRACTICE new concepts. If I am going to take a grade on an INB page, I am going to choose a page that I feel the students should have a good understanding of, prior to the assembly of the page. I also tell my students when I am taking a grade on their assignment.
Here is the anchor chart that I display at the beginning of the school year. I post it on my wall and we talk about each rating in detail. I have my students come up with why they think each example is a 1-star, 2-star, and 3-star assignment. When they give me their reasons, I write them on sentence strips with arrows that point to the example on the poster. This anchor chart gets displayed and referenced all year.
If a student is going to earn 3 stars on their assignment, there are 5 components that I am looking at that need to be their “2nd grade best”. You will notice that each of these components are labeled in the photo above.
1. Title of activity is at the top of the page and written with nice handwriting.
2. Date is written in the top right corner with nice handwriting.
3. All flip flaps/pieces are cut out nicely on the lines.
4. Answers are clear and thorough with multiple strategies displayed (if applicable).
5. Coloring is done neatly with more than one color (if applicable).
1. Title of activity is at the top of the page with legible handwriting.
2. Date is written in the top right corner with legible handwriting.
3. All flip flaps/pieces are cut out and glued to the notebook.
4. Answers are written with a strategy displayed (if applicable).
5. Coloring is done with more than one color (if applicable).
1. Title of activity is NOT at the top of the page.
2. Date is NOT written in the top right corner.
3. Some flip flaps/pieces are cut out and glued to the notebook.
4. Answers are basic or incorrect with NO strategies displayed.
5. No coloring or very little coloring is done and may be messy.
Just the other day I was asked this question…”Why do you only put page numbers on the right side of the notebook?” Here’s the answer. The reason that we only put page numbers on the right side is because, unless it is a double page activity, my feedback and grading gets written on the left side of the notebook.
As you can see from my examples above, I do provide feedback with the star rating. I feel it is important to be specific about what I feel the students do well and what they need to improve on. When I am providing feedback to my students, I always try to give them a compliment sandwich. The only time that I find this to be hard is when their is exactly what I am looking for. The image below gives a better visual of what I mean by the term compliment sandwich.
I feel that if our feedback to them only includes the suggestions or areas that need improvement, it becomes too negative. At the same time, you can’t only give compliments to what they do well because they will never know what they need to work on. Make sense?
One more point that I want to make about grading is that if a student receives a 1-star rating, it will always have a comment stating that they need to come and see me so we can work out the struggles. My math block of instruction time is organized so that my students can choose a math center to complete when they finish their independent assignment. My centers are independent because they are activities that reinforce the skills that have already been taught. I mention this because this is a great time for students to come and see me so we can go over an assignment or interactive math notebook page that did not go well. I do keep a record of students that I need to see so that if they “forget” to come and see me, I can call them over once they finish their independent assignment.
If you are looking for some interactive math notebooks that can get you through the entire school year, check them out HERE or follow my interactive notebooks board for ideas to use in your classroom.