Skills-Based Journaling

I’ve been thinking a lot about a blog post by @RussGoerend on skills-based journaling, trying to adapt his method to what I’m doing in the classroom. I like the idea of having guided journal topics as a method of formative assessment allowing me to see both skills my students need more help with and holes in my own instruction. I like how he set the journaling up like a blog–which is something I’d love to do with my students, but I know we (both my students and their computer-literacy skills and myself as a teacher) are not ready for quite yet.

I’m rather proud of myself right now… Russ uses Google Spreadsheets to keep his scores. Unfortunately, much of Google Docs is blocked for all of the computers in my room except my teacher station. But I did figure out how to conditionally format cells within Microsoft Excel. I use iGrade for Teachers on my iPhone to assess Bell Work assignments without picking up papers, I can use that as well for this assessment and not carry my laptop around the classroom with me. The numbers can then be transferred into my spreadsheet during my preparatory hour. I realize that it seems like an unnecessary step, but I like being able to move throughout my room without a computer. Besides, nosy students enjoy looking over my shoulder at other students’ grades.
I was thinking about how to show my students their progress reflecting about certain skills. I want to be able to project their scores onto our drop-down screen and not show student names. Simple. Format the cells with a black background and no names are visible. Because their grades posted on the bulletin board are in numerical not alphabetical order, they probably won’t make the assumption that the spreadsheet presented to them is in alphabetical order, either.
Last pre-implementation consideration: a rubric. I remember either seeing a comment the necessity of a rubric or some assessment tool that students can have before them while writing. The rubric I present to my students to keep in their binders will include hand-written examples of each level.

Your thoughts on what I should include? I’m not good at writing rubrics. The language I used to explain the scores (3–Proficient; 2–Nearing Proficiency; 1–Beginning Step) is the language that students hear for both our short cycle assessments and the New Mexico Standards-Based Assessment. In that regard, I found it appropriate.

One comment

  1. >Okay, I have looked at the rubric and followed the Scribd link, but I can't figure out if you created the rubric personally. You did, right?What specific skills will be evaluated, just for my frame of reference? How often are you aiming to grade these, like one skill a week or a day (that's A LOT of grading!)? Will you tell the students "This week I'm looking for hyperbole in your journal entries" and then their job is to try to journal about that specific skill?


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