This year, I'm teaching second grade reading and writing, and our school has been focusing on having students respond to texts by answering comprehension questions in writing. The kids write in their reading journals just about every day. This is great, and I've seen their writing come a long way, but of course it creates a whole lot of writing to grade...
If you're anything like me, grading papers is not #1 on your list of things you enjoy doing on the weekend! But as much as I don't like doing it, I know it's super important to give my kids meaningful feedback. Feedback not only improves their work, but it also helps hold them accountable for their independent work time. Every week, I take an in-depth look at my kiddos' written responses at least once (I also spot check here and there as I have time). I try to grade their responses around Wednesday or Thursday, so that they can take my comments into account during the rest of the week.
When I first started grading their responses, I wrote comments on their work. And then I noticed I was writing the same comments on different kids' papers over...and over...and over. There had to be a better way, I thought. Enter: the rubric.
I use this same rubric to give my students feedback on their written responses. It focuses on just three areas: answering the question, using text evidence (details), and using capital letters and periods correctly. If a student has done well in one area, I use a green highlighter to mark it. If a student needs to focus on one area, I use an orange highlighter to note that. I feel like, in the mind of a second grader, rubrics can just look like a whole lotta words put together, so the color coded highlighting helps them better understand how they did.
When you use a rubric for grading, it's important that kids first know what the rubric means. When I introduced the rubric, I went over each part and then we actually practiced scoring a pretend paper using the rubric. I do re-teach how the rubric works from time to time, just as a refresher. When I hand back their reading journals, I point out that I have stapled the rubric on the page next to their work, and remind them to look over it before they write their next response.
If you would like to use this same rubric, click on the picture below to download for free!