How Would You Grade This?

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by KinderCowgirl, Mar 29, 2014.

  1. KinderCowgirl

    KinderCowgirl Phenom

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    So we did Flat Stanley projects with our grade level. The assignment was given out over 6 weeks ago and we had our Spring Break within that time so they could work on it then as well. They were supposed to decorate their template, send it to someone in another city, state or country. They were told we were going to measure to see who got the farthest away and the goal was to learn about some different communities around the world. I also told them that I have relatives in New York, Seattle, Boston, even Israel who love doing stuff like that for me if they needed me to send it out, give them the pics back and then they could do the research/project part.

    I was so disappointed in what was turned in. 4 kids didn't do it at all-one parent said they didn't know anything about it (reminders have been on every weekly newsletter and on the class website since the assignment went out). The other 3 just said their parents wouldn't let them do it-none of those parents have spoken to me. 6 kids did the city we live in. One turned in a booklet that she drew of herself at the park. The rest were very interesting and about all different places from the Vietnam to Florida to the Grand Canyon-I don't think it would be fair to minimize their efforts. So my question is....how would you grade the 11 that were not completed correctly? :(

    Projects are a tradition at our school. There are certain ones certain grade levels do every year. I want to make sure that the families realize it did not meet expectations because they will have to do future projects, but I don't know how to tactfully do that. And I especially don't know how to handle the ones who didn't turn it in at all, because that's honestly never happened to me before. It's not like they can start it now and turn it in next week, that it would just be late. But I can't just give them a zero either-it would destroy their Social Studies averages.
     
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  3. jteachette

    jteachette Comrade

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    Are you using a rubric to score the project? I assume that you did some work in class. Score them only on what they did at school, or if it was nothing, the lowest grade on the rubric.
    I would check with those other parents who you haven't heard from. Johnny's project could be sitting in a "safe " place in the house so it didn't get ruined, and they forgot to send it.
     
  4. teach1

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    What did the students in the other kindergarten classes turn in?
     
  5. KinderCowgirl

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    Yes I'm using a rubric. But there's nothing on it that takes into consideration where it was sent. I assumed they would all send it somewhere else, not just take pictures in their backyard or at Chuck E. Cheese-like I said that's never happened before. It would be like if you asked the kids to research one of the 50 states and they did a perfectly well put-together presentation, but it was for China-how would you take that into consideration when grading.

    If they didn't do any of the rubric requirements then they would receive zero points. But I can't do that for an official grade. I haven't talked to the other classes yet.
     
  6. Upsadaisy

    Upsadaisy Moderator

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    I would make a bulletin board comprised of all the acceptable projects and make a big deal of it. Invite all the parents to come see it. If you have a school newspaper, write about it there. Do the same in your notes home. Grading - just give 'extra credit' to the kids who did it (do you have such a thing in K?) I know of a few teachers who had such response to the Flat Stanley project. It is disappointing, but I think its completion does depend somewhat on parent involvement.
     
  7. kcjo13

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    Doesn't it seem like you are really grading the parents for what they did? And is that fair to the students?

    At least the little girl who drew herself at the park actually did it herself.
     
  8. otterpop

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    For the kids who spent time on it but stayed local... Is there any chance they don't have anyone further away to send it to?

    For the kids who did nothing, can you let the parents know that it was required, and then send home a make up assignment to complete? Maybe they could make a collage about a trip they took or somewhere they would like to go?

    I don't know about your location, but at the low income schools I've been in, these would be about the results I'd expect. That doesn't make it okay, of course. It sounds like a really fascinating project. I'm sorry it didn't work out like you'd hoped.
     
  9. kpa1b2

    kpa1b2 Aficionado

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    I've had kids not do projects before, even when I told them that it would be part of a grade. I had a parent tell me, that they just didn't want to do it.

    It's so frustrating. We do these projects & the parents refuse to help. we do projects throughout the entire school. When I was in the classroom I think we had to enter a grade of 50%. I always marked it as a missing assignment. On the report card I would comment about the missing project.
     
  10. KinderCowgirl

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    Yes and no. The students who did it actually did their boards themselves. They presented what they had learned from the people they sent it to. All the parents really had to do was mail it somewhere and then give the pictures to the kids when they come back. I don't generally like sending projects home to do, but I think this one is very worthwhile for them. We looked at pictures of places where there is snow right now, they are learning the names of other states/countries. And honestly, usually parents really get into it-I've seen FB posts asking people to help them out so it can go someplace cool.
     
  11. KinderCowgirl

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    But my problem with that is I told them that I could find someone to send it to if that was an issue. Our P even said he'd take it one to San Fransisco with him over Spring Break for us. There were other options.

    I should also mention that this is the GT class at a magnet school. And like I said before projects are a big tradition at our school-they are told up front that it's a requirement. Many parents actually send their kids to our school because they know leaving us our kids will know how to do research projects for middle school. We are trying to lay the foundation for that.
     
  12. KinderCowgirl

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    I like this idea a lot. I do think the ones who did it correctly need to be recognized in some way.
     
  13. JustMe

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    First I should say that I love the project and acknowledge your school is a magnet program and that parents should be familiar with certain expectations of them. But... I just don't think it's appropriate to assign grades for something these five and six year olds had to do at home and most importantly had to depend on their parents for considering the scope of the assignment. I would absolutely make a big deal out of the cool projects submitted both in the classroom and in communications with families. If your school has a FB, that's sadly probably a better way to ensure those parents see whatever you share about the project.
     
  14. a2z

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    Flat Stanley requires people other than the family to do the child's project. I've never been a fan of mandatory Flat Stanley projects.

    To the OP, I give kudos to the child that did her own Flat Stanley adventure!
     
  15. kpa1b2

    kpa1b2 Aficionado

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    In this case, the OP offered to help with that portion of the project.
     
  16. a2z

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    That doesn't change my opinion about Flat Stanley projects. It still puts the child/family in a position to set them apart from the expectation of the project which is the child sends Flat Stanley to someone they know. That is why I don't like when it is mandatory.
     
  17. Upsadaisy

    Upsadaisy Moderator

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    As with any project, some teachers will consider them worthwhile and others won't. This poster obviously thought the students would benefit.
     
  18. a2z

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    You give the 11 a template and have them decorate it because that is the only part they could have been at all responsible for especially if they were to decorate Stanley in the classroom before taking the packet home. Otherwise you are punishing per grading the work or lack thereof of the parent. At this point the only work the child could at all be responsible for is decorating the template.

    Have them pick a Stanley for the rest of the project.
     
  19. KinderCowgirl

    KinderCowgirl Phenom

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    Actually we use the IIM model for research, so they know how to do basic research and were also responsible for researching the place where they went. They also created a posterboard (which was given to them by me) showing the adventures of their cutout. Some made little suitcases with different changes of clothes-the kids who did it really had fun with it. And just FYI-these are 1st Graders so they are perfectly capable of writing on a posterboard.
     
  20. 2ndTimeAround

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    I agree with others - this is a parent project, not a student one. Even if you offered up your own contacts, that's expecting a five year old to know that mom and dad won't be able to come through for them.

    Maybe offer up an alternate project that the kids can do 100% on their own. Those that completed their flat Stanley don't have to do it. Our, have the four that did it give a presentation and see what the others learn from THEM. If the true goal is to learn about other places either of these options should work.
     
  21. KinderCowgirl

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    If I was asking whether or not to do that project that opinion would be very helpful. However, that's not my question. My question is how to handle grading a project when the results are not what is expected.
     
  22. a2z

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    I did give you a suggestion for the 11 based off of what you said in your OP which didn't contain an explanation of the students having to do poster boards, etc.

    Well, I guess since there was all of this other work, you could just give them a 20 since you can't give them a zero. Or you can give them a city and state to research.
     
  23. gr3teacher

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    To me, it seems like you've given every possible opportunity for students to do the project. I'd alert parents to the fact that the assignment was not done (and remind them of all you did to let them and the children know about the assignment), and grade accordingly.
     
  24. Bunnie

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    I agree with this. There's no need for extra credit. Don't feel bad giving zeros. They didn't do the work!

    Next time have your rubric reflect every possible outcome with the distance thing so you can grade that accordingly too.
     
  25. Bunnie

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    A also wanted to add that I had done a project last year based on a school trip where the students needed their parents help and having access to photos and a computer. I made CD copies of the photos I took on the school trip that the students could use if they didn't have access to a camera the day we went. I outlined everything they needed to do, modeled extensively for the students in school. Parents even had the option to use the computer lab with their child if they didn't have a computer at home.

    All my students got it done. I like you sent home many reminders. I always made it a point to mention if the project wasn't done they would get a zero and it would affect their grades severely. This was 2nd grade.

    Don't cut the parents slack especially the ones who blatantly said they didn't do it. You teach in a school where projects like this are mandatory, and so are the zeros for not handing it in. I would check in with your admin as well so see how they feel about the turnout and what they suggest.
     
  26. KinderCowgirl

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    Oh yes! I definitely will. I have never had this happen before and we do this project every year. I was happy with the ones that even went places that were only one hour away, at least we could compare some facts.
     
  27. JustMe

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    I've chimed in once already, but I want to add that the only appropriate response in terms of accountability in this case is some sort of strike against parents. If they signed up for this school, then maybe if they fail to participate accordingly three times then they're out. And I'm serious. It was absolutely the parents' fault for not getting this completed at all and a five year old should not suffer the consequences.
     
  28. gr3teacher

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    At least one child did the project completely on their own, and the teacher provided a "parent-free" option to complete the assignment.

    The one thing I'll say is that this shows why scaffolding big projects with the little ones is so important. Next year, if you give a six week project, you should plan on meeting with the kiddos weekly for a project check-in. We're doing a big biography project right now that is due on April 9... I've met with all of my kids a couple times to find out where they are, and the kids that aren't on pace to complete it, I've done my best to find a way to make it doable. If any of them don't come in with the project done on April 9, I feel confident that they and they alone have the blame coming to them.
     
  29. JustMe

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    That one child didn't do it correctly, right? (Although I'm impressed!) The big issue is that they're five and six. So while it was truly great she told the children she had friends outside of the state, I think kindergarten is far too young to accept the responsibility of this project alone. Even if a child did ask for the teacher to mail his or her Flat Stanley to one of her friends, the child would need help on the research and presentation of project. ETA: And several parents told their children they couldn't do it, and I believe that's entirely possible.
     
  30. KinderCowgirl

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    Even though I wish this thread would have just stuck to how to do the grades and not how inappropriate of a choice the project was (like I said it's a 1st Grade tradition and we're certainly not the only school that does this unit)--- I will ask the question: so should we do no take-home projects in the early elementary grades? If yes, then my question is, when do they learn how to do it? Because if they have a science fair and history fair project starting in 3rd Grade that's half of their grade for one semester-should that be their first exposure in turning in a project? Or should we introduce it slowly with "fun" projects in the early grades so they get the hang of what is expected? I don't think that would be fair to the families who enjoy working together and sharing that learning experience.

    There were teachers who had them decorate pumpkins like a literary character for Halloween. They created their own fairy tale houses, replicas of Columbus' boat using various materials, family trees. None of those things a child can do on their own, and in many circumstances would have to rely on a parent to at the very least provide them with the materials-but that's the expectation. The students were all so excited and proud to do it I'd hate to think of taking that away from them because some parents cannot be relied on to help them at home.
     
  31. gr3teacher

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    As far as I'm concerned, a 6 or 7 year old should be perfectly capable of coming to you and saying "I sent this out three weeks ago and haven't gotten it back" or "mommy and daddy say I can't send it to anyone" or "I don't know who to send it from."

    Like I said, the only thing I would change is to have more regular dialog with the kiddos... that way, you wouldn't be broadsided when a child just brought in nothing. Maybe you could even have several benchmark deadlines (bring in the name where you sent it by this date, bring in the location you'll research by this date, etc). That way you'd know early on if mom and dad weren't doing anything to help, and you could step in as appropriate.
     
  32. Kaley12

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    For the students who didn't do the projects at all, I would contact the parents and explain how a zero for this assignment will greatly effect their grade. Could you then offer an alternate project, where they would still be learning about the same material, just in a different way?

    For example, have those students chose a city (or country) and research it. Instead of creating a poster board with pictures Flat Stanley visited, they could print appropriate pictures they found online and discuss it. This way, they are still showing that they have learned about a new place (if I understood correctly, that's the intention of the Flat Stanley project, right?)

    It's a shame those students didn't do the project, because it seems like a really fun way to learn about new places. But as it's been mentioned many times, it unfortunately falls on the parents at this young of an age. I think Flat Stanley would be an amazing assignment for students a bit older, who not only wouldn't have to rely so heavily on their parents to complete it, but would be old enough to take the responsibility to seek out the teacher if they were having problems (ie. no one to send it to).

    I guess it comes down to the school climate. Some schools have very involved parents, so something like this would work well with grade 1's.
     
  33. agdamity

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    Does your rubric say it has to be sent out of state? If not, I would grade the in-state ones the same way you grade the others. I would then be sure to add that it must be sent out of state onto the rubric for next year. Writing rubrics is tricky. It is not uncommon for me to have a student do something that doesn't fit anywhere on the rubric I created for a project!

    If your rubric specifies it must be out of state, I think I would still grade it on the work done then deduct some points for not following directions. Perhaps enough to drop it a letter grade? They are first graders, so I'm not sure how much experience they have with long term projects.
     
  34. JustMe

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    Kinder, I like the project. I would have loved that as a child. I guess I have issues with traditional grades in general especially at such a young age, so I don't think I can be much help.

    But I do hope you make over all the completed projects! ;)
     
  35. kcjo13

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    I really apologize if I was one who offended. I really do. I just don feel I can give an honest and easy answer of how to grade it if I don't feel like it's fair to the students. It is very very possible I am just not comprehending your rubric and overall project though, so please excuse me.

    I know when my daughter was in third grade, we had a huge project to do. I say we because there is no way my daughter could have done it on her own. Well, at least not to get a good grade on it. I know because when it came time to present them, it was very very clear whose parents helped and whose didn't. The teacher did not have any benchmark deadlines. It was due right after Christmas break. We spent our entire break working on that project. And yes, if she hasn't had me to help she would have gotten maybe a 50% on it. So for me as a parent, I was willing to do what had to be done to get her the grade. But others obviously don't, and never will, give a hoot.

    Was it fair that my daughter got a 100% and the girl next to her that scrounged together a paper and printed some pics from the internet, but had no one to help her collect artifacts, bake food, take pictures, etc-got a failing grade? No way. Sorry, can't convince me it was or ever will be.
     
  36. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    That breaks my heart. :(
     
  37. KinderCowgirl

    KinderCowgirl Phenom

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    kcjo-I'm really not offended. I just can't change the fact that we were required to do it. People telling me that it was an unfair assignment just isn't helpful. I can change the response to the grading issue that I ran into and thought this has probably happened to other people before (and people here commented that it had) and I wondered if they figured out a good way to handle it. But thank you! :)
     
  38. kcjo13

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    Well thank you. I know you'll figure out what to do. Hopefully you have food for thought to take to your team!
     
  39. bandnerdtx

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    I think Kayley's suggestions are really good! I would call the parents and explain just what a zero will do, and then give some alternative assignment with another pretty clear rubric.

    My daughter's school did this project too in the first grade. I think it's a great idea, and like you said, you have to start preparing them slowly for more rigorous projects down the line...
     
  40. a2z

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    There is a big span between no take-home projects and:
    - take home projects that are never seen again before the due date
    - take home projects that are above the independent ability level of the student and require parental involvement greater than supplying materials.

    I don't believe anyone here said don't have students learn how to do projects, but the other extremes which FS is the first and examples you used that other teachers do is the second doesn't teach how to do projects. It assigns projects and hopes the parents can teach their kids in a way that is acceptable to the teacher.

    I looked up the IIM model and think it is great. Two things stand out to me about the model. It is supervised by the teacher and expectations are supposed to be individualized to independent student ability. The extremes I listed above violate the IIM model general information provided on their site in one way or another.

    If you really want to prepare kids for future projects, the projects need to be something that can be done independently and supervised by the teacher to help the student perfect how to apply the method. That takes repetition and guidance of the trained teacher.

    By offloading projects to the family, students are at the mercy of the family's ability. Parents that don't have great planning skills themselves don't teach their child how to plan and break projects down and apply that breakdown to projects because they don't have that skill themselves. So, many of those projects that come in could be last minute procrastination with parents doing a lot of it. That teaches bad habits.

    So, my question to you is, whose job is it to teach students to know how to do a project AND apply those skills to projects?
     
  41. KinderCowgirl

    KinderCowgirl Phenom

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    Well, we are going to have to agree to disagree. If they could do it completely independently then we could just do it in class. The whole point of projects like Flat Stanley is getting parents involved. This was the only project this year that we did on our grade level and I honestly don't think it was that much to ask. Like I said many families had fun with it.

    Just FYI-at the early childhood level IIM is not expecting them to do everything independently. As a matter of fact, we do many of the activities whole group and it is scaffolded so they will learn the steps.
     

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