Okay to grade papers while the students are working?

Discussion in 'Debate & Marathon Threads Archive' started by Jerseygirlteach, Dec 8, 2013.

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  1. FarFromHome

    FarFromHome Connoisseur

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    When I was in the regular classroom in Idaho we had a scripted curriculum with tests every Friday. The test would take students probably around 45 minutes. I would grade papers while they were working. I still kept an eye on them and got up about every 5-10 minutes to walk around and make sure they were getting their work done. But I didn't feel the need to keep walking around when they were doing an independent test. No one ever seemed to have a problem with this.
     
  2. YoungTeacherGuy

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    Oh, yes--I totally agree with this, TamiJ! :thumb:

    When I posted earlier, I was thinking of a 2nd grade classroom I entered where the teacher was sitting at her desk, the kids were doing a worksheet independently, and more than 50% of the kiddos were doing the work incorrectly. I think the teacher got the hint that she needed to get up and do something when she saw me assisting her students with their work.

    When I taught middle school, though, I only pulled students (to work in small groups) when we did lit. circles.
     
  3. FarFromHome

    FarFromHome Connoisseur

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    Anytime I happened to be sitting when an administrator entered the room, I would always get up! Even if it was an appropriate time to be sitting down.
     
  4. dgpiaffeteach

    dgpiaffeteach Aficionado

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    I absolutely do work while they're working. Some classes have three or four students in it. They certainly don't need me hovering! My AP kids get an assignment and go to town. They ask questions on occasion. I'm very free form with my seniors. I'll check in on papers and projects to make sure they're not missing anything. Otherwise, independent time is just that.
     
  5. dgpiaffeteach

    dgpiaffeteach Aficionado

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    This! One the time the super walked in during independent reading. I stood up and continued to read my book lol. I only had two kids in the room too!
     
  6. FarFromHome

    FarFromHome Connoisseur

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    Now that I'm in the music classroom, I rarely sit. It helps to be standing for classroom management and for the types of lessons I'm doing. Lately I've been trying to find ways that I could sit more often, because I'm pregnant. It's getting really hard on me to be on my feet the entire day, especially because I have after school groups and concerts where I've been at school all evening lately.
     
  7. Brendan

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    For independent or group work (aka not a test or quiz), I usually try and alternate between circulating around the room and grading student work.

    For tests/quizzes: I am either standing at my podium or circulating. I am never sitting in my chair. Occasionally, I will sit on a stool but that's it.

    As an administrator, one of my pet peeves is when teachers grade while administering a exam. There is no way that they can see if students are cheating or not if they are grading!
     
  8. MissScrimmage

    MissScrimmage Aficionado

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    I am 'with' my kids 95% of the time. This year I am blessed with a group that will work independently and sometimes I feel silly circulating. I will do a quick job - jot a note to a parent, straighten a stack of papers - and then it's right back to the kids!
     
  9. 2ndTimeAround

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    Eh, I can't keep my eye on 38 different students at one time anyhow. I sit at one of two different spots and grade or do other work during tests. I look up and out at random times. I also have variations of tests so students cannot copy from one another. They might be able to sneak in a cheat sheet or use their phones, but from my different vantage points and the fact that I don't have a pattern to my glances, it would be more work to cheat than to actually study ;)
     
  10. dgpiaffeteach

    dgpiaffeteach Aficionado

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    With my small classes (I have classes of 3, 4, and 7), I can definitely see them while grading! There's no easy way they can copy (spread out in the room). Other measures are also taken, of course. I also grade something easy like grammar so I can look up often.
     
  11. gr3teacher

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    I drill into my kids the fact that I can see everything in the room regardless of what I'm doing (they are always amazed the first time that I turn around, wait a second or two and "catch" someone behind me goofing off... it never occurs to them that I was looking there three seconds before). Third grade is the time where they are more concerned with making sure other kids aren't cheating anyway... I honestly don't think it would ever occur to most of my kids to cheat, even if they had an opportunity to do so. Factor in separating desks and putting up privacy folders... I'm not worried about typing a quick email or something while they're taking an assessment:)

    (except for a state assessment, obviously)
     
  12. lucybelle

    lucybelle Connoisseur

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    I almost always grade/get work done while kids are working independently. I also always circulate, check up on the kids, and answer all questions. But if no one needs me it doesn't make sense for me to sit around and wait for someone to need me. I get work done.
     
  13. yellowdaisies

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    This is all about the age of the students, honestly.

    I could never get TRUE work done while my kids are in the room. They are 6. This particular class can't work independently very long, especially my low little guys. I sometimes will complete a quick task - putting a stack of papers away, shooting off an e-mail - but I never have time to sit down and grade or hang anything up. Well, last week I hung up about 6 kids' projects while they were packing up to go home.

    And as for tests, every single test at this point in the year is read to them except for math facts assessments, so I can't do any other work during that time, either!

    My school is an e-mail centric school as well - I really need to check my e-mail multiple times throughout the day to keep up with what's happening that day.
     
  14. readingrules12

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    I think grading papers should be kept to a minimum while the students are in the classroom. I think grading sometimes is okay (such as when showing a 10-15 minute video), but it should not be overdone.
     
  15. live

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    I do the same thing with my 5th graders. I tell them that I see and hear everything. When I "catch" them, I'll hear their little whispers, "man, she really does see and hear everything..."

    As for grading, occasionally I want to give immediate feedback, and it's usually built into the routine. One example: after our weekly spelling pre-test, I put my stool in the center of the room and immediately grade the tests on my clipboard as the kids work on their spelling choice activities. They know how to do this independently, so they don't need me for it. Then, I call kids up as I finish their pre-tests so they can use them to guide their practice. It doesn't take more than 10-15 minutes.

    It makes sense during this time and the students benefit from it (the parents have even come to expect the pre-tests back the same day). Now, I'd probably never be able to do something like this during science or while working with students during reading. But while they're playing math games on a Friday? Oh, I'm for sure doing administrative tasks. Not for long periods of time, but if something needs to get done, it'll get done.

    It just depends...
     
  16. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    Dec 9, 2013

    I think lessons should be taught well enough to begin with that the students shouldn't need to ask a question every five seconds. The independent work is for the students to prove to themselves that they can do it, and practice it enough to solidify their skills.

    As to whether a teacher should be doing other things like grading while this occurs, I don't really know. I personally wouldn't be able to do it because I like my students to know my eyes are on them the whole time SHOULD they need my help or should they decide to try to sneak something past me (8th graders, psh).

    I do grade while students are taking an exam though. I usually use that time to look over the essay portions of the previous period and get it assessed so I don't have to bring it home and can get it scanned in hopefully by the end of the day.
     
  17. kcjo13

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    Well, this should be unpopular.

    When I was teaching, I had a 10 minute/3 tries rule. When I gave an assignment, students were to work independently for 10 minutes, or take 3 attempts at a problem, whichever came first.

    Now, before everyone freaks out, keep in mind-they had been taught coping strategies. I taught math, so most lessons were very structured. They should be able to at least get started.

    This wasn't just an arbitrary rule. If I didn't do this, I would have kids asking what page we were on .3 seconds after I said an assignment. The older they get, the more they need to be able to cope, solve problems, and THINK.

    I might have had a group I was working with now and then, but I like what someone said earlier-it's not fair for a teacher to assume low kids just automatically DON'T get it.
     
  18. TamiJ

    TamiJ Virtuoso

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    I think you are right now. My students are 6 too and all tests have to be read to them. When they first start the year, they don´t even know how to take tests (they don´t do paper and pencil tests in K). I too do quicks tasks, like check my email (we communicate through emails too), but nothing that takes more than a few seconds. This is probably why I require a two-hour nap by the end of the day! :)
     
  19. platypusok

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    I teach middle school and high school and I grade and do other stuff when they are working independently. I really don't have any problem with kids being afraid to ask questions.

    Like the poster upthread, I have a ten minute rule for a couple of my classes because they ask questions they should know or should be able to figure out on their own.
     
  20. greendream

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    I grade while my students are doing independent work and testing, mainly because I refuse to take work home with me.

    You know those "work to rule" strikes they have, where teachers come in at contract time, leave at contract time, and don't take anything home? That's me all year long.
     
  21. GoldenPoppy

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    When students are in the classroom, I expect my teachers to be engaged with them. That means circulating around the room, teaching at the board (certainly not teaching sitting at their desks), working with small groups. Prep time is for answering e-mails, grading, planning, photocopying, etc. My teachers have very generous prep periods, so it isn't an issue of time.
     
  22. gr3teacher

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    So what do you expect your teachers to do when they assign independent work? Instantly pull a couple kids without letting them try it on their own first? When they give tests, they should be meandering aimlessly for a half hour/forty-five minutes (depending on the grade level)?

    Also, I'm going to go out on a limb and guess that no matter how generous your prep periods are, every teacher in your building still takes work home, and/or works in the building outside of contract hours.

    Should teachers almost always be directly engaged with students? Absolutely. Are there deliberate times of the day, particularly with older students, where they should not be? Yes. The teacher who instantly pulls kids when they assign math independent work isn't helping the student. It's teaching the student to be dependent on the teacher. The teacher who is engaging kids during a test is almost certainly distracting those kids, unless they have a read-aloud, which is a fairly small number of students, and not all classrooms, etc.
     
  23. Go Blue!

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    I couldn't agree more. As a HS history teacher, my kids don't have a lot of questions during independent work or writing assignments and if they do, they ask. They don't need to be prompted to ask for help, although they do need to reminded to stay on task ...

    I've also found that older kids seem to take teacher hovering as a sign that I don't think they can complete things without my help. Some kids are sensitive about this and can find it insulting.
     
  24. 2ndTimeAround

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    I'll bite - how much time is generous? How many meetings are they expected to attend per week and for how long? How many duties do they have to perform and when are they expected to do those (bus duty, lunch duty, hall monitoring, etc.). How many students, on average, with IEPs do you teachers have? Is technology always working in your school? Are students assigned current textbooks for each subject? How large are the classes? How many different preps are teachers expected to teach each year? How often are teachers expected to contact parents? What does tutoring look like in your school?
     
  25. Loveslabs

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    I have the inclusion class, so my paraprofessional and I never sit unless we are sitting with a student. If I let the kids come to me when they had a question I would have a line of 26/28 standing there because getting up is contagious. It is like going to the bathroom, nobody has to go until one person brings it up.

    I am unable to get even the simplest task done during the day when the students are in the room. I do remember back in the day when I didn't have the special education kids and it was possible to at least straighten up my desk midday.

    Now, the teacher next door just hands her class a stack of worksheets to do while she shops on the internet all day. Then she moans about how low her class is and how many papers she has to grade. And,yes, I know she shops online because she told me, and I have seen her doing it when I have stopped by to give her something. :eek:hmy:
     
  26. TamiJ

    TamiJ Virtuoso

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    I suppose that could depend on how the teacher is pulling the kids. I can see your point if it´s always the same kids, everyday. However, I am a firm believer that small groups should be flexible and changing, depending on the students´ needs. For example, when I pull, I am not just pulling to help the kids with their work. I am reteaching, or I am teaching a more advanced concept that only a few students are ready for. Personally I feel this allows me to reach more kids and touch on what they need, individually. It doesn´t make the student more dependent on me, but it does allow me to see exactly how my students are working, their thinking process up close, and to modify for them.

    In addition to questions to the teacher, I always have my students ¨ask three before me¨ because yes, when they see me they are more tempted to ask me something they really don´t need to. Insisting that they ask ¨three before me¨ ensures that they don´t just ask me something because I am there (and believe me, this works). They won´t become overly dependent on the teacher if the teacher doesn´t allow it. At this point in the school year, I won´t answer questions such as, ¨Where do I put this?¨ (in the same in-box we have been using since August). I respond by saying, ¨I´ll let you answer that.¨
     
  27. Loves the beach

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    I would be furious if my administrator marked me down on an evaluation for not circulating the room. I circulate the room often. However, there are many valid reasons why I may not circulate the room at any given time. Some examples:

    1. Some children are distracted if I continue to roam by them during a test. They look up at me as if to say, "What am I doing wrong?" I try to observe them more from a distance, only stopping by their desk a few times to make sure they're on the right track, etc.

    2. I often make changes to my flipchart presentations. As any principal would know, this is simply good teaching practice (making corrections to lessons as you see they are needed). I am always marked high on this area of my evaluation. I'd prefer not to bend over with my rear end to the class (my computer is at the front of the room), so sitting down is more appropriate. I am still sitting in a way that I can see the class out of my side vision and can easily turn to look. This does not take but one-two minutes.

    3. Sometimes I get dizzy due to blood sugar issues, so I'd prefer not to faint and fall on a student, injuring myself as well. I can easily sit at my desk and teach. That's because I have strong classroom management. I simply tell the students I'm not feeling well and that I need to sit and eat a snack. They know I have issues w/ my blood sugar and are extremely well behaved and independent during those times. I'm so proud of them! I'm usually back to normal within a matter of minutes. This happens about once a month.

    4.At least three times a week, my principal comes to over the intercom to ask us to check a "very important email immediately". Once again, I prefer not to bend over with my rear up in the air, so I sit to check my email.

    5. I cannot circulate the room to take up field trip money, lunch money, etc. I sit at my desk to do that, just like anyone else would in an administrative position. I do not notice students turning cartwheels or jumping out windows. They just sit there and read silently, which is our morning routine. I don't see how circulating would be an effective way to count money. Or standing up trying to juggle dollar bills, checks, money pouches, and order forms.

    I am thankful that my administration has NEVER marked me down for doing those types of things. They have taught for many years and understand best teaching practices. They understand human nature. They encourage us to be the best we can be in all aspects, and they understand that we could not accomplish certain tasks in an effective way if we are constantly walking circles or hovering over a student.
     
  28. Loves the beach

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    So in order to be engaging, a teacher should teach at the board and circulate.

    If I was sitting in a chair reading a book with my class around me on the floor, do I need to circulate then? How would I do that? Crawl or scoot around them?

    Teachers should not feel paranoid that someone is going to walk by their door and make a note that "Mr./Mrs. ________ is not standing by their board or circulating the room. He/she is not engaging the students."

    Sometimes I like to sit for a few minutes in an empty desk to teach. The kids are really on task then, because Mrs. ______ is actually sitting with them! :)

    Sometimes I like to sit in the floor with them if they're on the floor.

    If students are engaged, I don't see that it matters if I'm sitting or standing.
     
  29. Loves the beach

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    Another thing. I always try to organize my desk while the students are in the classroom. Why? I'm not going to tell them to keep their desks neat if I don't keep mine neat.

    On the first day of school, I told them that my goal was to be more organized. We talked about what my desk would look like, and we talked about what I would need to do to keep it that way.

    I often say, "Class, let's all clean up our area before we go to the next class." I go to my desk and straighten up, and they do the same to their desks. I even pick up messes I didn't make, and they do the same.

    In past years, I would hover and nag. My room was a total mess, and I spend a lot of time after school hours tidying up and picking up after the students. Not this year.

    Guess who has the neatest room and cleanest floor? According to my custodian, it's me. And I don't have to do much at all to get it that way.

    Guess whose students are much more organized and aware of when their binders are getting cluttered/messy? Mine! :cool: This is a miracle, if you could see the inadequate organizational skills of students in past years.

    There is so much more to teaching that talking, walking, standing, and pointing to the board. Once again, it would be entirely unfair if my administrator saw me organizing/cleaning my desk and decided that I was being lazy or neglectful of students. Quite the opposite.
     
  30. Loves the beach

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    One last thing, and then I'm through. Sorry!

    To answer the original question: I personally do not grade papers while the kids are in the room. I simply cannot concentrate, so I end up making grading errors. I save grading for planning time or after the students go home. I don't really think it's wise to grade with students in the room. It is hard to monitor them and grade accurately, at least it sure is for me.
     
  31. i8myhomework

    i8myhomework Comrade

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    Dec 9, 2013

    Depends on your class. I teach five year olds and they are able to work independently. I circle around and make comments, encourage and make sure everyone is on task.

    But yes, I do school related things and send out emails while the students work.
     
  32. orangetea

    orangetea Connoisseur

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    This doesn't happen in my class, mainly because I rarely have independent work. I often do group work, and during group work, I circulate and help out.

    I do other work while students take assessments.
     
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