A Rubric Worth the Wait

One of the great things that comes with experience is the ability to see ahead.

As a beginning teacher, I felt lucky to "see" a period or two ahead. Each lesson was a leap into the unknown, wondering what would work, what would fail. Eventually I grew--we all do--to see things first by week, then by unit, then by quarter.

This is a picture of a worksheet I give my English students on the first day of class (yes, the date is mis-entered, I gave this out this year--on January 9 to be exact).
I wanted to let kids work with rubrics and build an understanding of what I expected in my class. I'm not good at speechifying, and I don't have a great love for rules. This was to become my guide for the semester. It gave kids a way to self-identify their strengths before I could pre-conceive any notions about them.

A little work with math also lets them predict the grade they will earn for the semester. This tends to get their attention in cases like Austin's where he scored far lower than he expected. You can see his pique from the first day: "No (this doesn't adequately describe me) because I always pass an english (sic) class ." To me this indicates that I would find capitalization to be the #1 problem with writers this year, bigger than punctuation.

On the back, I have a space where students can write a rubric for me--again, with few pre-conceptions. How would I earn a 4 from them? How would I fail to them?

Today, the 2nd-to-last full day of the semester, I gave the rubrics back. It was time to take stock. I also gave them back a short assessment essay I gave on that first day, so they could describe how their writing had changed over the semester.

And with Google Forms, I can quickly turn everything into graphs and know very quickly how the class as a whole did.

Below, I'll embed a copy of the form students filled out.

As always, I welcome your response and any ideas for improvement.