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Grading Interactive Notebooks


Grading Interactive Notebooks
Sometimes I hear people say that they do not use interactive notebooks because the grading is so difficult. I would agree that it can be challenging but I have devised a few ways to keep it manageable. 

First of all I would give students a very clear rubric of what you are looking for.   A sample rubric will be included later in this post.

Do Not Grade Every Page

Teachers, you do not need to grade every single page of an interactive notebook. Everything we do does not need to be an assessment! You can have students select their best work from a particular unit or you can tell students which page is going to be graded.  When I tell students which page is going to be graded, I give them very specific directions for for what is required for that page. The rest of the pages can just be glanced at for completion.

I have students put a post-it note or tab on the page to be graded. This saves me a little time in locating the correct page. Then have them tab the following sections which makes it easier for me to grade. 


Please tab the following sections
-Table of contents
-Best Work Activity
-Reflection including rubric
 This is the reflection I am having them complete.   It could be modified easily for the specific needs of the students.  
Paragraph One
Choose 1 assignment (topic or section) from the notebook that represents your BEST WORK and write a paragraph about it. For elementary and secondary students you may want to have them select one entry from the unit you are assessing.    Please state the specific reasons for why you chose the items and why they represent your best work.    Please tab this section.    
Ideas to write about include:
  • What you learned
  • How you learned
  • What aspects of the work were high quality
  • What you would do differently and why
  • What makes you proud of the work
  • What made the activity worthwhile
  • For pre service teachers I have them also comment on what they have learned about science
You should also write about how the assignment chosen demonstrates your skills as a student. For example, skills you might write about are that the assignments show that you are organized, you are good at analyzing, you were very thoroughcreative, your information was very accurate, you made connections from one assignment to another, and so on.
*Make sure that you cite specific examples from the assignments you chose.

Paragraph Two
Evaluate your notebook according to the rubric.  How would you score yourself?   What could be improved?
Here is the rubric I am currently using for my pre-service teachers:  
Complete Table of Contents
All Entries Included
Articulation of Learning
Notebook Includes at least Five Foldable
Notebook Includes at least 3 Thinking Maps of Graphic Organizers
Includes illustrations, graphs and charts
Reflection included and there is a response to all of the prompts

Paragraph Three
For pre-service teachers: General thoughts, feelings and opinions about interactive notebooks…Will you use them as a teacher?  
For Elementary and High School, I would suggest keeping notebooks in the class.   They should stay in class so that they are always available when needed.   I would collect them once or twice during a unit, glance at all the entries and then grade one assignment more deeply.

You can select the item ahead of time that you will be grading or you can have the students select the item for grading.  In other words, do not try to grade everything.  Some items can just be checked and given credit for participation.  You can assign points as you feel appropriate.  

In Class Science Notebook Rubric
Table of Contents is Accurate and Includes All Assignments
Concepts and Learning Articulated
Reflection Included on Best Entry for the Unit
All Entries Included
Two Foldables Included for this Unit
Two Graphs or Diagrams included in this Unit

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