Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Spelling Tests with Easy Grading!

Teaching in a departmentalized fifth grade this year, I was dreading grading 130 spelling tests every week. I knew that I couldn't offer the tests on Google Classroom because Chrome will correct spelling for the students. In order to take the headache away from spelling tests, I made two changes.

First, I started giving a test every other week. I give a pre-test one Friday and the test will be the following Friday. This gave students more time to study, it gave me more freedom with my lesson plans, and it took away from the student workload.

Second, I started giving tests on Spelling City. I use the free version, so I was having students take the test, then show me the score. I walked around the room to record it, and students had the option to print it if they wanted a copy. After the first week, I had parents asking for copies of the spelling tests, which I didn't have. The second week of doing this, our Cloud printing was down, so students couldn't print their tests. I knew I had to have a way to keep a copy of their test. I thought about asking my school to purchase Spelling City, but we wouldn't be using it for all of the other awesome features you get when you subscribe, we would only be paying for it so that I could see the students' work.

Here was my solution - I'll warn you, it does seem complicated, however, my fifth graders picked up on it really well. After the first day of showing them, I had 1-2 students in each class who got it right away and went around helping others. By the second time I did it, most knew on their own, and I am hoping that the third time will work like a charm! :)

I have the students hit the print button on their test, then save it as a PDF. (They could also click on the download button, but that doesn't give them the chance to choose exactly where to save or rename.)

Then, they go into Google Classroom where I have assigned them the spelling test. They attach the file to their assignment and submit.

This makes it very easy to go through and record grades right there in Google Classroom or in your gradebook.

I also added the PDF Mergy extension to my drive.

This allowed me to select all of the tests and make them one file to print. That saved me from needing to open each document separately to print them. (I know that not printing them would be a good alternative as well, but many parents still want to see these tests!)

Again, I know this seems complicated, but the students picked up on it very quickly. Also, I think it is a great tech skill to teach them. Part of our job of including technology in the classroom is to prepare them for technology use outside of school. So much of technology includes troubleshooting and attaching documents. Going through this process teaches students both of these things, as well as makes them more aware of technology vocabulary and practices.

This has made spelling tests in my classroom so much easier, and I hope it does the same for you!


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