Have you ever sat with a stack of student work that needed to be marked and thought, "what have I gotten myself into?"?
If your answer is yes, we are kindred spirits. Marking used to be my least favourite part about teaching because I found it so incredibly time-consuming and stressful. But over the years I have learned how to make assessment a more integral part of my French language program - and as a result, it's no longer the thing that I dread the most!
Keep reading below for tips & tricks for how to transform your attitude towards assessment in the French classroom and save yourself time (and stress too!).
Make a schedule and stick to it. If you have to dedicate one prep period a week EXCLUSIVELY to marking, do it! This is the best way to avoid bringing any of your assessments home. Trust me, I've been the teacher who goes home on a Friday with a tote bag full of student work only to the walk of shame back into the building Monday morning with none of it even touched.
Like you would with your subjects & teaching content, create long-range plans for assessment to avoid any last-minute panicking come report card time. The best way to do this is to add a box or column for each month that says "assessment" and make a list of what tools you plan on using for that particular month. If you keep yourself accountable, then there won't be any surprises come report card time!
VARY YOUR ASSESSMENT TOOLS
Do you know what isn't fun? Eating the exact same food every single day. This same idea applies to assessment. Challenge yourself to use a variety of assessment tools with your students because you never know what works best until you try it! Below are just a FEW examples of some of the different tools that you can use for assessment:
If you're looking for more assessment tools, you can find them HERE as part of the French Assessment Toolkit!
PROVIDE VERBAL FEEDBACK
We are all very short on time as teachers, so here are two ways that you can leave quick & simple feedback for your students:
Feedback journal: each child will need a little journal for this option. During small group time, at the end of each session give each child one SIMPLE piece of feedback - their job is to add it to their feedback journals. This works great for a couple of reasons - first, your students are writing down the feedback you're giving them which means they actually have to listen, understand and put it in their own words. Second, if you are looking for notes come reporting time, all you'll need to do is open up the journals and take a peek!
Mote: if you are using a program like Google Classroom with your students, try downloading a Chrome extension called Mote. It allows you to very easily record feedback for your students and you can use it directly on Google Apps like Docs & Slides. So easy, and so quick!
CREATE SHORTCUTS & SYSTEMS THAT WORK FOR YOU
Most importantly, find what works for you! There isn't a one-size-fits-all approach to assessments, and things may vary year to year. Embrace exploring different assessment tools and allow yourself the opportunity to figure out what works best for your life & your classroom. Assessments can be done in so many different ways but having a system that helps you maximize your time is incredibly helpful.
I hope these tips will help you feel more at ease and organized when it comes to assessments, especially during the chaotic time for report cards!