Monday, January 28, 2013

Report Card Creation Haze

My eyes are blurry and my wrists need massaging, but the task has been accomplished: I finished writing all my report card comments and inputing all my grades. Some people may consider teacher-librarians to be "classroom refugees" escaping assessment and evaluation, but at my school at least, I have a lot of work to do on report cards. This year, I grade and mark four classes of media, a class of dance, a class of drama, and comment on library, ICT, and media for three kindergarten classes and create ICT comments for every student in the school. As my colleague, David Hann, said to me on Twitter, it's not necessarily the report card writing but the marking that can be the hardest part. He's right - at one point I calculated that I needed to mark 3300 questions before I was able to accuately craft a proper ICT comment for my junior-intermediate students.

Writing report cards is a bit like birthing a baby.
The task looks insurmountable at first. I groan and moan while I'm in the process. At the end, I look back with a sense of pride and surprise - *I* produced that marvellous piece of work?

This term, I felt much more prepared for report card writing. I think this was because my long range plans were thorough and the dates didn't sneak up on me like they might have in the past. I also believe I made a greater effort to mark assignments sooner rather than later and communicate student progress on a more ongoing basis. I hate to admit it, but I suspect that my lack of clubs and teams gave me more time to assess assignments.

I'm still no report card writing expert but I have many great people to turn to for inspiration. I went and read some of my colleagues' past report cards to get an idea about how they phrase comments in a positive way or so that they sound unique instead of "cookie-cutter". I admire one of our school's kindergarten teachers and how she writes a home-school communication journal every week for every single one of her students (in Chinese for some and in English for others) - there will be no mysteries or surprises when her families receive their report cards.

This week, I'll only be in school for three days - it's the upcoming Ontario Library Association Super Conference. Watch my blog for a report on the event next week.

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