Back-to-School Pencil Topper

Want something quick and easy to welcome students back at the beginning of a new school year?  Check out the free download of these colorful pencil toppers.  One side has a cute poem, and the other side says, “WELCOME BACK!”

These toppers can be printed on 1″ X 4″ labels and wrapped around the pencil.  Or, do what I did.  Use plain paper, cut out the rectangles, and then use clear tape to keep the pencil topper in place.

pencil topper with logoI found this versatile idea on Pinterest.  This same design could be used to welcome students back to school after New Year’s Day.  Or, using PowerPoint you could create your own design and personalize the message to include your name– Welcome Back to Mrs. Smith’s Class!

Has anyone else made pencil toppers?  I’d love to see your designs!

Should students grade their own work?

happy_good_grade from wpclipart dot comYes.  Students get immediate feedback when they grade their own work.  They take ownership of their progress, or lack thereof.  Students are able to ask questions and get clarification, right away.  Worried about students cheating?  Spot check a few papers each week.  Confront students immediately and follow up for a few days.  Don’t let a few poorly-graded papers keep you from using this time saving approach.

Set expectations for grading and follow through.  Students in my class must use red pen and only mark incorrect answers.  Students record their score as a certain amount of points over the total.  This method puts the focus on the number correct.  When students ask, “What’s my grade?” I show them how to divide the number correct by the total number possible to get a percentage score.

Another approach is to have students work in pairs to correct their completed homework before handing it in.  They learn from each other, make changes, and hand in their best effort.  This approach to grading is even simpler.  Once the work has been handed in, award a small number of points for timely completion.

Not sure if this is a good approach for your classroom?  Start by grading one less set of papers a day.  You’ll be amazed how liberating it is!

Read more here: Benefits of a Student Self-Grading Model -or- How I Grade (by skills or standards) -or- The 3P Grading System.

Need a quick grading rubric?  Check out Teacher Planet‘s rubrics like the one below for all grades and subjects, or you can generate your own.

Teacher Planet has rubrics for all grades and subjects, or you can generate your own.