Easy 4-step grading system for your students assignments and projects.

So, how do you arrive at a grade for a project or assignment that isn’t a cut and dry quantitative calculation? If you follow these 4 steps, it will speed up your grading process and give you overall consistency in how you arrive at a final grade.

Step One: ‘Set Standards’

Determine if you are going to base the marks on your level of experience or on your students level of experience. Remember, they don’t have your experience, know-how, and wisdom yet; that’s why they’re in your class.

Step Two: ‘Define’

Determine the ‘meaning’ of each letter grade (What you should be ‘thinking’ is in brackets):

A’s = Outstanding (“Great!”)

B’s = Consistently thorough (“Very good.”)

C’s = Satisfactory (“Good/Pretty good.”)

D’s = Minimal effort (“This is a desperate attempt!”)

F= below minimal expectations (“Really…you’ve got to be kidding?”)

Step Three: ‘Skim and Scan’

Scan all the assignments or projects, and based on your professional judgment, initially place them in 5 separate piles based on the letter grade categories above. I actually will print out individual 8.5” by 11” sheets of paper with each letter to create the piles where they will go. [Read more...]

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College Professor cuts brain in half with chainsaw

This is an example of how to use props to get your point across. “Tastes like chicken!”.

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The pros and cons of student team projects.

Screen Shot team cartoon 268x300 The pros and cons of student team projects.

Cartoon created by Phil Jones and Visual Artist/Illustrator, Ron Martin (http://ronmartinpicturethis.blogspot.ca/)

As the saying goes, “There’s no, ‘I’,  in the word team”. No there isn’t, but there can be an ‘F’, ‘D’, ‘C’, ‘B’ or an ‘A’.

One of the biggest complaints from students regarding team projects, is that there always seems to be a ‘slacker’ within their midst; a student that ‘rides the coat tails’ of other team members efforts, and ends up with the same mark as everyone else for contributing little or nothing. If this is happening in any of your courses, then you need to change how you set up the team project so there’s a way to identify who did or didn’t do the work. If you don’t, then frankly, you deserve the flack [Read more...]

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Tips for inviting a guest speaker to your class.

Bob Urichuck guest speaker 300x200 Tips for inviting a guest speaker to your class.

Internationally renowned professional speaker and author, Bob Urichuck (www.bobu.com), seen here motivating my 1′st year business students.

Each semester I like to have a ‘Guest Speaker Week’, where I invite grads or someone from my professional network to come in and talk to my students. It switches things up during the semester from the normal routine, and gives students an opportunity to learn something new or reaffirm what they have already learned during the semester. If you decide to invite a guest speaker, it’s important to make sure that everyone is prepared; yourself, the [Read more...]

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10 tips for writing on the board

Cant read board blog pic 300x235 10 tips for writing on the board

Be a ‘Director of the Board’, not a ‘Director of the Bored’!

It’s was a horrendous site, but I had to stop and look. As I walked past the classroom, I looked into the narrow window beside the closed door and saw students texting, playing games on their laptops, and checking out their Facebook page. Then I looked at what was happening at the front of the class and saw what was causing this classroom ‘crash and burn’. There was the professor, frantically scribbling illegible ‘chicken scratch’ on the [Read more...]

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The First Day of Class: 20 ‘Quick and Dirty’ Tips for Professors

It’s easy for a student to find tips on how they can prepare for their first class in college, but what about tips for Professors? So, here are some ‘quick-and-dirty’ tips that will help make that first class a great experience, not only for yourself, but for your students as well.

wheres the tutoring office1 300x237 The First Day of Class: 20 Quick and Dirty Tips for Professors

© 2012 ‘Chalk Stick Cartoon’, by Phil Jones

  • Have patience if students arrive late on the first day. It can be pretty nerve-racking for them on that first day. They’re trying to find their classes, look for a [Read more...]

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Ways to remember students’ names.

cappuccino hell 208x300 Ways to remember students names.

Can a Cappuccino help your memory? No.

So, here’s what can happen when you don’t remember students’ names. I recently stopped by a local Starbucks and was greeted with a friendlier than normal ‘Starbucks welcome’ as I walked up to the counter. I don’t think I’ve ever been to a Starbucks where the staff didn’t have a big smile when you approached the counter, so I just thought the girl must be the ‘Employee of the Month’ or something. But, as I stood there looking at her, there was a familiarity to her face, but I just couldn’t place it.

She looked at me and said, “You don’t remember me do you?” Uh oh. I said, “Uhh, yea…umm…” in which she quickly replied, “What’s my name then?” Busted. “I was in your class!” she said. Of course, that’s why she looked so familiar, and the neighbourly [Read more...]

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The lecture is NOT dead.

phil at morrison gravesite1 300x234 The lecture is NOT dead.

The lecture is not dead. Jim Morrison, well…is? Standing at Jim Morrison’s gravesite in Paris, France.

With the surge of online education businesses popping up, I keep reading articles that students don’t learn anymore from listening to classroom lectures and sitting there taking notes; that the classroom lecture is ‘dead’. Well, of course students’ don’t learn from lectures if they take poor notes, are constantly distracted by texting, tweeting, and Facebooking, and even more importantly, never repeatedly reviewing their notes after the class has finished. I don’t know about you, [Read more...]

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Screencast: ‘Problem Solving’ class activity to try out.

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Laptop misuse in the classroom: Trust is a four-letter word.

phils blog typewriter framed 300x238 Laptop misuse in the classroom: Trust is a four letter word.

My first laptop in college. Unlike today's laptops, the professor could hear us if we were using it!

Trust is a four-letter word. A very successful business person once told me about the importance of giving your ‘word’ (four-letters) to a customer. In business, or for that matter, anytime where your reputation is at stake, giving your word means everything. Use this lesson and apply it to stop (or, at least minimize) laptop misuse in the classroom. Here’s how:

During the first day of class, look around the room at all the students using laptops and tablets and have them [Read more...]

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