Imagine: You’ve got 30 way too many kids in class and you have successfully coerced them into opening their mouths and speaking Spanish. Maybe they’re in partners, maybe it’s a whole group activity. You decide – it’s your classroom.
But now what? How do you grade them?
Cuz you know they won’t keep speaking throughout the whole year if they realize it doesn’t have a grade attached to it.
Whether it’s a whole-class speaking activity (find someone who, inside/outside circles, etc) or a partner speaking activity, here are 3 ideas for how to grade speaking activities.
Note: These suggestions assume you’re grading students (read: wildly throwing points in their general directions) more on whether or not they are participating during the allotted time for the activity, rather than how grammatically correct the language is that they are producing.
Option 1: Pesos
Copy and cut out “pesos” to give kids every time they so much as open their mouth and produce Spanish words in class.
You ask a question and Ramón answers – give him a peso. Susana is on task during her partner speaking activity – give her a peso.
Students keep them in an envelope in their binders and you collect them at the end of the week to tally for participation points.
1) Students are physically handed something and see that reward for speaking Spanish. This can be more motivating for younger and/or less engaged classes.
1) You’re constantly carrying fake money around with you. You have a fanny pack on at all times and you find fake money in your pockets at happy hour.
2) Students need a place that they won’t lose and something they can close so the pesos don’t fall out.
3) If someone answers a question and you forget to hand them a peso, they will have a meltdown. You have to train students on how to have an appropriate and respectful reaction when you forget to give them a peso.
4) You have to count pesos every week for 150 kids.
5) Kids will steal each other’s pesos, but you’ll find the culprit easily when one kid has 85 pesos and everyone has none.
Option 2: Monthly Participation Sheet
This is a 5×4 grid of boxes (for 5 days/week and 4 weeks/month) on a sheet of paper that students keep in their binders and they open up to this page during the speaking activity.
You walk around class during the speaking activity with two highlighters (or markers or pens, whatever you choose) – a green one and a pink one. A green slash (or star or heart, whatever mark you decide) in that day’s box is worth 2 points and is for students who are engaged and completing the speaking activity. A pink mark is -1 and is for students who are sitting silently or speaking English.
Collect the sheet at the end of the month and give kids participation points based on how many speaking activities you did that month.
Kids who lose their papers take a zero for the month. Kids whose notebooks aren’t open to the correct page during the activity won’t get their points. Trust and believe those are two mistakes no one will make twice.
1) You grade participation once a month instead of weekly.
2) It’s super easy to walk around in the last minute of the activity and make a green slash on everyone’s paper.
3) You can get this sheet for FREE in my TpT store.
1) Participation is yes/no. There is no middle ground.
2) Kids will initially lose their papers, but by November it won’t happen again.
3) Kids will develop an irrational fear of pink highlighters.
Option 3: Mark participation on your seating chart
If you have your seating chart physically attached to you anyway (for any number of administrative tasks), then this might be your best bet.
Give kids a check plus, check, or check minus on your seating chart for the day and enter the grades daily or weekly or monthly or whenever you feel like it.
1) Kids can’t lose it.
2) If you already have your clipboard at your side at all times, then this is super easy for you.
3) I have an editable seating chart in my TpT store for FREE.
1) Kids don’t see what you’re doing and it might not feel real to them. This is a good option for mature and/or motivated classes.
Do you have any other easy, classroom-tested ideas for grading speaking activities? Share tips in the comments below!
My kids love stickers. I’ll give them to students when I feel they have done something exceptional and the kids go crazy for them (yes they are in high school). I have kids that will ask me for stickers every day! I’m thinking that for this coming school year, every 5 stickers I will give a positive phonecall home. Pro: kids love it. Cons: Kids can ask too often and get on your nerves, I’m not sure how equitable my system is