Here is a way to give helpful advice quickly. Use the "Find" and "Replace" function on your computer.
Grading on the computer is terrific because your comments look more professional than writing in red pen. You have a permanent record of comments for later reference or parent conferences. In fact, if a parent emails you with a question about an assignment, you can simply copy and paste the grade and comments into the email.
I have noticed that when grading an assignment, most students seem to make the same mistakes. When writing comments by hand, I seem to write "Avoid Run-On Sentences" or "Remember to Add a Topic Sentence" several times. Instead of writing the same ten comments over and over, I just assign them a number.
Make a list of positive and negative comments that you think that you will write. You may need to skim a few papers first, and you can always add to the list as you grade. Assign each comment a number (a two digit number works best). As you grade the papers or projects, type the number of the comment that fits the paper - I usually like to give one positive comment and two things for the student to work on. When find an unusual project, you might need to type a comment by hand (be sure to only use words and not numbers; I will explain why later.)
At the end of grading, you will have each student's name, a grade, and a few numbers that represent comments on your list. Now is the fun part, highlight the comment numbers and hold down "CTRL" ("CMND" on a Mac) and "h". This is the "find and replace" function. In the field for "find," type the number of the first command, like "50." In the "replace" field, type our the comment, like "Great use of quotes from the text." Now every student who had a "50" next to his or her name has the comment typed out. Do that for all of the codes, and you have specific comments for each student. You can now print them out, cut them into strips, and staple them to the students' papers.
Here are some things to make it work smoothly:
- Do your work in Excel and import your students' names from an electronic copy of your roster.
- If you are using a rubric (and you should be), make a column for each graded item. (Introduction: 8, Organization:10, Spelling and Grammar: 18). As long as the number grade is in its own column, Excel can add up the total grade for you. Again, be sure that the number grades do not conflict with the comment numbers.
- Use two digit numbers - if you use "2" for a comment, you might replace part of "12" by accident.
- If you want to be really fancy, print them on labels and stick them to the paper or project.
- Can families check grades on you school's website? See if there is a field where you can paste a copy of your grade comments.