State Reports

 It’s State Report time!

 

At my school we have a tradition of State Day.  All 5th grade students are assigned a state and they research their state, create a poster, and on State Day they run their “state booth”.  The students even wear costumes that represent their state.  I have had students dress up as fisherman from Alaska, a Minnie Mouse costume for Florida, and cowboys from Oklahoma.  The students bring display items and food for tasting. We tape their poster on the front of the cafeteria benches and invite parents and other grades to come visit in the morning for about 2 hours.  It is a great way to show off all of the hard work the students have completed.

State Booth Example

Everyone looks forward to this event, but let’s backtrack to the month before the event when the work has to be done!  Over the years, I have thought of all of the challenges that this project brings and how to make next years even better.

Challenges of the State Report

  • Communicating expectations
    • For most students this is their first exposure to research and handing them a sheet of paper to fill out through “research” can be daunting.
  • Answering the same question repeatedly
    • Even though you explained it in whole group, and everyone seemed to be listening,  you end up answering the same question 25 times.  I think I answered the question, “What is a natural resource?”  400 times in my career. Maddening I tell you!
  • Grading
    • Now it’s all done and how do I grade this gigantic project that’s worth a huge portion of this quarter’s grade.  If the kid bombed they can never recover.
    • Weekends are filled with the task of grading this huge project.  No teacher likes to go home and grade.  We need weekends off!

Redesigning the State Report Template

As much as I loved State Day; I just dreaded this project.  I set off to create a State Report that addressed the 3 challenges that I had identified.  Each page of the research tells the students what is expected of them and has point allocations at the top of the page.  This part can be cut off for display.

For those maddening questions, I answered repeatedly, I put an explanation under the question.  I give an example of what is a natural resource, natural disaster, census etc..

The last part was to streamline the grading process.  As the students complete each research page they sign up on the board to meet with me for grading of that page.  I meet with students and check off the points.  I keep a running score with the rubric form for each student.  This helps if the project is taking a long time I can enter points for each page in the gradebook.  This can also help me to be the time manager and ensure a student isn’t falling behind on the project.  Parents expect a completed project and poster on State Day, and having a poster partially completed can be awkward. Yes, this has happened!

The 50 State Report Bundle is now available at my store https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Store/Learning-In-An-Hour.

 

Learning in an Hour

I created Learning in an Hour as the store where teaching products are developed to be completed in a 1 hour block of time, or more.  I also wanted to  create projects that were easy to grade in the classroom.  I have taught for 13 years and love to be in the classroom, but many weekends were spent with my tub of grading. I have tried every trick in the book to manage the ever increasing grading pile.  At the end of the day, there may be 30 minutes away from teaching, duties and meetings that I could dedicate to the grading pile.  That was just not enough time with emails, questions from coworkers, etc.

The only way I have been able to manage the grading has been meeting with students and grading before their eyes during class.  This allows for immediate feedback, ability to correct work, and clarification of student expectations.  My goal is to help teachers spend less time grading and more time enjoying their weekends.

To the future,

Learning in an Hour

https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Store/Learning-In-An-Hour