The other day, I posted a photo of one of my rubrics in Google Classroom, and I got a flurry of response – and lots of questions about whether I have them for sale. I don’t and I won’t. However, I’d love to give you some help with creating your own rubrics for Google Classroom.
Why don’t I sell or share rubrics?
The answer is simple: because I match my rubrics to specific assignments that my students are doing, and the language I use is tailored to not only that, but also to the needs of my students. Therefore, the criteria I choose and the language I use will not likely fit for yours.
Rubrics are intended to assess performance and to assign a grade. Ultimately that’s what our students and the system wants to see: the number. However, while I do provide that, I’m far more interested in using the feedback on the rubric to help my students improve their skills. I use rubrics to feed them forward, not just to assign a grade.
And, I’m going to let you in on a little secret: if you can make effective use of rubrics, and you can use them to “feed forward,” you will have fewer classroom management issues. Why? Because when students feel like they can be successful in your class – when they can see the goal posts and know what they have to do to get the ball there – they are less likely to disengage or disrupt.
👉🏼 (NOTE: if you purchase any of my resources that focus on specific skills or assignments, I do include rubrics because they match the assignment in the resource. So in resources like the Narrative Essay, Expository Writing Lessons & Activities, Writing Reviews, etc. you will find an editable rubric or assessment checklist).
Using Rubrics to Focus Skill Building:
It’s early in the semester for me, and I’m teaching my tenth grade class to write a response. I’m focusing on their ability to
- Focus on one idea from their assigned readings and discussions
- Choose and embed quotations from the readings to support their points
- Make personal connections that support their points
I’m not giving them feedback on other things like their word choice or sentence fluency because I want them to work on a limited number of skills at a time. The Google Classroom rubric pictured here is the one I’m using this time. Then, for the next response, I will add something new.
Using Rubrics to Scaffold Instruction:
My IB class is a full year one, and we’ve been working on writing commentaries based on a section of a text. Last week they did a timed writing on a section of Pride and Prejudice.
We’ve done several of these assignments, and their biggest areas of weakness are focus, idea development, analysis of author purpose, and use of quotations – so that’s what the rubric reflects. Again, I didn’t include anything on their use of language because that’s not what the focus is. We are skill building and this is a formative assessment. Below is the rubric I’ve attached on Google Classroom.
The next timed writing that they do will have a different set of criteria (maybe) based on the skills I feel they need to work on. These skills are informed by the previous assignment – we continue to work on areas of weakness until they get them mastered.
Eventually, they will be assessed with the “final” rubric, that has all of the criteria I want to use for a summative assessment, but in the meantime, we add skills (and corresponding rubric criteria) when they are ready.
The reason that I do it this way is that I find that students are much more successful if I allow them to focus on a few skills at a time without getting overwhelmed. Slow and steady wins the race, as they say. If I wanted them to run a marathon at the end of the year, I wouldn’t send them out on one in September. Nor do I send them on a ten mile run and then tell them all the things they are doing wrong. Instead, we start with one mile and work on the skills they need to add another mile, then another. And so on.
Planning your own rubrics for Google Classroom
So, since I’m not sharing my own unique rubrics, let me give you some tips to create your own, whether you use them on Classroom or not. However, I do encourage you to try that. It saves SO much time once you get it all set up.
First of all, before you create a rubric, you need to make it very clear what you are assessing. Which skills do you want your students to demonstrate in the assignment? Make a list and then group things that are similar. Usually, you will have categories for a written assignment that focus on things like organization, idea development, use of textual evidence for support, word choice, sentence fluency, mechanics, etc.
When you write the descriptions for your criteria, start with your outcomes, but make sure they are in student-friendly language. The purpose of the feedback is to feed your students forward. You want to tell them what they need to do to improve. If we use edu-speak to do that, with language that some curriculum consultant uses, they may not understand – and then it’s an exercise in frustration.
Instead, use language that is clear and to the point. Use the words and phrases that you use in class, so students can make the connection between the criteria on the rubric and what they’ve learned with you.
Creating a Rubric in Classroom:
Once you know what you want to assess, it’s time to create the rubric. Google has instructions for how to do that, and there are lots of great youtube tutorials, so I don’t need to reinvent that wheel. Click on the links to get started creating your own time-saving rubrics (it really is a game-changer on Classroom).
Other links to help you with assessment:
👉🏼 Tame the Grading Beast – Work smarter, not harder
👉🏼 Grading Strategy – a tip for more learning
👉🏼 Use Conferences to Reduce Your Grading
If you’d like to know more about how effective feedback strategies can help you manage and engage your classes, my course, Creating a Climate for Learning is opening again in the spring. It’s chock full of strategies and resources that will help you feel confident about managing a class while getting your kids excited about learning. The course is closed now, but I can let. you know when it’s opening – just click below:
I hope that was helpful! Leave any questions in the comments section 😀
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