Report Cards, especially those dreaded individualized comments, are probably the most tedious part of teaching. It can take up *so much* of our personal time. Not gonna lie, it makes us want to gouge our eyes out and toss our computers out the window.
(HOOOWWWW did teachers used to write them by hand??? Bless your hearts – and cramped fingers!)
Lucky for you, newbie teachers and seasoned vets – here are 3 TIPS for you that are so straight forward that I wish someone made me aware of them during my first 5 years of teaching.
Ready for some game changers?
Here we go!
TIP #1: CREATE.YOUR.OWN.COMMENT.BANKS.
🤯🤯🤯🤯🤯 <– me (Karen) when I realized I could do this!
It was like a whole new world. And it was so obvious. But! No feeling silly that we didn’t think of this before – there’s a lot that teacher’s college never trained us for, and being efficient is also NOT one of them. Ahem. Another conversation for another day. Moving away from the blame game.
So HOW does creating your own comment banks save you time?
✅You no longer have to start from scratch ever again for your grade and subjects
✅You no longer have to wrack your brain for the right wording for a specific kid ever again
✅You customize wording to suit YOUR teaching style and how YOU presented material to kids
The best part?
✅You can keep the comments for YEARS TO COME and REUSE THEM! WHICH I DO!!!
Lots of CAPS AND EXCLAMATION MARKS because that’s how big this is!
So simple. Yet so BIG. You’re welcome.
TIP #2: DON’T START FROM SCRATCH!
How often do you sit in front of a blank page, writer’s block filling you with dread as the time ticks, unable to get your thoughts into coherent sentences?
Next thing you know, hours have gone by, your whole weekend is gone, and you’ve still only completed 2 comments for the 120 students you need to write reports for. ☠☠☠
So much for that #SelfCare and #Rest that you promised yourself.
Luckily, you have us, coming at you with TIP #2! 🤗✨✨
And it’s as straightforward as simply opening up the Ministry of Education Curriculum Documents, copying the expectation you want to report on, and pasting it into your own digital document for customization.
Voila. No more hideous blank page! 🎉🎉
TIP #3: CUSTOMIZE YOUR COMMENT BANKS!
How do you customize report card comments for EACH and EVERY student? 🤪🤪🤪😭
Tip #3 is also part of creating your own comment banks!
1️⃣ Copy the expectation being reported on into your docs
2️⃣ Edit to add in the assessments you used to generate your grades
3️⃣ Create 4 versions for each assessment level: Level 4, Level 3, Level 2, and Level 1
4️⃣ Copy and paste comments into the comment boxes of your report card software according to student assessment levels
5️⃣ ONLY WHERE NECESSARY: tweak comments to add remarks highly specific to individual students
Once your comment bank is created, you can easily swap out assessments to make them relevant for any given year. GAME. CHANGER. No more starting from scratch!
How do you like them apples?
And now, a treat for all you Ontario Middle School Math Teachers, from me to you: customized report card comments for Grade 7 & 8 Math with Step 1 and Step 2 already completed for you. You just need to add in your own assessments as examples!
Share with us: did these tips help? What other questions do you have for making your report card writing more time efficient? Leave a comment or send us an email. We read every one.
Also, join us for our Report Card Writing workshop on Thursday October 13 at 3:45PM EST. We’ll have breakout sessions for both elementary/middle school and high school panels.
Good luck with your reports, everyone!
With Love, Peace, and Justice,
- Karen and the Educator’s Coaching Network