Warm ups are a super underrated classroom management tool. They keep students engaged from the moment they walk in, they allow you time to handle housekeeping tasks, and it’s a built-in daily review. Plus, science warm up activities can provide you with a lot of great insight into what students know, but the idea of grading them every day can be tedious. To keep things simple, I’m sharing three ways to grade warm ups without the stress.
Grading Science Warm Up Activities
#1 Don’t Grade Them Daily
Although students complete science warm ups daily, I do not grade them daily. I do, however, give it a quick once-over each day while students are working.
If you plan to collect students’ warm ups every day and grade them word for word, you will never dig yourself out of the grading hole! Instead, save this type of effort for projects and student work that has more value and weight on a student’s grade.
#2 Implement Quick Checks
As I mentioned, instead of picking up students’ warm ups, I do a quick check while they are working. I give students about five minutes before I start checking. On the bottom of my warm up activities, I include a space where I can sign off or stamp the page to show that the student completed the work for the day. I do this in just a few minutes by walking around the room.
As long as they’ve made a true, honest effort to answer the question, I give students credit. I’m not looking for correct answers, just effort beyond a blank page or “I don’t know”. Asking students to try, even if they aren’t sure of the answer, gives you insight into their thought process. You can quickly offer support as you walk around to students who need it.
These quick checks keep students accountable and lets me reward students for their effort. Also, to avoid any issues, I make sure to change the color of my pen or my stamp each day. That way, students can’t forge my signature to get credit.
#3 Look Back at the Week
At the end of the week, I go through and grade the science warm up activities. I have a simple process to make it easy and painless. Plus, the hard work was already done during the quick checks.
When grading the warm up activities, I count how many signatures or stamps each student received and give them a grade based on that. For example, if you checked every day for a week, each day would be 20 points. If they completed four out of five days, they get an 80 in the grade book.
Science warm up activities are one of my favorite tools to utilize to transition into the class period and review content with students. With this simple grading strategy, my students can still benefit from the practice, and I avoid the grading overwhelm.
Read more about how I use warm ups in my middle school science classroom here!