Let me set the stage for how this report card comment hack came to be. All of the “teacher things” to get ready to start my second term report cards were happening. I was gathering assessments, marking, doing checklists, etc.
I always write extra notes right before report card writing season because I love turning anecdotal notes into my comments. As I sat down to write some notes as my students worked independently, it dawned on me.
Wait, what if my students wrote notes about their own learning?! Then, I could use those notes to help me write each students' report card comment.
That’s where the idea for student report cards were born.
It All Started With a Google Doc
The very next day, through Google Classroom, I assigned each student a Google Doc with headings for the comments I wanted students to write about. My headings were:
- Growth as a person
- Social Studies
The Pep Talk
Next, I knew I needed to be clear and provide examples when sharing this ideas with students. I wanted to get as much out of this as I could. So I came up with four parts to this “pep talk” or student report card comment explanation, if you will.
First, we made a general list of units covered in each of the core subjects. I wanted them to hone in on the units and concepts taught that term as opposed to what they learned in first term or in another grade…
Report Card Comment Exemplars
Second, we reviewed a few generic teacher report card comment examples. I told them that I wanted them to try to make their similar but not to worry too much about using “fancy teacher language”. I reassured them that that was my job.
Honesty Is The Best Policy
Third, we discussed the importance of being honest. I told them that what they report should be similar to what I’ve seen in class. I also told them that if it didn’t match up, we would have a little chat because it’s important to me that they know how they are doing in class.
Fourth, we discussed writing ideas. I asked them some prompting questions such as:
- What did you learn in (insert unit here)?
- Did you understand all the concepts in the unit? Some of the concepts?
- How could you improve?
How Student Report Card Comment Writing Went
About 92% of students were super honest. That means that I was able to use direct quotes of what they wrote for my own report cards. Another bonus was, referring back to their comments helped jog my memory of specific things that I may have forgotten.
How This Idea Has Evolved
I am going to continue using the four-part discussion when presenting this idea to students, as that was very successful.
From now on, I’ll be assigning students a Google Form instead of a Google Doc so that I can see all their answers in a spreadsheet for easy access. I’m also going to get students to give themselves a “grade” on a four-point scale for each subject to go along with their report card comment.
Want To Try This Too?
I’ve created an editable student report card Google Form and spreadsheet to make this super easy to do in your classroom. Using this student report card template will save you so much time writing report cards and, the bonus is, your comments will be even more authentic!