Teacher Talk 002: A Tech Tool for Rubrics (!)

Today I want to share one of my favorite new technology tools that I have recently  experimented with regarding rubrics in my classroom. It helps ease my grading woes and eliminates my need for paper rubrics. Awesome, right?

My school is 1:1 compatible and every student has a Chromebook. We just finished up our research unit in English II, so my students were busy planning, writing, revising, and finalizing their 3-5 page papers about human rights violations.

While they were going through this process, my dread continued to build as I envisioned myself stuck at my desk grading all 65 papers. As an English teacher, grading essays and papers is the bane of my existence. I would rather do almost anything else. (So, why did I choose this profession? That’s another story.) Toting everything back and forth is annoying and the time required for each paper is discouraging.


Needless to say, when I came across Andrew Stillman‘s hybrid of Doctopus + Goobric at NCTIES in March, I was ecstatic. I immediately sent e-mails to fellow teachers with a little too much enthusiasm while 150 miles away from home. I have now used this add-on to grade research papers, presentations and poetry anthologies, and I’m very pleased with the process. No more papers or rubrics to drag home. Less waste. Such a time saver. I use this in conjunction with Google Classroom, but it can be used on its own if you use a different platform in your classes. The key is that it only works with an assignment in a Google Document.

Here is a great tutorial of Google Classroom basics and the Doctopus/Goobric combo:

I only have two complaints about this add-on. First, the category scores do not add up in the Google Spreadsheet. This is easy enough to fix by using the sum function and a little dragging action in order to copy the function to the full column. That takes maybe 30 seconds, so don’t let that deter you from checking out this add-on. Second, each category has to be equally weighted. In my previous rubrics, I have different items weighing different amounts, so I had to adjust my original rubrics. This is definitely workable, though!

Also know that the creator, Andrew, is very accessible via Twitter and the review page of the add-on, so if you have any questions or issues, he is worth contacting. It’s also helpful to do a basic Google search about this add-on to see how other teachers have used it successfully.

If you choose to try out this add-on, I would love to know how you like it! If you have used it already, what are your thoughts?

That’s all for now on Teach Talk. Until next week!

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