Easy Grading Tips and Tricks

It’s that time of year. Progress reports are due and I am spending some quality time snuggled up with papers. So how do I make my grading experiences great? Let me tell ya! Here are five tips and tricks that make my life easier!

Quick Computation:


I love this little paper. It’s two sided and in a plastic sleeve for durability. I created this because the real EZ-Grader is really hard to read and is not color coded. But mine works great for me and if you think it will work great for you, then by all means, download it for free.

Grade it fast and get on with your life- Freebie from Teacher to the Core.pgn

Download now new

Grade-It Drawer

Slide1 I really love these drawers and the labels were made from this freebie!

To Do Drawer Freebie - Melonheadz Edition

Click here for Learning In Wonderland’s Freebie!

Grade Book Order:

This is something that I started last year and I am 100% sure it is not a new idea, but it was new to me when I dreamed it up. You see my district is now forcing us to use computerized grader.  So it’s a hassle to scroll up and down and to find a kid’s name on the computer screen. Then, it hit me. Just have them line up in grade book order!!! Well hello!!!! Now, as I input grades, the papers in my hand match the ABC order on the computer screen!


Grade book order can be a BIG challenge in first grade since you are asking them not only to line up, but line up in a particular order.  So I made a color-coded chart for the kids to look at. The chart colors matches our sit spot rug {seen above}.

The kids bring their papers and sit. Sitting is VERY important. It allows the kids to see the chart and see their spot on the ground.  Then they hand in their papers one row at a time-pink row first, orange row, yellow row and so on. It works like a charm. I can’t show you my REAL chart because it has the real kids name’s on it. So I made a new one with all my favorite characters!

Slide3 The other option is to type it and plop it under your document camera.

Slide4But what happens when a new kid joins the class? YES, I KNOW!!!!! The new kid messes up the number order, that’s why I use grade book order. I can just insert a name in between the other names and tell two kids, “Hey help our new friend line up between you guys.”

Happy Kids and Teachers use smelly markers:


I love both Mr. Sketch and Scentos. The minute I grade something the kids smell their papers. I love that! When I am grading at home it makes me happier too. It’s the small things that make me happy I tell you!

Grade as they work:

Lots of times, I am running around the room grading their papers as they work. I circle incorrect answers and they can fix them instantly. In giving feedback right away I stop them from doing the whole task wrong.


My point in being a teacher is not to catch them being incorrect, but teach them to come to the correct answers. For example, I do this during spelling tests. If I notice a child putting capital letters where they don’t belong, I circle it on the spot and talk with them really quietly, so they stop doing this.  I can have the conversation in the moment when it really matters, or I can have it after the fact. It makes more sense to have it now. If I collect papers to grade and the kids have fixed their mistakes already, I just write fixed in class.  This way the parents don’t think I have lost my mind and circled correct answers.

OOOPS! I did it again!

Ever circle something that actually WAS a correct answer? Yep, me too! Just write a letter “K” next to your circle and it turns the whole thing into a big OK.

Slide8 Well friends, that’s all for now from me, but do you have any grading tips to share??? I am all ears and cannot wait to read your comments!!!!!


  1. HA! I really thought you had a kid named Dumbledor until I read the rest of them.

    Christina Marie :)
    Apples, Books, and Crayons

    1. I wish I had kids named after all those people!!!!

  2. Love these tips! Thank you for sharing your grade it fast pages! A friend and I were just talking, she's jealous I have two sliders but I feel as if they are boring :) hehe love me some color!

  3. I'm so happy you shared your "Grade It Fast" with us. I have two EZ Graders but rarely use them because my old eyes simply can't handle the small print. The color coding is genius! And, I must admit, I've been known to accidentally circle an answer only to realize too late that the answer was indeed correct. I will be using the "OK" cover up for sure! :)

    1. I circle lots of right answers by accident!

  4. are a genius- thank you for sharing your OK trick!

  5. Thanks for sharing your tips and tricks!

  6. Fantastic tips! Will definitely be using some of them to make me more efficient at grading.
    Thanks for sharing Katie :)

    Oh the Little Wonders

  7. Really great tips - I love the idea of having students line up in Grade Book order. So clever!

    Thanks for sharing your ideas!

    Miss Galvin Learns

    1. Stef- I am glad you like the idea! Make a poster though to save yourself stress.

  8. LOVE these ideas! I just ordered some smelly markers and plan on grading "on the spot" with my kiddos. What a great idea so that kiddos aren't doing the entire paper wrong! LOVE LOVE your blog! :)

  9. I also have to enter grades online, so I will go around the room with my iPad, and enter grades for students as I look at their work! Often times I can finish entering nearly all my grades for an assignment by the time the kids are finished! I usually do this for handwriting assignments and pair discussions (speaking and listening) - things that don't require me to see the finished paper before assigning a grade. I'll also use this system to check their daily journal entries for the last several days. When the kids turn everything in, I'll quickly check their work against what I've entered, but I rarely need to make any changes. This has saved me sooo much time.

    1. Deborah, this is BRILLIANT. Thank you for sharing!

  10. Thank you so much for the great ideas and the grade sheet. Love it!

  11. Thanks for sharing your tips. I found an app called Easy Grade where you can select the total number of problems then get percentages by number wrong or correct. Makes my life easy when I need to grade.

  12. Thanks for sharing your tips. I found an app called Easy Grade where you can select the total number of problems then get percentages by number wrong or correct. Makes my life easy when I need to grade.


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