I have a confession to make. I h... I ha... I HATE grading. I hate grading anything. Not that I don't believe in grading because I do. I just absolutely despise the task of spending my evenings, weekends, lunchtime, you name any other free time, grading papers. However, I have lately been on a checklist frenzy. I love checklists. When ever you've done a bunch of cutesy projects in class and realize you have no Social Studies or Science grades for all those projects you've done. You then realize, "UGH! Dummy, you should've made a checklist!" Much like a rubric, a checklist lists what your student should have included with his or her work. Well, like I said, I've been using checklists a lot lately. But then, it hit me "If I'm using checklists why not have THE KIDS grade their own projects?" I could literally see the beams from the light bulb above my head. I've now tested the kids on grading two of their own projects. The first, a story "poster" where they had to fill out elements of the story they read for the week and, the second, a Venn Diagram comparing themselves to either Tomochichi (chief of the Creeks in Savannah) or Mary Musgrove (interpreter for the Creeks and English in Savannah). The first looked something like this:

I had a mini-conference with each kid explaining why they were grading their papers and how when we recognize mistakes, we then become better about NOT making those mistakes again. I had a few that tried to be sneaky and try to change their answers, but come on, how long have I been at this teaching thing now? Yeah... The second attempt which much better:

(Yes, there's a typo, but ignore it)

This checklist was stapled to the corner of their work and then passed back out to them today. Since they had a little practice with the Story Poster, they were really able to do this one more independently. Basically, they amazed me. They were so brutally honest with their critiquing. I saw several kids smacking their foreheads realizing what they forgot to do or smiling because they saw how much they did do correctly.
Now, what I need to work on is showing them the checklist as we do our projects. Since I have a projector in my room, I can just put the checklist on the board as we do work and they can check it as they go.
So, as much as I hate grading, I do love trying ideas, making things easier, and teaching my babies that mistakes aren't a bad thing, but something to learn from.