Friday, May 16, 2014

Paperless Rubrics With Skitch

The commitment to go paperless this year has been both exciting and challenging. Surprisingly enough, one of the toughest things to move into the paperless realm has been the department rubric. At our school, and in our state, there is an emphasis on measuring consistency from teacher to teacher and class to class with district determined measures. This means we:
  • choose a common assessment that measures content or skills that we feel are essential for our students;
  • design the assessment and the evaluation collaboratively as a group of educators;
  • read, compare and contrast student work together; and 
  • calibrate our evaluation of student work.
For us, this meant working with document based questions (DBQs).  So how do I take a rubric that was designed for classrooms that use paper and adjust it to a paperless classroom?  Well, here are the steps:

Step 1: Screenshot

On every laptop keyboard there is a 'PrntScrn' button. Locate it. It is your friend. I use mine all the time to create instructions and tutorials for my students.  The first step to paperless rubric is to pull it up so it fills your laptop screen and then screenshot it.

Print Screen buttons from 3 different teacher computers in my hallway.


Don't be alarmed if it looks like nothing is happening when you hit the 'PrntScrn' button, your computer has saved the image of what appears on your screen at that moment on your clipboard.

Step 2: Crop and Clean

I use the Paint program that is build into every Windows machine.  Open Paint and then hit the 'Paste' button. The image of your laptop screen will appear in the Paint window.

Screenshot of  rubric on laptop screen pasted into Paint.


Click the 'Select' button and then draw a clean box around just your rubric. You can keep the toolbars, tabs, and other items that surrounded your rubric outside of the box.

Click 'Crop' to create your clean rubric.

.jpg of rubric after it has been cropped in Paint and saved.


Save your image in whatever format you like. I prefer .jpg.

Good news! The hard part is over!


Step 3: Skitch It

If you haven't already downloaded Skitch, click here and do it. It's free and once you've tried it out you'll be hooked.

Open Skitch. Click 'Skitch' from the top left of the toolbar. Click 'Open' from the dropdown menu.  Then select the .jpg of the rubric you've just created. It will appear in the Skitch window.  You will do this each time you need a new rubric.

Rubric in Skitch.

Next, watch this 3 minute screencast that shows you how to fill out your rubric.


Step 4: Share It

Saving and sharing is the BEST part of paperless rubrics with Skitch.
  • Effortless saving.  Completed rubrics are saved and catalogued on your computer/school network drive. No more lost paperwork!
  • Sync with Evernote. If you use Evernote, the images will sync and can be saved and sorted there. (They do say "Remember Everything" over there at Evernote, don't they?)
  • Easy to email to students instantly. Here is an example of a rubric I filled out during a student group presentation last week. I emailed the students who presented, and seconds after leaving the front of the classroom they had detailed teacher feedback.
Rubric completed with Skitch during live student presentation.

  • Records of student growth. If you use the same rubrics to grade similar work (i.e. one rubric for all DBQs throughout the school year) you will have digital records of their score along with all of the detailed feedback you provided on the rubrics.
If you have a tablet, Skitch is available as an app download. I use it often on the fly during class on my iPad. My students also use it to edit graphs, art, and graphic organizers in class.
Tracking student scores and progress paperlessly has made my life MUCH simpler. Hopefully this inspired you to give it a try.