About 8 years ago, I blogged about my “Stamp Sheets.” In fact, it was “Idea 45” on Creative Language Class. This was one of the first steps that helped me to shift to proficiency-based instruction. Today I’d like to tell you why I still love them and how they have changed over the years. Just like a real love story, right?! ❤️
Another advantage was that students could add their own objectives. Sometimes there were students that were at a higher level than the majority of the class (aka the native speaker put in level 1) or someone that was a little behind. Overall this was great for differentiation, plus I didn’t have to worry about filling all the blanks.
So here’s where the stamps come in… after a lesson, if they can do the objective at their proficiency goal, then I stamp or sign the box. If they can’t do it, I tell them to go practice more and come back later.
This also helped to get more speaking checks, instead of always being written. It was easy to stamp the sheet right, then collect later. If it was written and turned in, then I just recorded it in my grade book the traditional way.
Could they cheat? Yep. However I saw few students cheating because they knew they would have to know it at the end when I assessed their summative assessments and this was a low-pressure formative check.
Reason 1: This helped me to lesson plan and remember to give plenty of input.
Reason 2: Sometimes I’d ask them to find their own resource during class. For example: First I would show them a resource and do something with it. Next they would go find one and do the same thing. Then I’d stamp the resource box showing they had completed that task. It helped with the accountability factor.
How can I get to everyone everyday?
The answer is it’s tough and I don’t recommend that you try to get to everyone, every day. When I tried to do that at first, it caused a lot of downtime while I was checking. And downtime meant behavior problems.
Suggestion 1: Call up 5 or so students a day and check only them.
Suggestion 2: Let them check themselves (like the signing off listed above).
Suggestion 3: Cut up the objectives that you’ve done so far and put in a bucket. At the end of the week, pull two or three of them out for them to answer and turn in. This is a good review center/station too.
Suggestion 4: Set up centers/stations at the end of the week and sit at one of them. There you can quickly check and stamp them off.
I usually had them staple their stamp sheet to their summative assessment after they completed it. Then I had a “packet” to put all grades in at once (I also collected their “Real World Homework“). This was a process for me so let me show you how I progressed.
Step 1: Count up how many they had stamped out of how many possible. That went in the grade book as points. Remember that I didn’t count every objective on there, just the ones that I stamped.
Step 2: Same as Step 1, except it was in a separate category called “progress/classwork” where it was weighted pretty low, like 5% of overall grade.
Step 3: Same as Step 2, except it was weighted as 0%. Now it was only used as data/evidence to support why someone was earning a certain grade. Mainly, I noticed that if a student had a low amount of stamps, they were not doing well on the assessment. This was my preferred way, especially when I was at a standards-based school.
Well, now you know a little more about why I still love my Stamp Sheets. The original post has some great dialogue in the comments from other teachers if you want to check that out.
Other Creative Language Class Posts with Stamp Sheet Examples
Kara- I am glad to know that you still use them. I stole the idea from you years ago. Since my department still has our curriculum loosely based on a textbook, I created units and stamp cards for every chapter in the first 2 levels of the textbook. I use them constantly, mostly with the Spanish 1s. I hope to one day create them to go with my TPRS novel units but time is always a factor. I love the idea of having them find their own authentic resource.
Thank ya! Here’s a tip I didn’t mention: When I was doing a unit for the first time, I’d give them a blank one. They would copy the objective off the board each day onto their blank sheets. That gave me a little more freedom to modify as I was creating. It wasn’t my preferred way, but worked. Time is precious when we are redesigning and creating!