The Mentee Minute

September 29, 2014, Volume Four

The Mentee Minute

Welcome GaVS faculty to the fourth edition of The Mentee Minute!

This month The Mentee Minute examines Grading and Feedback within the online classroom, and a number of "best practices" appear throughout the resource. The minute also includes a discussion of the GaVS Observation Rubric and a tutorial on accessing feedback and comments within Eduphoria.

Additionally, Yolanda Nigrelli, GaVS World Language Instructor and Mentor, shares strategies and tips for using "Release Conditions" effectively and accurately in GaVS courses.

Finally, the edition offers all faculty a number of videos and readings that align with the integral role of evaluating student work efficiently, while also incorporating authentic, personalized feedback.

Read, share, enjoy, and reflect!

Grit, grit, and more grit

Release Conditions

What is a conditional Release?

Yolanda Nigrelli, GaVS World Language Instructor and Mentor, created a Word document that defines the conditional release and examines the use of release conditions in the online classroom.

Check this out:

Questions? Email Yolanda directly at

Understanding the QAS Observation Comments in Eduphoria

A Closer Look: The Observation Rubric at Georgia Virtual School

The GaVS observation instrument is intended to identify the best practices of online instruction and to provide meaningful feedback to Georgia Virtual Learning teachers. The primary purpose of this tool is to continuously improve instruction and ultimately student achievement.

The rubric highlights seven distinct categories, and each category is rated on a four point scale.


  • Grading
  • Policy
  • Communication
  • Homepages
  • Discussions
  • Data Analysis
  • Differentiation


Exceptional - Exceeds Expectations: Teachers that display the skills and effort necessary for this rating are considered experts in the category. Their work is exceptional and should be shared in professional development opportunities. Generally, only one aspect of exceptional needs to be met for this distinction. All indicators for the meets category has to be met as well.

Mastery - Meets Expectations: The standards for quality instruction at the Georgia Virtual Learning are set very high. Our program is nationally recognized for the breadth and depth of our courses. Teachers that meet the expectations are by default among the best teachers in the state and at the forefront of online education in the nation.

Attention Needed - Below Expectations: An observation that identifies a category below expectations is an alert to modify or rectify the skills or activity to meet the expectations. This rating may also indicate that professional development is necessary in this field.

Does not meet: A rating at this level signals that the instructor has not followed required procedures and must document how they met expectations immediately.

Link to Observation Rubric:

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The Mentee Minute examines best practices for evaluating student work . . . Grading!

Kelly Gardner's Grading Tips for Evaluating Large Projects

As an English teacher, I often find myself swamped with a variety of assignments to grade, including essays, projects, quizzes, and discussions. This can get overwhelming at times, but I find that making a plan helps the best. For instance, I may take one particular assignment and work on that first, knocking the big essay out of the way. Other times, I might work on quizzes and providing quality feedback on those. Sometimes trying to go back and forth from each kind of submission is taxing, so I "chunk it". It also helps to prioritize the grading.

Grading things that are the oldest first, and then working my way toward the newer items. This ensures that students receive feedback in a timely manner, as well as adheres to the 72-hour grading policy. Rubrics...rubrics are a huge help! GaVS has standard rubrics for formal essays and discussions. These definitely help when grading. If you have assignments that could benefit from a rubric, consider making one and showing it to your DC. Having rubric not only makes grading easier, but creates an atmosphere for consistent grading as well. Rubrics can be attached in the dropbox or included in the learning management system.

I would encourage new teachers to find what works best for your current situation. Does it help more to have a grading time, or a grading strategy? Perhaps grading all you can in two hours is more effective than grading only dropboxes for two hours. Find what helps you! Don't hesitate to contact your DC or your mentor for ideas and help.

Evaluating Student Work - Strategies and Tips from World Languages and Joyce Bearden

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Feedback, Oh Feedback

Do you stamp?

Using Twitter in the Online Classroom

Check out the introductory Adobe Connect session for helpful instructions on creating a Twitter account. Then, check out the Teacher Bulletin Board in Desire2Learn/Brightspace for the feed from the #GaVSTWEETUP 2014!

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Habits of an Effective Teacher? Do tell!

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Tip of the Issue!

Providing authentic, personalized feedback can be overwhelming in the online classroom.

However, GradeMark, a feature within, offers instructors a method of relaying comments on written composition in a succinct, efficient manner, which can be archived for continued review.

Furthermore, the resource provides instructors with additional time to integrate specific, individualized feedback related to classroom projects.

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