My first tip, and I think one of the most important, is how to keep your grading organized. Over the last few years I've worked out many kinks and think I have found a great system. Try it out and see how it works for you; not everything works for everyone, but maybe you'll glean an idea or two that would fit into your teaching style.
I keep a tray for each period, and put all the work that needs to be grades in that tray. Then once I grade it, I enter the scores in the gradebook, and put the work in the corresponding period's gradebook folder in my grading binder. Any work that is ready to be handed back is in that folder and I know it's graded. I've also recently been making piles on my TA's desk with labels- "Pass Back P.1" or "Pass Back P.4" etc.
Yup, I still need to grade period 4's assignments from today. I'll do that before school tomorrow :)
Step Two: I've always been a believer in having a paper copy of grades, and then input them into the computer grading system-you never know when the system will shut down or something. Some people enter grades and then every now and then print them out for back up...but what if it shuts down before you've had a chance to back up again?! I don't trust it :/
I use an exel spreadsheet [idea from my master teacher] to keep track of names and grades. Our new computer system does however, allow us to print blank grade sheets that have customizable columns! So I create a sheet that has the names in alphabetical order down the left, just like when imputing the grades into the system, that way there's no confusion. I then create 10 additional columns to the right of the names to write the assignments in. I write the date the assignment was due below all the columns.
I enter grades everyday after school so that their gradebook view is always up to date and they always know what they're missing. But if you don't have time for that, or only enter grades once a week or something, this next trick is for you. Once I've entered a grade into the system, I highlight the assignment in different colors; if it's not highlighted, I haven't entered it into the online gradebook yet. Here are the different colors:
ORANGE- writing assignments
YELLOW- in-class work or projects
I weight my grades by these four categories, hence highlighting in four different colors. If a student turns in late work, I put the new grade in the appropriate column, and then circle it so it catches my eye when entering grades. See below:
You'll notice too that I put an 'A' if they were absent and a 0 if they just didn't do it.
My policy is that if they have an excused absence, they can have an extra day to turn in an assignment without penalty. However, if they just didn't turn in an assignment, they receive a zero until they turn it in for late credit.
Hopefully this post gives you some great ideas for organizing your grading system, or just reinforces that yours is awesome!!