Meaningful Feedback

Right now my challenge is getting work graded and back in student's hands quick enough for it to mean something to them. In theory, when students take a test or turn in work they should have it back within 24 hours so that they can see where there are gaps in their learning and then we can work together to fill those gaps.
But I have a life.
I bring home projects and they sit all weekend, untouched. I have a new home, an unfinished kitchen, limited time with my husband, and the weekends go by so quickly. And the time SHOULD be mine- but if I try to fit all my grading, planning, teaching, etc into my actual work day it just simply won't all get done. It is my professional responsibility to get these things done. So something needs to come home with me. Or I need to stay at school late (very late). And just when the grades are all caught up, the next project will get turned in, or the next test will happen, and we're right back to where we started.
But there is hope, I'm learning how to design assignments that are easier to grade. I'm learning to put some of the responsibility in the hands of the students. This year I have only 100 students instead of 120. I can get through it. But, as I sit here, looking at that pile of projects and looking out the window at the beautiful October sun I have trouble getting motivated to lock myself away with the projects for the next five hours.

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