It’s the end of January, the temperature is in the 50’s and it’s also the week of annual district-wide writing assessments. I.AM.SO.EXCITED! This is the week that we celebrate student writing as we score 3rd grade narratives, 8th grade persuasive/argument letters in social studies, and 10th grade persuasive/argument letters to legislators.
I wrote about this last year in a post titled, “Orchestrating Writing Assessments“. Check out the link for the details. It’s an amazing week of learning.
One of the sections of the 1.25 hours of professional development that start the day is about the writing process. I could go on and on and on and on about the writing process and its importance to students and teachers, but I won’t. Instead I am directing you to an amazing blog post by Jan Burkins and Kim Yaris, “What the Writing Process Really Looks Like“. The squiggly diagram of the “real” process is so intriguing that I’m keeping track of my process and will report on that soon (in another post – I believe I need more than ONE data point before reporting – LOL).
A second related post is, “How do we know that students are making progress in writing?” as well as this one, “Do I have to teach writing?” You can also search in the box at the top right to locate additional posts about writing assessment and instruction because, of course, quality instruction would be aligned with quality assessment. This week Two Writing Teachers have a series titled, “Aim Higher”. and it is filled with promise!
Dana opened the series today with a post titled, “Aim Higher: Setting goals for editing” where she effectively describes the individualized editing checklists that she used with 5th grade students! For Throwback week, Betsy chose another of Tara’s posts, “Student Self-Assessment: Introducing the Writing Checklist” and I would be remiss if I didn’t also mention, “Work Smarter: Use Student Checklists Throughout a Unit of Study . . . and Beyond“. You will be inspired to take action after checking out these masterful resources because assessments should not just be summative in nature!
And from the west coast Julieanne wrote about student responses to assessments in “Celebrate: The Power of Assessments, Part 2”, She built on Melanie’s ideas for cutting up rubrics in order to make them more “student friendly” as well as to challenge students to reach for higher levels!
One final thought on assessment: What is the information that you will gain from the assessment that you are planning? Clare and Tammy at Teachers for Teachers have this thought-provoking post, “Redefining Assessment” as they use Lucy Calkins definition “Assessment is the thinking teacher’s mind work.” (Because we should know so much more about these students beyond the score on a test!) What do we know that guides our instruction?
Is writing a priority in your district?
How would an “observer” know?
How have you added to your knowledge of assessments and their use?
Tuesday is the day to share a “Slice of Life” with Two Writing Teachers. Check out the writers, readers and teachers here. Thanks to Stacey, Anna, Beth, Tara, Dana and Betsy for creating a place for us to share our work.