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 work collaboratively.
Writing has become a more “urgent” focus in many schools due to the College and Career Ready K-12 Anchor Standards listed here:
What about instruction?
There are specific grade level standards that further illuminate the expectations for the end of the grade for each of the 13 years that students are in school. Materials can be found for both instruction and assessment at all grade levels. As a critical consumer, you can sift through those resources to find the ones that provide authentic writing opportunities for ALL students and a plethora of evidence of student growth.
What about assessment?
Checklists with a variety of “levels” describing writing for students can be found here. Are the checklists aligned with the Common Core writing standards outlined above? Do you have different standards that need to be aligned? Districts using standards-based reporting systems also have several variations of checklists or rubrics designed to measure “growth”. Can you tell if a student is “making progress” from this checklist?
. . . Student Role in Assessment?
However, a system of measurement would be remiss if it did not provide student self-assessment of writing progress. That progress can be captured in the children’s own words as in Dana Murphy’s blog here: “What Do You Know About Being a Writer?” The words of kindergartners remind us that reflection on learning needs to begin early – In kindergarten!
Are all students developmentally ready for writing when they enter kindergarten? There are many levels that can be “named” for early writing stages. Waiting for “readiness” is not the answer. Lack of quality writing experiences prior to school is also not an acceptable excuse.
Building a need for writing is critical from the first day of kindergarten. How and when can and should the student be writing? The end goal for the kindergarten year is “writing” and will require both instruction and practice each and every day of school. However, quality writing instruction can and should accelerate student writing because kindergartners are encouraged to “draw and write” all year long.
Will EVERY student go through every stage?
Perhaps not. Maybe splitting out so many stages really just slows down the learning for students.
Will it be hard work?
Will it require change?
Do kindergarten writers deserve quality instructional opportunities that engage them in authentic learning?
Consider this: “Revision may seem like something older kids do, but really kindergartners revise in the block center so why not in writing?” -Lucy Calkins (TCRWP Saturday Reunion, 10.18.2014) Check your beliefs at the door. Open your eyes and mind to the standards to see which ones are “Mission Possible” for kindergartners.
Are teacher beliefs holding students back?
Is growth about counting the levels or writers who who read, talk, and do the real work of writing EVERY day?
Once students are sure that they have stories to share, they will be able to write those stories! Once writers are TAUGHT at all grade levels, writing quality will improve. No more assigning writing. No more teaching writing.