prompt scoring.

First day back . . . and I had the pleasure of working with all of the 4th & 5th grade teachers in our corporation to SCORE WRITING PROMPTS! (Does the emphasis of the capital letters make it sound all glamorous & fun?)  Here’s a few things on my mind after a day of scoring hundreds of prompts:

  1. It’s good professional development to sit alongside other educators and assess student writing.  I feel as though I’m a stronger teacher now than I was at the beginning of the day.  I think we should find the time more often to assess together.  We would become more effective.
  2. It’s tough to assess writing.  I often found the score reflecting the student’s ability to follow directions rather than his/her ability to write well.
  3. Honestly, what is the difference between an adequate command of the English language and a minimal command?  I know it in my gut, but find it difficult to explain.  The only way I know how to show the difference is through exemplar papers.
  4. Our writing workshops should reflect products that show time and reflective practice through the writing process, as well as products that are created on demand.  It is necessary that our students learn both skills as writers.

This last idea is the one that is going to stick with me for awhile.  It seems that many teachers lean heavily on one OR the other.  Either lots of time is given for students to revise and edit and reflect on their final product OR students always produce writing in a time frame designated by the teacher.  Again, I find myself back to the concept balance.  A topic, which has been too far gone from my posts lately.

During these last weeks of the school year, may we seek after balance.  May we demand it of ourselves and our teaching.  It is through the balance of our practices that the best writing instruction will ensue.