Saturday, March 1, 2008

Rubrics- Response to Literature

Teachers develop rubrics for each genre of writing with their students to help them understand the expectations of the genre in kid-friendly language. They want students to be able to critique their own work - to know when good is good enough. Most Chets Creek kindergarten teachers are working on their second class-generated rubric this year with their kindergarten class having completed a narrative rubric after the winter holiday. Now during Writers' Workshop most are creating rubrics with their class in this second genre, response to literature, while they are teaching an Author Study of Eric Carle in the Readers' Workshop.

Teachers are guided in this genre unit of "Response to Literature" by Using Rubrics to Improve Student Writing, Kindergarten (shown above). This book breaks down the standards into a 3-point rubric for kindergarten teachers that includes Orientation and Context (a title and introduction), Comprehension, Interpretation, and Evaluation of Literature (the "gist of the story and a reflection or opinion), Evidence (a retelling) and Closure (an ending). A piece might also include a few strategies such as comparing or contrasting the book to another book by the same author. This gives the teacher the basics of what to teach and from this she can lead her class into writing its own rubrics in its own language. The rubric is written one line at a time as the class finishes mini-lessons about that particular element. For instance after the teacher has talked about the opening of the response to literature which might include writing a title or maybe a first sentence to introduce the topic and author, she will help the class fill in a rubric of what a 3-point paper might look like, what a 2-point paper might look like, and finally, what a 1-point paper might look like for that element. Some teachers prefer to use pictures instead of numbers at the top of the rubric that go along with the Author Study such as caterpillar, cocoon, butterfly or grouchy ladybug, okay lady bug and happy ladybug. After the rubric has been written students will practice writing openings and then with the help of a partner, the class or the teacher will figure out where they are on the rubric for that element and how they can move over to the next step. The teacher will use student papers as examples during mini-lessons to help students practice. Seems like a lot for kindergartners, doesn't it? That's actually what we thought when we first started out, but what we've learned is that with careful, thoughtful scaffolding, kindergartners do this kind of response easily. All through this response to literature genre study, you will see kindergartners walking up to the rubric at the front of the room with their work and comparing what the rubric says to their piece of work.

This is the beginning of the revision process!

1 comment:

Suzanne said...

I am amazed at the depth of writing work your kindergarteners are doing in response to literature. I can certainly see how this rubric guides students in their writing and allows them to self-assess. Kudos to you.