Sunday, September 2, 2012

Reviewing Student Work

I brought my writing folders home over the long Labor Day weekend -  all 35 folders! - so I could analyze student writing and get a good idea of how much of the teaching I have been doing is getting through.  I also want to try to learn each author as a writer.  As I go through each folder I have been writing and printing notes on labels to post in our Writer's Notebook under each child's name.  This is an example of one child's note:

Name      9/1/12       Pattern Books 
+good spacing with sight words spelled correctly and phonetic spelling of unknown words
+good fluency
+has started "Have you seen my mom?..." pattern book

-work on finishing pattern and creating a "changed up" ending
-add question mark to "Have you seen my mom?" and capital after the question mark

These notes are a little more thoughtful and longer than I am usually able to write after a conference because we always have a number of children waiting for a conference and the time seems so short... so my jots during the Writers' Workshop are quicker and more to the point.  I do like the + (plus) to indicate noticings and things they already do well and the - (minus) to indicate next things to work on.  Because we have more than one teacher using our Writers' Notebook, we generally write our notes on sticky notes during the Workshop and add them at the end of the day under each child's name.  When you have more than one teacher involved, it is extremely important to make sure you know what the other teacher(s) may have talked to the student about the last time they had a conference so it's important to review the notes before each conference.  The Writer's Notebook becomes our way of detailing the progress of each learner.

I learned so much about these writers... As I was reading the pattern books I came across one student's pattern book that broke my heart.

My Dad does not have a job.
My mom does not have a job.
My brother does not have a job.
I do not have a job.
My uncle does not have a job.
Does anyone have a job?

The pattern is perfect.  The message... heartbreaking.

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