Our Second Post this week, is a follow up to some of the work we started to read in class. Last Thursday, we read and started (barely) to respond to a reading journal on Mixed Blood Stew. For this post, please read and respond to the remaining reading journals included in your packet.
When I assess student writing I think about the following:
1. What did I ask them to do in the assignment? Too often, teachers assess on a different set of standards than the ones they told students they would be evaluated on. This is patently unfair. We need to assess students on clearly states outcomes that the students know about well before they turn in that assignment.
2. The second thing I think about is what will the student do with my feedback? Is the student going to put it in a folder and never look at it again--that's a pretty good argument for a heart emoji and a hastily written "nice work." Not every piece of writing has to be evaluated by a teacher; it need only be valued by a teacher. Is the student going to expand or revise that piece of writing? If so, than my assessment should be directed toward that goal by outlining achievable revision goals for that student. Is the student going to have multiple chances at revision? If so, I need to pace my feedback so that the student gets the right kind of revision advice at the right moment. Is this the kind of thing, like a reading journal, where the student is going to end up doing a lot of during the school year and my feedback can help them improve over time? If so, then I might consider pacing my assessments differently to build skills as the writer is ready to work on them.
3. How much time do I have to get this feedback to the student? This has two parts to it. Very literally, how much time do I have and what can I do to maximize my feedback. Maybe a conference is a better idea for getting feedback to a student. Maybe an overall response to the entire class. Maybe it needs to be a very detailed letter. Part of this equation is how much time I'm giving students for turn around time. If they have a lot of time, I can ask for me. If they only have a short turn around time, I need to temper what I ask of them.
I'm sharing this with you because I think it's easy to believe that we read and respond to all student writing in the same way. That's really not the case--nor should it be.
A few things to keep in mind as you read and respond to these reading journals. . .
1) You will recall that, after doing the math, it's nearly impossible to take five minutes per two page piece of writing if you are going to have 120 students to manage in a school year. And yet, as I said, the way students learn to write is not by our correcting their writing, it's by having students actually write--and write a lot and write often. We need to ask our students to do a lot of low-stakes writing--reading journals are low-stakes writing. Thus, honor system in effect, try to only spend about two minutes per reading journal as you read and respond.
2) Make sure you re-familiarize yourself with the assignment. Click here to read the assignment these journals are written in response too.
3) Think about what our readings for the week suggest about how to help our students be better writers.
In your post, identify how you would assess these student samples. You don't need to comment on Taylor's since we already did that in class. Include wether it is acceptable or unacceptable and what you would say to a student in a comment or comments. You can add a comment about how you might mark the actual paper since we won't actually be able to see them. I am going to try to scan my own comments so you can see them on the actual paper.