I’ve been on a journey this fall to think about ways to move students toward increasing writing independence. We know mentor texts benefit writers of all ages. We know that isolating the moves writers make helps newer, less-experienced writers demystify the writing process and take their own work to new heights. But we also want […]
I’ve never spoken to a group of teachers about writing workshop where someone didn’t pose the question, “Wait — but how do you grade this?” Here’s what I always say: I can share how I think about assessing students’ writing, but I can’t tell you how to “grade” it. First of all, as it’s well […]
When Allison and Rebekah asked me to begin a new year of blogging by considering the first thing I would want the writers I teach to understand, this post nearly began writing itself. You see, I’ve spent this summer learning more about the power and practice of pedagogical documentation, and this has inspired some unexpected shifts […]
A challenging, fun, and engaging activity using Hamilton as a mentor text for character and theme analysis.
This year, I quit grading almost entirely. While I still give quarterly grades (because my students have to have them!), I do not grade individual assignments. I’ve given up traditional grading for many reasons that I explain in my first post on this topic, but the biggest of the reasons is this: I don’t think […]
Grades — good or bad — tend to make us do unproductive things. Each September, when I assess my students’ first piece of writing, processed and polished, leave feedback, and return it to them, one of two things happens: students who did well give a great sigh of relief and check English class off of […]
Teaching writing is not for the faint-hearted. Assessing writing is even less so. For years, I have struggled in vain to find the perfect system — “objective” one-size-fits-all trait-based rubrics, rubrics I have created, rubrics my students have created. None ever seems to accurately measure what I see in a student’s writing. And while I […]
Lucy Calkins’ wisdom about teaching the writer (and not the writing) continues to reverberate decades after the publication of her book The Art of Teaching Writing. Yet many of us do not teach in a way that promotes writers. I know because I was one of them. In the past, I taught writing one composition […]