I hope everyone is enjoying their Sunday.
I know many of you are already on your Thanksgiving break. Hooray for you!!
We have a two day school week this week.
So my class will be wrapping up our study on the Pilgrims.
I'm a little behind with all of this ( I spent too much time on our government unit.) My dear third graders will be reading several different Pilgrim books and acting out a Pilgrim play during our language arts time while learning more about the Mayflower Compact during social studies time.
We are also going to do a Writing Gallery walk with the informative essays my students have been working diligently on. I found the writing gallery walk idea from Amber at Adventures of a Third Grade Teacher. I have been doing writer's workshop with my 3rd graders this year and LOVE it. They seem to enjoy writing and take great pride in their student writing binders. My students just finished publishing their 3 paragraph informative essay on Thanksgiving traditions in America. Since we are not having a feast this year, my students have created Pilgrim and Native American hats to wear as they walk through the writing gallery. They will have refreshments of popcorn and apple juice. I thought this would be fitting since the essays for the gallery walk are on Thanksgiving traditions.
This will be the first essay that I am grading. My students have written 3 others so far this year, but this is the first I will grade. The other essays are part of the writing portfolio.
Which leads me to the question, "How do you grade/assess your student's pieces of writing?"
In the past I have always used a rubric I created, but I wanted to give my students more ownership in their learning and writing. Before my students ever revised and wrote their final copy of their piece of writing, we held a class discussion about they learned with informative writing and key things needed when writing an informative essay. Then I asked them to think about what I should be looking for and assessing them on when I look at their pieces of writing. I was so impressed with their suggestions. Below is the rubric that my students helped me create. It's very basic, but simple to use and serves the purpose at this point in the school year. I also included the Common Core Standards this particular writing activity covered on the upper left hand side of the page.
You can download this rubric from Google docs by clicking on the picture above.
Another thing I have been trying to do more with my students is incorporate the grammar aspect of ELA into their writing rather than it being separate. We just finished up a short study of nouns, and I wanted my third graders to transition from finding nouns in a station activity or worksheet to finding the nouns that they create in their own writing or a book they are reading. Sounds easy, but it seems to be such a difficult transition for some of my 3rd graders to make. I created a short activity called " I Spy" that students can use with any paragraph from their reader response journal, writing journal, or any other piece of writing. I've also seen highlighters used with this kind of activity, but my students don't have all the needed highlighters so I chose to have my students underline, circle, and etc. Here's a peek at something I use with my students:
You can download this activity from Google Docs by clicking on the picture above.
I would love to hear how you assess student writing. Does your district require you to keep portfolios of student work? How do you incorporate concepts such as nouns, verbs, and adjectives into writing and writer's workshop?
For those of you on your break, I hope you are finding time to relax. Don't work too hard!
For the rest of you, enjoy your shortened school week.