Sometimes as a teacher, we forget that parents are not as well versed on how classrooms, assessments, teaching and learning have changed since they were in school as students themselves. I had a great little conversation with one mom during student-led conferences. She admitted that with three children at school and three binders coming home that covered Grades One to Six, she wasn't really sure what to look for! I thought I would give everyone a little idea....
First, we have been asked to include ALL the sheets used in the writing process when a writing sample is added to the Evidence of Learning binder. The idea is to see how the child fared throughout the entire process, and not just see the final polished (and edited) version. So in this package, the first page would be the vocabulary that we brainstormed together as a class that would be used in writing the directions, followed by some jot notes (written after some visualization and discussion).
Those jot notes are then used as a 'plan' and the student writes a rough draft. This rough draft is then either self edited, peer edited or teacher edited. Often the students are asked to help a peer, because this is less worrisome to them, then having the teacher tell them what needs to be fixed.
The final step is to create a final draft, which should be free of errors. Often, at this age level, the students are only just learning how to reread their work to check for errors, but it is something that is emphasized. I will be using a rubric to assess this writing. Some rubrics are written is very kid-friendly language, and then I would ask the student to self assess. Some rubrics are more adult language orientated and then I would most likely use a highlighter to outline my assessment. Research tells us that marks (whether they be letter grades or percentages) are less likely to help students improve. Instead, research tells us that written feedback with specific areas to improve or to continue to work towards, will make a difference in the student's continued journey to success.
What should you look for? You need to take all those pages out of the plastic sleeve, look them over, read the comments and rubrics and recognize areas that your child is improving in as well as what areas still need to be worked on.
Look what I walked into right after lunch on Friday. I think they like me!!