Rate Your Writing

I found this awesome set of posters to use with my kids so they can SEE what good writing looks like and learn to self assess their own writing independent of me.


You can get your own set at Sugar and Spice! Wasn’t she so nice to make these for everyone? ๐Ÿ™‚

Has anyone else used something like this in their classroom? How did you implement it with the kids? Was it effective?

Mechanics of Writing

Do your students struggle with the mechanics of writing? Even the basics?

Yeah, mine do, too.

So this post is all about THE GOOD, THE BAD, AND THE UGLY.

THE GOOD: We have written more this year than any other year.

THE BAD: The majority of my students are still making simple mistakes.

THE UGLY: In a ONE paragraph summary last week that they submitted to me electronically, ALL of them had to make corrections, and 15 out of 16 had to make corrections THREE times, and THEN some STILL had mistakes.

We are talking about capitalization errors, simple punctuation errors, leaving words out, using the wrong word, and spelling mistakes with simple words.


To be honest, today I almost cried.

I wanted to GIVE UP.

Are they not embarrassed? Do they not care?

But then as I was researching (yeah, I guess you figured out I didn’t give up), and reading, and tweeting, and getting some good feedback from other teachers, I realized something:

Through their writing, they are really telling me that however I have been teaching editing has not worked.

I, the teacher, have got to make some adjustments. Some serious adjustments. And quickly.

So instead of going with my original plan this week for english/writing, I’m gonna modify it a little.

Tomorrow we are going to learn how to do an “Express Lane Edit”. You can read about this concept by Jeff Anderson HEREย in a Voices in the Middle article that he wrote.

Tomorrow we’re going SHOPPING. For some errors. OR some good writing mechanics.

We are going to CHECK THEM OUT.

And of course we are going to write a RECEIPT for the ones we find.

Then somehow in this overwhelming curriculum, and in our stretched to the max schedule, we ARE GOING to become editors of our own writing. And we are going to get good at it. ๐Ÿ™‚



History Essay Rubric

As some of you may know by now, this is the 1st year I’ve really tried to teach writing. And I know I’m still not doing it like I should be. But I’m doing better than if I weren’t teaching it at all! ๐Ÿ™‚

I’m also trying to have my kids write in all areas(ok,math is getting the shaft…).

I decided to bite the bullet and teach the essay format. So we write one together before I asked them to write one in history. Then after they wrote one in immigration and labor unions, we made a rubric together. Yes, I think we should have done the rubric BEFORE writing the essay. Lesson learned. ๐Ÿ™‚

BUT- I did let them revise anything they wanted to using the rubric.

Here’s the rubric we created together:


I know. I need to take a class on how to write on a dry erase board!

I’m thinking maybe we need to create a rubric together before each type of writing we attempt. What do you think??

Do you use rubrics? Do you teach essay writing?

Do you teach writing?

Writing Prompts

I’ve never had my 6th graders respond to a writing prompt. GASP!

I mean, yes, they have answered questions about a text, etc., but never just an open ended writing prompt.

I’m taking an online class about teaching middle school writing, and writing prompts were our lesson for last week. We had to read an article about them and then create one.

Here’s mine:

Emotions and feelings are a daily part of our lives. They ย include happiness, sadness, anger, embarrassment, and many others. We may feel one or many throughout our lives. Some emotions stay with us for a short period of time, while others have a bigger impact on us and tend to stay with us longer.

Think of an emotion that you have felt in your life. Did it stay with you for a short or long period of time? What caused it?ย 

Write about this emotion in a way that your reader will truly understand how you felt and why you felt this way. Your writing should be ABOUT a page long.

This is the first writing prompt I’ve ever written. What do you think? Do you use writing prompts?

I’m going to have my kids respond to it this Friday as their English assessment. We will see how it goes.

I’m telling you that writing is HARD to teach!

Well, so is math. And reading. Hmm… ๐Ÿ™‚