On Thursday of this past week I asked my 8th graders to reflect back on their writing they have done this year. Earlier in the week as I was developing my lesson plans I began to really think about the writing we have done this past year. As I do every other year, I began to feel guilty because I was thinking I didn’t assign enough writing for them to do throughout the year. So, when I described the reflection assignment for my students, we composed a list on the board. If I was thinking about it, I would have taken a picture of the list and just posted the picture, but instead I will have to compose the list again here. Below you will see all of the writing I have done this year with my 8th graders.
1. This I believe Essay – Posted to our classroom wiki.
3. 25 word story
4. Sentence in a day
5. Compare/Contrast Essay between characters in The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton
6. Glog or Book Cube for Christmas break book (See previous post I have written).
7.Celly writing – writing journal prompts and collaboration with cell phones
8. Journal Writing on various topics every day
9. Extended journal writings – Students went back through previous journal writings and found ways to make them more detailed and better.
10. 50 word stories
11. Paper Tweets – a two day lesson on Twitter and tweeting.
12. Biographies – Posted to our classroom wiki.
13. 8th Grade Reflection writing
14. Police Reports – Modeled after George Hillocks Argumentative Writing Book
15. Musical Chair Writing – Post a comment or send me an email if you want information about this activity.
16. Article of the Week – (Title does not reflect the fact I didn’t do this every week)
17. Science Fiction Stories
18. Ticket out the door writing responses.
Now for the sake of time and not boring my few readers, I will just say there are a few more writing activities that I have not posted. When I reflect back on the amount of writing my students did this year, I have nothing to feel guilty about. My students definitely did more writing than I did grading. Kelly Gallagher argues this in his books. We as teachers do not need to be grading everything our students do. There were many occasions my students turned in writing and it was graded on a formative scale rather than be a summative grade. What I really noticed is how much digital writing my students have done this year. My students wrote on Glogster, toondoo, used Celly phones in class, they used Google Docs/Drive and helped create a paperless classroom and used it regularly for collaboration.
The other thought I had was about academic rigor. The Common Core Standards essentially helps guide teachers to develop more rigor in our classroom. I still believe my students can do more writing and I will push my students to do more writing next year and the years to come. If you want any information on any of the listed writing above, feel free to email me or make a comment.