Documenting and showcasing the complexity of student growth in writing by employing three simple classroom tools.

by Ann Marie Corgill

Grades K-2, Grades 3-5

Introduction

We all know that there is so much more to writing than what we capture on a test. There are conversations that are had between students and their peers and with their teachers and subtle shifts in mindsets, as well as their growth in the use of language over time.

I keep a record of all of this evidence of growth in each student, including artifacts of the messiness of the process – the things that parents and administrators don’t see in finished products.

We call this the writing journey folder. It includes:

-All of the rough drafts that students have produced over the course of a study;

-Support sheets and graphic organizers that we use in writing lessons;

-A photograph of the final piece on the front so the parent has a record of all of the effort that went into producing it.

Portfolios usually showcase the best work. The writing journey folder is different. Each child has one for each genre or unit they study, resulting in many folders filled with evidence of the process of completing the final work. It’s a beautiful picture that is more representative of the growth of a child from August to June that goes well beyond what a test can show.

About Ann Marie Corgill

For the past twenty-one years, Ann Marie Corgill has taught and learned in classrooms from first to sixth grade in Birmingham, Alabama and New York...

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