Posts in Assessing Writing
10 Reasons Secondary Teachers Should Try Reading & Writing Workshop

We all have our own curriculum, our own teaching teams, our own way of doing things but it's summer vacation and time to ponder other options! This article is meant for secondary teachers who are on the fence about whether to try reading and writing workshop in their class next year. Below you'll find ten convincing (I hope) reasons why you should definitely give workshop a chance! 

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Starting the School Year with Literary Analysis Writing- Why I Do It, and Why You Should Too!

I frequently ask students to show their understanding of the various texts we read through a literary analysis paragraph or essay. I prefer this method of assessment over the traditional standardized, multiple choice tests to assess reading. Within a literary analysis, students are required to think deeply about a given text, then make inferences and provide evidence to support that inference. Not only does the skill of drafting a quality literary analysis response support students in high school English classes, but will essentially define much of their English coursework in college.

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9 Ways to Get Secondary Students to Enjoy Writing

How can teachers help older students enjoy writing? Negativity and reluctance is a mindset that is established early on. However, in middle and high school, certain teaching approaches and strategies can help to change the way students view themselves as writers. Create a positive writing culture and maintain it through the year. These nine approaches can help.

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Prompt Sticks Reflection Game: An Interactive Way to Reflect Back on the School Year

There are lots of creative ways to facilitate reflection at the end of the school year.  Integrating novelty into any lesson makes it more interesting, and the same concept applies to reflection questions.  So I set out to create an interactive "Prompt Sticks" Reflection Question game to get students more interested in assessing their learning at the end of the school year. 

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10 Unique and Creative Reflection Techniques & Lessons for the Secondary Student

As educators, we know how critical reflection is to the learning process. Getting students to reflect- deeply and meaningfully- is often one of the most challenging lessons we teach. I have found that both my middle school and high school students will often scoff at these reflection activities, providing the least amount of effort possible to complete the task they see as meaningless. I have been searching for and creating lessons and activities that will bring interest and engagement to this task. The following

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How to Celebrate Mistakes to Build a Stronger Writing Community

As teachers of writing, we all realize the power one word can have on an audience. This past school year, I discovered the power the word “favorite” had on shifting my students’ mindsets about writing. Instead of feeling discouraged when errors were identified in writing, we started celebrating our “favorite mistakes” as the biggest opportunities to learn and become better writers. Here are four tips for you to celebrate favorite mistakes with your students.

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3 Pitfalls to Avoid While Assessing Student Writing at the Beginning of the Year- and What You Can Do Instead.

1. Trying to plan your entire year of writing instruction based on one student sample.

Several years ago, after summer PD in data driven instruction, I decided to use these back to school writing assessments to build my writing instruction for the year. I sat down the Saturday after these were collected to write my curriculum based on all 160+ writing assignments. My goal was to create specific mini-lessons for each student’s specific needs.

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The Best First Writing Lesson of the Year: Email Etiquette 101

When planning for the beginning of the year, teachers need to choose writing assignments that allow for collection of pre-assessment data while also engaging students and building a positive writing community. 

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The Worst Essay of Your LIFE: A Unique Approach to Assessing Writing at the Beginning of the School Year

The beginning of the school year is an important time to assess the writing skill levels of new students in our English classes.  One way to do this is to assign a diagnostic essay in order to "diagnose" each student's writing level... 

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Supporting Struggling Writers: 6 Strategies for Turning Struggling Students into Successful & Confident Writers!

6 Strategies for Turning Struggling Students into Successful & Confident Writers!

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14 Strategies to Support Struggling Writers: Build Confidence & Increase Success

Teaching and assessing writing can be challenging, and even more so when you're trying to identify effective ways to scaffold writing instruction for struggling students. Set teenagers up for success by incorporating these teacher-tested, student-approved strategies.

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A Philosophy for Assessing Writing: Aim for Improvement, not Perfection

Over the past 10+ years of teaching high school, my philosophy for writing instruction has changed greatly.  It has been a decade of experimentation and adaptation; a decade dedicated to finding what works and trying out new methodologies...

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