Students turned in their final drafts of their stories after sharing them aloud in the Author's Chair and/or with their younger book buddies classes (SL 5.6, SL 5.4, RL 5.2). I now need a unsupported way to determine their levels of understanding from independent work. Here's an overview of the results I read and why I formatted the assessment this way:
I begin today's lesson by sharing the following aloud:
We will be taking our post assessment on narrative writing today. This assessment will show how well you can plan and write a story within a short time frame. For this assessment you will be expected to plan and write a narrative story within one hour (W 5.3).
I realize that the timed writing expectation is difficult for students who need a lot of time to plan and think about their story events, but in the coming years they will have timelines and due dates that mandate that they work within a shorter time frame. This helps them to learn to use their time more wisely and to trust their ideas and themselves as writers (W.5.10).
Writing Assessment Protocol:
I take a few minutes to explain and discuss the prompt as scripted but do not mandate that they create a graphic organizer. I allow the decision to use a graphic organizer to be their own choice if they want or need it to plan their story web. This is a difficult step for me because I know the value of thinking and planning details before their final write, but I hold my tongue. I also cover up everything on my board so what they write comes from what they know and need. This allows me to get a better understanding of what students know and need and what they can produce. From what they use in their writing and what they can produce I can determine what needs they have. I keep track of these and use them to teach small group and individual lessons to improve student's writing (W 5.5).
I have a few students who receive special education services related to reading or writing. In these instances I have their aide or teacher assist them in the usual way with their writing according to their IEP protocol.
As soon as we are ready to begin the time, I share the prompt aloud and share that they will be scored on how well they:
· Relate ideas, observations, or recollections of an event or experience (W 5.3a);
· Provide a context to enable the reader to imagine the world of the event or experience (W 5.3b);
· Use concrete sensory details (W 5.3d);
· Provide insight into why the selected event or experience is memorable (W 5.3e);
· Include a beginning middle and end (W 5.3c); and
· Use correct grammar, spelling, punctuation and capitalization (L 5.2).
We share each of these points aloud and students offer suggestions as to what they would represent in their writing (SL 5.1d).
Finally I introduce the rubric and share that it will be used to score their writing.
I read the prompt one more time – begin the timer – and share that students can now begin.
I offer support and monitor that all are respecting the silent-stationary-self confident rule.
I usually give them gum (see our previous lesson on persuasive writing) to keep their minds actively learning and busy writing. There are a few overly-active or overly sensitive students in my class who I have move to quieter areas of the classroom to complete their assessment.
I warn when the time gets down to 10 minutes and have those who finish earlier read silently so as not to disturb those who are still writing.
Timer sounds and students put down their pencils and turn in their tests. I usually have a few who are not completed. In this case you have a choice to lengthen their writing time and look at their ability to write rather than their speed, or end the test and assess their ability to perform within a specific time frame.
I collect the assessments and then we gather to share what went well and what was difficult. This is a good way for me to assess both their needs and my teaching strategies. The first question (What went well?) allows me to hear individually based difficulties. The second question (What was difficult?) allows me to hear unanimous difficulties (SL 5.1c, 5.1d).
Here's a sample of students who were willing to share their opinions after the assessment