Pre-Writing as Assessment and Peer and Self Evaluation

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SWBAT...peer and self evaluate to assess and improve their narrative story pre-assessment. SWBAT...complete a narrative writing pre-assessment in class, on demand writing task.

Big Idea

When we write at the introduction of a unit, we can evaluate what is already known and what still needs to be learned.

Assessment Expectations

10 minutes

I love that we pre-assess each standard before we teach it because it gives me an insight into what my students carry into the learning environment and what they still need me to teach them. 

Students stay excited because they know that this is a pre-assessment of what they know so they don't feel the pressure to excel simply to do their best. I let my students move their desks away from each other or choose a quiet area to see who needs this to focus and also who doesn't take advantage of it and probably should. 

I read the prompt to my students and then review the example narrative diamond and the rubric. I take questions in each section and before I begin the assessment. The only help I give them is that they must have paragraphing and edit their writing when they are completed. I am assessing in this lesson and developing their abilities in the unit to write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, descriptive details, and clear event sequences (W 5.3)

Here's a video explaining the purpose for the Narrative Diamond and an explanation of how students use it


Writing Assessment

50 minutes

I set the timer for 50 minutes and share the scripted sections of the pre-assessment task (W 5.5). I ask for questions and set the timer. (feel free to adapt or change the prompt to fit your class/school needs. I adapt it yearly but keep the same scripted introduction)

I smile and share with students that they may begin their narrative story writing (W 5,3).

I have an assessment of writing behavior student list to my clipboard that I use to look for on task, use of notes, focus, effort, and other behaviors that I want to monitor in class. The one I attached is adaptable for you to write in strategies that you want to focus on in your classrooms. I walk around I take down notes on student needs and strengths I see with a +/- or a short note. My common notations are "skips setting/ suspense", "dialogue without speaker", and "lack of descriptions", "lack of paragraphing", "weak beginning" - another option would be to divide the paper into "writing" and add the five sections and make a +/- on each and "behavior" and add "stays on task", "takes time to plan", "works quietly", etc. 

These help me to identify areas of need with my students when I pull them for small group writer's workshop lessons.

I have to remind myself that this is a pre-assessment when I see the quick finishers or those who have only a main idea paragraph filled with dialogue.

In this video I explain the focus of the components of these prompts and why I added them. I also review what misconceptions and lower understandings my students had and how I can make adjustments or lessons to address each. Hope it helps in your prompt development, too!

Peer and Self Editing

15 minutes

When the signal sounds I ask students to take out their red pens. In this assessment I only had two who didn't complete their story on time and I had them finish it in the hallway. On the pre=assessment they tend to finish more quickly because they don't add all the sections and possibly because they don't give the higher effort due to the realization this is a pre-test not a post-test. If you have more then you can also consider splitting this lesson into two days to ensure they have the time to feel successful before they are asked to edit with a peer.  

My favorite part! I pull sticks randomly to group students together to peer edit each other's writing. If you are short on time, this section could also be started on the second day to give them adequate time to share, think, plan and rewrite their pre-tests. I do this right after the pre-assessment to help them get exposure to the components of a narrative story, to get them comfortable with sharing with each other (first unit of our year), and to help them evaluate their own writing because we will be doing this for every section they write. They have practiced this in the prior year so it is not new to them (If your students do not have much exposure to this you may want to save this until a later writing assignment after you have taught each of the sections of the diamond)

Before they are released to read and evaluate side by side, I review the rubric with them and the definitions of each of the narrative sections. This one is a bit different than the one they had for their assessment because I want them to determine how many of the sections of our narrative diamond graph they have in their and their peer's writing.

I share that they will check off the sections found in their peer's writing, give them a grade they feel is fair and share a way that he/she could make their writing better. Then their partner will do the same for them.(W 5.3, W 5.5, SL 5.1a, RL 5.5) I am watching for shared discourse, identification of each section of the narrative diamond, specific ideas on how to improve (versus general ones) and acceptance of feedback to see what areas I need to teach as a whole and in small group lessons.

Student names are pulled and they meet and share their great ideas. The part that is the most enjoyable is the peer advice giving and the self assessing. Students love to give good advice and share what they know. The shared discussions and respect they have for their peers in class helps them to do a similar evaluation on their own writing after their discussions (SL 5.1a).  

When they have finished their discussions and received the good advice they will reread their own story. This time they have the objective to take the advice and create a T-chart identifying three areas they felt they did well in and three areas they felt they could improve in (W 5.5). Realistically in this last exercise I am not looking for their writing to have all the five components nor be a final piece, but rather for them to apply editing and revising strategies shared with their partners to at least one section of their writing. I have them add this into the margins rather than rewrite the entire paper because I want to see both their original writing and where they applied changes. This helps me to assess their areas of greater and lesser need. See my reflection for examples of where my students struggled and what I will adapt to meet their needs.