Once my students have finished revising their rough drafts, I will secure the computer lab for a fun filled day of typing! Please pardon my attitude problem here, but spending the day at the computer lab can be a harrowing experience. First, there is the task of booking it which can be next to impossible! Once we are in the lab, I am reminded that sixth graders these days (geez, I sound old!) don't know how to type! Although my students are very tech savvy, word processing often stumps them. Each year I vow to take time to teach my students how to type, but it never seems to happen. The lack of typing skills causes my kiddos to 1. Take forever and a day to type a 5 paragraph essay, and 2. Make lots of mistakes. As I assess their work, I occasionally can't decide if the error is a typing mistake or a writing mistake. For this reason, I sometimes choose to have my students write their final copies, but I do think that it is important for them to have the experience of publishing a finished product in a more real world way. So....we carry on through frozen computers, key boards with letters switched out by 8th graders, awkward fonts that I can't read, and students that keep hitting the print button until 25 copies of their essay comes off the printer. Each trip to the computer lab is surely an experience!
Here are few student samples:
Our district generated a holistic rubric based on the six traits of good writing that we are supposed to use when assessing our student work. I like this rubric because it does give a quick picture of a particular writing piece. It is definitely just a snap shot, and if you want to go into more detail in a particular area, another rubric is needed.
I used screencast-o-matic.com to talk through three of my student samples. I chose these samples because each of the students chose the same topic of banning homework from schools. Because they all have the same topic, you can see the different ways the topic was approached and specific weaknesses in each student's writing. I didn't have a way below proficient example on this topic or a super strong one either. For me, those are always the easiest to assess anyway. It's those average essays that trouble me as a grader, and these three fall into that middle area.