Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Writing to a Prompt

My school corporation quarterly requires my students to write from a prompt. This is to prepare my students for next year when they will be given the state's standardized test, but also, it is a great way to see their progress periodically. This quarter's writing prompt dealt with writing a personal narrative story about a special memory. Last week we discussed several prompts that could be given for the writing prompt. I took some time to just let them talk about what they would write about for the writing examples, we talked through the prompts, we discussed what was required for each example. I also showed them the editing checklist that always appears on the test. We discussed each item and then placed a sample within our writer's notebooks. We underlined words that needed to be capitalized, and sentences in our own writing that needed punctuation. Today, I had my students do the actual writing prompt and then graded them for the assessment. I am using a new rubric because I have moved up a grade so it was a little new to me.
I think initially that I graded them a little harder than I should have, so I am going to ask a colleague to review my grading.
I also generated a list of things that I could use as mini lesson ideas for Writer's Workshop. (Writing to a prompt may not be such a bad idea at times!)
Here are some things I will conduct mini lessons on:
1. The use of i being capitalized when referring to yourself. Really, I didn't think it needed to be discussed but okay...
2. Going back over our work, rereading and finding the missing words. I noticed a lot of missing words in their work.
3. Run-on sentences, this is a hard concept. But, I do know that the use of and, and, and, and, And, and, And, is not going to be acceptable anymore.
4. Capitalization and punctuation. (always something we must model, model, model)
This gives me a good start...


Kathy Douglas said...

That IS the power of prompts. it is more for you than the kiddos. It tells you where to go next. You might want to do a collaboration and everyone bring one piece of work to the table and copies enough for all. Then just see what you see in the pieces. Helps to keep you all on the same page with judging a piece of writing.

Sarah said...

Sarah - It's been a while. I have a student teacher. Need I say more? As a staff we have been working on helping our students write to a prompt in more meaningful ways. I am presenting a visual checklist I developed for my second graders at our staff meeting this Thursday. I would love to get your take on it for first graders. I would love to send it to your email. Let me know if you are interested.

Sarah Imrick Parker