Friday, March 14, 2008

Kindergarten Writing

This week I introduced my kindergarteners to using a rubric to get a "happy face" on their writing. I showed them a big rubric I had made on chart paper and explained all that they would have to do to get a happy face.
- a detailed picture
- a sentence with a capital at the beginning and a period at the end
- spaces between each word
- all words sounded out ("stretched")

After explaining the rubric I asked: "Who wants to do their best writing and get a happy face on their paper?" They all raised their hands and were really excited. AND they all really did their best work of the year. They were so excited to see if they were going to get the happy face on their papers. Even my kids who usually struggle a lot got it with a little help.

There's just one kid, my newcomer, who didn't get the stretching of the words. He's just not there yet developmentally. But he did his neatest writing, a great picture, perfect spacing, copied the sentence starter I have them ("I learned that . . ."), and then wrote a string of letters for the rest of the sentence. I asked him what his sentence said and he said he didn't know. He really did his best work of the year though. So do I give him a happy face or really stick to the rubric and give him the "medium(?) happy face" because he can't stretch his words? He was the only one who couldn't do all four things even with help.

I gave him the medium happy face and told him what an awesome job he did.


X said...

That is beautiful. I love it. It makes me happy!

J said...

wonderful! good job, little ones! great job, teacher! :)

17 (really 15) more years said...

As much as I am against pushing kindergarteners this much (whatever happened to the good old days where kindergarten was primarily used for socialization between kids and constructive play?), I love what you did with them. What an innovative idea for a rubric! I love it!

17 (really 15) more years said...

I'm not trying to be mean- but on your rubric, you left out the "t" in "stretching"- thought you might want to know if you didn't notice yet.

Ms. M said...

Thanks for spotting it, I'll definitely fix that when I get back to school on Monday. (I threw this all together Thursday night between parent conferences.)

Anonymous said...

I love this idea. In my class I really push my kids to try their hardest when writing- I want them prepared for 1st grade- I hope its ok if I borrow your great creation..?

Anonymous said...

I really like the idea of using a rubric. I think it's important to clarify quality standards and often this is overlooked in the early primary years. However, I don't think it is appropriate to put students work on a bulletin board after it has been graded. How sad for the kid who is not developmentally ready to get smiley faces. Displaying kids' work can be an intrinsic motivation to do their best - knowing there is a greater audience than the teacher. But if it's displayed with a grade it begins to be a competition.

debrennersmith said...

This is an awesome idea of having an easy for kids to understand rubric. I post lots of kinder ideas on my site if you are interested.

daintee said...

wow, if only my grade 8s would do work this nice!!!!

i think i have found a kindred spirit in your--i teach at an "inner city" school in Canada. our demographic is 90% muslim from Lebanon and Somalia. we have 410 students and probably about 375 of them are ELLs.

i will visit your blog often! you can visit me as well (although i don't update diligently):