Anyone who names her blog/TpT store The Reflective Educator is honor-bound to devote at least one post to how I structured reflection into my opinion writing unit. Right? So here goes…
Writer’s Workshop Review
Let’s review how I set up a writer’s workshop in my class during a typical week.
- Monday – introduce the prompt and complete analysis (agree/disagree) chart
- Tuesday – writer’s craft mini-lesson and graphic organizer
- Wednesday – write rough draft
- Thursday – revise and edit with writer’s checklist and peer review
- Friday – write final copy; self-evaluate writing and reflect
See that last word? Reflect. That’s where we’re at with today’s post. So once a student has completed their opinion essay final copy, there are still a few steps left before they can submit their work to me. Let’s go back to the prompt and reflection handout I gave students at the beginning of our writing week. Now it’s time to refer to it again as students reflect on this particular essay and give themselves a score.
Using two simple questions, students respond in complete sentences by answering:
- What do I like about my writing?
- What could I do better next time?
There are some general guidelines I give students about their responses, of course, aside from them being in complete sentences. First, I do NOT want to see “write neater” week after week. You can’t just keep using the same answer over and over. Second, refer to your previous essay (we keep them stored in our school folder until the unit is done). Unless you scored a 5, there’s room for improvement. Finally, be specific. Something like “do better” is hard to evaluate after the fact. I model this process, which is repeated in all of my writing units, during the genre introduction so students get exposed to these expectations throughout the school year.
When it comes to scoring their writing, students have access to both scoring charts and writing samples (see yesterday’s post for more details). In the beginning, their confidence is a bit more than their performance deserves and everyone wants to score themselves a 5 (exceeds expectations). Again, modeling how to accurately evaluate one’s writing is key. If there’s a discrepancy between a student’s score and my own, that’s an area we can use to discuss how to better understand the scoring guide.
I hope you are enjoying this series about opinion writing. It was a real challenge for me to write, prep, and publish them all during the school week, but I’ve learned a few things along the way. I’m much better at writing my posts in the evening (when I naturally tend to be more reflective about how my teaching day went), and that there are plenty of ideas to blog about if you know where to look. Happy teaching! ~Sally