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Yes, I know I normally post on math related topics, BUT I wanted to take a short break and share what we are doing in writing right now.
At the point, my son is a reluctant writer. His mentality is just get it done. Grin and bear it. Oh, and it had better be done first thing in the morning or there won’t be any grin to it. Just a lot of grumpy bearing it.
N is a typical first child. Stubborn, independent, type A, and very competitive. My second child will say things like, “Mommy, I hope you win this game.” N on the other hand is sitting there trying to control his temper, sometimes successfully and sometimes not, if he is not winning.
I wondered the other day if I could bring his competiveness into his writing with a rubric. I created a writing rubric based on the 6+ traits of writing, and then we started scoring his writing. He loves it!!! It has become a tangible goal to get a higher score, and he knows exactly how to do it.
Mommy isn’t sitting there telling him that I want him writing five sentences by the end of the year. He knows by looking at the rubric that to get the highest score, he will have to get to write those five sentences. Since he is so competitive and wants that high score, he will be working toward that. That catch, because he wants to not because I want him too.
Here are a couple of quick disclosure before we get started. I did base the rubric off the 6 + 1 traits of writing. We really aren’t at the point that we are focusing on voice or sentence fluency though. We will get there. It may be toward the end of this year, or the beginning of next, but I didn’t want to overwhelm him at this point. That is why the rubric is editable. This is what I want my N to be working on. Your child may be in a little different place, and you need to focus on different areas. I highly recommend picking up a copy of 6+ 1 Traits of Writing For Primary Grades or the 6+1 Traits of Writing Grades 3 and up. After reading, decide where you want your child or children to be able to do at the end of the year and edit the rubric accordingly.
The scoring on this is not to be used as a grade, unless you your child is already doing everything on the rubric. The first time we used the rubric my son made a 64. His response wasn’t that he made a failing grade, he doesn’t know that and I’m not planning on telling him. No he responded by saying, ” I only have 46 more points till I get to 100. I can do that!!!!”
Having a rubric with high goals may not be best for every child. I can see it stressing out my second child. His rubric will probably need to be exactly what he is doing with one area pushing him. Unfortunately that rubric would need constant editing to have him reach my end of the year goals for him.
Here are the parts that you will find on my rubric.
Here is where I’m working at getting in those five sentences. To score high in this area he has to include supporting details. Right now he is writing a introduction, a closing, and one supporting detail. Most days we are scoring on the “Getting There” section. That is fine for now. He now knows how to get more points, and it will come.
Here are some great ideas for adding more supporting details.
- Read the book The Night I Followed my Dog and check out this post for activities.
- Try a FREE graphic organizer from this post, to help the students get their ideas down before they write.
For right now we are focusing on having an introduction, a conclusion, and the story making sense. He still struggles with the conclusion some, but I think part of that is he just wants to be done by the time he gets there. Our next step is to add some creativity to the intro. I love this part of writing, and love sharing some of my favorite books with him to show my little guy how to be creative when starting a story.
Here are some great ideas for organization.
- Strong leads posters
- Mentor texts for strong leads
- Teaching Conclusion sentences
- Organization poster
3. Word Choice
I love working on this. We are calling it descriptive writing at this point, and working hard at adding words to a chart when we find descriptive language in books. The chart has been a blast to make, though I have to admit I got the idea from A Cupcake for the Teacher.
Since we are working on all types of descriptive language, I didn’t call it adjectives. We are adding adverbs and even powerful verbs to our chart as we read each morning. Both boys are enjoying finding the descriptive words in books and adding them to their chart. I am loving seeing it show up in their writings, or drawings for C’s case.
Here are a few books we have enjoyed reading.
Finally, we are working on conventions. My goals here are simple. Spell words phonemically, spell words correctly that are on his word wall, have correct punctuation at the end of every sentence, and use capital letters correctly.
We are using two resources from This Reading Mama to help us with conventions.
I hope your child will enjoy seeing his or her progress on the rubric as much as mine have. Get your rubric for FREE HERE.
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