This month my second graders have begun to write weekly letters home to their families. The letters make perfect writing samples and offer parents a chance to see what their children are learning each week. It also gives them a look at their child's writing development. However, It occurred to me after reading this weeks letters that my students parents might just be wondering if I am teaching their children anything at all!
My second graders have been reading morning messages written in the "friendly letter" format for most of the school year and have written letters to their pen pals in Louisiana. They have helped me edit our morning messages and kindly corrected my errors. They write daily across the curriculum. We have had many conversations as a whole group and 1:1 about the format of a letter and appropriate use of conventions (capitals, punctuation, spelling). Yet, when I set my students loose to write their letters this week they barely crafted more than 2-3 complete sentences, talked about what they ate for lunch, didn't start their sentences with capital letters or end them with punctuation. One student didn't even sign his name with a capital letter. Ugh!!!!
Then it occurred to me. It's time for a little self-evaluation! I whipped up a Google Form with the areas I wanted students to focus their attention on and then met with each student individually. Together we reviewed their letter as they answered each statement on the evaluation sheet. We talked about what they did well and what they wanted to work on when they wrote their next letter. My plan is to have students independently fill out the self-evaluation form each week. My hope is that students will show me what they can really do when they invest a little more of themselves into their writing.
Here is the form I created :