It’s the start to another school year and there’s lots to do, but I hope you won’t forget to get a writing sample from your students. It’s an excellent way to discover their level of writing skill as well as to use as a benchmark.
It doesn’t have to be a big deal with a lot of set-up. Keep it simple.
Offer a prompt. One of my favorites is: “Tell me something you did this summer, or something you would have liked to have done.” Or: “What are you looking forward to this school year?”
Take your samples early, the sooner, the better. Look them over to see general and specific strengths and weaknesses. File the papers and use them throughout the year to view students’ progress.
Would you like to know more about the kids you’ll be working with for the next nine months? Ask them! Offer this writing prompt: “We will be working together this year. What would you like me to know about you?” Model a response, writing a draft telling about you (how you like to teach, personal quirks, preferences, etc.). Share your writing, then let them loose.
Have a great writing year!