Lucky I am to be a member of a team of literacy teachers and coaches in our school district. Some of us are new and some of us will be newly retired… soon. We have a goal this year. Our teachers are asking for new rubrics that can be used kindergarten through fifth grade. It is a lofty goal, but one that exhilarates those of us who enjoy creating. But we continually remind each other that these rubrics might not resemble what Parcc (our assessment vendor) is ‘cooking’ up behind close doors. We are using CCSS language and it’s helping us understand and flesh out the new possibilities surrounding ‘informative, opinion and narrative’. We smile as we read the new exemplars and gasp when we see what even the kindergartener are expected to be able to do.
At times, during this process, I’ve said to myself, “really…really…they’ve got to be kidding!!”
But on the flip side, I know that Writing Workshop will be the key that unlocks these doors. It is as close to a magic bullet as we will ever get. A workshop is a flurry of writers, creating, experimenting and learning how to trust each other. It is the most differentiated part of our curriculum. It allows for choice and voice. It builds bridges and it mentors the fledging writer in the most intimate way. The teacher is taught in writing workshop that she is a part of the community as well…she is in the trenches – a part of every little facet from mini-lesson, crafting-revising, share to publish…she works next to, not looking down on – but peers into the mind of that sweet soul sitting next to her.
We have a monumental task ahead of us creating this instrument of assessment for our teachers. May we communicate it well, may we use it as an instrument that helps to inform our instruction, showing where we need to confer, where and what we need to teach next.
Lucky I am to be a part of a team that believes this with all of their hearts...lucky and blessed ! xo nanc