Sunday, August 18, 2013

Welcoming a class of writers (and getting that first writing sample)

Earlier this week, as I began to prep for our first day of school this Wednesday, I couldn't help but think about how I should get that first writing sample of the year. 

I pulled out my "back to school" folder and sifted through all my ideas from years past but couldn't commit to anything. Then, I found myself asking, "how do I want to welcome my kiddos to my class this year?" It is my first year ever team teaching and I will be coming in contact with 55 students every day. While this is exciting, its also a big change from my close-knit classroom of 20 last year. I really want to make a personal connection with each and make them feel welcome on our very first day.
Then, the idea of a postcard hit me. I am planning to write a welcome post card to my students, telling them a little about me and our class and asking lots of questions. Then, to get that first writing sample, I will have my kiddos write a postcard back. 
The front of mine will be a kind of welcome to 5th grade image, but I'm going to ask them to decorate their own front in a way that describes them. I think it will be cute, possibly even a quick hall display, but also provide me the first piece of writing evidence in their portfolio.
I was feeling a little ambitious after creating the post cards for my class, so I made a front image for all grades 1-5. If you'd like to do this activity with your own littles, you can find this pack in my TpT store.

How do you plan to sample and assess writing at the start of the school year?

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