This writing checklist has been a lifesaver for me! It allows me to track each student individually. I can then easily differentiate their instruction and let them move through the writing process at their own pace. It makes grades for achievement records a cinch and I always use it to show parents during parent-teacher conferences.
At the beginning of the year I do 2-3 baseline assessments. I pick a prompt and have the students write. I then look for things that are in my standards and record it on the checklist. For example, if a student consistently used capital letters at the beginning of sentences, I mark the date under the “mastered” column. If they did not leave spacing between their words, I mark the date under the “need” column. If the standard was not used at all, I leave it blank. Say a student writes a paragraph, but he didn’t have any holidays or months in his paragraph, that doesn’t mean it’s a need, it’s just that it was not applicable to his writing at that time. I don’t record every skill for every writing sample, but I do have the sheets available in case they have shown mastery in something that they had not grasped previously.
Once I know each child’s strengths and weaknesses, it helps guide my writer’s workshop and gives me ideas for mini-lessons and small group topics. I can also provide small group and 1-1 instruction as to their need and allows for differentiation. This past year 5-6 of my students were ready trying to write with dialogue and even though the rest of the class was not ready, I was able to look at the checklist, see who was ready and pull them into a small group during their silent reading time to work with them on this. It kept each student motivated and allowed them to work on individual skills and needs as opposed to skills they already knew.
With OTES and teacher evaluation coming down the pike, we all know administrators are looking for differentiation in the classroom (and let’s be honest, it is BEST practice)! This is the perfect piece to show that you are tracking data and using it to guide instruction!