On the first day of school or during the first week of school, you will want to get to know a little about the personal interests of each student plus be able to evaluate their writing ability.
This writing sample activity contains four topics on two pages. Duplicate the two pages front and back and ask the students to choose three of the four topics and to write a short paragraph on each one they pick. I like to ask the students to write on the last topic and then choose two of the other three topics. The last topic deals with community service, and I think it’s important to hear what students have to say about that. Paragraphs should be approximately 125-150 words long if students need a number.
Tell them to write their paragraphs as if they were going to be graded. Do not grade these, however, but just read through them to gain knowledge about each of your students and to note the strengths and weaknesses in their writing. You now have a small blueprint of where to begin in your quest to help them improve their writing. If you use this at the beginning of school, it also lets you get better acquainted with your students.
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