I have been a bit flattened lately by goings-on in our school district. Won’t bore you with the details, but when I finally got to grading today, I was looking at what my level one kids did yesterday after they presented their stories. I didn’t really mean to have a writing assessment for them, but their stories were so good that I knew I’d want to work some more with them.
We have done very little writing, so they aren’t very good at Cyrillic, or at least they were vocal about being worried about it. I thought about my one third-year kid who is finally writing in Cyrillic this year. It just took him some time. I told them that they could use Latin or Cyrillic characters, whatever worked best for them. (This is a HUGE change for me…I’ve always been very strict, until I had that favorite kid who just couldn’t do it.)
When I assessed them on the Jefferson County rubric that Natalia found for us (click here and go to Natalia’s comment beneath the posting), those who wrote in Latin characters got a “incomprehensible to native speakers.” But they were still writing in sentences that they had created, and many of them had used up to seven or eight different verbs! I was really happy to see what they could do in just five minutes, not to mention a little bit more than impressed.
So how did I grade it? I figured that the assignment was to write the story down. If they did that and I could understand it, it didn’t matter what alphabet they used; they got a B. Three of the kids were clearly messing around, and eked out only a sentence. They got D’s (far below). A couple filled in words in English (not cognates). They got C’s. And the ones who impressed me by using connecter words (because, so, and, but) while also writing in Cyrillic…they got A’s.
I circled all the areas they seemed to reach on the Jefferson County rubric, and wrote one congratulatory and one “reach for it” comment in the extra feedback box on that page. I will tell them to keep these rubrics in their notebooks, and we’ll use the same one at the end of each grading period. I’m pretty happy about the combination of grading them at their level and assessing where they are in the grander scheme of things.