This past week, I wrapped up writing class. This year, I have been teaching writing to two classes while one of my team members taught math to my class. It was a great arrangement and it allowed me to really dive into writing instruction, something I love!
I am a big believer in reflecting. It is important to take time to think about where we've been and where we are now. This is something that is also important for our students. In the busyness of the day and year, we sometimes forget to have our students stop and reflect on their growth.
On Thursday, I handed back each student's Treasure Chest. These are the writing portfolios we used to keep all of our writing projects safe. At the beginning of the year, I gave each student a manila folder and asked them to decorate it with the things that were important to them.
Throughout the year, we would add writing pieces to the Treasure Chest. On Thursday, the students had a chance to go back and see all of their writing from the beginning of the year up until now. I gave them about 30 minutes to look through their Treasure Chest. It was so exciting to watch them! You could almost feel the excitement in the room as they went back and reread their mystery book they wrote, their poetry or their biography reports, among many other things.
The best part is listening to the students talk about how much they grew as writers this year. Looking at pieces from the beginning of the year, I heard comments like "Well, that's not a good lead", "My story doesn't go anywhere", or "Where are my paragraphs?" While I reminded them that they did the best they could at the time, the real celebration is in that they now recognize and use qualities of good writing. They can see their growth right before their eyes.