For me, even though I love writing and I love literature, it is one of the hardest things in the world to teach it. I’m sure every teacher out there feels that way about their content, and I’ve decided it’s because we really love what we do, and we really want our kids to get it.
This year, one of my goals was to help my learners become stronger writers, and I can guarantee you that I have been successful. At the beginning of the year, most of our learners struggled to write a cohesive paragraph, much less use evidence, cite it correctly, and write for any extended period of time. Most of their writing was formulaic and boring, and that was some of the better writing.
This year has shown me what constant, consistent practice paired with high expectations can do for learners. Everyday they are asked to write a journal. At the beginning of the year we just asked them to write the journal in paragraph format. Then we added requirements, like using an introductory sentence, evidence, details, and to close the paragraph with a conclusion sentence. Later, we required that every journal have a cited quote that was correctly embedded. Every skill has been practiced until almost every learner can successfully complete them.
At the beginning of the year we had our learners complete a researched CRA (College Readiness Assessment) which is basically a large research paper. Now, after eight months of practice, we are asking them to complete the process again. I know that not every learner will produce a perfect paper. That’s not my goal. My goal is to be able to compare the first CRA to this one and for those learners to show growth. What more could I ask for anyways?