One of the most important things for us to see is that our students' skills are generalizing. We often teach spelling rules and patterns and pray that our students are actually applying these rules outside of their controlled spelling lists. One of the best ways to monitor growth is to simply let students write. We love seeing what our students come up with on these free writes.
Whenever we ask our students to free write we are monitoring their output. Typically we are scoring or looking for:
1. Appropriate theme development
So they need to have an introduction, three key details (each with their own sentence), and concluding sentence.
2. Appropriate use of COPS.
We are checking for appropriate usage of capitals at the beginning of the sentence and proper nouns and we are checking for additional capitals that don't need to be there. We are checking for appropriate organization and spacing of words. We are looking for appropriate use of ending punctuation, introductory commas and commas in a series. We are looking for appropriate spelling or at the very least identification of words that may be misspelled.
It is really important to us that our students begin to self-edit for both theme development and COPS in their writing. By providing these types of passages we are holding them accountable for previous learning and monitoring for ourselves what's sticking and maybe what's not in order to further guide our instruction.
Check out these fun prompts and let us know what you think!