Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Our school conducts an annual district wide writing assessment around this time each year to see how the students progress from year to year in their ability to write. A single grading system—called a rubric—is used for all students K through 6.

In days of yore, kindergarten was exempted from such exercises, but these days we're included. Of course we fit in the bottom part of the rubric. My actual interest is in learning how many words students in class can write. At this point in kindergarten we have just reached the edge of the dawn of writing. Most of the students came in knowing how to write their names. Right now, most students can write their names and a couple more words. Within just a few months that will change. Each child in his or her own way will discover that learning the Soundabet has empowered them to not only DEcode words (to read, in other words,) but also to ENcode words, that is to write them. Once they're aware of that it's amazing how things change.

Please please please don't do too much correcting of spelling at this point. Kids are likely to spell according to the system they've been taught, overgeneralizing the information we've taught.

They're likely to spell school "skool" and action "akshun." If you correct sensible misspellings you do a great disservice to your child because you fail to appreciate the risk they've taken to communicate with you in writing.The most likely result of your corrections is to discourage your child into not trying anymore with the result they will be an even poorer speller in years to come.

Celebrate your child's earliest writing, and do your darnedest to figure out what they've written down.

By all means, if THEY ASK you to correct their spelling, go ahead. You've been cleared to do it. Otherwise do you best not to correct your child's first attempt at writing.

Here's the news for the day:

Gavin wanted to sing "Sing a Song of Sixpense"

Pedro plays the C chord

Ivan shows good form

Sam strumming the uke

Elsa lost a tooth!


Elena brought a book about Biscuit going to school.

At PE, we finished up with a game of tag.

Cooler weather today than yesterday, with plenty of sun

Rieley got the Soundabet just under the wire

The days news.

4 comments:

Steve Finnell said...

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Lynola said...

I like the way you worded some of that first section about emergent writing and not correcting spelling. May I share some of it with my parents? At the beginning of the year I had a few students who did not want to attempt any writing because they were afraid they would not do it exactly 'right'.

What does 155 words mean?

Anonymous said...

Hi Lynola, my guess is 155 is the number of words Mr. Gurney has introduced to the class?

Thank you Mr. Gurney for your wisdom. I will let Jaden write what ever he wants and help him when he asks.

Dan Gurney said...

Hi, Lynola. 155 is the number of words the class wrote, collectively, in a few minutes. Each was given a pencil and a piece of paper. We're going to do the same thing tomorrow and the next day.

It is interesting to see what words they come up with and to see if they can break this record as they see what others wrote.

(It's also an application of tallying, a skill we recently learned in math.)