For this writing unit on information reports, I used some new techniques that I felt really worked well to help students with their writing and to track their own progress. Again this is all part of the idea of giving students greater ownership and accountability over their work.
We usually have students set writing goals for each new genre. This time, instead of students just creating writing goals and tucking them away in their notebooks, we created a class writing goals poster.
To set our writing goals, students were given their pre-tests back and they had to use the rubric that we created as a class to mark their work. From that, they needed to choose the three areas that they felt they needed to improve upon from the rubric.
These areas then were turned into writing goals. As a class, we shared our individual writing goals and create a class list of the top goals.
The photo is a little hard to see because it is laminated, but the goals they selected were:
1. Have a detailed plan
2. Include a title, classification, description and conclusion
3. Write in full paragraphs
4. Write in third person
5. Use descriptive language
6. Use technical language
They are along the left side of the poster. Then, when we worked on our group editing session, students added their names (on pink stick notes) to the box corresponding to the goal they achieved. As you can see, many students decided that they still need to work on adding descriptive language to their information report. They can then go back and revise to ensure they have achieved all these goals in their writing. Students love seeing their name beside each goal and really worked hard because of this.