Looking at Student Writing

Tomorrow is the first of our grade-level team meetings to look at student writing.  During the first couple of weeks of school, the teachers collected a baseline writing sample from each student.  There was no prompt.  Students in grades K-8 were given time to do their “best writing.”  We will gather tomorrow to carefully look through the writing samples.

We will use the “Protocol for Analyzing Student Work” from Diane Sweeney’s book, Student-Centered Coaching: A Guide for K-8 Coaches and Principals.

The protocol is as follows:

1.  The facilitator frames the purpose for the conversation and introduces the student work that will be used.  
As facilitator, I will not need to introduce the student work.  However, I will frame the purpose for our conversation, which is to develop 1-2 specific instructional goals for the next few weeks of writing workshop.

2.  In pairs, the group examines the data/student work with the following questions in mind: “What can we learn from the student work? What evidence can we tease out that indicates successes or breakdowns in student learning?”  
Immediately prior to this step, teachers will individually do a quick sort of their students’ work, separating it into high, medium, and low piles.  Then, I will present the two guiding questions, which will also be written on a small chart.

3.  Each of the pairs shares in a whip-around, and they are as specific as possible.  During this process, the facilitator charts the information that is shared.
I will create a Google Doc to chart the information.  I will record their findings on a T-Chart within the Google Doc, with one side labeled “Noticings” and the other side labeled “Evidence.”

4.  The whole group discusses the implications for the teaching and learning based on what was noticed in the student work.  Participants share in a whip-around, and at the end of the round the facilitator synthesizes new thinking. 
I will record the implications on the same Google Doc while they share.  This way, the teachers can refer back to the Google Doc as needed after returning to their classrooms.  Also, we can return to the Google Doc at our next grade-level meeting.

5.  Individually, each group member reflects in writing to name their next steps for instruction.  The whole group shares their next steps, and the facilitator takes notes for follow-up.
The teachers will record their next steps using pen and paper.  I believe there is something about handwriting a note which helps cement it in memory.  They will also get to keep their own papers.  I will encourage them to share their next steps with our principal by the end of the week.

I will post the Google Doc here by Thursday as an example.
Update:  Click here to see the notes from our meeting.

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