Good Writing Moves Us — THIS Writing Moves US

I want to include you in a celebration of the work of a student that represents several of my kids this year. If you teach, or have taught, ELL students, I know you will understand.

The last assignment was an intensive writing piece that we workshopped for about seven weeks. Writing in class almost daily, conferring regularly, and mini-lessons with mentor texts and modeling served as the routine. Students turned in their writing in three separate chunks, gave one another feedback at least three times, presented their final pieces (published on their personal blogs) as their semester exams. Formative assessments were student writing conferences and the checkpoints along the way. Summative assessments were a self-evaluation and a self-evaluation paired with my feedback from a rubric we crafted as a class.

Biak with the book she loved the most this year. She read 12.

Please read the writing of Biak Par. The poems are original, and the story is her own. Just before school was out, I had to call Biak to my desk and let her know that she failed the state English II EOC. Again. That was nothing short of heartbreaking — for both of us.

Take several minutes and read Biak’s story. You will read the words of an improving and authentic writer. These words are elegant, poignant, and powerful. Good writing moves us — this writing moves us. 

Now, take a look at Biak’s writing from the beginning of the year— her first blog post is here, and her second is here.

Now, think about her end-of-year piece of writing. I know it is narrative, but you will note what I do — improvement. So much improvement. Voice, coherence, organization.

I wish I had another year with Biak, and several of her friends. We’ve come so far, and this is the work she should be allowed to celebrate — not a test score.

I know — preaching to the choir.

©Amy Rasmussen, 2011 – 2015


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4 thoughts on “Good Writing Moves Us — THIS Writing Moves US

  1. Michael Breen June 22, 2015 at 9:05 am Reply

    Thanks for sharing this, Amy. Your student has such a great writing voice. It doesn’t seem right that a student like this should be taking the same exit test as someone who has attended schools here in the U.S. for their entire life. Her story could be a book.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Amy June 23, 2015 at 10:16 am Reply

      Thank you, Michael. I have the exact same feelings.


  2. Erika B. June 9, 2015 at 8:49 am Reply

    Brave. Brave. Brave.

    Bravo, Biak!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. hapyeaster June 9, 2015 at 8:10 am Reply

    Such a beautiful girl with a life story so rich and full of detail, danger, heartbreak, and resilience. The state of Texas testing has no way to measure such greatness. Thank you for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

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