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.
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, 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