Skip to main content

Random Idea - Writing Folders




When I moved to the elementary school from the middle school I was hired to teach math, science, and writing. While the writing seemed random I found I actually enjoyed teaching it. I love to write and I love to read what kids write (really hated the grading...particularly since I had over 45 students that first year).

That first year my students wrote some really fun things and like a good teacher I made comments, put a grade on it, and sent it home in student's weekly folders. As a mother, whenever I got those papers from my son I would mean to save them but they generally got trashed by the end of the school year. I wanted to try something different the next year and put together writing folders.

I bought about 30 white two pocket folders from Wal-Mart when they were on sale for .10 or .15 cents. I had students decorate them in the first week and kept them in a plastic tub. Anytime students had a writing assignment finished it went into that folder and stayed there for the entire year. My students had a weekly assignment to give me five sentences (or more) on any one topic so I had quite a lot of writing samples for each child (this was a "homework" assignment that I always gave students time to do in class....if they messed around in class they actually had to do it as homework). I explained to parents at our open house that they would not see writing come home on a weekly basis and showed them a sample file folder. I said that writing grades would posted regularly online for parents to check and if they wanted to see something specific they were more then welcome to come and look through their child's writing folder. Nobody ever came in.

The folders were great to show at parent/teacher conferences. I had one boy who just refused to write and I showed parents the lack of work in the folder compared with his classmates. Another child's writing was very immature and I was able to pull out samples while I was talking to her parent.

At the end of the year the folders went home with their reading projects and science notebook. As a mom, I would have LOVED to have had everything handed to me at the end of the year like this, instead of piece meal throughout the year.

I had one mom come in at the end of the year saying how much she enjoyed pulling out all of her son's writing and seeing his progress as well as having everything in one neat easy to keep folder.
I did kept one child's folder and passed it to the fifth grade writing teacher. I was very concerned about his writing/spelling but couldn't get him in any special services for it the entire year. I thought the fifth grade teacher might like a heads up and some fourth grade samples for comparison and for evidence of a continued disability in writing.

I've heard that some schools require writing portfolios and those tend to be more structured, with very specific writing samples kept in them, which get passed from grade to grade with student records. We don't have that requirement and even if we did I would still keep this idea as a great end of year keepsake for parents and children.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Moon Phase Box

I happened to walk into a fourth grade class the other day and they were hard at work making moon phase boxes. They were totally adorable and the kids were completely into it. The teacher very kindly let me take some pictures (thank you Mrs. Parker!) and add to my blog.


Students would need a shoe box and they need to cover the inside and inside lid with black construction paper. Using fishing wire they would hang a ping pong ball in the center of the lid so it is suspended in the center of the box. They then take a flashlight and trace the light end on one of the short ends of the box and then create viewing flaps in the middle of every side (including the one with the light bulb (but that might be slightly off center). It is important that the viewing areas are flaps and not cut directly out (you need to keep the light coming into the box blocked as much as possible).


The teacher used a box cutter to cut the flaps and flashlight hole for the children. I probably would have had studen…

Google Classroom Headers (and Bitmojis)

I recently taught a class on how to use Bitmojis in the classroom to increase student engagement and help with classroom organization and management.

One fun idea was to use them to make custom Google Classroom headers. The idea came from Alice Keeler's blog and she even provided a template for her header.


My computer settings weren't the same as hers so I had to tweak my version.

This got me thinking about how the headers could be changed out frequently, as something new for students to look forward to, when they opened up Google Classroom. In my head I was thinking they could be changed out weekly (38 total headers needed) if time permitted. 



I have several other ideas, templates, and instructions linked in this presentation.



I would love to see other custom Google Classroom Header ideas! Please feel free to post a comment or tag me on Twitter at @techcoachlife.




Cookie Moon Phases

I've seen these cookie moon phases before (click here for a description of the activity on Science Bob's Blog) and wanted to share my "Moon Phase" cookie story.


After seeing these online I thought it would be fun to do it in class as part of our Astronomy unit. I decided to make these at home. They turned out adorable. Then I decided to eat them (justifying that I would let my kids eat them in class :) It quickly became apparent that 8 Oreo cookies was way too many to eat (I definitely felt queasy). I went back to the online directions and found out that I was suppose to use "mini Oreo cookies" (which made much more sense).


A note of caution, the mini Oreo cookies may not be as cost effective with large groups of children (when I taught middle school I had 80+ children). It is definitely cheaper to buy the generic chocolate sandwich cookies. I would just provide a snack or sandwich baggie so the kids could take the leftovers home.