This following notice was also sent home (printed on a green paper) and is for you to keep. I’ve stapled it inside your child’s writing journal (look for a small beige notebook). Please take the time to look at your child’s writing.
This is your child’s first writing assignment. It was done in class, after we spent some time talking about my expectations. Before the students worked on their own piece of writing, I modeled what needed to be done by writing something about myself. I used a computer and the projector to show my progress as I know many students are visual learners.
There is no grade attached to this work because I believe that feedback is more important than a simple letter grade. Feedback allows students to “grow” as learners, to understand what went well and what could be improved.
Since I spent a great deal of time writing back to each one of them, it would be helpful if you could spend some of your own time reading the feedback with your child, to ensure he/she understands what is being said. You may not be able to understand my comments because it will be in French but your child will be able to help you with this.
When I look at the students’ writing, I try to focus on the positive as much as possible. I also like to give a little pointer as to what could be improved for next time. I may also make a short list of words to work on at home for spelling.
You will probably notice that I don’t correct every mistake the students make. I do this on purpose, to avoid discouraging them from writing. In my opinion, my students are all “writers”. Some may not necessarily show it well right now but I have faith that at some point this year, all will have a successful experience with their writing.
If you choose to do a bit of writing with your child at home, I encourage you to focus on the positive. Kids (and adults too) also do better when writing for a purpose and with a real audience in mind. We write from the heart! If your child is passionate about something, encourage him/her to write about it. Find an audience, send that message (regular mail or email) and you’ll see a great change in his/her attitude towards writing.
Here are some things that could be discussed if you would like your child to pursue a writing project of his/her own at home. I would recommend that you only focus on one aspect at a time when/if providing feedback.
1-Ideas (ask him/her to answer to “how” or “why” at a few places in the text… discussing how we feel about something is also a great way to “dig deeper”)
2-Language (encourage a variety of words, discourage repetitive words)
3-Sentence structure (sentences should be complete and of various lengths)
4-Organization of text (paragraphs should be centered around a main idea, with a catchy beginning and a conclusion that doesn’t make the reader feel like he/she is falling off a cliff)
If your child struggles with spelling, focus on only 3-4 words per session. Pick the ones you judge may be more important to know at that moment and work on them with your child.
I hope this letter was useful to you. I thank you in advance for taking the time to read it.