I am so excited to be sharing my first differentiation for Writing Workshop tip with you today. If you missed my intro to this new blog series click here >>> Introduction.
So before you can actually differentiate for each child in your class, you need to know where they are as a writer. You need to know their strengths and things that they can work on. One way to quickly figure this out is by giving them a writing pre-test.
If you use Lucy Calkin’s Units of Study, she has pre-test ideas in the Writing Pathways book. She calls them On-Demand Performance Assessments. If you don’t have the Units of Study, you can still have your students complete a writing sample/pre-test. At the beginning of the year, I have my students write about themselves on the page below.
From this writing sample, I can learn a lot about each student. For example…
- Do they use complete sentences?
- Am I able to read their spelling and inventive spelling?
- Are they able to stay on topic?
- Do they use capitals and end marks correctly?
- How is their handwriting?
- Do they add details?
Those are just a few questions I can typically answer by looking at this writing piece. Now – this helps me differentiate for students because from this I am able to make individual goals for each student. Some students might need to work on adding details to their writing pieces while others might need to focus on conventions. To be able to differentiate it’s important to know where you students are. It’s also important to have a sample from the beginning of the year so you can see the growth and progress they make by the end of the year.
Stay tuned….on Monday I will be sharing Tip #2. I will be talking about differentiating with mini-lessons.