Opinion
Education Opinion

Arithmetic of Reading and Writing

By Emmet Rosenfeld — February 07, 2007 4 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

To begin an entry, I make a template by retyping directly from the bible the sections and the questions listed under “Composing My Written Commentary.” Gluttons for minutiae may see one below (if you’re certifying in EA/ELA consider it my gift to you for being a loyal reader).

I’m nervous that the template alone for Entry One runs to 3 pages. The entry itself, when completed, should be no more than 13, which doesn’t leave a lot of wiggle room given that I have to write about 4 assignments for two students each (when I was a newbie at this game, I thought 11 pages was a lot to work with).

Attached to the finished piece, please find up to 20 pages of student work samples, assignments, prompts and rubrics to go along with it. Per kid. (Each item gets its own official cover page, too, which will give this entry the approximate heft, if not the readability, of an issue of The New Yorker.)

You’ll recall there are four entries in total, three of which I’ve more or less completed by now. “Analysis of Student Growth in Reading and Writing” is the official title of this entry, and for those obsessive-compulsive readers who may still be keeping score, it covers these eight standards: I. Knowledge of Students; II. Knowledge of the Field; VI. Instructional Resources; VII. Instructional Decision Making; VIII. Reading; IX. Writing; XIII. Assessment; and, XIV. Self-Reflection.

The entry requires analysis of the work of two students. Selecting appropriate assignments is more difficult than a bar puzzle. I’ll try to explain. Remember, multiply the following by two, since I’ll be collecting work from student A and student B. (There will be a quiz.)

“Reading” is construed rather broadly: one of the assignments should be in response to reading a book, and the other to “reading” a non-print source, like a movie. The output by the student, in other words the responses themselves, must also vary: one should be in writing, and the other should be “non-print” itself, like a collage or a speech.

Moving to “writing,” things get a little easier. Pick two things the kid has written and talk about ‘em. This is another thing I’m nervous about: there’s got to be a wrinkle I’m missing. Such as, one writing must be done in Sanskrit, the other in the student’s native language.

All four entries have to be boxed and postmarked by March 31st, by the way, a once abstract date which suddenly looms ominously close on the horizon. That means I have a little more than 49 days, 8 hours, and 22 minutes to get this thing done. But who’s counting.

1. Instructional context (1 pg)
The work in this entry is drawn from two students. Student A is ...
Student B is ...

There are several relevant characteristics of each class that influenced my instructional strategies for the lessons reflected in the selected work samples... ethnic, cultural, and linguistic diversity; range of abilities of the students; personality of the class... instructional challenges unique to teaching this population...

Relevant characteristics of the students with exceptional needs and abilities that influenced my planning for this sequence of instruction (ex, range of abilities and cognitive, social/behavioral, attentional, sensory, and/or physical challenges of my students). Help the assessor “see” this class...

Relevant features of my teaching context that influence the selection of this instruction... resources etc.

2. Analysis of Student Work (10 pp; 5 per student)
Student A as Reader (repeat for Student B as Reader)
Experiences, skills, interests, etc about the student that provide insight into his work samples and my analysis of them...

My instructional goals to promote growth for this student as a reader and interpreter of text were... I used these texts, assignments, and strategies to accomplish these...

These characteristics of the selected work samples demonstrated the students ability to understand and interpret the text...

My assessment and feedback to this student promoted his growth as a reader and interpreter of text by...

Given this student’s responses, as a teacher I will do this to build on what they have already accomplished as a reader/interpreter of text...

Student A as Writer (repeat for Student B as Writer)
Experiences, skills, interests, etc about the student that provide insight into his writing samples and my analysis of them...

My instructional goals to promote growth for this student as a writer were... I used these assignments and strategies to accomplish these...

These characteristics of the selected writing samples demonstrate the students’ ability to understand and interpret the text...

My assessment and feedback to this student promoted his growth as a writer by...

Given this student’s responses, as a teacher I will do this to build on what they have already accomplished as a writer...

3. Reflection (2 pp)
I achieved the goals I set to the following extent...

Taken in total, these students responses say the following about me as a teacher of reading and writing...

The opinions expressed in Certifiable? are strictly those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Editorial Projects in Education, or any of its publications.


Commenting has been disabled on edweek.org effective Sept. 8. Please visit our FAQ section for more details. To get in touch with us visit our contact page, follow us on social media, or submit a Letter to the Editor.


Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Teaching Webinar
6 Key Trends in Teaching and Learning
As we enter the third school year affected by the pandemic—and a return to the classroom for many—we come better prepared, but questions remain. How will the last year impact teaching and learning this school
Content provided by Instructure
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Student Well-Being Webinar
Attendance Awareness Month: The Research Behind Effective Interventions
More than a year has passed since American schools were abruptly closed to halt the spread of COVID-19. Many children have been out of regular school for most, or even all, of that time. Some
Content provided by AllHere
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
School & District Management Webinar
Ensuring Continuity of Learning: How to Prepare for the Next Disruption
Across the country, K-12 schools and districts are, again, considering how to ensure effective continuity of learning in the face of emerging COVID variants, politicized debates, and more. Learn from Alexandria City Public Schools superintendent
Content provided by Class

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Education Schools Get the Brunt of Latest COVID Wave in South Carolina
In the past few weeks, South Carolina has set records for COVID-19 hospitalizations and new cases have approached peak levels of last winter.
4 min read
Two Camden Elementary School students in masks listen as South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster talks about steps the school is taking to fight COVID-19, Wednesday, Sept. 15, 2021, in Camden, S.C. McMaster has adamantly and repeatedly come out against requiring masks in schools even as the average number of daily COVID-19 cases in the state has risen since early June. (AP Photo/Jeffrey Collins)
Education More States Are Requiring Schools to Teach Native American History and Culture
Advocates say their efforts have gained some momentum with the nation’s reckoning over racial injustice since the killing of George Floyd.
3 min read
A dancer participates in an intertribal dance at Schemitzun on the Mashantucket Pequot Reservation in Mashantucket, Conn., Saturday, Aug. 28, 2021. Connecticut and a handful of other states have recently decided to mandate students be taught about Native American culture and history. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill)
Education Judge's Temporary Order Allows Iowa Schools to Mandate Masks
A federal judge ordered the state to immediately halt enforcement of a law that prevents school boards from ordering masks to be worn.
4 min read
Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds speaks to reporters following a news conference, Thursday, Aug. 19, 2021, in West Des Moines, Iowa. Reynolds lashed out at President Joe Biden Thursday after he ordered his education secretary to explore possible legal action against states that have blocked school mask mandates and other public health measures meant to protect students against COVID-19. Reynolds, a Republican, has signed a bill into law that prohibits school officials from requiring masks, raising concerns as delta variant virus cases climb across the state and schools resume classes soon. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
Education Hurricane Ida Deals New Blow to Louisiana Schools Struggling to Reopen
The opening of the school year offered teachers a chance to fully assess the pandemic's effects, only to have students forced out again.
8 min read
Six-year-old Mary-Louise Lacobon sits on a fallen tree beside the remnants of her family's home destroyed by Hurricane Ida, in Dulac, La., on Sept. 4, 2021. Louisiana students, who were back in class after a year and a half of COVID-19 disruptions kept many of them at home, are now missing school again after Hurricane Ida. A quarter-million public school students statewide have no school to report to, though top educators are promising a return is, at most, weeks away, not months.
Six-year-old Mary-Louise Lacobon sits on a fallen tree beside the remnants of her family's home destroyed by Hurricane Ida, in Dulac, La., on Sept. 4, 2021.
John Locher/AP