Freewrite Rubrics Wanted

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16 thoughts on “Freewrite Rubrics Wanted”

  1. I use Scott Benedict’s rubric ( when assessing writing, although I don’t actually assess free writes. I have students write down the number of words they got in 10 minutes (not counting English words), so they have something to aim for next time. Each time they update a line graph with their total number of words. Then I highlight all of the things they did well in their writing. I don’t make any corrections and don’t give them an official “mark” for the writing, but they keep track of this number over the course of the semester so they can track their progress. It seems to work well. For me, the free writes serve as a great way to see where students are at with each structure – if most students are writing it correctly, then they have likely acquired it. If they are still making mistakes, then I know I need to incorporate it into the next story to get more repetitions.

  2. I like Kristin’s idea of a line graph. I simply told my students that I would give them 1 point if they wrote less than 5o words in ten minutes, 2 points for more than 50 and less than 100, 3 points for over 100 and very rarely 4 points for over 100 and exceptional quality (funny, thoughtful, original + mostly grammatically correct. At the end of the grading period I totalled the number of times they had grades and worked it out to a grade over ten, which had half the weight of a test.

  3. I do the same as Kristin. At the beginning of the year, I give the kids a log sheet where they mark the date, their goal (e.g. 100 words in 8 minutes) and the actual number of words they have written. It gives them a good idea how much they are improving over the course of the year in terms of fluency. When I do put a grade in my book, it’s usually the number of words they have written. So 100 words would be a 100. Anything above and beyond gets extra credit points. The lowest I usually give is a 75, even if the kid only writes 50 words in the allotted time. So far, this has worked out pretty well.
    Sometimes, I use the free-writes to create embedded readings. Laurie (THANKS!!!) has a terrific explanation on her site on how to do that.

  4. #1. Brigitte – I am going to write to you about observing in two weeks (?) 🙂
    #2. Writing (in general) – I need to LEARN how to TEACH writing. to say I am frightened of it, is, well, an understatement!!! Can someone please give me the “baby steps” version!?

  5. mb – are you on Long Island??????? That is super!! Let me know as soon as possible because our district is very strict about security and who can come into the building. We need to get clearance from the district office. That will take a couple of days. Can’t wait to see you.

  6. Re: teaching writing. Ever since I started TPRS and doing free writes, I haven’t “taught” writing anymore and the results far exceed anything I have ever experienced before. I just give them choices in terms of what they can write about, as long as their text includes the weekly structures. I also might ask them to focus on a particular aspect, e.g. make sure to capitalize all nouns (for German) or to write from a particular perspective. Other than that, off they go and they always do a good job. I guess since we are not explicitly teaching writing, you eliminate that whole aspect of analyzing the language before putting it on paper. I much prefer it this way, what you see is what you get and it helps me to know what areas to focus on when choosing and/or recycling structures.

  7. Yes, that’s the right e-mail address. However, the .us seems to be missing at the end ( Ben, would you please be so kind as to fix that? Thank you!

  8. Lately I have been using the form Martina Bex shared on her blog:

    I added a checklist at the bottom that says Need to focus on: addressing task, idea development, sequence of ideas, adding details, increasing length, variety of vocab/structures, word order, agreements: adjectives, verb forms, spelling/accents. I did not come up with these on my own – someone suggested these in the comment section of another writing blog post by Martina.

    Sometimes I use the form just as a formative assessment and highlight the appropriate areas on the rubric and other times I add a grade. The students know that if their grades improve over time, I can go back and change the grades accordingly.

  9. …word order, agreements: adjectives, verb forms, spelling/accents….

    I don’t do that. It’s gonna happen with time, not with conscious attention to the mistakes, in my view. All I want to know is if they can communicate an idea in the TL and that is all it says they have to do in the ACTFL standards. Grammar is not mentioned in the standards. Mastery comes with time and practice not via analysis. Just my opinion.

      1. It was hard for me to write that, so thank you for saying that Margie.

        I am a really grammar teacher at heart. It was the way I was trained, related to French, taught it for 24 years. It’s a constant struggle for me, like the use of English in my classroom.

        What we need to do is get some TCI trained kids and make ’em into teachers. THEN they will follow Krashen’s ideas properly in their instruction.

        1. Ben, one of the reasons I love this blog is because we can all be honest. My feelings are not hurt – I know you are right. Although I am trying hard with CI, I still struggle in much the same way you mentioned…grammar teaching and use of English. Keep telling me (us) like it is. Eventually, all of the pieces will fall in place for me. Thanks!

          1. And I’ll let you know when they all fall into place for me. Should be in about 170 years. We are doing NEW work that’s never been done in the past. There’s a great song about that called New Work! New Work!

    1. Ben is so so right. I discovered fluency writing before I discovered TPRS and knew that it worked, I just didn’t know why. It is because the students are focused on their story and content, because they are just trying to get as many words as possible on the paper in a limited time that their System I takes over and produces the structures they need from their unconscious. System I has excellent grammar because it’s based on what they’ve heard and read, what they have acquired. If you start adding points or taking points off for grammar, you’re asking System II to take over. System II understands grammar rules and tries to apply them, but they come out all garbled. While they’re thinking about grammar, they’re not putting words down on paper and they’ve lost all interest in the task at hand.

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