Reading all of my students’ essays is challenging. Remembering what each student’s strengths and weaknesses are is virtually impossible. On almost every essay I’ve ever graded, I’ve always included an “areas of improvement” section and made comments for each student. A few weeks later, a completely new essay would be assigned, written, and submitted. I would grade it, comment in the “areas of improvement” section, and then the cycle would repeat. I never developed a system of holding students accountable to see if they actually attempted to improve as a writer.
Until this year.
By using Evernote for writing portfolios, our essays (You like how I said “our essays” as if I’m writing them, too?) are now connected. Each student’s individual “areas of improvement” from one essay are now included in the next essay’s rubric (see below). I had my students look at the rubric from their previous essay and copy the improvement areas, and since all of the essays were saved in their Evernote writing portfolios, there were no lost rubrics (every teacher’s dream!).
When students finished their essays, they also needed to explain how they made the specific improvements. Here are three student examples:
This was our first attempt at doing this, and I loved being able to hold each student accountable for improving his or her individual writing needs. Since our last essays were perfect, I’ll need to modify the next rubric as well in order to keep pushing my students.