Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Grant Writing and Student Rubrics

This week I have been working diligently on a Teach for Excellence Grant offered by the Pinellas Education Foundation in my district.  As I go through the process, I find myself very dependent on the rubric they provided to help me write the best proposal I can.  As I sit and look at the rubric for tidbits of inspiration, I think to my classroom and my students use of rubrics.  This year, I created rubrics for most writing assignments the students did.  They really appreciated the rubrics, and would look for them as we started new projects.  As my students were coming up to the end of the year Writing Common Assessment, I explained to them how they would not have a rubric to use, but felt confident that they knew the strategies to include.  I was proven correct as all of my general ed students passed the assessment and produced high-quality writing.  But I also sit here and wonder, why shouldn't students have a rubric as they complete their story?  I am so dependent on my grant rubric and feel that I can produce a lot higher quality piece of writing with this support, and I am sure that my students feel the same way.  And the second question I wonder is, why can students only have 45 minutes to complete their best piece of writing?  That is too much pressure.  As I am completing my "grown-up" writing, I need frequent breaks, a lot of time, and a relaxed environment.  Since I cannot offer my students the true gift of time, or a rubric with expectations, at least I know that I can provide a calm environment with peaceful and inspiring music to help motivate them during assessments.  I also can spend the whole year teaching them to "think like writers," help them gain their personal voice, and confidence to know that their writing matters and is important to share with the world!

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