The school year will soon be drawing to a close. Now is the time to think back on your year, celebrate what went well and begin to think about what you want to do differently next year.
Chances are good that if you are reading this, you are a teacher who is curious about writing instruction. You are most likely someone who is looking for ideas and inspiration to help you grow as a teacher of writers. Or maybe you are looking to grow as a writer yourself because, like us, you believe that teachers who write make the best teachers of writers (not to mention the personal benefits of being a writer).
Even though these last few weeks of school may be crazy, it is important to take a few minutes to think about how things went. Don’t tell yourself you’ll remember over the summer and think you're all set for next year. Be intentional about your reflection. You’ll thank yourself come August.
Here are some questions to get you started on your reflection. Ideally, write your answers down and then stick your notes somewhere safe for when you return to plan for next year. Want a printable PDF of these questions? You can download a copy here.
Reflecting on a Year of Teaching Writing
Name three successes from your year of teaching writing.
List three things you want to change about your writing instruction next year.
How often did you teach writing? (Daily, 3 times a week, etc.) Did you feel this was enough time?
Where could you add more writing time next year? (Beginning of day, transitions, content areas, etc.)
How would you describe the level of student engagement in your writing classroom?
What writing activities did your students find most engaging?
What writing activities failed to engage your student-writers?
What were some of the most important writing lessons you taught?
What writing lessons needed more time?
What writing lessons did you not teach this year, but want to include next year?
What writing lessons/activities/projects do you want to be sure to include again next year?
What were the major genres you taught this year?
What is a new genre or project you’d like to try next year?
What is a current writing project you want to change for next year? How do you want to change it?
How did you incorporate writing into another content area?
How did your students write for an authentic audience (someone beyond just you, the teacher)?
What skills did you see your student-writers struggle with the most this year?
Describe the pace of a typical writing unit. In general, were the units long enough? Too long?
How did you see students living the life of a writer?
Did your students keep a writer’s notebook? What are your thoughts on this?
Describe, in general, how your students planned their writing.
Describe, in general, how your students drafted their writing.
Describe, in general, how your students handled the revision process.
Describe, in general, how your students edited their writing.
How did you celebrate the efforts of your student writers?
Did you write along with your students? What are your thoughts on this?
What resources did you find most helpful in teaching writing this year? (www.TeachWrite.org, ReadWriteThink, etc.)
What were some of your favorite mentor texts and how did you use them?
For a downloadable version of these questions, click here.
Whether you take time to reflect as an individual, a team, or a school, it is time well spent.
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