The Open Pencil Box » a little box of inspiration for you + them

Grading Writing in the Early Childhood Classroom

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Grading is still a new thing I’m getting used to as a teacher. In preschool and kinder everything as evaluated based on observational measures and checklists. As a kindergarten teacher I preferred portfolios to observe growth and I still think that portfolio’s are a fabulous way to show growth, especially to parents. Unfortunately, the district I work in wants concrete grades (as in a percentage) for all Early Childhood classes (kinder included) For the most part grading is cut and dry, especially in second grade. I try to base everything out of 10 because it’s easier for me to record percentages and stay organized. I found the biggest headache with grading writing. Naturally, I got on Teachers Pay Teachers and downloaded a lot of wonderful, amazing writing rubrics that I could use to grade my second grader’s writing. Our textbook also has one but its way too complicated and rates the kids out 6 which is way too much for my basic brain.  I found a lot of rubrics that would rank out of 4 and started there.  I began grading my second graders writings realizing quickly that their writing was terrible. I was looking for “voice” and all these great moving stories only to be constantly reminded that these kids are seven years old.  Why am I trying to grade them for creativity and voice? I decided to focus on mechanics. I want to set a foundation for creative writing so grading their ideas just seems wrong to me.  So I made my own writing rubrics to correlate with our ELA Journeys curriculum. Each week I tailor the rubric to the particular writing focus for the week. Here is an example of the generic rubric I would use in my classroom for general writing.


I print these and staple one per page with the grade on the top. I believe this also helps parents to see exactly where their child needs to focus for writing.  These rubrics also make it easier to keep anecdotal notes on students over time to see if there’s a pattern of error. You can download the generic rubric to use for free in my TPT store and purchase lesson specific rubrics for second grade that correlate with the Journey’s Writing Curriculum.

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