Wednesday, October 1, 2008

What is a student generated rubric?

In Writer's Workshop our goal is not only for us to assess student work but for student's to be able to assess their own work as well. One way that we are able to teach them to do this is through a student generated rubric. When we begin working on a genre of writing, students learn what is important to make that work meet the standard through the mini-lesson. The students are able to practice what is taught during the independent work period. Once they are starting to understand all the elements of that genre, we begin to put together a rubric as a class. It is important that this does not become a teacher rubric but one that the students create. The students decide how we will label the different levels of writing. In this instance, Matthew from our class reminded me that last year I told him we could do the one he wanted on our next rubric. Our next rubric was this year - and yes, Matthew made sure to let me know. So the class voted and they too liked his idea of labeling the different stages of writing as a baby, toddler, and big kid (I just looked for the clip art to go with it). Then the students decide what elements are important to make the writing "its best" such as including a beginning. The students decide what they feel are important in a beginning. From there we decide what should be included on each level. Then we go on to include other elements as we progress through that genre of writing. Through this whole stage, students are using their own words to describe the writing and the elements which they feel are necessary to be a "big kid" writer. Sometimes the students disagree on what something should be called or how it should be worded so we take a class vote to decide. It always amazes me that the children know exactly what makes good writing and set the expectation as high as I would if I were writing it myself. I am also "Wowed" by the language they choose as young writers.

We use this consistently in class to look at work from other students and decide where he/she falls on the rubric. Students use it to determine their own needs as a writer. We also use it when they are reading their work to a partner and helping each other to grow. Check out a piece of work later this week that showcases a piece of work that began as a "toddler" and has grown into a "big kid".


Joseph said...

Hi Debbie,

My name is Joseph and I'm from I would love to see the rubric your students have created posted in our rubric gallery so that other teachers may benefit from the progress your children have made.

Thanks for the blog!

Debbie Harbour said...

Thank you for your interest. I am more than willing to discuss this with you. What is the best way to be in contact with you?

Joseph said...

Hi Debbie,

My email is If you have any questions about how to add your rubric to our Rubric Gallery just send me an email. I will be more than happy to help you with the website.

Joseph Hsiao