Friday, May 22, 2015

Celebrating (?) Report Cards

Discover. Play. Build.

I've been inspired by a few recent friends' posts to get involved with Ruth Ayers' Celebrate Link Up, #celebratelu.

Today I am trying to celebrate ... report cards.

Traditionally, our school's report cards are due right after the Memorial Day weekend. Teachers are given Friday off as our "work day" for writing reports, and kids and families get a four-day holiday weekend. But it also tends to mean that we teachers get four days of work and a no-day holiday weekend.

Report card writing is tough. It is hard to condense a quarter or a semester's worth of learning and discovering and turn it into a few tidy paragraphs and a checklist or two. It feels inadequate. It's hard to imagine that a parent or a child will be able to look at a score of 3 or a sentence about revision and reconstruct the hours of time spent reading student work or the time spent in school celebrating accomplishments big and small.

I have been trying to push myself to remember the bright sides of report card writing, of this process of review and reportage. I have had many moments of laughter while rereading student journals and remembering a particular description or turn of phrase. I love the joy that third graders find in the world around them and the honest ways that they share their inner thoughts and feelings.

Here are a few quick favorites ...

From a brainstorm for a persuasive essay on reading:

    I think reading is really fun. If I'm reading a really good book, then sometimes I just get so wrapped up in it that I can't hear anything around me, nor can I concentrate on anything else, making the exception of kicking the chair behind me ...

Introductory paragraph to a formal research report (or in which I remember the perils of a lack of authentic audience):

     Hungary is a very interesting place. Katie will read about Hungary’s Geography, People, and Food.

Opening paragraph to a literary essay:

    I chose to do “Slower than the Rest” because I have felt slow learning things but then once I learn it I feel super fast about it. I like to read stories with main characters like me so I learn how to fix my problems, (sadly none of the problems in these books involve video games). 

How do you find joy in report card writing?


  1. Wow! Celebrating report card writing!! That's ambitious. Good job!! I always struggled with keeping is short and meaningful. No more narratives on report cards for me in middle school. There are times when I miss it as a letter grade or a few words don't convey a meaningful message. Wishing you lots of laughter as you review student work and lots of inspiration as you compose your report cards! Glad you are celebrating with us today!

  2. I love that "trying to celebrate." I appreciate these Saturday posts because they do challenge me to find a celebration even in experiences that don't feel remotely celebratory. You've found something to celebrate for sure in the joy and surprise of your students' work and ways of seeing the world.

  3. You have the right attitude - there should be celebration in those report cards - after all, it marks the year you had.

  4. I wish I could find joy in them… our district doesn't allow us to write narratives. When it did, I loved the chance to write about the strengths of each child. It was an important ritual of reflection for me. But now we have to choose from a pulldown menu of phrases that do not capture a single beautiful thing about a child. So, I do report cards with little joy or fanfare, and make sure that my reflections have been present for children and their families in other ways throughout the year.

  5. We don't do report cards, but only long, detailed narratives. It is of value for both the students, parents and the teachers, but oh, it takes a very long time. I think it must be hard to put a sentence or two down that means all you know about the child, and glad you've figured out the good parts about it, Katie.

  6. Trying to celebrate report cards . . . It's a challenge but you have certainly highlighted the amusing aspect of looking at the learning journeys in our rooms!

  7. Report card writing is a task that needs to be done so we grin and take time to be thoughtful as we write individualized statements. I am sure your report cards were handled with the utmost diligence.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...