Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Prompt Writing...hmmmmmm?

I am curious what other's opinions are regarding prompt writing in the early grades? I teach kindergarten and in the past, you know my past programmed "teaching writing" life, I did prompt writing; sometimes as often as once a week. In March I have to do a prompt piece with my students as a requirement. I am trying to wrap my head around the importance...still figuring it out!

Here are some of my questions to get you thinking:

How often do you ask a student to write to a prompt?
Are prompts appropriate...do they have their place of importance in the early grades? What about later elementary grades?
What do you do with them--rubric? How much weight does the rubric grade have in your overall opinion of the student as a writer (report card or other reporting purposes)?
Do you use a rubric with other pieces of writing or a different way of measuring growth?

Any comments for any grade level prompt writing are welcome. I think it is important for me to keep future grades and requirements in mind, while not letting it be the only reason. I keep trying to figure out if a prompt piece is meeting the needs of my writers or a need for someone else. Thanks for your response. Happy Valentine's Day!


Anonymous said...

Let's be honest. Teaching prompt writing is the pits. There is nothing that feels magical about it. However, we have to do it because tests ask kids to do this. (Boo!)

Anyway, when we teach a short genre study on testing and writing prompts (I'm talking 10 days), I think it can make teaching writing to the prompt a bit more tolerable for us and for the students.

I wrote about this quite a bit back in Feb. and March 2009. Here's just one post about it (don't want to inundate you): http://twowritingteachers.wordpress.com/2009/03/05/better-written-responses/.

Anonymous said...

BTW: I could only respond to your post using an Open ID. Forgot to sign my name (since I was going to post by name). It's me.

CMacWW said...

My school requires a quarterly writing prompt in all grades K-8. The kindergartners often draw a picture and add words or even a sentence if they are able to. Grades 3 and above use the state testing rubric to score the student work. Do I love prompts? NO! At this point it is required "test prep." These grades are a piece of the total for the report card, but other writing from our workshop time are often weighted higher.

Klinger Cafe' said...

I teach first grade and don't give prompts very often, but do throw them in once in awhile. The older grades in my school (3-6) using nothing but prompts. I'd rather use mentor text in any grade.

Looking for the Write Words said...

Oh yes, there are the dreaded test prompts. I teach 4th grade and we sprinkle in this type of prompt here and there for reader's response writing. Other times they are somewhat open ended, such as, write about a favorite place or one of your best days. I find that the more students are surrounded by excellent literature and mentor texts, the more time we spend on gathering ideas and our writer's notebooks the less students need prompts. Although, I must confess to recently printing out a list of prompts for students that continually are stuck searching for an idea. Thanks for the thought provoking Slice.

Carol said...

I'm not big on prompt writing, but know that at least a little is a "necessary evil" to get kids ready to take THE TEST. Their voices sure are flatter, though, than when they write of their own volition!

At one school that I worked at, every single kid, from ECE through fifth grade, wrote once a quarter to the prompt, "Write about someone you know." It was amazing to watch how kids changed over time!

Diana Martin said...

I think because you do so much authentic writing that a quick on demand piece wouldn't hurt a thing. In fact, it is interesting to see what kids can do. And you could model your own process of how you handle on demand writing with your kids. Even as an adult, I find prompt writing a challenge.