How do kids think of themselves as writers?

I used to frequently use an assessment in which I’d ask students to draw a scientist so that I could see their attitudes about science and what they thought a scientist looked like. I attended a powerful presentation today called “Looking at Student Drawing and Writing” in which the presenters asked students: “Draw a picture of yourself as a writer.” They followed this up with the prompt: “Tell someone looking at your picture what he/she should know about what you drew and how you feel about yourself as a writer.”

The student samples were so revealing! I mean, how do my students experience writing and think of themselves as writers? I thought I knew, but how could I without asking them? This is fundamental knowledge both for the students to reflect on and to inform my practice as a teacher of writers.

The presenters have been developing a rubric to assess this piece in a methodical way. Looking at broad categories of Writer’s Environment, Writing Process/Product/Knowledge, and Writer’s Identity, with subcategories that help the teacher reflect on the attitudes and perceptions of student writers. We practiced using this rubric on some student samples and felt a lot came out of using the protocol that gave us insight into both the individual students and the class they came from in terms of patterns to examine.

Our students can tell us so much about what is happening in the classroom. It’s a shame I don’t use their expert knowledge more!


2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Jill Hoort
    Nov 19, 2007 @ 03:12:33

    I think RCWP should have a study group and get interested TCs together to talk about this and develop our own or use their rubric to look first at our own students and our writing instruction. I do think this is a very revealing tool to help us grow as educators.


  2. hloney
    Nov 19, 2007 @ 22:46:10

    I hear you, Jill, and while I don’t want to lead it, because my head is already about to explode, I’d join in. Maybe a summer thing?


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