New Writing Rubrics and Checklists

It has been a cold rainy day here, which means crafts with the kids and getting a few things checked off my work to do list.



I have just updated my writing rubrics and editing checklists for each and every one of you! They can be used when exclusively teaching writing in language arts or across content areas for any writing assignment!



You may be wondering why I have now combined a few of the grade levels. As a teacher I know differentiation is extremely important and so are meaningful educational goals. Rubrics can cover a plethora of skills and standards, allowing for educational goals to be tweaked based on the rubric assessment. The difference in expectations for grades1/2, 3/4, and 5/6 grade is noticeable but not wide enough to justify separate rubrics. Many children are capable of extending their ability if they are able to see the end goal, so it is okay to raise the bar.



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A side note: I do explain rubrics to every child prior to using them. I create writing pieces for them to grade and with me. It helps to go through the process together. We also talk about expectations. Would you expect to land a cartwheel on the first try? No way! Nor do I expect first graders to be at a level three or four. They will most likely fall around a level two on average. It is a starting place to grow from. Remember education is about growth, not just checking a box.


Let's take a look at the first and second grade rubric first:


Level for is where a child (and their educator) can strive to be by the END of second grade. Level three would be the goal for the end of first grade.


When using a rubric, you will grade an entire paper but make two goals on average to focus on with the child. If you try to focus on each and every goal, then frustration will surely occur for everyone. If you have not taught a particular concept yet, you can cross it off the rubric and save it for the future. Rubrics are adaptable and should reflect true progress. Let's look at the example below.


This child has a few areas to address. They are a second grader who is progressing, but the main areas of focus seem to be verb-tense, descriptive language, and closing sentences. Tackling all of these topics at once would be overwhelming but choose one or two to focus on for this particular writing project would be appropriate. Personally, I would choose the closing sentence and practice with the child one on one. We would then review adjectives and find a few to add to their current writing place (maybe we would circle back to a previous lesson or use a thesaurus as well). If I noticed that verb tense is a common mistake for the child, I would address it through a few quick hands-on activities or mini lessons (practice) during the upcoming weeks.


You might be asking yourself, "What about the actual grade?" Great question! You can give half points, or you can choose the lower level. I prefer giving a half of a point, as it does not then discount the progress they have made. For the above child I would assign a 3.5 for Organization and 2.5 for Mechanics. Remember you are making goals and celebrating success. If we only look at the negative, writing will become frustrating and cumbersome.



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Side note: Focus less on the overall score and more on creating tangible goals. Attaching the completed rubric to a work and keeping a binder of completed writing projects will help both the educator and child monitor progress overtime.


Let's take a step back and look at an example of an editing checklist.


Checklists are helpful for a few reasons:

  1. They establish a habit for rereading written work.

  2. They allow for independence and ownership over written work.

  3. They can be used with peers (older peers can also review a younger child's work).

  4. They give the writer focus when editing.

  5. They give the writer a glimpse into what their grade could look like.

I always use a checklist after every writing place. You can use the general editing checklist across content areas, therefore, consistently reinforcing skills which are taught during exclusive language arts lessons.


Ready to grab you editing checklists and writing rubrics? Find the individual listings below or grab them all!





Don't forget to grab my cross curricular writing plan template! This fun prewriting approach is coined "Bubble Planning." This is a planning template I have used with grades kindergarten (simple plan) through sixth grade! It is helpful for all children, but I have experienced great success when implementing its use with children who struggle in written organization and brainstorming. Need a little more information on how to use these tools? Check out my quick post!