Follow Up On Writing Portfolios in First Grade – Trimester 3


At the beginning of the school year, I wrote on how I use writing portfolios to help guide classroom instruction. I shared independent writing samples with the intention of showing their progress every trimester. The second trimester has just ended and literally zoomed by. It feels so short because it is smack in the middle of winter break (not complaining, we teachers need it). When classes resume in January, I feel like I teach for a few weeks, only to start reassessing for the mid-year reporting period. The class schedule can sometimes get pretty hectic when you look at the multitude of standards and content required in a short amount of time. But we do our best, I do my best and my students most certainly do their best.

This second trimester, I have been continuing with guided writing, shared writing, interactive writing and making class big books. I have also been teaching specific grammar skills like possessive nouns, past tense and my favorite, the use of the word “an”. I applaud that they are fearless when attempting to incorporate new skills in their writing. These writing samples are taken monthly and students are free to write what they please. As you can see, there is marked improvement in their writing from the first day of school to now. Yahoo!

This student is on grade level and is doing well in all subject areas.

First day of school - August 20th/ DRA 4

First day of school – August 20th/ DRA 4

Feb 23rd- End of 2nd Trimester DRA 14

Feb 23rd-
End of 2nd Trimester
DRA 14

Backside of writing piece. DRA 14

Backside of writing piece.
DRA 14

This student is developing proficiency in language arts.

First day of school. August 20th / DRA 2

First day of school – August 20th / DRA 2

Feb 23rd End of 2nd Trimester DRA 6

Feb 23rd –
End of 2nd Trimester

This student is far below grade level and continues receiving intensive reading intervention in and out of the classroom.

Nov 18th  End of 1st Trimester DRA 2

Nov 18th
End of 1st Trimester

Feb 23rd - End of 2nd Trimester DRA 2 Working on reading/writing CVC words

Feb 23rd – End of 2nd Trimester / DRA 2
“I went to the snow. I build a snowman. I play with my sister. At last, I feeled happy. It was fun.”

When this little person turned in the writing piece, I cheered and shouted,”Kiss your brain!” I was so excited to be able to read the writing and this little person was happy to read it aloud.

So now that we begin the third trimester, my focus will be on developing voice and some dialogue. We’ll see how that goes…

I will post their writing samples at the end of the school year in June.  Until then, keep reading, writing and having fun!

“You’re off to Great Places!
Today is your day!
Your mountain is waiting,
So… get on your way!”

― Dr. Seuss, Oh, The Places You’ll Go!

LOVE IS IN THE AIR…A Valentine’s Gratitude List

love signI love love. I love saying I love you and I love hearing hearing these magical words said to me. I love when little people hold my hand, caress my face and say I love you. I Iove when my dogs rest their faces on my lap with their expressive eyes that scream, I Love You. I love the colors pink and red and doodling hearts. I love my family and my tribe: they fuel my soul to be a better person, they make me laugh out loud and they comfort my heart when things get tough. As Helen Keller said, “The best and most beautiful things in this world cannot be seen or even heard, but must be felt with the heart.” 

Here are a few of my favorite things:

1. God. God is my best friend, my father, my mother, my shelter. As soon as I open my eyes I thank God for my life and the wonders that are filled in it. I don’t have a picture but I see God in most things and people as I go about my day.  When the sun sets with its purple, pink and orange hues I feel God’s light. My friends and I call this “The Color of Love.” I also feel God’s magnificence in the ocean and that’s why I love spending time on the beach.

Manhattan Beach Pier

Manhattan Beach Pier

2. I love books, I love bookstores, I love writing picture books and I love how books take you to different places, experiences and times. I’m currently reading The Secret of Magic by Deborah Johnson. As I go about my day I find myself back in 1946 and I’m accompanying the young female attorney as she tries to find justice for a black man in the segregated south. I hope one day to have a shabby chic library to have a space for all of my book friends.

3. I love yoga. Yoga has taught me to slow down, to pause and reflect. I’m a typical type A personality and in my perfect world everything would have a nice, neat box to keep stuff organized. Life has not been neat and most certainly people cannot be kept in boxes, no matter the packaging. I now have a huge respect for my body, my health and my breath. When I find myself looking at my time schedule and what I think needs to be happening, I now remind myself – I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be.

4. I love the world of possibilities. I’ve always been an intuitive person. However, since I have begun writing and practicing yoga on a consistent basis, I have unlatched a gateway to another dimension. My friends lovingly call me bruja since I often dream of babies, death and random situations before they have occurred. People who have passed, come and visit me through dreams and visions.  The books and stories I write are based on the magical journeys I have taken through my dreams. My latest journey takes place in the vast ocean night with a magical friend. My dear friend has also been getting similar visions. No coincidence here.  In the meanwhile, I will be patiently waiting for this story to unfold, as I know it will when the time is right.

Sugar Dayne Cookies

Sugar Dayne Cookies

5. I love and truly admire creative and artistic people. The way I see it, it is through our creativity that God gets to spread love and hope. I joke that in my next lifetime I’m going to be a fashion designer or a dancer. I can’t get enough of Project Runway, Diane von Furstenberg, Anthropologie, Etsy and The Office of Angela Scott.  When people ask if I earn lots of money through my writing I laugh and tell them no. But who knows, anything is possible. I write because I love the joy it brings. I write because it’s like breathing. I write because it’s what I’m supposed to do.

Happy Valentine’s Day! May you be filled with lots of love.

I believe that imagination is stronger than knowledge. That myth is more potent than history. That dreams are more powerful than facts. That hope always triumphs over experience. That laughter is the only cure for grief. And I believe that love is stronger than death. -Robert Fulghum