As I start to think about my incoming students, I like to have a document that will record their growth in writing over time. Most years, I have students all over the spectrum in writing development; scribbles to phonetic spelling. As a teacher, I need to praise all of this but I also want to show how much my students with little schema or tremendous amounts of writing experiences have grown.15
For years, I have collected a monthly writing sample from my students. At my previous school, this was based on the monthly writing prompts which we were required to give. The prompts usually contained a sentence starter. Over time, I have changed that to be more of "writing assignment" for lack of better words. Since I try to give this on the first day of the month if possible, students and I gather together and brainstorm about what the new month may have in store. For example, September lends itself to thinking about school whereas in December children can only think about toys, toys, and more toys. I make a year long writing journal. Each month, I take it out and they write a new piece into this journal. I like that it is all in one place and shows growth over time.
Happy Teaching and Learning!