Art in the classroom isn’t always a common practice. Sometimes you just flat out don’t have enough instructional time to squeeze in crafts or art. Let me be real honest ,though–I love writing crafts in the classroom! Not only would kids get excited about them, but I would then have something to hang in the hallway.
But let me be clear, it’s so important that they are more than cute. More than just a display for people to ooo and ahhh over. Who has time for something meaningless after all? I never did! So when we crafted, I wanted there to be a purpose.
Several years ago we began having purposeful crafts that also served as writing assessments. At the end of each 6 week grading period we would work together to create a rubric for what we had learned, so far, that good writing needed. It started out simple, but then became more complicated as the year went on.
The students would work on a piece of writing and we would then sit down together and go over the rubric we created as a class. They would check their writing for those writing elements they should have, and when they were ready, they would meet with me for a conference and they would “earn” pieces of their craft.
This was, by far, one of the most powerful things I ever did during writer’s workshop. Why? Because not only did they have complete ownership of it all, but they also had a great visual of their writing. If their craft was missing a part and looked a little silly, or it was hard to tell what it should be, they learned that their writing was also hard to read or looked a little silly. I did my best to make this as light-hearted as possible. The best part was when the NEXT writing creativity time would come and we could celebrate their growth and look back together!
In my classroom we would do a writing craft assessment at least once a six weeks, but sometimes every month!
A scarecrow for September,
A pineapple for May
How do you use writing crafts in the classroom? If you don’t ever use them, I’d love to hear why not. In my last school, we did not have an art teacher so my administration approved of us doing things like this every now and then.