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Eight Do's and One Don't About Report Cards...not in any particular order

(1) Don't wait until the last minute to write them.  I always think I can do report cards in 7 - 10 days; that just doesn't work.  I need to give myself at least 3 weeks because there is always some other end-of-year task that needs to get done immediately after report cards are due, and because writing report cards isn't just about assigning marks or writing comments.  There is a lot more prep work that needs to be done before getting to that point.


(2) Do take about a week  to 10 days to gather evidence.  Read over notes from one-on-one conferences, review student work, anecdotes, and recordings of conversations, etc.  Then, jot down what I notice in terms of trends, work habits, use of strategies, and other important observations that I can use to write comments.


(3) Do try to start each comment with something positive that a child has done or said.  I have a colleague who will often quote children in her report card comments to support her own assessment of a child's…

Not in my class...

     "He's just bored, " she said.      "No. I don't accept that. In this class, he has lots of opportunities to challenge himself," I responded.  Although seemingly calm when I said this, I was seething inside. This is what I was really thinking: "Not in my class."     "Maybe he needs a nudge. Some kids need that, you know," she countered.      "Maybe," I responded.  This is what I was really thinking: "Maybe that would be true if he were in the class down the hall where all they do is worksheets day in and day out. But not in my class."     Then, as I'm wont to do, I started to doubt myself.       I sat down with Todd (not his real name) to talk about his math work. I wanted to get a better sense of how he thought about this particular problem since his thinking wasn't clearly evidenced in the explanation on his paper. Admittedly, the math in this problem was not very difficult for him. As we talked I helped…