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Writing skills by the end of K?

post #1 of 27
Thread Starter 
In your area, what is considered to be "adequate progress" or "at grade level" for kids at the end of K, in terms of writing?
post #2 of 27
These are our end of year standards for Kindergarten.

Quote:
WRITING
1.0 Writing Strategies
Students write words and brief sentences that are legible.
Organization and Focus
1.1 Use letters and phonetically spelled words to write about experiences, stories, people, objects, or events.
1.2 Write consonant-vowel-consonant words (i.e., demonstrate the alphabetic principle).
1.3 Write by moving from left to right and from top to bottom.
Penmanship
1.4 Write uppercase and lowercase letters of the alphabet independently, attending to the form and proper spacing of the letters.

WRITTEN AND ORAL ENGLISH LANGUAGE CONVENTIONS
The standards for written and oral English language conventions have been placed
between those for writing and for listening and speaking because these conventions are
essential to both sets of skills.

1.0 Written and Oral English Language Conventions
Students write and speak with a command of standard English conventions.
Sentence Structure
1.1 Recognize and use complete, coherent sentences when speaking.
Spelling
1.2 Spell independently by using pre-phonetic knowledge, sounds of the alphabet,
and knowledge of letter names.
Basically, a kindie who can write "My dad is tall. He likes to play basketball. We go to the park. I love my dad" is on target even if they spell it like "Mi dad iz tol."
post #3 of 27
Thread Starter 
How does this work for kids who are not really reading at the end of K? Isn't that still considered within the realm of normal, or no? Are they expected to be able to write independently?
post #4 of 27
There is wide rooms of normal. From the stand point of a child that had physical issues looking at how they hold pencils and form letters is what they should be looking for mostly. Basic sentence structure should be there - spelling not.

Unfortunately they say one thing but curriculum states another. They say the don't expect reading but they will struggle if they don't.
post #5 of 27
Quote:
How does this work for kids who are not really reading at the end of K? Isn't that still considered within the realm of normal, or no? Are they expected to be able to write independently?
In our district, most kindies are reading a little by end of of the year (mostly 2 or 3 letter words) but the creative spelling actually works for non-readers if they know their basic letter sounds. They often skip vowels and letter combinations in their spelling but the idea is there. My own DD started writing sentances 3 years before she picked up and read her 1st book.

Like the PP, kindie is about the most diverse grade ability wise. What I posted was the standard and what most kids in our district end with. My DD was way ahead of that before she started. My DS struggled greatly with fine motors (was getting OT at the time too) but he managed to JUST make that standard end of the year despite being a much stronger reader than expected for the grade. Thankfully, our school also doesn't stress too much about kids needing a little longer for that skill to take.
post #6 of 27
I agree with Whatsnextmom. While I don't have our standards handy, from volunteering in DS's classroom, I can say that the teacher expected kids to be able to write three sentences about a given topic, largely independently. But phonetic spelling is totally fine. So for the letter D, they might write: "The donut is yumy. I like to dunk the donut. I by my donuts at the bakry."

They had a list of sight words for the year, and she expected that they would be able to spell those ones correctly by the end of the year. K is definitely more like first grade!
-e
post #7 of 27
At the school where I teach, our K kids start writing at the start of the year, but independent reading isn't pushed until midyear. So, our kids are basically writing before they read.

We place a lot of emphasis on the content of what they write, Kindergarteners are basically expected to write a very short story with events in sequence (we call it a "small moment" as opposed to a story). They are also supposed to be able to write all letters, move from left to write, spell words so they can mostly be read by an adult, but doesn't follow spelling "rules" and put spaces between their words.

My dade tuk me to the pul. I divd in the dep nd. I mad a big spsh in the wotr. My dad sed WOW.

Would be about right.
post #8 of 27
Quote:
My dade tuk me to the pul. I divd in the dep nd. I mad a big spsh in the wotr. My dad sed WOW.

Would be about right.
Interesting. My older DD went to a small, private K and then our large public first. She was not able to write at this level until I would say end of first quarter in first and she was definitely well within the range of normal for her first grade. But she was a very advanced reader and hated the "invented spelling" because she KNEW what she was writing was wrong and it bothered her. It was a bit of a struggle to get her to write for awhile because of this. It really wasn't until her spelling improved that she enjoyed writing.
post #9 of 27
Thread Starter 
I'm asking this question because my DD recently got her end of the year report card, and for writing, she got the comment "works on grade level." I think of DD as writing very well for age, and had in mind the fairly significant number of kids in her class who either can't read or are very basic readers only. From what I've seen, many are also still writing in all caps.

Here is something DD wrote (on her own, as is obvious from spelling) lately:

"Swiming Strugles"

"A littel brown kitten is twingkling with magic but needs a purrfect friend. And Lessie's swiming school is hard with Tessa and Cassie bothering her. will her friend flame help or will it all be a nightmare?"

This is typical of her writing. She also has very nice penmanship, although she is not that strong on punctuation and capitalization yet and still occasionally reverses letters like j. Is that really grade level for end of K?
post #10 of 27
You know, it's really best to put aside any notion of grades "meaning" anything at this point. They are not going to truely express your child in the elementary stage and they will never tell the whole story.

I learned so much in the first few years of my kids being in school. For example, at our school, we use a number system with "4" being "exceeds grade level standard" and "3" being "at grade level standard" (you can figure out "2" and "1".) Some teachers would give 4's if they knew a child COULD work at a higher level. Some would only give "4's" if the child was physically GIVEN advanced level work to complete in an area. Some would give "4's" to children who routinely got 90 percent corrent in their grade level work as if the numbers were comparable to letter grades (which they aren't.) It really was up to the teacher in some ways.

At the same time, teachers can have all sorts of restrictions and pressures put upon them in how to grade. I learned that they were not allowed to give higher than a "3" in penmanship. My DD was using lovely cursive in 1st grade but never got more than a "3" in that area through 5th grade. My DD's 1st and only kindie report card (she only did a couple months of kindie) said she knew all her letters and could count to 20 lol. It was all the teacher was ALLOWED to grade on even though she was already transitioning her to 1st grade when that report card was being written up lol. One year, there was a crack down and teachers were required to "show growth" in their report cards. My DD got all these "3's" her first report card of the year and when we questioned it, the teacher rolled her eyes and said "everyone here knows she's not a '3' in anything... this is a state thing." Our district is fantastic and very flexible but they have to keep paperwork kosher for the state and that is that.

So, we don't take those grades seriously. Report cards can identify problems and that is about it. If a "2" were to show up (and they did for DS in penmanship) we took notice. Outside of that, we just stick it in a box and go out for ice cream. We've been MUCH happier since coming to peace with that.
post #11 of 27
Thread Starter 
Thanks--that is a helpful perspective. This report card was totally different from the other 3 we've gotten and seems to be some district thing, rather than the school's form. She did get "exceeds grade level" in reading (it would be ridiculous to claim otherwise, given what she brings to school for free reading) but all other subjects were "works at grade level." I think it's quite possible that she appears to work "at grade level" in science and math (she wasn't given much chance to do otherwise) but I thought this one was odd.

My concern was that they might be trying to establish a paper trail that DD does not require enrichment because she is "on grade level." I may be being completely paranoid.

You know, in thinking about it, the only thing she was given enrichment for was reading. So maybe it is this: "Some would only give "4's" if the child was physically GIVEN advanced level work to complete in an area."
post #12 of 27
You'll often find that subjects like "science" and "social studies" are participatory grades not actual achievement grades. "At grade level" is usually the best they can give.

Math, that's an area where they often won't give "exceeds grade level" unless the child is actually given higher curriculum either through in-class differentiation or subject acceleration. There are some that will give "exceeds" to kids with high accuracy but really, that's a misuse of the grading format. Getting most of the problems right can just mean you are competant at grade level.

I wouldn't assume the school is trying to set-up an "average" paper trail for your child to avoid accomodating her later. Honestly, I don't think that much thought went into it. We've found report cards are pretty meaningless to the schools outside transition years (moving into middle school, moving into highschool.) It wouldn't be a bad idea to keep a small portfolio... just a single dated writing sample, a completed math sheet, a short book list, ect. That way if they do go back to kindie report cards, you can pull the file and say, this is a sample of what she was doing at the time that report card was given. Just keep it for the next school year.
post #13 of 27
Thread Starter 
I wouldn't be this paranoid naturally--they just have been kind of odd about her. They requested permission to have her tested for GT in November, but never did the testing (they said they were priorizing older children...then they said "Well, the program doesn't start till grade 2 anyway") and there have been some kind of weird comments. The school has lost my trust a little, unfortunately.

I really appreciate the wisdom of someone who has BTDT already--thanks!
post #14 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by loraxc View Post
I'm asking this question because my DD recently got her end of the year report card, and for writing, she got the comment "works on grade level." I think of DD as writing very well for age, and had in mind the fairly significant number of kids in her class who either can't read or are very basic readers only. From what I've seen, many are also still writing in all caps.

Here is something DD wrote (on her own, as is obvious from spelling) lately:

"Swiming Strugles"

"A littel brown kitten is twingkling with magic but needs a purrfect friend. And Lessie's swiming school is hard with Tessa and Cassie bothering her. will her friend flame help or will it all be a nightmare?"

This is typical of her writing. She also has very nice penmanship, although she is not that strong on punctuation and capitalization yet and still occasionally reverses letters like j. Is that really grade level for end of K?
I think its difficult to compare "at grade level" for your school vs the K class my son is in, but if it helps any, my son writes very similar to your daughter. Also like you describe your dd's class there is variation (but in smaller numbers)--in my son's class of 19 there are a very small number of kids writing not-very-legible words, not able to form a fairly understandable sentance (spelling aside); a small number can only read a few sight words; but definitely the majority of his class writes and reads decently.

Why not send a friendly email asking the teacher about it? We have a K report card that I barely pay attention too--but my son's teacher makes a point to tell me verbally where my son is at compared to his classmates, not just for my own knowledge, but a heads up for us in regards to his placement next year. In our school GT starts in 3rd grade, however placement into 1 of 4 levels starts in 1st grade. And you know how it is...of course the majority of those placed in the 1st group are those chosen for GT when 3rd grade rolls around. (for the record, I don't care where my son is at as long as he is happy in school and learning/being challenged).
post #15 of 27
Our standards are very similar to what was posted by a PP.

Kids at the END of K are expected to be able to independently write in journals with invented spelling, spaces, sentences. That is where they want the kids, some will be there, some will be past that, and some will be below that.

Our PreK kids had 2-3 kids out of 16 writing this way at the end of preK and this is a regular PreK class that feeds into the K. An equal amount of kids (3-4) in the class did just a few letters and their names. The other 10 or so were somewhere in the middle and many of them 'labeled' their art (cat, me, mommy,etc)

So as PP stated there is a WIDE variance in abilities within the 'norm'.

I would ask the teacher for more clarification if you wanted. Most K/1/2 keep a portfolio of work that would showcase growth of individual children. Which is the most important thing.

I do think that your DD seems slightly ahead of K level, but is it possible that the teacher also goes on age? or by a Rubric?

A 5 yr olds writing would look different than most 6+ yr old writing even if they both were in K--the standards for K would be the same, but the 'expectations' of the teacher may be different (as wrong as this may be, it can be true since early elem report cards are subjective in some areas).

Some grades also use Rubrics to 'judge' written ability. Like this one This is not my area, but we use one very much like this.

The advanced would be ABOVE grade level and developing/proficient (developing may also be below grade level depending on how the school decides) would be grade level. Beginning would be below grade level.


Writing is one of the easiest areas to differentiate so if a child needs it, it should be done (and can be done very easily).
post #16 of 27
Yes that seems about right. My daughter also just finished K, and I would say your daughter is unusually adept at spelling, but pretty much right on target for the rest of it, and I would expect there to be a few more adept writers in a class(not a lot, but a few). I also think in K they expect many kids to not be on grade level at one thing or another, so the fact that a few kids are at the very beginning stages with writing skills does not change what grade level is, kwim?

But that's at my school in my area. That rubric mentioned in the post above is too basic for our K curriculum, but that could be for any number of reasons. If you think the school is dinking around and has changed their attitude in a suspicious way, listen to that. You're probably right.
post #17 of 27
Quote:
That rubric mentioned in the post above is too basic for our K curriculum,
That's pretty common with state standards in general. They are the bare minimum, lowest they should be at this level basics and typically, as with our district, school standards and curriculum requirements are much higher.
post #18 of 27
Thread Starter 
DD's class was pretty small and her K was not very academic (which I am fine with). I have seen the other kids' writing because I volunteered in class, and honestly they were not at that level, though I didn't work with all the kids. DD does skip capitalization and periods fairly often, though, and I can see how that makes it more on grade level. However, she definitely is not writing "My dade tuk me to the pul" which is what I would have thought of as grade level for K, too. Her spelling is very good, IMO, though she is resistant to inventing spelling and often prefers to ask an adult for harder words, whereas I know her K teacher likes them to do invented spelling (I don't know if I agree!) Her writing is also small, even and controlled, which I think of as unusual for K. However, I know these standards are changing.

Quote:
Our PreK kids had 2-3 kids out of 16 writing this way at the end of preK and this is a regular PreK class that feeds into the K.
I do think this is really unusual. I remember you talking about this class before and it seemed like there are some amazing things going on there.
post #19 of 27
Quote:
"Swiming Strugles"

"A littel brown kitten is twingkling with magic but needs a purrfect friend. And Lessie's swiming school is hard with Tessa and Cassie bothering her. will her friend flame help or will it all be a nightmare?"
I will disagree that it's only spelling your DD is adept at. You could get a more flowery story from taking dication from a verbal child but writing it independantly at this age, it's pretty rare. You will find kids who can write "more" but not as carefully crafted as your DD put it. Her clever use of "purrfect" when talking about a cat's friend, her descriptive language, her reaching out to her readers with a question... that's pretty sophisticated for end of kindie.

My eldest has always been a very advanced writer. At 13, her teacher's say her essays are those you expect from a college student. She wrote much like your DD at that age.
post #20 of 27
Thread Starter 
She said she spelled perfect wrong on purpose to make the joke--I did think that was clever!

I also liked the question at the end. To be fair, she is imitating the style of a series of books she likes (she is good at doing this).
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