Today our district had a snow day. Having heard the weather report and anticipated this, I collected a larger than normal group of student journals. Around noon I gathered the journals in two large bags and made a trek up the street to the local Starbucks. There I grabbed my grande-extra-hot-soy-chai-latte and began to read though about ten days of journaling per student. Since I normally only have one much smaller group, this broad picture of all my writers together was a snow day delight.
I read through journals where students we using appositive phrases correctly and incorrectly. Having recently taught this lesson, I was proud that almost all of my kids were trying the new skill. I praised them in my notes back to them, for taking a chance and for finding new examples in their independent reading books. Then I made lists of kids who: have it down, need some help, and lack the concept altogether. Now I can pull them in groups and reteach where I need to. Journals are my favorite formative assessment and Starbucks is my favorite place to fall in love with my writers.