This is a guest post from one of my year 6 students, Lynton. This year, Lynton has become what I would describe as a powerful learner. Even on the last day of the school year, when he could’ve been goofing off with his classmates, he was pouring over the Australian Curriculum and past report cards trying to finish this piece of writing. I think he has an important story to tell.
Dear Report Cards,
I’m just a few days away from moving into year 7. I’m writing this because I have something to tell you: You suck. You have been lying to me for at least the last three years. You’ve told me over and over again that I’m a D student in English. But you’re wrong; I’m not.
This year, I’m a B student.
I’ve made a B because I have a teacher that understands me. He didn’t concentrate on testing. This is good because I don’t do well on tests, and I think they are unfair for some children. I don’t know why, but sometimes when I start a test, I forget everything. I know other kids that do the same.
I earned a B because my teacher focused on the bottom of my iceberg. All the work that I did across the year, the revisions I completed, and all the progress that I made. The most important part of my iceberg is the time and effort I put into it. You need to find time to make the bottom because without a strong base; you can’t have success at the top.
Now, I know for a fact that I can’t spell. The only reason you can easily read this is because of my best friend, spell check. My spelling difficulties make my hand-writing hard to read. In the past, I’ve done most of my writing in a textbook without revisions. So, of course I was going to get a D.
Having access to technology has changed my world. Being able to type my work and click on a red line to fix a wrong word has suddenly made my work correct. Feedback is another extremely helpful tool. When I was stuck or when I’m just finished, I used feedback to fix the things that were wrong or to add things that I may not have thought of. Feedback is an awesome tool!
I know I don’t need to show you the Curriculum because you’ve seen it. But I’m looking at it right now and spelling only appears in one box out of about 20 (phonics and word knowledge). Is it fair to say that a child’s writing is D worthy when the main problem with it is the spelling? When you get past that, it could be really good. So don’t judge a book by its cover. Unlike you, report cards, this year my teacher took that one box for what it is. Small.
The grade game is a big thing. Throughout the year every teacher and student will play it. This year we changed the game, and we changed our classroom. I was able to get feedback all the time. I was able to use technology. I learned to self-assess. I had time to revise and check my work which made my writing better. Because I showed evidence of growth and learning, I became a B student.