As I take a break from drafting report cards, I’m relieved that I had students do this linked activity. It has become a bit of a fascinating process whereby I continue to learn about how students see themselves in relation to reporting.
I did this with my class of Grade 6/7 students and in about 2/3 of the cases, I could use their self-reflective paragraphs, written in third person, as my final term report card comments. In the remaining cases, it leaves me with pieces that inform my drafting of their reports. This process has provided me with some relevant information about areas they might have experienced growth in that maybe I hadn’t had the chance to observe and with some descriptors of the types of students they view themselves as that I may not have considered. It is allowing me to incorporate some of their own sense of achievement during the year (or in the final term) into their report cards, honouring their perceptions of their own growth.
Students were asked to be sincere, honest, and critical in the brainstorming responses and then write a genuinely accurate paragraph depicting what a report card paragraph would look like. They were permitted to embellish and exaggerate for the “worst case scenario.”
The most fascinating response was a student who wrote a version of his report card paragraph that might be best described as “wishful thinking” or, in another way as “delusional.” However, he wrote a very critical and precise “worst case scenario” in which he critically identified some of his shortcomings.
His paragraph he would “like to see on his report card”
“Simon” is a well-organized, and hardworking kid who takes precise notes to record all work done in class. He is friendly and helpful to his classmates which helps build his leadership and communication skills. He participates actively in class discussions which improves his confidence. When he is part of group projects, others look to him for guidance. He is patient when listening to everyone’s point of view. He volunteers for a lot of school projects and extracurricular activities. He is a genuine, warm-hearted kid who loves to help people wherever he can. His work displays an effort to learn and improve.
I could easily refute most of these comments with direct quotes from anecdotal comments I’ve collected throughout the year.
His worst case scenario report:
While “Simon” is a hardworking kid, his grades fail to portray this fact. I find that he doesn’t ask enough questions in class to clarify what needs to be done on his assignments which leads to him getting a poor grade. I also find that “Simon” fails to think critically in his assignments and does not explain his points. I cannot understand them accurately. He also needs to improve his grammar skills. His work often comprises of run on sentences. If he wishes to achieve a better grade, he will have to improve on all of these things.
I had to laugh at the accuracy and candidness of this passage, which is a much truer depiction of the student behaviours and tendencies I have observed, some of which we have conferenced about. Overall….fascinating sense of himself as a student.
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