It’s report card writing time in Ontario, and if you check out the Twitter feeds each night, you’ll see lots of tweets about report cards. I’ll admit it: I struggle with writing report cards. I really want the report card to capture the unique strengths and needs of each student. I’m not a fan of comment banks, but I am a HUGE fan of personalization.
When I sit down to write report cards, I have all of my assessment and evaluation data in Evernote. Despite not being a paper person, I also have the paper self-evaluations that the students wrote sitting beside me. These I always look at, but I look at the information in Evernote less often. Truthfully, I don’t really need to see it. I know my students. I sit down and work with them every day, and I’ve seen what they can do and where they need to go next. (I may double check a mark or two, but that’s about it.) I see a report card as a celebration of success and documentation of future goals (both what I think and what the students feel), but how do I capture all of these thoughts in anywhere from 4-15 lines?
As I tweeted on the weekend, report card writing is the ultimate activity in word choice. Phil Hart and Jon Fines both equated it to Twitter, but at least when tweeting, I can always add a second message. With a report card, I don’t get another box. And this is where I struggle! Thank goodness for a PLN that never stops thinking. It was after I shared my report card woes on Twitter, that Mary-Kay Goindi and Jo-Ann Corbin-Harper both chimed in with their suggestions.
Imagine these options. Then think about the idea of adding the students into the conversation. I can almost imagine a Livescribe Pencast, with written and audio comments from students and teachers about classroom performance and future goals. If these pencasts were shared over Google Drive, then we could also share photographs and videos that further capture this learning. With the addition of parent comments and contributions, this would become the ultimate report card.
This seems like an impossibility right now, but what if it’s not? I’m a big believer in dreaming big, pushing hard when necessary, and knowing that in time, greatness is always possible! So what would your ideal report card look like? Why would you make these changes? Maybe with enough input from enough varied voices, a change can happen! For today, I will wish lots and keep on writing those 4-15 lines! 🙂