Twitter-Sizing It: Adventures In Brevity

I just finished writing my Communications of Learning. If this was like previous years, the last couple of weekends would have been full of #CofL (Communication of Learning) Twitter posts, with a countdown on comments completed and comments still left to go. As I’ve blogged about before, a Communication of Learning is different than a report card, and while technology issues, a new Program Document, and the Four Frames have made the Communications of Learning difficult to write at times, I’ve still enjoyed the reflection process. I love the asset-based approach to assessment, and how it’s truly reflective of the child. Having taught from Kindergarten to Grade 6, I was less of a fan of the traditional report cards, always feeling as though I needed to wordsmith my comments to fit in the couple of lines that I got per subject area, but with half-a-page per Frame, I could now write a Learning Story. I wasn’t worried about qualifiers matching marks and not having space to communicate my thoughts. Like blog writing, story writing is what I know. It’s what I do. So while I didn’t always celebrate a weekend or two in front of the computer writing, I did celebrate a reporting option that was personalized and about kids. When sign writing about broken bathrooms, stick ball, worm poop, worm pregnancy, worm houses (there’s a lot to say about wormsΒ πŸ™‚ ), and the problem solving involved in descending a tree safely, can all fit well into a reporting template, how can you not love it?! This year was different though.

Our Work-To-Rule requirements mean that kindergarten educators are only writing “one brief comment per Frame.” As I said in a recent blog post, I totally understand and support our job action, but this did provide a new challenge for me.Β How could I capture the essence of each child in four brief comments?Β I think this tweet of mine sums things up.

My comments are incredibly brief, but they are personalized, and they do say something. Even given the few number of sentences, as I proofread the Communication of Learning comments today, I could still get a picture of each child in my mind, and this made me happy. This was important to me, for as we fight for maintaining the current Kindergarten model, I think there’s also something to be said for maintaining a Program Document that supports play, inquiry, and interest-based learning, while developing the thinking, problem solving, and social skills to allow for current and future success. Somehow I wanted to preserve the integrity of these comments, while also keeping them brief. Maybe my word choice experiences from years and grades ago proved useful once again. πŸ™‚

Now the interesting thing here is that these Communications of Learning, like elementary report cards, are not being sent out this term.

In the end, it will just be me, my teaching partner, Paula, and our principalΒ who get to see these comments.Β Was the time invested worth it, if these comments are only for us?Β The more that I think about this, the more that I believe that it was. Reflection time is never wasted time, and getting this clear picture of each child can only further support Paula and I as we plan ahead for each of our kids. It’s like the unpublished blog post:Β sometimes writing it is what matters most of all.Β How are you benefitting from your report cards or Communications of Learning even if they don’t make it past your eyes? What value might this reflection process have on your students?Β Now here’s to hoping that my regular Communication of Learning countdown can be back soon enough, but for now, I’ll embrace the Twitter-sized version of a learning story because even with a character count, you can still say something valuable.

Not A Communication of Learning Comment, But Proof That A Story Can Be Brief.Β πŸ™‚


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