In first grade we created a performance task for a unit on narrative writing centered on our recent trip to the FDNY Fire Zone. We reasoned that writing about a shared experience would "level the playing field" allowing us to compare/contrast student work fairly.
At the Fire Zone students learned about fire safety, played in a real fire truck, dressed as firemen and practiced what to do in case of a fire. This educational trip was exciting and a bit frighting at times for the students. It was also something they all wanted to write about which provided excellent motivation to complete the performance task.
The task, as told to our students, was to "write about our trip to the FDNY Fire Safety Learning Center and include some details about what happened at the beginning, middle and end of our trip. I expect you to go through the writing process to revise, edit and publish your work".
We set a flexible timeline allowing for students to work at their own pace. The first four stages of the writing process (pre-write, write, revise & edit) were done independently with only minimal support but we intervened at the publishing stage to ensure that the finished piece was generally free of grammatical errors.
Once a published piece was completed we asked our students to fill out a self-assessment rubric on the writing they just finished.
Although performance tasks are new to me, I did enjoy the process (this is the third performance task in writing this year, others included persuasive writing and opinion writing pieces).
Below is a sample of one student's work including pre-writing, writing, revising, editing and reflection.
WRITING, REVISING & EDITING
At this stage, we evaluate their performance using a rubric based on our expectations. A score of 3 in any domain indicates the student is meeting expectations while a score of 4 is exceeding expectations. Scores of 2 and 1 indicate a student is approaching expectations or is far below grade level expectations respectively.
Our rubric is below...