I have been writing the narratives for reports cards. Assessment is not my favorite part of teaching, and to sum up a trimester of learning and growing... I have to write about 150 words about each of my students. When I sit down to write, I think about each child in turn. What to write? How to tell parents about their child's successes and challenges and also capture that special individuality of each child?
The little girl who loves to write and also to laugh with her friends. The boy who just wants to do well. His desire is almost a tangible part of him. The new boy who is trying so hard to fit in. The absent-minded one, lost in his own world. Each one is so alive and individual. Each one has his or her own stories.
I give a lot of thought to each child, and also look over their grades. Who is excelling in math, who finds the interesting insights in books, who helps everyone get along together?
This reflection and writing on my part often gives me new insight into my students, so I guess that's an additional benefit of writing report cards. I am so busy day to day, teaching, planning lessons, grading papers, that forcing me to stop and think about each one of my students turns out to be a positive activity. And it reminds me of what delightful children I have in my class.