Does writing still matter in yearbook? (Hint: It does.)


Instagram, Pinterest, Vine, Snapchat, memes, emoticons, etc. Why are we talking with pictures? Did anyone poll language arts, English and journalism teachers? Did anyone ask them if words still matter?

They matter. Words capture history and memories, but writing is a process: pre-writing, drafting, revising, editing, publishing.

Scoring guidelines for student writing provide consistency in evaluation. They spell out grading criteria to let students know what is expected of them. Rubrics also help them realize writing is not “one and done.” It’s about developing their writing skills by giving students the opportunity to do self-assessment. Without instructional rubrics, students will not become self-regulated writers.

Writing Rubric-thumb

Start by distributing this instructional rubric. Advise students to stop and compare what they have written against the rubric. When they are finished, remind them to reread their work and revise words or sentences to match the rubric’s expectations more closely. Both the rubric and the copy will be turned in to you.

Using a highlighter, note the areas that need improvement. The highlighted points may be in more than one quality level (not yet, nearly there, pretty close, you’ve got it). Return the rubrics to students so they may revise and edit their work.

Grading Rubric-thumb

When they have written the final draft to submit for a grade, use the grading rubric to assess their final drafts before publishing.

Finally, when administrators question the educational value of a yearbook class, remind them of this: yearbook follows the writing process to the end — PUBLISHING.

Get more rubrics from our blog post on headline and caption writing: “Everything you need to teach and grade headline/caption writing.”