What I Wish Report Cards Looked Like: Slice of Life #sol18 #NaPoWriMo18 #npm2018

national poetry writing month 2018

What I Wish Report Cards Looked Like:

Advanced Internet Rabbit Holes


Latte Art Appreciation


Introduction to Patience


Reading Plans 101


Principles of Introversion


The Anthropology of Cake


Cats in Popular Media


Field Experience in Book Hoarding



This poem comes from a writing prompt I occasionally give after I read Richard Brautigan’s poem Gee, You’re So Beautiful That It’s Starting to Rain with my students. What subject would you get an A+ in? My very favorite student response EVER to this prompt: “I would get a A+ in thuggin’ hard.”



41 responses to “What I Wish Report Cards Looked Like: Slice of Life #sol18 #NaPoWriMo18 #npm2018”

  1. I would definitely do well in book hoarding, too. Savoring Sunshine would be an area I would excel in. I would not do well in Orderly Organization. Probably would have D-.

  2. I love this! You and I are on the same wave-length. I’ve been thinking about the great poetry teaching text, ,em>Getting the Knack, that I used with my middle school students and how successful they were with models. (Stafford calls them “Copy-Change.” I ended up using the strategy with lots of poems.) Some of their results astounded me. Do you know that book?

    • Yes! I just pulled this book off the shelf for some support during poetry month. I’ve only read the first chapter so far about found poetry. Looking forward to delving in more. I think I will need to write frequently from models this month.

      • There’s no one like Wm. Stafford…such great tips. My kids loved pantoums! Check out the They Must Be Giants villanelle song. My kids had less “fun” with villanelles (got the lesson at NCTE Convention), but some loved them so much that when they created their individual chap books, they chose mostly pantoums and villanelles. Thanks for reading.

    • Wow, pantoums! AND villanelles. These are some ambitious poets! Very impressive. I have never written a pantoum and definitely never written a villanelle, but I will try to be brave like your students and try it this month.

    • It’s fun to think about what the bad grade would be! Organization is hopeless for me. Principles of Planning would not be a good grade! It’s an interesting prompt to use with students and a good way to get to know them a little better.

  3. I would also get an A in Procrastination and/or Waiting Until the Last Minute.

    I *love* that student’s response as well. A+, indeed.

    • Isn’t that so awesome? I love that so much. There’s actually an entire piece of writing he did on “thuggin hard”, and every line of it is so solid. Yeah, I also specialize in Waiting Until the Last Minute–though I always call it percolating.

    • You should totally write report cards for colleagues! They could be quite snarky, of course, but this actually isn’t a bad idea for gift writing, now that I’m thinking about it. If we had a messy desk competition, I think there’s a good chance mine would win. So horrible!

  4. This is great!. What would I get an A+ in? Probably being able to empty my head and think of absolutely nothing. Kathy would corroborate. What would I not do well in? That’s easy – auto mechanics.

    • That sounds like an amazing thing to get an A+ in. It’s exactly the kind of the I get an F in, since my mind is pretty much a gerbil on its wheel–or more like 20 or 30 gerbils running on the same wheel–all the time.

    • And that’s one reason I love teaching college–if the occasional curse comes out, no one minds! Of course my high schoolers never minded either, but I expected to be called to the principal’s office at any moment. Inspiring young learners is a beautiful thing to have an A+ in!

  5. I would get an A+ in I Checked Out That Book, Caressed It and Wanted to Read It and a D- in Remembering Important and Not So Important Stuff (went to the dentist yesterday to have my night guard adjusted, but left the night guard on the table). I had it in my hand, but set it down when I picked up a stack of library books to return to the library after my dentist appt.

    • Yes, yes, yes. I do that same library thing! I always want to read them–but so many go back unread. Oh dear to remembering the important stuff. That sounds like a frustrating experience–but I bet you kept your sense of humor about it!

  6. So… we played with this in class (I would get an A+ in “tossing my carefully planned lessons to the wind and using another good idea at the last minute”). We read Brautigan. We read your version. My students are reluctant Grade 10 English kiddos, so it took a minute…. then they got the idea. Here’s what they came up with. Later, we’ll rearrange and etc. but for now, please enjoy what happened when your poem became the mentor text. 🙂

    What I wish report cards looked like:
    Philosophy and practice of drinking tea
    Staying awake in Ms. Potts’ class
    Talking with people
    Playing hockey
    Interrupting teachers
    Using my phone
    Doing a lot of math problems
    Drawing what I want
    Being dramatic 101
    Playing lacrosse
    Falling asleep in class
    Getting gifts for your favourite people
    Finding out about seals
    Being rich
    Being nice
    Doing physical labour
    Caring about people
    Counting the days to the weekend

    • This is so amazing and the absolute best gift. This made my week! I love “falling asleep in class” and “staying awake in Ms Potts’s class” and “interrupting teachers”. I also get an A+ in throwing out my carefully planned lesson at the last minute and doing something else. That frequently happens to me as I’m walking to class…Glad to know I’m not the only one.

  7. I would get an A+ in intensity! So true! This is a creative and interesting post! I’ve been thinking a lot about grades as I am in my second to last semester of graduate school (MS in Environmental Education). My husband asks me regularly at the end of my semesters why the A is so important to me still! It is a good question – and might be fodder for a future post. I am still thinking about the answer!

    • Ha! It really is an interesting post. Despite all I know and believe about the pointlessness of grades, I am also still keen on getting good ones. My son is doing online school this semester and I teach all subjects. Whenever he gets below a 90%, he shrugs his shoulders and I’m like, “let’s retake that quiz!” It’s a good topic for a post, so I hope you write about it!

      • Very interesting! My oldest son did online high school for 11th and 12th grades. And my youngest, has taken two math classes online. I find there are many more “assessments” with the virtual systems (especially for my youngest who did it through Johns Hopkins) but the advantage of that is that when there are more points – one assessment does not count as heavily – and if you are lucky, some might even not be counted at all! His top 13 quiz scores were used and you could repeat a quiz, once! As formative assessments go, this makes sense to me! I do have a lot of experience with these topics so I really should write more on them. Thanks for the encouragement!

  8. Love the format! The creation of this poem allows the author to be reflective in their strengths! (Which is often hard to do!) Thanks for sharing your creative spirit with us all! 🙂

  9. Oh my gosh! I want to try this today!!!! I am going to try this today with my seventh graders!!! I love it. I would get an A+ in messy desks, messy houses, messy bedrooms, messy cars (OK, messy anything), hoarding books, eating hamburgers, losing things, loving dogs. I would get an FFF in organizing for taxes!

    • Messy cars, YES! I always like to tease my son that all the trash in my car belongs to him, but that’s totally not true. Glad to know I’m not the only book hoarder. Let me know if you try this with your 7th graders and what they come up with. It’s a super fun exercise to do with students.

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