Sidebar: I got so annoyed because I started doing this on popplet.com with a view to embed the document in here rather than a screen shot. an hour and a half, three million internet searches and two posts which looked like they were going to work until they didn’t later…I gave up and discovered that on blogger I can just copy and paste the embed code into the html tab.
In this self-review I will identify first a broad generalisation of the student outcomes/classroom life in a specific curriculum area. Whilst no data is included (as discussed in earlier posts)
- Students love writing.
- Student writing fluency and volume have increased without loss of quality.
- Improved quality of both surface and deeper features by students
- Children can identify their learning focuses and what is improving in their writing
- They are proud of their work and keen to share it with parents/peers/younger students/me.
- They are using some fantastic words!
- The number of students who ‘have nothing to write about’ is on the increase (indicating I am not providing enough/appropriate stimulus)
- I expected a greater improvement from particular students (who sit at a wide range of points on the scale) and have not seen this. I do not put this down to the children concerned, rather the pedagogical approach of the teacher (me).
Therefore…what’s working? What isn’t?
The introduction of blogging on a regular basis has been a big hit. Some students consistently do not get to blogging though. As the novelty begins to wear off (and I am ashamed that halfway through the year any kind of tech outside of the ipad seems a novelty to students) the issues found in writing books are beginning to crop up again in the context of blogs.
Of note however is that particular students demonstrate an increased willingness to persevere with their writing when it is in a digital format. Students in general will also revisit digital texts time after time, whereas their handwritten ones are often…been there, done that.
I have also noticed that I am getting more opportunities to have one on one time with students during writing (which was one of my reasons for introducing the blogging).
How does your pedagogy fit with best practice?
Authors like Gail Loane & Sheena Cameron/Louise Dempsey are currently considered writing gurus in NZ when it comes to teaching…wait for it…writing.
The major points coming through are…
- Use writing models & know the features of the model text
- Develop success criteria alongside students
- Plan ahead of time
- Know your students, their learning needs and their next step
- Have a sound knowledge of how writing works
- Be explicit
- Have high expectations of student learning.
- Have model, shared, guided and independent writing times.
- Write for authentic reasons.
1: I am using models sometimes. Need to be more consistent with this. Familiar with the features of the model texts.
2: I preplan success criteria and have been using symbols so that students will more readily give feedback/feedforward. Using highlighter marking in conjunction with the success criteria/WALT
3: I have done a lot of mental planning. Frankly though I need to get better at getting it down on paper ahead of time as doing so usually results in more effective lessons. There is sufficient planning to meet the professional requirements, just barely.
4: Satisfactory on this part.
5: Have a much better understanding of how texts are put together, of the different parts of speech and how to get this across to students.
6: Generally explicit in lesson instruction. Less so in student feedback. Improved overall since the start of the year.
7: Of course! However better knowledge of the English language would allow me to do a better job at this.
8:Varied use of these. Recently had an overbalance of independent writing during the last week of school.
So what…where to now?
Develop plans in more detail. Use some student grouping: perhaps 10 minute mini lessons. Have a particular group as my focus group on a given day.