Over the years I have repeated met the ‘I’ve got nothing to write about’ kid, the ‘stare at your page for the whole writing session’ and the ‘start crying because my page is still blank and it’s nearly playtime’ kid. It has been with some frustration that I have carefully scaffolded the child’s writing, provided a variety of prompts, guided the child through a plan and conversation only to leave their side and come back to find a page that has nothing more on it than when I left. I have also tried taking away part of their playtime where I thought it was mucking about (often with the same result) and even once having a student record their ideas using an iPad then transcribing it.
The children in this scenario are not necessarily mucking about, developmentally delayed in an way shape or form and sometimes are fluent writers of dictated text. They have ranged in age from five to 14 years of age. So I am seeking to understand why this is happening.
I am still working my way through a variety of articles for my assignment on this topic, and will provide more detail at a later point in time. So far I have found four common themes in my reading which impact on these; Continue reading
Just a quick note because I had the most awesome writing lesson today. We were working on recounts…familiar to any teachers out there? Our focus was using a hook and putting events in order.
The context: pretend you are a magnet. Recount your day. (Please note we are currently investigating magnetism and trying out magnets).
The students got so excited about the topic. They planned verbally. We went through what made a hook & briefly touched on time connectives. There was fantastic language. This is a context I will use again.
I sit here a very excited teacher. My writing lesson not only worked, but it worked well! I was thrilled with the quality of the writing produced.
I used a planning template (Sheena Cameron & Louise Dempsey – The Writing Book), and spent a writing lesson teaching children how to fill these out. Shockingly, I then insisted that they use this planning the following day to do their writing. Finally I got them to peer-assess each other (although that’s another whole story and lesson to be taught).
All of this is fairly basic pedagogy. I am excited because it has actually pulled together – something I haven’t achieved in the past when teaching writing in this way.
I am continuing recount writing according to the model established by one of teachers in the team-teaching situation I work in. She of course did an awesome job, so it was really easy to pick up on and work with.
After a week of it I am pleasantly suprised at the results & the hugely improved engagement levels. It is clear that a number of the students have had limited exposure to ‘comics’ and are unclear on the idea of using pictures to convey additional information to the limited text included there.
I am also thinking that the group working ‘in books’ should be my focus group, despite them being of mixed abilities and having different individual foci. I will trial this next week and then cement my decision during week 3.
There is one student who was so motivated by these writing sessions that it was repeatedly talked about at home!
Of consideration is a cross-school moderation session which all students will need to be familiar with the traditional narrative written form.