On the very first day of school, I ask my Prep children to write. It’s the start of their writing journey and I want them to have a record of where their journey began. Some will get started quickly and others will sit there wondering ‘what on earth’ she is asking me to do! This is when I start talking about what writing is and why we write.
I encourage the children to write their name, any letters they know or just put ‘something’ on their paper. After they have put ‘pencil to paper’, I ask them what their writing says. If they look at me blankly, I get them to tell me what they would like their writing to say and scribe.
From day one, I start talking to the children about ‘taking risks’, ‘having a go’ and that we read writing, not just books. This is a concept that we think children understand, but they don’t always. I PRAISE any effort, show my excitement and celebrate all attempts made by my students every time they write. When a student makes a ‘learning leap’ we do a ‘happy dance’. Preps love to have fun and they don’t have any ‘hang-ups’ about dancing! I want my students to develop a positive attitude to writing which hopefully will be life long.
At the end of semester 1, we have Student Led Interviews, where the children talk to their parents about their learning growth. They show pieces of writing that they have selected that display their development. I’ve found that, with preparation Prep children are very good at explaining their learning growth. To encourage this type of thinking, it’s important to develop the skills of ‘reflecting upon their learning’. We reflect each week formally and everyday orally. When a parent asks, what did you do today? I want my children to be able to answer. This is not a natural skill for most children and therefore needs to be learnt.
Please read my previous posts:
Very Young Children Can Edit: Develop criteria, hand over the responsibility and watch them grow.
Literacy – Inquiry Learning – Writing with Purpose!
The power of Interactive Writing as a model to accelerate writing development