It’s the beginning of second term and I’m excited or should I say relieved! I’m whitnessing all my Prep’s writing confidence and ability leap forward. My ‘talk and write daily’ philosophy is working, combined with good Early Years practice i.e. Guided Writing, Interactive Writing, Modelled Writing, Shared Writing and Independent Writing.
I keep re-posting Interactive Writing because I truly believe it is a key strategy for early writers.
It’s wonderful to see Prep students (first year of formal education in Australia) work cooperatively in groups to produce a piece of writing within the first few weeks of school. They may not know all their sounds, but with an alphabet chart/pictures for reference and whatever prior knowledge they bring, writing skills are quickly developed and extended. This is a powerful teaching strategy.
Each child has their own colored texta and writes their name down the side of the sheet making it easy to see a child’s progress. Generally, I have groups of 4/5 students selected randomly. At the beginning of the year the sentence is provided after class discussion and is related to a shared experience e.g. I am at school. Teaching children to prompt each other without giving the answer is taught during Interactive Writing. Read my earlier posts!
Below are some snapshots of my student’s writing taken randomly. The development and range in the grade can be seen, but they’re all on their way forward. This week we started what I call ‘real thinker’s writing’. This was a response to a text ‘ Water Bugs and Dragonflies’. I wanted to know if my preps (5 & 6 year olds) could record their ideas. Journal / Recount writing becomes very comfortable for young children and can ‘stop’ them ‘moving on’ , if other writing opportunities aren’t given. Children can fall into the cycle of writing ‘ I went to the ….’ over and over. I was amazed by what my student’s wrote and will include photos in a future post. Here are some examples of their journal writing.
Sample 1: I stayed home. Sample 2: On the weekend I went to my cousin’s house. Sample 3: On the weekend I went to get some tyres.
One of my students brought their writing to me and challenged me to tell them what it said. I read it and they looked at me in wonder. The connection between writing and reading was made for this 5 year old. This student said, ‘you read it’ ( still with an amazed face). My response was, you asked me to!