My program from day one is Language Experience and Inquiry based and as I have stated in earlier posts I get going quickly. The Victorian Early Years structure (future post – My Way) is introduced formally late in first semester, however, all elements of Early Years are used within a Language Experience program.
Big Books (future post) are fundamental to my everyday program. I start drawing my student’s attention to simple punctuation and through repetitive reading of our favourite Big Books, children start learning how we use punctuation quickly. We spend a lot of time discussing: What a sentence is? How it starts and how we know a sentence has stopped? We look at commas, exclamation marks and question marks from day one (Concepts of Print). Learning is my classroom is about a child’s ‘point of need’, not age or grade level. Yes, assessment drives my program but it’s about finding ‘where to go’!
Later in the year I start intoducing children to the concept of 1st draft, edit and publishing. Published writing needs to be correct. I believe children need to know why they are expected to do something. Displaying examples of the process including explanations is essential. The children can refer to the display and visiting teachers/parents can clearly understand what is being taught.
Editing – Formulating Criteria for Writing Genres
Children aged 5-6 are capable of formulating criteria for writing genres. This is a strategy which is used with all class levels, including secondary students. The photo shows a writing checklist that was prepared by the children after developing writing criteria for punctuation. As a WHOLE class we deconstruct good quality pieces of writing. I use examples from the CARS & STARS books because they are carefully published and have age appropriate content.
After deconstructing a specific piece of writing e.g. a letter, the children talk about what they see is specific to a letter e.g. young children will notice that a letter starts with dear and that there is a date. This is the start of formulating and recording our criteria. The criteria are then used to make a checklist which is referred to when writing. The first checklist shown in the photo above is very simple and made by 5-6 year olds (Preps) after completing this process.
Once the checklist is developed students refer to it when editing their writing. (See photo) This strategy improves the quality of the children’s writing dramatically.
The photo below is an example of a display in my classroom. You’ll notice that a checklist is attached. Hope you find this post useful. Cheers Nina