5 year olds (first year of formal schooling in Australia) can write, can talk about their learning and can explain their learning growth to others. This age group continues to amaze me with their ability to understand their learning journey and talk about what they have learnt. They are quite specific about their gains and very willing to share even the smallest details. They recognise their areas of need and will work hard to develop skills, as long as they know what they are. Young children need to be in an environment that encourages them to ‘take risks’ and talk about what they are doing. Talking, explaining, writing, thinking, making, leading, participating are all actions and require interactions.
This doesn’t just happen. As a teacher, I’m always looking for ways for my students to lead the learning. To explain a taught concept to others is powerful. Sharing our knowledge with others, helps others to learn as well as ourselves. My students, and will reiterate 5 year olds, have just participated in their first ‘Three Way Conferences’(parent-teacher-student). Using their portfolio which contains work samples that display their growth works. My students happily showed their families their work and explained their progress. Some quietly spoke and shared the speaking with me and others did most of the talking. Time for teacher/parent discussion was also given and it was up to the parents to decide if the student remained for the whole time. Most students participated for the whole time.
The following photos show a student’s development in journal writing. Interactive writing, modelled writing, shared writing and independent writing are strategies that are planned into writing sessions. Spelling rules are taught through focus sessions and are a natural part of learning to write. My students know what an ‘e’ does at the end of a word, how sounds change and can explain these concepts in their own words. New strategies and concepts are taught in context, not as an isolated study.
Writing sample of student A written in February.
Writing sample of student A written in July (this week).
Writing sample of student B written in February.
Writing sample of student B written in July (this week)
Each student’s journey is different, but the writing development among my students is inspiring. What do I think has enabled my students to take this journey? I believe that the Language Experience approach combined with Early Years writing strategies are the key to developing confident and capable young writers.
Next post: Interactive Writing – The next level.