PrepD Interactive Writing – Here I go again! Assessment: Where are we now? Let them edit and watch them grow.

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It’s now three quarters of the way through my Prep’s ( 5&6 Year Olds) first year of formal education in Australia. Today we investigated how we could remember what happened in a story. I asked them to think about what happened ‘simply’ first, before we put in the details. The hamburger model is an excellent visual and thinking tool for young children. The bottom bun is the beginning, the hamburger is the middle and the top bun is the end. The extra parts of the story become the lettuce, tomato, sauce etc… The children ‘get this’. After identifying the main parts of the story, we discussed the filling pieces of the story. These are the parts that ‘add color’, bring in background information about the characters,  the setting and mood. My preps will be learning more about these concepts in the coming weeks.

The children were asked to write 3 or 4 sentences about the story. I asked them to think about what the most important parts of the story were and write about those points. We looked at our writing checklist that we developed at the end of last term and decided to use it to edit when finished. It was interesting to note how seriously they took their editing. I could hear conversations among children when they were checking and identifying where they had forgotten to put a capital letter or a full stop etc. They decided not to tick a box until they had corrected their writing properly.

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I’ve included pictures of their spellings of the word ‘invisible’. I’m really impressed by their ‘have a go’ attitude and their confidence to ‘take risks’ when writing. ‘Taking risks’ and ‘having a go’ are a huge factor in writing development. Children who feel they have to get the spelling of words write in their first draft will stick to safe simple words. Children who ‘take risks’ use exciting vocabulary and try to make their writing interesting. Developing the confidence in children to ‘take risks’ when writing starts day one. Praise and encouragement given when children first start writing is essential. The other children will be listening!

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 The photo below is of a child recording ticks against the checklist. Young children are very capable. This group decided that they needed to add some more interesting words to their writing before they ticked the box.  I actually thought they did a great piece of writing, but as they were after sincere feedback, I encouraged the group to add two interesting words to their wrting.

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This is ‘thinking writing’ and by this I mean that it’s not a journal or recount. It’s much harder for the children to compose this sort of text because they have to think, discuss, respond and write. I hope you enjoy this post. Cheers Nina

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