The PrepD Student Led Interactive Writing Approach developed by Nina Davis

I’ve had an email from a group of teachers wanting to know more about Interactive Writing. They’ve read about the strategy and have read my posts. Apparently, they have noted through extensive reading that my approach is unique. Yes, I have developed Interactive Writing into a Student Led Collaborative Approach that I use weekly as part of my Language Experience / Play Experience Approach to teaching literacy and numeracy.

Through ‘morphing’ this strategy, developing and embedding it into my classroom practice during the past two years, I have changed what is an excellent teacher led strategy, not used enough, into a powerful teaching strategy that I believe is the best strategy for teaching writing.

What makes my way powerful?

The key is that students are working collaboratively, sharing their learning, prompting each other and using skills and language generally used solely by teachers. Each student is engaged in the activity with each student committed to contributing with the support of their peers if needed. Groups can be structured to support children or to extend groups of children. The teacher can run a teacher led group at the same time, which I do regularly.

Each child is identified by a color and all are given the opportunity to lead a group. Teaching leadership skills concurrently is essential. The children are given poster sized sheets to write on and textas. I use Student Led Interactive Writing to assess and plan my weekly writing foci. It’s interesting to note that my student’s independent writing improves rapidly. I’m looking for the transfer of my teaching into my student’s Independent and Interactive Writing.  Modelled Writing and Shared Writing are also planned into a weekly program from week one.

By the middle of the year my students are able to identify their learning needs and will suggest the foci for writing sessions. That is powerful! Some children, and they are 5 or 6 years old, will teach the writing focus or make suggestions for me to use. Groups share their writing with the class, with little books made using their Interactive Writing texts used for reading. This strategy extends highly able students, develops students working at the standard expected and supports less able students. I believe it accelerates the writing ability of all students.

One teacher I work with had a child who refused to write for many weeks. Even though this is uncommon it is seen from time to time. The introduction of this strategy gave the child the support needed and confidence to start writing.

Please read my previous posts in this blog. I have written about this strategy many times and have provided numerous pictures and descriptions of my student’s writing development. I’d also recommend reading my posts on general Independent Writing development as I have provided many examples of student writing in these posts as well. I think once you’ve seen the development of my student’s writing you’ll be as excited as I am about this approach and keen to develop this approach in your own classroom.  I’m calling it the PD Student Led Interactive Writing Approach to recognise my student’s committment and success. They have a passion for writing and have taken exercise books home for the holidays to keep a journal. Many of my parents tell me that their children write at home because they love it. Now that is special! I can only hope that their enthusiasm continues as they grow.

Please let me know how you’re using this approach in your classroom.

Cheers Nina


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7 responses to “The PrepD Student Led Interactive Writing Approach developed by Nina Davis

  1. james ramage

    Hi Nina,

    I just stumbled across your blog tonight. I have been reading bits on your blog with interest. I teach prep and I use a developmental curriculum. For at least 2 hours each day my students are self selecting their learning from a range of learning areas set up around the room (a bit like a kinder). I have taught in this way for the last 4 years and had amazing results with children aged 4-7.

    I was also introduced to interactive writing this year by a literacy coach working in our school -she demonstrated it as a small group teacher led tool, however, since using it with my children in teacher guided groups I have started to use it as a collaborative tool with children working in pairs (or threes) to write recounts and stories during our developmental curriculum. I have had some fantastic results and love the way that children can support each other and discuss writing and spelling strategies with each other that reflect what I am teaching them during directed writing sessions. They definately learn quickly from each other and are able to explain what they need to do and learn as they write. Often the best writing examples come from something the children have created or made during there developmental curriculum.For example this week 2 children worked together in my wood and nails area to build a car and track. The next day, they sat together and independently used a 3 bubble story planner to draw a story plan with beginning middle and end. They then selected a large A3 paper to write the story together using different coloured pens -as they wrote they thought of different ways to ‘open’ their sentences and used our class Thrass charts and their phoneme fist to spell out words. At the conclusion of heir writing they then asked me for a ‘talking tin lid’ (google these and get some if you haven’t got them already) they used this to record their story and then they displayed the car,plan, written story and recorded version in the classroom for other children to read. This was truly powerful learning and the whole process was largely student led and independent.
    This is the first time I have taught prep, having taught in a mixed age small school for the last 3 years. I am loving it and finding that a combination of developmental curriculum and early years literacy and numeracy is having great results. It’s such and enjoyable way to teach and the children in my class (who largely come into school with no literacy skills) are thriving in the environment.

    It looks and sounds like you are doing great things with your writing…I don’t have a blog but with the ultranet getting up and running perhaps we can share some ideas. One from me to you…is check out the ‘talking tin lids’ -they have many great uses in the classroom.
    cheers james

  2. averil2

    Hi Angela,
    I so appreciate your comments because your questioning make me reflect on what I do and define it. I suffer a bit from ‘I know what I know & I do what I do’ and can stumble a bit when explaining my practice.
    The questions you have asked need more than a comment box, so I’m writing an answer to your comment as a post in this blog. The way I use this strategy has received a lot of attention, which is why I decided to name it after my grade.
    The post will be up soon. Once again thanks for the direction and coaching. This is where the web is such a great support. I often visit your blog and your assessment posts have been terrific.
    Cheers Nina

  3. It is so inspiring to hear an experienced primary teacher speak to the fact that students CAN and DO teach their peers, reflect on their learning, and define their own needs. What does a typical day or block of writing instruction look like for you structurally Nina? I am fascinated by this!

    I facilitate a writing community of teachers and young people. We are hopeful that over time, many of the kids in our program will evolve into great teachers of writing, and we work to identify those kids and support them by providing them with great teaching strategies and opportunities now. I’m wondering if your approach might help us!

  4. Excellent coaching! I think you teach writing by coaching writing. We need to be more of a “guide on the side” and less of a “sage on the state” to help students improve their writing craft. Here are ten tips I learned about coaching basketball that helped me change from a teacher of writing to coach of writing: Ten Tips for Coaching Basketball and Writing

    • averil2

      Hi Mark,
      I’ve been to your publishing website and ‘wow’ I’m impressed. I’ve also sent you an email. Once again thank you for the feedback, link and commenting. I find getting comments really motivating.
      Cheers Nina

  5. jennylu

    This is excellent Nina. What you are doing is providing teachers with professional learning through your blog. I’m sure there are many out there who are referencing your work and putting your ideas into practice. Thanks so much for sharing what it is you do.
    Jenny : )

    • averil2

      Thanks Jenny,
      I thought about it and decided after 2 years of developing and using the PD Student Led Interactive Writing Approach and sharing my experiences at school and here with others, that I would take a little recognition for how I have developed this approach into what I believe is (after some 25 plus years of experience) the best approach for teaching literacy. I’m not sure if anyone in the department reads my blog, but if they did they would see the how this approach improves student learning outcomes. It is an approach that can be used at any year level, not just Prep.
      Thanks for commenting.
      Cheers Nina

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