Monthly Archives: March 2010

24 Days of Formal Education in Australia: Writing Development – 4 & 5 Year Olds.

I had a few teachers visit this week and as I tend to plan Student Led Interactive Writing on a Thursday, I thought it would be great for our visitors to see this teaching strategy in action. The children came up with the sentence – When the bell goes don’t be late. Quite an ambitious sentence to compose, but it was their sentence and that’s important. They have a number of strategies to help them with their writing now, but it is the collaborative nature of this strategy which makes it powerful. They are learning to prompt each other at present. When the children are confidently leading this strategy, I will start taking a group for Teacher Led Interactive Writing while the other groups are writing. The teacher led group will target students with similar learning needs.

As we only have two weeks of this term left,  I’m hoping to be able to start this next term. We have four terms in Australia and I can’t believe term one is nearly over. This group of children have been at school for 38 days. I’m very pleased with their progress.

On Friday the children wrote journal entries for their independent writing. I’m always  looking for the transfer of teaching and learning into their independent writing. All my students are moving forward with their reading and writing. Language Experience is the approach of choice – ‘give it a go’ if you’re not already using this approach.

Photo 1 Text: I love doing puzzles at school.

Photo 2 Text: You do school work on a DS.

Photo 3 Text: My friend came to my house.

 Just a quick post! This week our Preps will attend school for 5 days. It will be their first full week at school.

Cheers Nina  ‘Whoops’ – only 24 days!


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20 000 visits: Amazing…Thanks for the visits, comments and emails!

I originally started this blog as part of my ‘Professional Development Plan’ for 2009. Learning about Web 2.0 was important to me and I wanted my learning to be authentic. I also felt that if I wanted to teach in this century, I needed to start understanding social networking tools and their place in education. I’d been listening to Jenny Luca talk about what she was doing and I was slowly being introduced to a whole new langauge. I asked Jenny to mentor me… and I’m sure many of you know Jenny’s work and can understand that this was a great opportunity. Thanks Jenny!

Initially, I was unsure whether anybody would visit, comment, challenge or share with me. I have found that I regularly receive all. I love it when other educators challenge my ideas, respond or ask me to elaborate. I’ve had many strange looks when someone says, ‘Nina has a blog’. I’ve got past that… I write to reflect and reflect to write. I support teachers and I’ve had some great mail from teachers who are excited and  most importantly have shared their ideas with me. There are some fantastic educators ‘out there’ who are passionate about engaging students, improving learning outcomes and sharing what they do.

My outlook now is ‘global’. I regularly share with educators from many countries and have found that we’re all trying to do the same thing – provide the best opportunities for our students. My confidence in using social media has grown exponentially.

Yesterday, I attended Day 2 of  TPL-Teacher Professional Leave. My colleague and I are immersing ourselves in the e5 Instructional Model, Instructional Rounds and What is Best Practice in Literacy & Numeracy? We’ll  be starting a ‘ning‘ which I’ll be posting about soon and I hope you join. We’ve also been included in an Instructional Rounds Professional Development – 20 or so principals from our region, my colleague and me. ‘Ah, yeah’, we’re the classroom teachers…. should be fantastic. We’re so pleased to be included in this group. What an opportunity! This post is really a thank you to those educators ‘out there’ who take the time to encourage others and often go under the radar.

Here’s a photo from our day in the city. That’s me in the middle. Thanks Kaye & Catherine from the Australian Centre for Effective Partnerships (ACEP) for a great day!

Cheers Nina


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The Classroom – Fitting in two floor learning areas. Take a look!

In response to an email this is what my classroom looks like now. Space is tight, but I’ve managed to fit the two floor learning spaces in. When I move to a different learning area the children now move with me.  Where I sit they sit. As I’ve said before this gives these young children a chance to move and really does help them to refocus on our next learning experience. If you can, try to create different learning areas. It works!

Cheers Nina


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24 Days of Formal Education Done: What does their writing look like now? Take a look- These are 4 & 5 Year Olds!.

I’ve had some requests from teachers who would like to see some samples of my student’s INDEPENDENT writing. Some are trying to follow my posts to plan their teaching and learning experiences. What a compliment. This is also an opportunity to thank the people who are sharing with me or writing blogs that I visit to inform my teaching and learning. There are so many great blogs to visit and I’m so thankful that these teachers are ‘risk takers’ and take the time to share their practice. I’ve been managing a post a week because this year has been so busy. I can’t remember a year like it! I wonder if others are feeling the same.

My students have now had 24 days of formal education and I’m so proud of their achievements. They are settling well, confident, developing a sense of belonging and fun. It’s a long weekend in Melbourne and these young children will enjoy their break. It’s full time from next week and I’m looking forward to having five days each week with the children.

My students have been immersed in the alphabet (Phonemic Awareness), Concepts of Print, stories, recounts, letter formation, rhyme, Language Experience, collaborative sentence construction, Independent Writing, Talk, Oral Language building and Student Led Interactive Writing. I define my approach as ‘The Interwoven Approach’. It’s like a weave – building on connections. Language Experience is the over arching philosophy in my classroom. Concepts are not introduced separately, there always needs to be a link/connection to prior knowledge. These are the foundation years and I want these students to have a strong foundation to build their future learning on.

When looking closely at each of these writing samples, I can see their understanding of writing growing. Each sample of writing is a recount of an experience. The concept of a sentence is developing, spaces are evident to define words. Full stops are present in some of the samples along with a capital letter at the beginning of a sentence. Good attempts at spelling unknown words is evident. Within my Interwoven Approach/ Language Experience clear foci are planned in response to student writing needs. My students are well on their way to becoming competent young writers. They are ‘risk takers’, proud of their work and confident enough to ‘have a go’.

Cheers Nina


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