Week 2: Term 2 (Week 10) of Formal Education in Australia – Writing Sample / Personal Journal.

I write to reflect and reflect to write!  It improves my practice…

I’ve made a committment to showcasing a different sample of writing each week. I’ve been so busy with my TPL Project that this is actually a few days late and includes one sample from today.

Focus: Capital Letters, Upper Case and Lower Case letters.

Inquiry Where do we find capital letters and when do we use lower case letters?

Children are given time to think and explore the room to find examples of capital letters and lower case letters. They are to investigate where they are used in writing samples. I think this helps to develop my student’s writing as many children can say the answer, but finding evidence for their thinking really shows their understanding. 

The children looked at the evidence collected during their search (as a group) and as a result were able to articulate how capital letters, upper case and lower case letters are used in words and sentences. They could also state when a capital letter is required. It’s interesting to note that a large number of children have been writing the word ‘I’ as ‘i’ in their writing and this came out in the discussion. Perfect! Hopefully, I’ll see the transfer of their new understanding in their writing over the next few weeks.

You’ll notice a ‘dot’ in the top left hand side of the page. I put this there so the children remember where to start their writing and which direction to write. There are a number of children who don’t need this, but every now and again they will surprise me and start from the other side.

Today’s sample (above): I went to the dawn service and I had McDonalds and then I went home. Interesting to note that a number of children are representing ‘th’ as ‘v’ as in then ‘ven’. This will be a teaching point planned as a writing focus. Once again, I focus on, and plan sessions to teach the ‘concepts of print’ over and over.

(above) This is an interesting sample. My initial reaction to this piece of writing was – it’s a string of letters. However, when I asked the child to read it to me I could easily read what the student had written. And even though I had identified where to start writing from by a dot in the corner of the page for this student, the child still started on the other side. This is not unusual and is a teaching point for this child. The sentence the child wrote is: I went to the football with my own ball. I liked to (omission) to football. It’s actually an excellent piece of writing by the child. Cementing the use of lower case and upper case letters will be addressed many times as will full stops.

 I love reading my student’s writing and looking for individual or common elements that need to be planned into an individual student’s teaching session or as a small group or whole class focus. I’ve found that the biggest ‘thing’ that stops learning is FEAR! We celebrate all attempts at ‘having a go’. A number of students are being challenged to write a two or three linked sentences to expand their ideas. However, that’s another post on scaffolding strategies.

I’m still researching ‘Read Aloud’ and sharing what I find with a colleague who is keen to develop this strategy. We’ve found that the powerful strategy that is becoming evident in our reading is ‘Think Aloud’. I’m using ‘Think Aloud’ myself when modelling writing. I’ll be writing more about this strategy as I think it’s really worthwhile spending time developing.

Cheers Nina


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2 responses to “Week 2: Term 2 (Week 10) of Formal Education in Australia – Writing Sample / Personal Journal.

  1. averil2

    Hi Sue,
    Thanks for the comment and I agree, a star is a much better idea… and one which I’ll be using.
    You know, you are completely right about the confusion a dot can give. I have seen a dot before a sentence in one student’s work a number of times and now I can see the connection. Often just a simple comment leads to a great teaching reflection.
    How is your student’s writing developing? I’m starting to really focus on reading strategies as that is where my practice needs building. I’m glad the grads are using the blog and thanks for the warm feedback. I really appreciate it.
    Cheers Nina

  2. Sue

    Hi Nina,
    I read with interest the ‘writing dot’ at the beginning of the page. I have tried that as well, but I found it did worry some children who confused the dot with the full stop used at the end.
    The children and I now use a star at the beginning of all writing which looks like this * , and I found it works well for everyone.
    Later in the Prep year we talk about not needing the star to start because they know where to begin to write …just like in a book format .
    Still really enjoying reading all your ‘ning’ materials, not that I have had the time to put pen to paper with my e5 commitments. I will do so very soon.
    I am so loving my group this year. It is so exciting when the connections are made for the first time. Time to celebrate. I am also sharing your blogs with our new graduates. You are such an inspiration and such a talking point in our meetings. Kind Regards, Sue

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