PrepD Student Led Interative Writing: Week 10- Term 2 Collaborative ‘Thinker’s Writing’:Tiddalick the Frog. Week 18 of my student’s first year of formal education in Australia

Background: I’ve been focusing on looking at a text deeply, rereading a text to my students many times, and addressing something different each time. We’ve been looking at narratives, starting from reading… and leading into writing their own. This week we’ve continued looking at the main idea in terms of the big concept, and the message or author’s intent. Why was the story written? What compelled the writer to tell this story, and what can we learn from, and about ourselves from the story?

We’ve unpacked the story into the beginning, middle, end and problem. We’ve also been discussing the story ‘beyond the text’, and teaching the children the term ‘going deep’. Today we looked at Tiddalick and how he felt, and why he did what he did. My students came up with some really enlightening ideas in support of Tiddalick and against.

A few weeks ago I read a Mem Fox book to my students. I read it seven times before my student’s actually identified the big concept and overarching idea. Spending time rereading one text is very valuable. Looking at the language used by the author also helps build the rich vocabulary that children need to read and write. I’ve also focussed recently on adjectives or ‘coloring in words’ and ‘going deep’ into a text enables these sorts of discussions.

This week, I had two teachers spend part of a morning with me and my students. My children wrote a retell about Tiddalick using the PrepD Student Led Interactive Writing strategy. It was one of those mornings when there were lots of interruptions and it wasn’t until during our share session and looking closely at their writing, that I thought, there’s a lot to celebrate here! It’s nearly the end of their first semester of formal education and these students are just at the beginning. I can’t wait to see what they’ll be doing at the end of the year.

When looking at these writing samples, I can see many teaching points i.e sh and th, continued focus on upper case, lower case, sentence structure and simple punctuation. It’s also important to add that this is ‘thinker’s writing’… it’s not safe writing like journal writing. These students have to work collaboratively to form their text, and then prompt and support each other to write.

The by-product of collaborative grouping is developing the children’s ability to work cooperatively with others… and yes, there can be disagreements, but unless children are put into these situations they will not develop the skills to negotiate, compromise and make good choices  in order to get the job done.

Cheers Nina


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4 responses to “PrepD Student Led Interative Writing: Week 10- Term 2 Collaborative ‘Thinker’s Writing’:Tiddalick the Frog. Week 18 of my student’s first year of formal education in Australia

  1. julie

    Hi I am reading some of the comments from others and am wondering what they are meaning when refering to ‘writing spacer’? I am a fourth year teacher with a new mountain to cross in 2011 (21 preppies) first time teaching prep. Wish me luck.


  2. Nina

    Hi Sue,
    Great to hear from you. It’s the ‘going deep’ and rereading that makes such a difference. When the children really know the story they can think beyond the text, about the characters, their experiences, the author’s intent, the parts of the story, problem and so on… It really helps build their comprehension skills and an understanding of the genre involved.
    I’ve been reading my posts from this time last year and this year’s group are really on track, possibly stronger writers and readers. I think that’s because I’m learning and improving my practice all the time… if I go right back I can see how my practice has changed.
    This term, being longer has been fantastic. I’m not into short terms and although my Preps are really tired, they’ve been able to consolidate their learning.
    The holidays are nearly here and I’m really looking forward to the break. I’m feeling comfortable with how all my students are travelling and have mapped out our journey for next term. Have a great break and once again thank you for commenting.
    Cheers Nina

  3. Sue

    Hi Nina, it’s been a while… but reports are now completed and I have some time to think of other things! I would like to acknowledge you for the wonderful ideas of the ‘writing spacer and the ‘freebies’. Our Prep grades are all converts and they have made such a differnece to those children who just needed a little more support with their writing. I am reminded now, “What’s the freebie today?”… if I should happen to forget!
    I couldn’t agree with you more about the inportance of reading the story over and over again. I have spoken to you earlier about ‘The Gruffalo’ and the impact it has had on my Prep class …well it still lives on! This term we had moved on and discovered new literacy delights. However,when it came to a decision of what to do for our Prep Assembly, the decision was unanimous. We had to do ‘The Gruffalo’. And so we did. 18 children confidently performed a mini-play and I thought I would have to read the story to support them for their on-stage movements. The children were so excited and motivated by the whole concept, that they told the story themselves from memory with the characters sharing the main dialogue using microphones as per the original story. So I would definitely agree that spending time re-reading one text is very valuable. Looking at the language used in this story has helped them to understand so much about reading, structure of words and sentences, not to mention punctuation, including talking marks and the need for expression when reading. And so the story continues… not a day passes that a Prep child doesn’t refer to something from the Gruffalo story. Eg ‘gr’ like the gruffalo ‘ou’ -as in mouse, ‘ow’ as in owl, fox that ends in x, ‘o’ as in fox, rhyming words, double middle letters, punctuation, breathmarks, talking marks or Magic Words.
    This week, the school purchased the big book of ‘The Gruffalo’ and children have chosen reading as a Busy -Bee activity with 2-3 sitting in front of the big book following the text over and over again.
    Enjoy the last week of Term 2 Nina,and I look forward to more of your exciting entries next term. Have a wonderful term break.

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