Monthly Archives: May 2011

Max and Ash from Monash University: PrepD Student Led Interactive Writing – Well done!

Max and Ash from Monash University have been completing their teaching experience in PD. Today they did a wonderful PrepD Student Led Interactive Writing session. They followed the lesson plan consisting of shared teacher – student writing with an emphasis on strategies. The groups were allocated well ensuring success. The students were engaged and collaborated wonderfully. Amazing for this stage of the year. This post is to recognise their effort and success. It was great to sit back and see this teaching strategy in action.

The brainstormed sentence for today was: We always sit still and listen.

Congratulations Ash and Max – Great Work!

Cheers Nina


Filed under Uncategorized

The Fresh Air Fund serving children since 1877: Sara Wilson from the fund has asked me to share their mission. It does come down to the power of social media!

Having been contacted by Sara Wilson, Outreach Coordinator  for the Non Profit organisation The Fresh Air Fund for Children, I’ve decided to support this cause by sharing their information in my blog. Before using my blog to support any organisation, I read their material thoroughly and check out reviews etc. I have decided on this occasion I will support this organisation by sharing their mission and providing a link to their site. How or whether you decide to support this organisation is up to you as the reader.

Background Information:

THE FRESH AIR FUND, an independent, not-for-profit agency, has provided free summer vacations to more than 1.7 million New York City children from low-income communities since 1877. Nearly 10,000 New York City children enjoy free Fresh Air Fund programs annually. In 2010, close to 5,000 children visited volunteer host families in suburbs and small town communities across 13 states from Virginia to Maine and Canada. 3,000 children also attended five Fresh Air camps on a 2,300-acre site in Fishkill, New York. The Fund’s year-round camping program serves an additional 2,000 young people each year.

Fresh Air children are boys and girls, six to 18 years old, who live in New York City. Children on first-time visits are six to 12 years old and stay for either one or two weeks. Youngsters who are re-invited by the same family may continue with The Fund through age 18, and many enjoy longer
summertime visits, year after year. A visit to the home of a warm and loving volunteer host family can make all the difference in the world to an inner-city child. All it takes to create lifelong memories is laughing in the sunshine and making new friends.

The majority of Fresh Air children are from low-income communities. These are often families without the resources to send their children on summer vacations. Most inner-city youngsters grow up in towering apartment buildings without large, open, outdoor play spaces. Concrete playgrounds cannot replace the freedom of running barefoot through the grass or riding bikes down country lanes.

Fresh Air children are registered by more than 90 participating social service and community organizations located in disadvantaged neighborhoods in the five boroughs of New York City. These community-based agencies are in close contact with children in need of summer  experiences in rural and suburban areas. Each agency is responsible for registering children for the program.


I’ve posted this video before, but I think it needs posting again. It only takes a few minutes to watch! (Great Soundtrack)

Cheers Nina

1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Term 2 – Week 2: A little late! Personal Journal Development & PrepD Student Led Interactive Writing.

Term 2, Week 2 Journal Writing Samples.

A number of students are now extending their writing to three sentences which is wonderful for this early in our school year. To scaffold their learning I’ll be introducing the PM Recount Exemplars. At this stage I have started using time words and event sequencing in my modelled writing. I addition to this, I have been modelling a simple personal comment at the end of my recount. Many children have started writing a personal comment within their text as a natural response to my modelling. Next week I will be regularly using the PM Level 1 Big Book Recount Writing Exemplar to front-load my student’s learning. We will also commence building our ‘time’ vocabulary word wall. At this stage of the year I am focussing on; 1. Sequence of events: What happened? and 2. Personal Comment.


Orientation: When? Who? Where?

Sequence of events: What happened?

Personal Comment

What makes PrepD Student Led Interactive Writing powerful? A little more information…

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 once the children are skilled in the process.

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 texta pens. 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  constantly looking for the transfer of my teaching into my student’s independent and Interactive Writing. Modelled Writing, Guided Writing and Shared Writing are also planned into my weekly program from week one of the school year.

At this stage of the year our sentence is based on the Language Experience philosophy.

‘What I can think about, I can talk about.

What I can say, I can write.

What I can write, I can read.

I can read what I can write and what other people can write for me to read.’

By the middle of the year my students are able to identify their learning needs and will suggest the foci for writing sessions. When this happens, I know my students are really moving forward on their learning journey. Some children, and they are 5 or 6 years old, will teach the writing focus or make suggestions for me to use. I love it when this happens! Groups share their writing with the class, and little books are made using their Interactive Writing texts  for reading activities. 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.

Our Language Experience sentence for week two: We need to work as a team in PD. It’s interesting to note that my students are now using lower case letters with increasing confidence. When looking closely at the examples below, focus on how each child spelt need, team and work. In our share session we looked closely at ‘ee’ and ‘ea’ as in need and feed, team and mean. Very tricky!

It’s timely to remind myself that these students are only  in their 12th week of formal education in Victoria, Australia. Their writing and reading is amazing me!

Cheers Nina

1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

It’s a classroom, not a lounge room! As requested – An inside look at the Team PD environment…

I’ve been asked in a couple of emails if I could display photos of my classroom. Before you take a close look I always state, it’s a classroom, not a lounge room. It can get a little messy! My classroom is a creative space for young learners. I have two teaching spaces which allow the children to move and refocus for different activities or for explicit teaching foci. Children’s work is displayed, books are at a child’s level, and materials are available for children to create. Each teaching area has a white board and I have an IWB at the front of the classroom. The children are able to access the resources they need, with only one cupboard and my desk area being ‘off limits’. The classroom belongs to all members of Team PD. I hand over the shared responsibility for resources and behaviour from day one.

Cheers Nina

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized