Week 8 – PrepD Student Led Interactive Writing: The strategy which supports and accelerates the writing development of young writers!

The key is students working collaboratively, sharing their learning, prompting each other and using skills and language used by teachers. Each student is engaged in the activity and committed to contributing with the support of their peers if needed. Groups can be structured to support children if needed or to extend children.

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 colored markers. All students record their name down the side of the paper in their chosen color. This enables the teacher to assess the writing development of individual students.

I use PrepD Student Led Interactive Writing to assess and plan my weekly writing foci. It’s interesting to note that my students’ independent writing improves rapidly.  As with independent writing I’m looking for the transfer of my teaching into my students’ writing. Modelled, Shared and
Independent writing are also planned into my weekly program from week one.

At this stage of the year my students are able to identify their learning needs and will suggest a focus for a writing session. This is powerful! Some children…. and these children are 5 or 6 years old, will teach the writing focus or make suggestions for me to use in my teaching. This strategy extends highly able students, supports and develops the writing ability of students working at the standard and reluctant writers. It is my belief that PrepD Student Led Interactive Writing accelerates the writing ability of all students.

I have written about this strategy many times and provided numerous pictures and a description of my student’s writing development. Naming this strategy the PrepD Student Led Interactive Writing Approach recognizes my student’s commitment and success. They have a passion for writing and I can only hope that their enthusiasm continues as they grow. This strategy has been successfully used with older students.

The genre for the examples displayed in this post is Recount. The children were placed in mixed ability groups writing about a common experience. The Recount success criteria negotiated with my students was to include a title, sequence of events and personal comment. This is the format provided in the PM Writing Exemplars available at Nelson Cengage Learning.

Using WALT ‘we are learning to’ and WILF ‘what I’m looking for’ collaboratively developed with my students provides a clear success criteria and learning intension.

Post Script: 70 000 visits – Thanks for the support, comments, emails and sharing of your ideas. It is appreciated!

Cheers Nina


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5 responses to “Week 8 – PrepD Student Led Interactive Writing: The strategy which supports and accelerates the writing development of young writers!

  1. nina davis

    Reblogged this on Nina's Arena-Teaching & Learning in the Australian primary classroom and commented:

    Sometimes a post gets read more than others. This is an oldie about a fantastic strategy which I would start week one of Prep/Foundation. Student Led Interactive Writing for all ages and stages.

  2. Karen Farley

    Hi Nina, I got your blog address from the P-3 discussion list. Sounds fantastic but I still don’t quite understand where interactive writing ‘sits’ in the sequence of the week. eg Do you start with modelled writing early in the week, then sharedand then use the interactive or it is mixed throughout your week? How do you scaffold the students through the process?


    • nina davis

      Hi Karen,
      Taken a while to get back, but it’s a great question. I write my personal journal on a Monday morning as a genre model. The children help me and then we use WILF and WALT (success criteria) to see if I’ve included everything we’ve identified as a grade. At the moment that’s a title, sequence of events, personal comment and time words (next, then etc), full stops, capital letters at the start of a sentence and on a proper noun, commas, exclamation marks ( make it louder or yelling marks) and the apostrophe of ownership. We haven’t done much on talking marks but I have children putting them in (not correctly) so I’ll teach them and see what happens. I’m always looking for the transfer of my teaching into their writing. This differentiates: there will be some children who are ready. If they’re not ready, they won’t use them. I use big books and I’m always incidentally pointing everything out. I then cover my writing as I want the children to focus on their own writing. The WALT and WILF are on display.
      Shared writing may be about a maths concept they are learning. I’ve found making it relevant to what they are doing works well. Recently they have been explaining ‘counting on’, ‘trusting the count’ and ‘counting back’ to solve addition problems. As a grade we write explanations for concepts and skills. It may be an explanation or a procedural text. This enables me to expose different genres to my children and then I’ll link the genre to an exemplar in the PM Exemplar big books. It’s important to provide an opportunity for independent writing everyday in context to what they are doing.
      Wednesday is independent writing related to our inquiry and Thursday is Prep D Student Led Interactive Writing. When the children are totally running this session, I often pull out students for a Teacher Led Interactive Writing to address a common point of need, not necessarily same standard. Though I do at times, particularly for children displaying that they are ready to have more complex punctuation / sentence structure taught to them.
      My students are tired late in the week, so I make Fridays relaxed. We have assembly first off, so it takes a while to get on with our day. They’ll write poetry, rhymes, build our vocabulary, word wonders, a ‘cool’ sentence to keep for another time. Sometimes we’ll have another PrepD Student Led Interactive writing session if we’ve done something special or to explain a concept. Sometimes I mix it up, if I’ve been out of the classroom. The most important thing is I want them to have a passion for writing and to see their own growth as writers.
      We’ll be collaboratively developing an editing checklist this week to use next term. Hope this helps…
      Cheers Nina

  3. Sue

    Here here! Nina, I couldn’t agree more. This is the most exciting method of writing I have used for my preps too and the results are just amazing. I have spent years demonstrating writing and constructing sentences with my preps and encouraging them to come to the whiteboard to contribute their thoughts, before having a go on their own. But this method is fantastic so engaging, supportive and encourages everyone in the class to contribute. My preps just love it when I mention we are doing Interactive Writing. They cheer! It adds a whole new dimension to our writing sessions. We have just begun to set our goals for writing and meeting our goal becomes another reason for a big celebration. What an assessment tool too! Thanks again for sharing Nina.

    • nina davis

      Hi Sue,
      Thanks for commenting. The feedback about this strategy has been amazingly positive. It’s such a supportive strategy. My Preps are fantastic at prompting… which is a skill in itself. They love using teacher’s language and I find it such a great assessment tool. They take risks with their writing as well. I’ve told them to cross out, add and write the words they need. It’s not pretty work. Lots to celebrate. Thanks for commenting and sharing your Prep’s success.
      Cheers Nina

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