This year the class JD displays just happen to be circles or cycles. Young children make connections quickly when learning representations have a common theme and language. This year across my school and for all curriculum areas we have a common Learning Cycle which students know and use.
Photo 1: The IB Learner Profile
Photo 2: The Fountas and Pinnell Reading Wheel
Photo 3: My school’s Learning Cycle which is displayed in every classroom and part of daily teaching. Our Learner Cycle is developing its own look, but essentially it’s the same whether laminated or not. Each part of the Learner Cycle is unpacked with students … and when they are learning they need to be able to articulate (deeply) the following.
What do we/I want to learn?
How best will I/we learn?
How will I know that we/I have learned?
Photo 4 & 5: How best we will learn? Unpacked by students
Young children when exposed to a learning rich diet are able feedback their insightful and unique understanding without prompting. The language of learning has to be used authentically and lived through daily actions to become embedded in the classroom and students.
Photo 6: On its way… The Writing Cycle in four pizza slices! Each pizza slice will encompass one aspect of writing e.g. the writing cycle, word work etc… You can’t eat one slice at a time, you have to constantly nibble at each slice!
In 2014, I was given the opportunity to complete a Fellowship project under the guidance of Angela Stockman. I’m currently writing a paper summarizing what I’ve learnt. Initially my project started with a simple question:
What are the key ‘bump up’ indicators which should be on a student continuum?
Sounds simple! Well, that’s an understatement… I decided to start by looking at the continuums we have in place at my school, which are based on Fountas and Pinnell. How could I make these usable for my young writers? Then I started asking my young writers…
Photo: This student was in their second year of schooling in Australia (Year 1). The student is in control of all aspects of their writing from the beginning. I presented the topic for this piece of writing but that’s it. I’m teaching this student again this year and many others, and I’m wondering what their writing will be like at the end of this year.
My project changed many times after exploring current research, speaking to other educators and most importantly my students. How could I nail down a topic or could I? The very action of looking at my student’s writing and speaking to individual students about what helps them to be the best learners and writers has guided my project. My paper will finish with a list of recommendations largely created by six, seven and eight year old students and I’ll share those here.
My students have been learning to write a procedural text. Using the PM Big Genre Books is where we start. These exemplars enable learners to pull apart a text and develop criteria. After pulling apart the PM exemplars it was time to write their own procedural text armed with their understanding. Topic: How to make a paper plane. Off they went with ‘gusto’ to make a paper plane and write a procedural text.
Once finished, I asked for volunteers to share their procedural text with the class and invited the teacher next door to use one of their procedural texts to make a plane. The first photo is a picture of the plane made following one of the procedural texts written by a student. My young learners learnt quickly that ‘whoops’ they may have missed a few steps and their instructions needed reviewing. The next step was to write a procedural text as a class on how to make a paper plane.
My young learners then wrote a procedural text for making a Chatter Box. Procedural texts are fun!
Have a go! See if you can make a Chatter Box.
PrepD Student Led Interactive Writing sessions enable me to roam, listen to conversations and question my student’s understanding of concepts and skills. I’m able to question individuals and groups about the strategies they are using to compose their text. Their feedback is enlightening and I’m always surprised by how well they articulate what they are doing, the strategies they are using and their collective knowledge of punctuation and composition is evident. I’m always looking for the transfer of explicit teaching foci.
Recently my students took their parents on a Student Led Tour of their learning and we decided to write about the tour.
I’ve written about this strategy numerous times in my blog. To read more simply type PrepD Student Led Interactive Writing in the search box. I firmly believe this strategy scaffolds, supports and accelerates my student’s writing.
The first term has finished for this wonderful group of eager, and engaged young learners. I still can’t believe how quickly this time has gone. The Australian school year has four terms, with approximately ten weeks in each term. It was lovely to hear a number of my students say they didn’t want holidays, and were disappointed there was no school next week.
Starting school for these very young people is ‘huge’, and I need to remind myself of this. Dealing with new situations is taxing for all, add this to establishing new routines, familiarizing themselves in a new environment, being independent and mixing with many new children, and adults. Add learning into this mix, and we can all see why they actually do need ‘time out’ for a break.
This post displays a range of writing from my grade. I’m very proud of their achievements, and will spend some time mapping ‘where to next’.
To my Australian colleagues, I hope you enjoy your holidays.
Cheers Nina :)0I0=; What do you think of my new tag?
I can’t believe how quickly our first term in Victoria, Australia is travelling. The Preps have had Wednesdays off for the first 6 weeks, a four day week for week 7 due to a public holiday, and will now attend everyday. The children have completed an assessment interview on one of the Wednesdays, which works well. With the initial assessment completed, I have documented where each student is on our learning continuum, planned teaching and learning needs for the grade, for individuals, and identified groups of students with similar learning needs.
PrepD Student Led Interactive Writing is planned each week, and this is when I’m looking for the transfer of teaching and learning into their writing. Listening to the children ‘talk their learning’ while they construct their sentence gives a wonderful insight into their thinking. I’m looking for the strategies being used, their ‘thinking aloud’ and how well the taught strategies are supporting them. Listening, observing and questioning allows me to plan the ‘where to from here’.
Our Language Experience sentence for this learning experience is: We always do our work. My focus was on listening to their conversations, and observing their use of strategies.
Whilst roving and observing my students, I paid particular attention to how they attacked ‘always’. These children are beginning writers, and their attemps are excellent. Their independent writing is also developing well.