Tag Archives: Interactive Writing

Partner Interactive Writing – We all have personal histories. Our excursion to the Immigration Museum Melbourne…

My Preps as part of our inquiry into personal history visited the Immigration Museum in Melbourne. The Immigration Museum has excellent programs designed for all age groups. The children learnt about Cook who travelled to Australia in a boat from Vietnam. They learnt about refugees and the hardships they faced. Understanding what a refugee is seems a big concept for 5 and 6 year old children; however, I’m always surprised by the level of understanding they have.

The children love Student Led Interactive Writing and for this activity I selected Partner Interactive Writing. Working in pairs the children could be heard rehearsing their text, using tool cards (alphabet and THRASS cards) to support spelling, manipulating spacers when required to ensure spaces between words, re-reading – correcting and discussing what they had learnt.

One of our school staff has applied to become an Australian citizen. The staff member spoke to the children about what she has had to do to become a citizen. The children were able to explain the difference between applying to be a citizen in Australia and being a refugee. The children completed our inquiry last week.

Cheers Nina

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Hand over the control! PrepD Student Led Interactive Writing: June 2012 – (5&6 Year Olds)

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.

Cheers Nina

 

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Week 7 – First Year of Formal Education in Australia: 5 Year Olds – PrepD Student Led Interactive Writing.

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.

Cheers Nina

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PrepD Student Led Interactive Writing – 5 & 6 Year Olds in the initial weeks of their first year of formal education. Why students need to ‘think aloud’?

Think Aloud is a strategy that scaffolds students’ interactions with print. I’ve been using this strategy in literacy sessions – Interactive, Shared, Guided and Modelled. When modelling my journal, I’m making my thinking process very explicit. Articulating the strategies I’m using, resources that are helping me, and constantly articulating the ‘read back & check and change’ process.

This has definitely increased my students’ use of these strategies. During Student Led Interactive Writing, I roam for part of the session listening to conversations, and prompting when necessary. It’s wonderful to see these very young children sharing their thinking strategies aloud with their group. Today I noticed a number of children prompting not telling , and when this happens the learning truly becomes collaborative.

I model editing when I write, and I think by doing this I’m giving my beginning writers the message that it’s good practice to cross out, change and check. I’ve noticed this starting to happen. I’ve included a number of photos from today’s Interactive Writing learning experience.

Our Language Experience whole class negotiated sentence is: I went to the playground. At this stage of the year, all groups do the same sentence. There are excellent attempts at writing  ‘playground’. The children  had to draw upon everything they knew to attempt this word.

Cheers Nina

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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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PrepD Interactive Writing – Here I go again! Assessment: Where are we now? Let them edit and watch them grow.

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It’s now three quarters of the way through my Prep’s ( 5&6 Year Olds) first year of formal education in Australia. Today we investigated how we could remember what happened in a story. I asked them to think about what happened ‘simply’ first, before we put in the details. The hamburger model is an excellent visual and thinking tool for young children. The bottom bun is the beginning, the hamburger is the middle and the top bun is the end. The extra parts of the story become the lettuce, tomato, sauce etc… The children ‘get this’. After identifying the main parts of the story, we discussed the filling pieces of the story. These are the parts that ‘add color’, bring in background information about the characters,  the setting and mood. My preps will be learning more about these concepts in the coming weeks.

The children were asked to write 3 or 4 sentences about the story. I asked them to think about what the most important parts of the story were and write about those points. We looked at our writing checklist that we developed at the end of last term and decided to use it to edit when finished. It was interesting to note how seriously they took their editing. I could hear conversations among children when they were checking and identifying where they had forgotten to put a capital letter or a full stop etc. They decided not to tick a box until they had corrected their writing properly.

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I’ve included pictures of their spellings of the word ‘invisible’. I’m really impressed by their ‘have a go’ attitude and their confidence to ‘take risks’ when writing. ‘Taking risks’ and ‘having a go’ are a huge factor in writing development. Children who feel they have to get the spelling of words write in their first draft will stick to safe simple words. Children who ‘take risks’ use exciting vocabulary and try to make their writing interesting. Developing the confidence in children to ‘take risks’ when writing starts day one. Praise and encouragement given when children first start writing is essential. The other children will be listening!

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 The photo below is of a child recording ticks against the checklist. Young children are very capable. This group decided that they needed to add some more interesting words to their writing before they ticked the box.  I actually thought they did a great piece of writing, but as they were after sincere feedback, I encouraged the group to add two interesting words to their wrting.

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This is ‘thinking writing’ and by this I mean that it’s not a journal or recount. It’s much harder for the children to compose this sort of text because they have to think, discuss, respond and write. I hope you enjoy this post. Cheers Nina

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The Writing Rich Classroom: I’m in my first year of school and I can write. Do you want to read it?

It’s the beginning of second term and I’m excited or should I say relieved! I’m whitnessing all my Prep’s writing confidence and ability leap forward. My ‘talk and write daily’ philosophy is working, combined with good Early Years practice i.e. Guided Writing, Interactive Writing, Modelled Writing, Shared Writing and Independent Writing.

I keep re-posting Interactive Writing because I truly believe it is a key strategy for early writers.

It’s wonderful to see Prep students (first year of formal education in Australia) work cooperatively in groups to produce a piece of writing within the first few weeks of school. They may not know all their sounds, but with an alphabet chart/pictures for reference and whatever prior knowledge they bring, writing skills are quickly developed and extended. This is a powerful teaching strategy.

Each child has their own colored texta and writes their name down the side of the sheet making it easy to see a child’s progress. Generally, I have groups of 4/5 students selected randomly. At the beginning of the year the sentence is provided after class discussion and is related to a shared experience e.g. I am at school. Teaching children to prompt each other without giving the answer is taught during Interactive Writing. Read my earlier posts!

Below are some snapshots of my student’s writing taken randomly. The development and range in the grade can be seen, but they’re all on their way forward. This week we started what I call ‘real thinker’s writing’. This was a response to a text ‘ Water Bugs and Dragonflies’. I wanted to know if my preps (5 & 6 year olds)  could record their ideas. Journal / Recount writing becomes very comfortable for young children and can ‘stop’ them ‘moving on’ , if other writing opportunities aren’t given. Children can fall into the cycle of writing ‘ I went to the ….’ over and over. I was amazed by what my student’s wrote and will include photos in a future post. Here are some examples of their journal writing.

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Sample 1: I stayed home. Sample 2: On the weekend I went to my cousin’s house. Sample 3: On the weekend I went to get some tyres.

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One of my students brought their writing to me and challenged me to tell them what it said. I read it and they looked at me in wonder. The connection between writing and reading was made for this 5 year old. This student said, ‘you read it’ ( still with an amazed face). My response was, you asked me to!

Cheers Nina

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