Anyone who reads my blog, by now has realised that this is one of my favourite teaching strategies. I’ve ‘morphed’ this strategy from teacher led to student led. This allows me to rove, listen to student conversations and watch for the transfer of explicitly taught concepts of print. I am able to assess each writer’s phonemic understanding, knowledge of punctuation and known vocabulary. I can also take a teacher led group according to the learning needs of my students. Groups are randomly formed some weeks or tailored for various other teaching needs. This strategy allows me to cater for the learning needs of all. It allows for extension for some writers and scaffolds needy students.
Initially children brainstorm a class sentence to be written by each group about a shared experience. As the children’s written English knowledge develops groups begin to write longer texts, brainstormed by themselves and of increasing length. The photo’s below display the development through the year. Unfortunately, my early samples were deleted by mistake. Early interactive writing samples displayed initial sounds, some final sounds and some known sight words. I start with teacher led Interactive Writing and introduce student led once children have been at school for about 4 weeks. It’s amazing how quickly they learn once they know what a sentence is, what a word is and how words are made.
You will not find student led Interactive Writing in books because it is an adaptation to the initial strategy. I must also note that Interactive Writing is a teaching and learning strategy. My student’s journal writing is where they practice and show case their skills as young writers. For anyone reading this post from outside Australia we have only 2 weeks left of our school year. My children will start Year 1 in late January, 2010.
Interactive Writing student led is a time I use to roam, listen to conversations and question understandings. Today I was able to question individuals and groups about the strategies they were using to compose their text. Their feedback was enlightening and I was surprised by how well they articulated what they were doing, their strategies for spelling words, their collective knowledge of punctuation and composition. I’m always looking for the transfer of explicit teaching. I love that the first sample has includes questions written and answered by the children. It also shows an attempt by a student to write carbon dioxide ( spelt cuben-diyokside by the student) and take a look at ‘sensational’. The children have to compose the text, work in groups, prompt but not answer and accept each others attempts. Tomorrow each group will review their writing and make corrections after completing an editing checklist. They will then read and share their writing with the grade. All texts will be typed for the children to read and illustrate.
Cheers Nina The names of the students are written down the side. The children write in the order of their name and use their own specific color. This allows me to track an individual’s development. This is the only time I allow the children to write in texta – and they love it!
Student Led Interactive Writing and small group Teacher Led Interactive Writing are the best scaffolding strategies for writing in my opinion. However, I can evidence this by the development of my Prep student’s (5&6 Year Olds in Australia) writing this year. These strategies are intrinsic to the Language Experience Approach. If you type Interactive Writing into the search box in this blog, you’ll be able to see the many posts I’ve written about this strategy this year.
‘Interactive writing involves the teacher and small groups of students jointly composing a large print text on a subject of interest to the students and sharing responsibility for the recording at various points in the writing. Teachers quickly record the words that students know how to write, and engage students in problem solving and recording the words that provide challenges and opportunities for new learning. This eases the transition to independent writing by: • making explicit how written language works • constructing words using orthographic and phonological knowledge • producing a text that can be read again.’ Sofweb
Taking this strategy to the next level – student led has also had an enormous impact, as the students have complete responsibility for the composition and organization of their text. They know how to prompt and use strategies normally used by the teacher. Handing over the responsibility always has its concerns; however, working in groups where cooperation is essential is important for young children. I have included pictures of today’s journal writing. I can see the transfer of explicit teaching, which is something I’m always on the look out for. Today in our focus discussion prior to writing, it struck me just how much these children now know. The children also guide our focus choice, and today one child asked if they could have the ‘apostrophe of ownership’ explained again. Wow!
I have included only one page from each of these children. Some children wrote four pages of organised text while most wrote one or two pages. Editing has become a natural part of the writing process and to the support the children they have a writing checklist that they use each time they write. This checklist was formed by the children after extensively looking at good writing samples.
I have included many samples here. These samples display the skill range in my grade and have been randomly chosen.
Cheers Nina ( Still writing reports)