Tag Archives: young developing writers. PrepD Student Led Interactive Writing Strategy developed by Nina Davis

Week 1 – Term 3: Victoria, Australia – Recount Genre / Writing (5&6 Year Olds)

I’ve received a number of emails requesting writing samples from the beginning of this term. Using a recount exemplar ( PM Writing ) to scaffold my student’s writing development is enabling these young writers to develop text control while composing. My students have been extending their writing to include sequence and detail. The writing samples displayed in this post are examples of independent unassisted writing.

Journals are a record of each student’s personal history. They understand that when they read their writing back in years to come they will want to remember as many details as possible about the things they did or achieved.

This also relates to our current inquiry into personal histories. We plan our inquiries using the format of the International Baccalaureate – Primary Years Programme.

Where we are in place and time

An inquiry into orientation in place and time, personal histories, homes and journeys, the discoveries, explorations, and migrations of humankind, the
relationships between and the interconnectedness of individuals and civilizations from local and global perspectives.

Central Idea:

Personal Histories Reflect Traditions & Culture

Key Concepts:

How do we know? Reflect on culture by examining the personal histories of self and others.

Exploring the changes in people’s lives due to changes in time and place

Celebrate and accept cultural differences, via the sharing of personal histories

What lines of inquiry will define the scope of the inquiry into the central idea?

Exploring personal histories enriches our intercultural understanding.

  • Personal histories are recorded in different ways, depending on time on place.
  • Personal histories allow us to reflect on and celebrate, who we are and where we have come from

What teacher questions/provocations will drive these inquiries? 

How does our exploration of personal histories enrich our understanding of different cultures?

How have personal histories been recorded in different times and places?

How do personal histories reflect different cultures and traditions?

Cheers Nina

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PrepD Student Led Interactive Writing – Differentiation – Preps (First year of formal education in Australia) – Language Experience: 5 days in and we’re composing! Student Led – Of course!

I said in my last post that I’d display a couple of photos of how I’ve set up our learning spaces in the classroom.  Space is tight, but it works.

This area is where we work on our reading and writing skills. Everything I need or the children need is in this space. They are learning quickly that where I sit, they sit in front of me. This allows the children to refocus for new learning experiences. It also gives them the opportunity to move and stretch. My space is limited, but I’ve been able to create these specific learning areas. I highly recommend teachers to try and organise different learnings spaces for the children. There is also a computer hub.   

This is our Big Book, oral language and numeracy area.  The white board is fantastic. The rest of the classroom has tables in groups. There aren’t many displays up as yet because we have only been back at school for a short time.

Our first Student Led Interactive Writing Session.

As a group the children have a collective knowledge of letters, we’ve looked at sentences, know they tell us something, have a capital letter, full stop and can be read.  They capably wrote their names in a colored texta down the side (removed from photo)  of their large poster sheet. We had talked about our experiences at school and as a group we came up with some class sentences for every group to ‘have a go’ at writing. Each child writes a word in the order of their names. Our sentences were, ‘I am at school’ and ‘I am in PD.’  I could hear them discussing the words, stretching them out, looking at the letter chart, working out how to write them and then ‘having a go’. 

The photo above shows the work of one group of students that I watched compose and write the two sentences. Their attempt at writing  ‘school’ is amazing. It will be wonderful watching their journey this year.

I’m using this strategy weekly, as I believe that this strategy combined with explicit teaching accelerates writing development. These children want to be writers!

I haven’t written many posts recently because I’ve been so busy setting up the grade, getting to know children and assessing.

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.


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.




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!




 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.


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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Interactive Writing: Small Group-Teacher Led and Whole Class-Student Led – The transfer of learning!


I keep coming back to this teaching strategy because I believe this strategy not only accelerates writing development but also provides support for less confident young writers.  Interactive Writing is normally a small group; teacher led writing strategy which is also powerful.  My desire is to make teaching in my classroom ‘student led’.  Very early in the year (see earlier posts) I start whole class student led group Interactive Writing. My role is to watch for transfer of learning and listen to my student’s conversations that describe their learning.

As mentioned, my students have been trained to prompt and I now hear my teacher’s voice and language being used by this group of 5 (and now a few 6) year olds as they support each other. I overheard one student quietly help another stretch out a word using my words.

I’m always looking for the transfer of ‘what has been taught’ into their Interactive Writing and then as individuals into their personal independent writing. I’ve included photos that I believe display that transfer is taking place. The children have been extending their writing and sequencing their thoughts. I have planned modelled writing sessions and shared writing sessions that have focused on developing these skills. 

To extend their skills I have  incorporated photos of their Interactive Writing about a shared experience completed this week into this post. I allow the children to have one ‘freebie’ word which they negotiate as a grade and I might add that they have become very selective about the word they choose. Before we write about a shared experience, we talk, discuss words, and revise punctuation we might need to learn. At the beginning of the year all Interactive Writing groups write the same class derived sentence. Now groups have been encouraged to write three linked sentences of their own, formed and negotiated by their group.

When they are completing their own personal independent writing they are encouraged to expand their ideas and are now writing more informative pieces.




I’m always looking for the transfer of taught skills being embedded into my student’s writing. The following examples are a selection of writing displaying growth in my classroom. I am thrilled by my student’s writing development and believe Interactive Writing- small group- teacher led and Interactive Writing- whole class student led, combined with modelled, shared and guided writing interwoven into the weekly classroom program, is the key element in developing the writing skills of young children. That’s a big statement, but as it’s my post I can say it!









Where to now? Developing my student’s letter formation through some fun activities will be incorporated into their weekly program. We’ll just keep doing what we’re doing!

Cheers Nina

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