To the many teachers who contact me about the work of Angela Stockman and Steve Peha.
Just imagine having at your fingertips a writing text or texts which take you from curriculum design to implementation to assessment and where instruction is guided from student work… and written for the Australian Curriculum and other curriculums. That would be something because I know there’s a gap. Yes, there is some excellent material out there but it’s difficult to implement. Imagine…. if the text and extras were cloud based as well. I can!!
Just maybe, and I mean maybe, this could happen and I’ll keep all posted here! Fingers crossed!
Rowena Wiseman has a student in my class. How lucky am I? Rowena is a published writer and is a shared organizer of our Writer in Residence program, even though this maybe new news for her. I have many ideas for our program this year and one is to really target our aspiring writers in years 5 and 6. Rowena is excited to share that her first Aunty Arty story is finally out in the world.
Jet Black Publishing is a new children’s ebook publisher based in Melbourne. Their mission is to publish inspirational and creative stories for children and young adults and they are donating 20% of the sales to children’s literacy charities, such as the Australian Children’s Literacy & Numeracy Foundation.
Who is Jet Black Publishing?
Jet Black Publishing is developing a range of teacher resources to support the series e.g. write a book review, text structure and Narrative writing plan, colouring sheets and printable classroom posters featuring an inspirational quotes from famous artists.
If you would like to know more, there is a 10-minute YouTube video where Rowena and illustrator Narelda Joy talk about how they created Aunty Arty. Discover where ideas for a book come from and how an illustrator creates rough drawings and turns them into finished artwork by clicking this link. https://www.youtube.com/user/AuntyArty
MP News Jan 2015 (1) This is an article from the Mornington Peninsula News about Rowena.
Book information: Aunty Arty and the Disquieting Muses written by Rowena Wiseman and illustrated by Narelda Joy $11 Available exclusively as an ebook
Exciting! Here is a copy of a post I’ve put on my school’s blog…
This week our Writers Workshop lunchtime program held its first Writer in Residence lunchtime program. This was open for Years 3-6 students. Our Writer in Residence program has been established to engage our serious young writers.
Writer in Residence: Rowena Wiseman- Published Author
Rowena has offered her support and will be attending and making suggestions on how we can grow this program to benefit our young writers and illustrators. The students who attended our first Writer in Residence were a pleasure to listen to. Their ability compose rich questions reflected the talent of these students.
Rowena brought her notebook, drafts of published works and explained how she collected ideas, honed her skills as a writer and the resilience required to become a published author.
It was interesting to hear how a writer asks others to read their work, comment and make suggestions, as well as the editing process a published piece of writing is subjected to as part of the publishing process.
Rowena is a parent member of our school community. We are also seeking other community members (grandparents etc.) involved in a writing based profession i.e. illustrating, advertising, journalist to name a few to become involved in this program.
Our aim is to have a Writer in Residence each month. We would love to hear from you and invite you to become a part our Writer in Residence program. This is the beginning of a wonderful school initiative which we hope will engage more of our students as word spreads.
I’ll keep you posted. Cheers Nina
This year we introduced Writers Notebook across my school. My students and I absolutely love our notebooks. We have a tool/skill workbook where student’s record / practice grammar, word-work and genre study. Their notebooks have a collection of their writing, thinking tools, planning and ideas. Some pieces are finished, others are not. There are plans, drawings, ideas, narratives, reports etc.
I chose a scrapbook and lined paper because the smaller exercise books didn’t allow for the drawings etc. Upon reflection the lined paper has meant quite a bit of sticking pages into a book but my students have managed this well. For next year our team has looked at a range of books more suitable for a notebook. I also stick books together so the children can look back and reflect on their journey as a writer. And they do!
This week I read a book by Terry Denton. The text in the book is made to look like the meaning. What was interesting was that a number of my students decided to ‘have a go’ at this in their own writing. They always have choice in their notebook. I’ve uploaded some photos of their attempt to make the words look like their meaning. These children are 6,7 & 8 year olds.
These notebooks are powerful as documentation of learning as they show the transfer from a taught skill/ genre to a student’s writing where they draw upon what they know. I’m hoping this makes sense. The scaffolds are around the room but the students need to direct themselves and their use. The notebooks clearly show me where learning has been embedded into conscious use.
If you have writers notebooks or something similar, I’d love to know how your students use theirs and if you use their notebooks for assessment purposes.
The first term of 2013 finished last week coinciding with Easter and it’s time to reflect on my year so far. This year I’m teaching a junior grade made up of grades 1 and 2. After a number of years teaching a Prep grade, following on with a junior grade was a logical move for me as an educator. Having said this, I’ve been around long enough to have taught all levels of primary education a number of times.
Time changes best practice and I’m working with a colleague where I’m definitely the learner. The teaching of maths is my personal focus this year. Last week, I was able to be a part of one of my colleague’s math sessions, and as I love being in the ‘learner’s seat’, it was enlightening. I have so many questions!
Each year I find something to inspire my personal professional development. It doesn’t always mean attending out-sourced costly professional development. I have the mentor in my own work place!
Personalising Learning: My favourite words – I need help or I don’t understand….
Setting the scene: I want my students to understand that being a learner is about taking risks… Recently, we discussed brick walls.
Learning Walls and Personal Walls
Analogy: Our learning is just like a brick wall. What happens if some of the bricks are missing or not placed properly? What makes a wall strong?
They knew instantly! The beauty of this analogy is the children know you can take out wobbly bricks, position the brick again and make a strong wall. You just have to know which bricks are wobbly. That’s why pre-assessing knowledge and sharing results with children is important. They also explored their personal school/ learning wall and how to keep this wall strong. It was a great topic for the children to write about. How can I keep my brick wall strong?
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.
My Preps recently recited The Gruffalo at our school assembly. They explained to the audience that they were learning expression and to make their reading sound like talking. We had read the story many times, discussed the problem, used our perspective lens to think about each creature’s feelings and enjoyed pattern and pace.
The children have been talking about and drawing the beginning, middle and end of a story. My students are learning to write their own simple narratives and deconstructing narratives helps children understand how to construct their own. Reading a story many times enables the children to develop a deep understanding of the text.
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?
Having an authentic need to write each day is important, and verbalizing this to my students is critical. I want my students not only to love writing, but to realise that writing is a way we can record events, our learning and express ourselves. We spend a lot of time discussing why a book was written and the author’s intent / purpose.
This week the children have written a journal recount in their personal diaries, a congratulations letter to a family in our grade, factual statements / information as part of our inquiry and a Learner Profile statement. Having varied reasons to write means that my student’s writing diet has variety and purpose.
A journal recount is important, but it’s ‘thinker’s writing’ that I’m looking closely at. ‘Thinker’s writing’ is when my students use all that they have learnt to write in a different format. I’ve been focussing on Information Texts and factual statements. Today we read a big book about spiders to support our inquiry into living and non-living. They were asked to write five pieces of factual information that they learnt from the text. I’ve included samples of their work in this post.
The above piece of writing is a journal entry from a student this week. This is independent writing. When looking beyond the mixed capital and lower case letters, this is an impressive piece of writing. This child has correctly used an apostrophe of ownership, exclamation marks and the correct ‘too’. His attempt at spelling celebrating is wonderful. It’s so exciting to see each student’s writing development. My students are in the final term of their first year of school and they are wonderful readers as well.