Thursday, 20 March 2014

How can I improve writing with a purpose?

A day with Gail Loane inspires the most reluctant student or the busiest teacher.  Here is a list of inspiration (notes) from a 5 hour workshop with Gail. It was valuable to confirm what we do well, challenge our current beliefs and extend ways we can make our writing real, purposeful and meaningful for our children. Great tips but also a structure that will reflect progress for all children.

We are teaching children to notice, looking and recording.
We want children to grow up valuing writing as a satisfying skill.

Prose – transactional writing, anything that is not poetry; a natural flow of speech that applies grammatical structure.

Record of progress
1.    Jottings
Mileage (writing daily)
Jottings, writing to learn, lists
Learning buddies – fast processing
2. Purposes
Writing to record experiences. What curriculum would that be? Recording personal experiences, English, science, health,
‘I’ve Got Something to Say’
‘How am I going to say it?’
Annotate and deconstruct your model
What is in the curriculum?  – use different text for different purposes. Make it real.
Use real world opportunities NOT what is on the plan!!!! Writing should be embedded in what we do in a day.
Seek opportunities for writing from events in your day
3.  Evidence of student crafting and editing
Writing needs to be on every second line.  Why are you doing that?
Edit as you go. Bad advice is to finish writing then go back to edit/ Read write, reread, write. Prevents having to start again.
Goal – recorded in book in different colour. Not a big laminated one but one that lasts only two days. Goal – to reread each sentence. Stop bad habits in surface features carrying on.
‘What are you learning about while you are writing about this?’
Get kids talking about their goals
5 minute tutorials for spelling to address needs for that child.
4.  Teacher Presence - Not teacher feedback
Teachers must sight every piece of work so you know what to do tomorrow
Monitoring work to ensure progress is being made. No incomplete work. Monitor children making repetitive mistakes.
There must a teacher in a learning partnership with each child.
Colour code your feedback
Feedback should be around what the child is doing.
Use authors as our teachers
Stuck in the child’s book
What are your beliefs?
-          They drive what you do and the quality of life. Your beliefs create the learning environment.
Believe in what you have to do and live it.

Vowel Practicing
Say it as they write it

Strategies for Writing
Quick Write
5 minute talk about a model of writing – 3 minute writing
Song Lyrics
Choose poetry that helps children to think
Entrainment – the process of putting images in their mind.

Writing territories
Personal, Local , National, Global
What’s going on in my world?
What’s going on in my life?

Structure or models 
Provides support for success

The sign of Autumn
Who I am?
A reminder of what I care about
I’ve got something to say about …… what I care about
I can hear you... (sitting in nature, playground, classroom )
Favourite piece of clothing you ave grown out of
Sprint - being chased

School journals
picture books with rich language - fancy nancy

Parts of Speech
Activate a noun = gardens wilt, grass faded, cicadas jingle
Nouns do something
Lisiting sentences = drawing imaginary towns with chalk on the street, holding impromptu bike races to the dairy for ice cream, fishing for eels in the creek and making elaborate huts in the bush.
Interrupter - adding extra information between commas.
Commas – add more detail between commas.
Selectively dialogue to bring closure, humor. 

Teacher Language
- Your use of ........... will help us. Can you share it with the group.
Use specific language - strong verbs, specific nouns, 
Don't compare work or state its the best to other children.
Don't do the death by WALTS! Keep the magic and mystery of the writing. 
Discuss teaching at end, show not tell, explore then describe

Use of our Investigating Books
Creates a  space to practice without being judged
- wonderings
- noticings
- bring to shared reading, music listening, 
- science reports, facts, 
- sketching
practice of new learning printing, word building

Model behaviors how to use the investigating books

Creating suspense
emotive language
-legs trembling, heart thumping, 
-short sentences
- dialogue "GO! GO! GO!"
Use of questions - Where's the dog?

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