Archive | August, 2012

Writers Notebook

28 Aug

Writers Notebook

Rita Palmer

12/ 08/ 12

Summary of Rita’s talk:


I found Rita VERY easy to listen to and I found she had a lot of great ideas on how to use a writer’s notebook effectively in the classroom. I enjoyed the staff meeting and found because we got to create our own writers notebook and complete some activities in it we got to see how easy, motivating and enjoyable it is to complete. We all wanted to write in the notebooks for longer, and contribute more ideas, but unfortunately due to time restrains it was quick and we were rusher through. I felt that the writer’s notebook could definitely be applied to my age group, of seniors, and I felt that it would be very good to inspire and motivate my lower writing abilities who struggle to know what to write.


The main points I got out of the lesson where:


  • The writer’s notebook helps the children with topic ideas of what to write with.
  • Every moment of our lives, and the children’s lives, are worth writing about!
  • The writing notebook is NOT a journal or a diary.
  • Front page of the notebook looks great with a collage and this can lead and spark to ideas on what the children can write about e.g. they have put images of everything that is important and tells us about them, so they can create a story about the images, or even about 4 stories per image.
  • If you can have a conversation about it, you can write about it!
  • Ideas for notebook:




-Hand on page- each finger with the feelings around it: anger, happiness, enthusiastic etc (look at writer’s notebook page

-stolen phrases

-what I get pleasure from/ in

  • The writer’s notebook acts as a trigger for the children to know what to write about.


Overall I found the session very worthwhile with Rita and it was definitely a way and style of teaching writing that I can apply to my own teaching, especially when time is limited and it is a way to motivate those less enthusiastic writers in the classroom.



Whakarongo School Literacy Course:

15 Aug

Reflection of Murray Gadd

August 2012-08-16


What makes a great writing lesson?


I found this course a worthwhile experience. Murray Gadd was so easy to listen to and I found that I got a lot out of what he had to say. The humour he used, children’s writing he shared, and his overall nature drew me into what he had to say and I feel I managed to gain many important aspects and ideas from his hour talk. He discussed with the group 10 ways to inspire and motivate children to write ‘great’ pieces of writing.

The 10 main points were:

-Students have to have something to say/ something to write about.

-All lessons should be goal orientated- clear about what the teacher wants the children to learn and do and what they want to final result to be.

-Motivate the children to write. Even a simple story focus of just how they got to school, or on the way to school… It may even be a discussion about a picture or photo.

-Build on what the children already know or what they can write.

-The writing task needs to be clear for the students. They need sufficient scaffolding (even at senior level).

-Direct instruction around what the children need to do. (Feedback/ feed forward and thinking aloud with the children hearing the processes you are taking as a learner and as a writer to create your piece of writing.

– Students learn differentiated. All at different levels and all have a different area of weakness in their writing. Grouping can work, but it needs to be flexible. Murray showed us an example of a plan from a teacher and how he assesses where his children are and what he can do to target their area of weaknesses.

-Everyone needs a chance to write.

-Lots of involvement from the students themselves in the lesson.

-Keep a positive mood in the classroom so everyone is prepared to actually take a risk.

These points ALL really made me more aware of how I an better my teaching of writing and how I can motivate the children in my class to write better and be more motivated to actually write worthwhile and great pieces of writing.

Main points I got out were and what I want to change in my teaching:

-Let the children have time to write on their own, see what they come up with.

– Use pictures and everyday experiences motivate writing. Let the children write about the experiences they are so interested and motivated in and this is where the best writing comes from.

-Have a learning goal NOT a W.A.L.T. This is a more direct approach to tell the children what you want from them! Then there is the extra little focus e.g. surface features to improve their writing in this area.






Reflection of Reece Hawkins

August 2012-08-16


Reciprocal Reading/ teaching

Reece shared some examples and discussed with a group of us about what reciprocal reading and teaching was. I found it was a really good discussion and I gained a lot of new knowledge of how to teach reading in a more in-depth way using a more sophisticated approach to teaching reading. It lets the children take control of their reading group lesson and discussion and therefore they become the ‘teachers’ and learners in a group. It is a great way to push those children that are excelling in the room and build on their understanding in reading.

Reece also gave me some resource ideas that I can easily find on Google. It is not a time consuming thing to start up in the class and just fits into reading rotation in a easy and purposeful way.

Main points I got out of the lesson:

–          4 strategies are the focus: Predicting, clarifying, questioning and summarising. (Look at notes to find out more information).

–          Group has different roles.

–          After each paragraph idea you do this.

–          Leader, the child, runs the group discussion, and the teacher is just the mentor.

–          The smaller the group, the better and more discussion in the lesson, or group.


Reflection of Murray Gadd

August 2012-08-16


Conversations in writing

This discussion was continued on from our first meeting and talk from Murray Gadd. It was a shorter session, but still I managed to get so much new information out of it. We discussed the best way to organise a writing programme for each level in writing. I got a lot out of the talk.

Here are the main points I got out of the talk:

–          older children should be able to sustain a piece of writing/ topic for a few days, even a week,

–          Independent writing for all children is important, and it is good to keep lower children on the mat with just to get them headed in the right direction.

–          Get the children to write about a picture, or a picture with a caption under it. The children can write about the image.

–          Word bank- uses this on the mat so children can see what words they need to or can include in their writing. Gives them some ideas and informs them of how to spell and therefore gives them confidence in their knowledge and ability to start.

–          Feedback and feed forward is very important. Shows children were they can go. Tell them what the impact was of them doing something well e.g. using paragraphs- makes it easy for the reader to follow and clear to see main points.