I am a class teacher for Year Four and five students and a team leader for the middle school. My class and I are a part of the Manaiakalani Google ClassOnAir.

Wednesday, 7 September 2016

Engaging students in writing

This week has been a very busy with swimming. I feel that I there is not much time to teach all areas of the curriculum. We have to juggle between Reading, Writing and Maths. I felt that I was lagging specially in writing.

This term we have been concentrating on acceleration and with PLD in place I would say that we have achieved heaps. But still there is a room for improvement and some of our students in our class are not at the National standard. I am particularly concerned about them.

So today while everyone was at swimming, I sat down with the non swimmers of my class and did some writing.
Goal of our students is to write in detail and to use describing words.

I used this short film to help them write about the setting of the story.

I showed them only the first 15 seconds of the movie . Then we talked about the time of the day in the movie, the clouds, the grass, the daises, the twittering of the birds and the flowing stream. I made sure that all students answered in complete sentences and also used some describing words in their sentences.
On close observation I found that students shirked from using powerful words because they got stuck on the spelling of the words. So they tried to avoid writing describing words in their story even if they knew it.
I told my students not to worry about the spelling at all. I assured them that even if they wrote a wrong spelling they would get better marks in their test for using powerful words. After much encouragement, I found my students writing their stories. They would ask me spellings of words that they got stuck on and I supported them quickly.
I was particularly impressed with one student's writing who is definitely our focus student. Thank you to Wikitoria ( student in my class) for brightening up my day. It is not a perfect piece of writing but has tried to use specific vocabulary for impact and it is her independent work. Here is what she wrote...

At the send of the writing session I gave my students some spelling words to learn. These were a list of words that they were not able to spell correctly. Then I helped them to learn their spelling words. At the end of the lesson all the students were very motivated to write.

Reflection - Over the last few weeks of the term, I will be using short snippets of films to engage my student into descriptive writing. I will also make a deliberate effort to support my students to learn their spelling words everyday.

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