Hope everyone is travelling okay and those in Year 5 and Year 6 have survived Naplan and all the interruptions this brings to your planning and teaching! Not to mention that you are now in report writing mode! Teachers almost need to go into stamina training to survive!
I have nothing but admiration for you all – just keep the faith in yourselves and keep encouraging each other.
Writers Workshop Resource Boxes
I’m a recent Facebook post I referred to Resource Boxes for Writers Workshop. This is an area that some of my schools are developing. I love the way teachers just take an idea and run with it – they make it their own and always come up with something much better than I would have developed!
Resource Boxes can be placed on each table and are essential if we are to encourage independent writers.
There are core resources such as Oxford Word List in alphabetical order; conference arrows; letter strips ( Foundation/Year 1) but most of the resources need to be created by you from whole class Mini-Lessons and small Focus Group teaching. When we teach we need to create exemplars so that students can refer back to them when revising or editing their writing. For example, if I have taught complex sentences in Year 5 then there should be a simple statement of what a complex sentence is and then exemplars of such sentences that were written by the kids – typed on a small card and laminated and placed in the resource box.
There is no point filling the box with lots of published resources – what goes in the resource box must be purposeful and useful to students. This means we essentially build our resources from our teaching. We must link our teaching to expectation of student practice. Otherwise, how do we know that students have learned what they have been taught – we need to see evidence in their writing, behaviours and strategies!
Over time some resources will be flushed out. It’s important that at least twice a term we ask children to layout resources and talk about how they have used them.
We need to be teaching kids how to be strategic and stop doing things for them that they can do for themselves. Writing is incredibly complex and we have to consider what have we put in place, so students are not dependent on us. Ask yourself –
What current resources do students have easy access to in my classroom?
What have you taught them in regards to Grammar ( whole text, sentence, clause, phrase, word level ), Spelling, Revision, Proofreading, Thinking that will help them improve as writers?
What resources have come from this teaching, so students can access them when writing?
It has been wonderful to see how teachers at Carlton Gardens Primary School, have developed resources, sending the message to students that they are expected to use these to help themselves as writers.
Exemplars in Year 3 Resource Box include –
- Thinking scaffolds for Writers Notebook
- Conference Arrows to assist with revision
- Compound Sentence Exemplar
- Verb group resource
- Oxford Word List