Welcome to my blog! I'm Karen Belt, a fourth year teacher working at Lynmore Primary School in Rotorua, New Zealand. I'm teaching in a Year 3 class using iPads to engage and motivate learners and improve student achievement. This blog documents my teaching journey and my learning processes with iPads in the classroom. I've proud of having been a member of the inaugural Manaiakalani Digital Teaching Academy(MDTA) program and last year a Spark Manaiakalani Innovative Teacher (MIT) and Manaiakalani Google Class OnAir teacher.

Sunday, 3 April 2016

Targeting learners for accelerating writing

As part of my Spark-MIT and Pt England inquiry this year I'm looking to accelerate a group of writers who are significantly below National Standards.  The first part to any acceleration is to identify the learners and assess where they currently are at.

Our school wide testing users e-asTTle and further information on e-asTTle and a range of exemplars can be found here.  Writing is assessed in seven areas (combining surface and deeper features) and then the results form an overall score.  These seven areas are:

Ideas
Structure/Language
Organisation
Vocabulary
Sentence Structure
Punctuation
Spelling

The raw data for my six identified target learners has been summarised into this table*.



This graph highlights the similarities in the learners and the need to focus on Ideas, Structure, Organisation and Punctuation for all.


As always, formal testing is only one avenue of assessment.  Combined with this formal testing I have reviewed the work samples of these learners over the last 8 weeks as well as observed them as they write and discussed their thoughts on writing with them.   Observations and thoughts include:

  • Ideas are present but putting these into more than just a phrase is a struggle
  • Sentences often start the same way: "I like ....
  • Tenses are often mixed up
  • Full stops are used at the end of each line
  • After deciding on a sentence (often with teacher support) learners forget the sentence in the time it takes to locate the necessary words
  • Learners letter formation makes identification of capital and lower case letters impossible
  • Writing has always been hard and its not "fun"
  • Learners don't like the topics they have to write about
  • Learners feel there is no point in writing because its just in our book and no one sees it
Over the coming terms, I look forward to sharing some of the things I'm implementing to accelerate these target learners (and all learners in my classroom).



*In order to preserve the identify of this group of learners, when I refer to my target group I have used pseudonyms and will continue to use these for continuity throughout the year. 

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