Link to Pg 2
Pokuru

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Introduction:
Writing is our area of focus for 2009. We are looking in particular at improving student's use of vocabulary choices within their writing and basic spelling and editing skills. Within these areas of focus we are working to upskill student's ICT skills and the use of a variety of graphic organisers and thinking tools, enabling children to structure their thinking in the planning stages of writing.




Term 1 and 2 Reflections:

In the beginning...
We collected writing samples from all students in the school and went about the difficult task of moderating the samples. We noticed that vocabulary and spelling and editing were two common areas for development. We then went about developing rubrics specifically for these two areas and assessed the writing samples against the rubric. Using the writing samples and some collected from the English exemplars we were able to match an example for each stage in the rubric. We are now at the point where we are involving students in developing the criteria for each stage in the rubric. Ultimately we are hoping that the students will be able to monitor their progress and set goals for themselves using these guidelines.

New and consolidated Learning
Within our involvement in the cluster we have enjoyed a number of Professional Development opportunities. Together as a staff we generated the following list of ideas, strategies, thinking tools, approaches to literacy that we have trialled or are now currently implementing.
  • Using Y charts to enhance vocabulary choice and for use in the writing planning stages
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  • Helping students to prioritise using the knockout tournament model
  • Use the word thesaurus in well known nursery rhymes to develop vocabulary
  • The use of cloze activities to help with comprehension, clicking and dragging words into position
  • The use of thinking hats in reading comprehension to focus children
  • Brainstorming of topic words to enahnce vocabulary
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Vocabulary caterpillar

  • The use of the thinking keys to develop creative thinking
  • The use of venn diagrams for character analysis
  • The use of noisy round robins to promote and develop co-operative learning, allowing children to build on the ideas of others
  • Welcome to the Web to help with research skills
  • Use of ComicLife for responding to texts such as advertisements
  • Students using PMI charts to structure their thinking
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Teacher Model
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child's PMI

  • The use of exemplars for students to assess their own writing
  • Increased knowledge of shortcuts and thoughts of how to use them. e.g. selecting text, control z for getting children's work back (especially for juniors)
  • Idea of using keyboard left and right and integrating this into handwriting programmes. Posters showing finger positions
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  • Using the jigsaw rhyme. A great activity easily incorporated into the classroom
  • Using thesaurus (shift F7) and synonyms on words
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  • Balderdash - used in class, in pairs, a fun vocabulary activity
  • Set font size to at least 24-36
  • Four pictures used as writing prompts