1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.
  2. Hi Guest, welcome to the TES Community!

    Connect with like-minded education professionals and have your say on the issues that matter to you.

    Don't forget to look at the how to guide.

    Dismiss Notice

Feeling fragile re. teaching English

Discussion in 'Primary' started by milliebear1, Mar 20, 2012.

  1. Hi there
    Just looking ofr some advice and help re. my lower English set. They are Y5 and range from about a 4c to a 2a (writing). I have a pretty good idea what they need to do to move their writing on, and they all have targets and know what thy need to do next.
    The problem is, they don't seem to do it! I have a problem in that many of them came with a level reflecting their vocab and composition skills - but with a very poor (in my eyes) grasp of organisation and punctuation. Consequently, much of their writing isn't as coherent as it should be - stream of consciousness style stuff and writing that doesn't always make sense etc. No matter how many times I get them to edit their writing, or 'read it back to check it', many just seem unable, or unwilling to do so.
    Because I have spent so long this year, trying to get the basics right (full stops/capital letts/paragraphing/making sense etc) we haven't spent as much time as I'd ideally want on language and composition skills. I am now concerned that their progress rates are going to look absolutely dire as many can't really be said to have moved two (or even one in several cases) sub-levels!
    Does anyone else have any advice as to how to motivate children to want to improve, and act on their targets!? What do you do?
  2. I definitely don't do it with all of them, no! I did it with two of my lowest Year 5s this time, then asked my TA to work with two others. The two I worked with had simply written a sequence of statements with nothing in between so I read it to them and suggested connectives and full stops to them, then re-read it and showed them the difference. Fingers crossed, it worked! My TA sat with the other two, one at a time, and showed them how to start a new line for a new speaker (which we have done to death this week - ho hum!).
    I sat down during a different lesson and it didn't take long. I'm hoping it's more effective than just scrawling red all over their books!
  3. One idea...

    Get them to read and record their compositions then listen to them with a friend.
    I do this as a paired activity so they
    only listen to each others work and because it's only between the two
    of them they can be quite critical- but in a good way because they
    understand why their writing doesn't make sense ('stream of consciousness') and can support each other.
    As an adult I
    tend to read aloud what I write to 'hear' if it makes sense/sounds right
    and if it's important I always ask someone else to look at it. (Althoug
  4. Althoug....h I feel cross that you feel bad about what you are doing. 4c writers aren't lower set in Year 5- or at least not in my school or any other school I have worked in- surely they are where we want them to be and you are doing well tackling the basics and laying good foundations.
  5. Trouble is, they came to me as 3a writers! In my school, they are the top end of the lower set. Upper set are all 4c and above. There is enormous pressure for these children to achieve level 5 next year as well.
    Thanks for the tip re. getting them to read to each other and peer assess.
  6. Lower set 3a- upper set 4c. No middle set i.e. average kids? Of course average is no good anymore is it?
    I can only assume that you're not convinced by the levels they came to you with- and I don't blame the teacher before- it's the game we all have to play and made even worse with the kind of pressure you describe (no good for anyone-staff, parents or, most importantly the children.)
    You know what they need to improve, you're covering all the basic skills they need and so all I can really offer is empathy- I teach a mixed Year 5/6 class (not enough kids or teachers to set and a challenge with kids from L1-5) but have been teaching long enough to know that good is never good enough. So don't beat yourself up about it. I hope others can offer more concrete advice.

Share This Page