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How do improve presentation in books?

Discussion in 'Primary' started by Sassyfrassy, May 19, 2012.

  1. During recent book scrutinies my class's books have come out as scruffy with work badly presented. This hasn't been an issue for me in the past. A lot of the children don't really care about what their work looks like and I am struggling a bit on how to address it. I can rant and keep them in at playtimes but I am not sure how much effect it would have, except for making me grumpy and missing my cup of tea =) Any suggestions on how to go about it would be warmly welcomed.
  2. During recent book scrutinies my class's books have come out as scruffy with work badly presented. This hasn't been an issue for me in the past. A lot of the children don't really care about what their work looks like and I am struggling a bit on how to address it. I can rant and keep them in at playtimes but I am not sure how much effect it would have, except for making me grumpy and missing my cup of tea =) Any suggestions on how to go about it would be warmly welcomed.
  3. groovyshell83

    groovyshell83 Occasional commenter

    Spend time re-establishing neat work rules eg underlining with a pencil etc. I also do 15 mins handwriting practice 3 times a week which has dramatically improved the presentation and also have a wall in my classrooom dedicated to good work which I change each week. On this wall I have 2 frames. One in which I put outstanding work and in the other I put a piece by someone who has tried really hard with their presentation. The children love it. I have also used bribery eg giving out prizes (pencils, rubbers etc) for the neatest book of the week.
  4. I allow very neat children to underline in coloured pen. I also reward good presentation and use the visualiser to show neat work to the rest of the class. My favourite thing, though, is to actually show them on the IWB by writing neatly, using sub headings etc and drawing. I think some teachers type far too much rather than handwriting as it's easier to prepare in advance but I've made a real effort to hand write more this year to improve presentation. Drawing is also a skill that needs practising and demonstrating in front of the class.
    I also always think about how the page will (hopefully) look when I plan lessons and I guide them to achieve this throughout the lesson. Oh, and the odd little shout at a very scruffy piece of work and. Many comment works wonders too!
  5. It sounds like you're thinking about how to address work that is handed in poorly presented, but the key is to avoid it in the first place! A few tips which have worked for me:
    Do regular handwriting practice - doesn't have to be more than 5/10 minutes at a time, but you are making it clear to the children that what their work looks like is important.
    Set out your expectations for how children should set out work - it doesn't really matter what it is as long as its clear and consistent and you model it on the board e.g. you might ask for date in the format dd/mm/yy; objective on the line underneath, title under that and underlined. In maths, you might say they draw a margin three squares in etc If you tell them what you what, they quickly do it and it isn't an issue. The important thing is that you care about presentation and that you are sharing your standards with them.

    Also set expectations that work should be neat and easy to read - then a few minutes after children start writing whizz around the class doing a quick check of presentation - any that are not acceptable can be picked up on straight away.

    If any do slip through the net and hand in poorly presented work, never let it pass. Make them stay in at break time to rewrite. It may ruin your break time for a couple of weeks but they will soon realise that you are not going to accept second best.

    Model what you are asking them to do. If your presentation isn't spot-on, why should they bother.

    Always explain WHY presentation is important - writing is done for a reader, if the reader can't read it what is the point!
    Finally, PRAISE, PRAISE, PRAISE for well-presented work.

    These have all worked very well with my Year 6 class - parents evening is always interesting as the parents are often delighted with the improvement in their children's 'writing' and I sometimes have to point out the difference between 'handwriting' and 'writing' :)
  6. And ironically, apologies for the poor presentation of the above. The computer seized up as I was editing and the message was posted before I finished it!
  7. Thanks for all the comments, very helpful.
    Decent presentation in the past hasn't been an issue, althogh not because of a concious effort on my part I must admit, just been lucky. I'm going to get started on Monday and set the expecations straight away and model it. Perhaps I'll set up for handwriting practise during register rather than the usual reading as well for the next couple of weeks.
  8. As I teach year 3, the start of the school year can be tricky for many pupils to cope with how to present their work clearly and neatly. So, I demonstrate on an enlarged piece of paper (corresponding to whatever book they're using e.g. squared for maths, lined with margin for literacy) at the start of each lesson. we talk about where the date goes then I write it in the correct place, then I underline with a ruler. We then talk about where to put the heading, then I write that on and underline with a ruler. Then I start the piece of work off, all the time talking about presentation and handwriting. It stays on the board for the lesson so they can look at it for reference. I call it quality control and after a few weeks presentation is very good and they know what is expected of them. I then have a quality control display board where excellent presentation is displayed. Good luck, it will be tough raising the standard of presentation but don't give up!
  9. minnieminx

    minnieminx New commenter

    Problem with this is that the class spend 15 mins practising messy writing and repeating bad habits. They need a teacher to actually 'teach' them how to write neatly and properly.

    I would agree with whoever said a couple of minutes into book work time nip round and make a fuss about the mess. Insist on starting again for any work that is not good enough. Tear out the odd page if necessary. Make a huge fuss about the dreadful state of some of the work and I bet a few others will grab rubbers and sort their own before you get to them. Give rewards and praise those with lovely work, send them off to show the HT/DH whoever and all that. Go over the top both ways and flatly refuse to accept anything that is a mess.

    Cannot for the life of me see why you would need to miss break nor why they would. If you show that you care about the presentation, then the children will as well.
  10. This is something I need to tackle more next year, as mine Y2s are very messy. I should have spent more time at the beginning of the year demoing layout and setting expectations on this.
    I have been doing handwriting 2 or 3 times a week, but have differentiated 3 ways as I started different groups joining at different points and this makes it impossible to do quick sessions, as I have to go through and demo for each group. Next year I am going to revist the letter formation first and then start them all joining at the same time, with small handwriting groups during assembly/register time with a TA for those who are still struggling with letter formation. I have noticed that for some joining has cured them of beginning their letters in the wrong place, or going the wrong way round, so hope that this will work ok. I am hoping that by doing the same handwriting point/join for all the class I can fit more sessions in each week, as the sessions will be shorter. Not sure how others teaching handwriting and deal with this issue though as there may be a better. I have increased the number of handwriting sessions this year and have noticed a general improvement in writing.
    My worst presentation is in maths where they write the numbers huge, at funny angles etc etc as the pages are blank, but of course lines are not always appropriate so I don't want to use lined paper and squared paper seems too small. What kind of books/paper do others in Year 2 use for maths?
  11. groovyshell83

    groovyshell83 Occasional commenter

    Singup, our ks1 classes use cm squared maths books and they have no problems. Again it is about training them to put one number/symbol in each square.
    In our school, we type up dates and los and stick them in the books to avoid the children wasting time having to do it. makes the books look neater too
  12. Thanks for this groovyshells. I think I will look at this when we order our maths books for September, as they really are a mess.
  13. Using squared books made a big difference to presentation for us too, and the checklist on the wall reminds children t about expectations an to assess their own work. I make them write the date; it helps them learn to spell months, but I use sticky labels - the 14 to a sheet for learning objectives. As you say, it saves time and they can tick the box if they think they have met the target.
  14. minnieminx

    minnieminx New commenter

    We have cm squares in year 2 as well. And then have 2cm squares in year 1.

    In general my class have really lovely writing, but given a blank piece of paper and they cannot write neatly, nor think how to space their work out at all.

    Mine can, and do, write the long date on the top line and the WALT on the next line. But it did take ages in September to train them to do this quickly and neatly. I'm thinking sticky labels for next year, but wonder if the hassle of dealing with our temperamental printer for every lesson will outweigh the benefits.

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