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Independent writers?

Discussion in 'Primary' started by LGR22, Apr 28, 2012.

  1. Lots of it!
    Writing independently, assessing, and giving them targets for the next piece of writing. I tend to get them to write 20 minutes of independent writing in each english lesson.Some only write a couple of sentences the first time they do it, but they get the idea after a while with constant assessment and targets.I also get them to write the date and the learning objective before I start teaching, so that when they start the independent writing, they can just write.
    Another idea I tried was to get them to write 5 sentences about a given subject before I started the lesson. It could be something like 'What did you do last night?' I would sometimes limit them with something like: You must write 2 simple sentences, 2 compound and one complex. Other times, I would just let them write. I would always give them a target when I marked this writing.
  2. stuffedcrust

    stuffedcrust New commenter

    I teach Year 3 and they struggle with writing independently too. Unfortunately I was off ill for 3 months and upon my return have found that the children have done NO independent writing at all, they simply copied sentences they had found in books!

    I have done lots of speaking activities with them since coming back to work and it has improved the creativity of their writing. I agree with GR22, getting them used to thinking on the spot about an abstract subject and simply writing a sentence about it while you're doing the register, gets them into the habit and they do increase in speed, in time!
  3. Using lots of things to scaffold so they find whatever you are doing accessible. Using visual stimuli to help children to 'see' their ideas so they can start writing. Lots of drama and speaking and listening so they can understanding how to speak and what a sentence is etc. Lots of writing for a purpose, so providing lots of incidental writing opportunities. I have a writing box with templates of treasure maps, secret messages, messages in bottles, lists, postcards etc and lots of interesting pens to use. Writing every day in busy work, just to answer a puzzle etc.
    In my Big Writing sessions in Year 2 we always watch something to start us off, or see an object, or meet a person in role. We then brainstorm on the board. Most children then go off and write in their books, but at the beginning of the year some had writing frames with a word bank which included images. We have now moved on so only one child needs a writing frame, but I still have mini word banks with symbols and words so the less able can access a range of words, as they find the word bank on the board to complex for them. This group writes independently, but they still come and read me their sentence before they move onto the next one, until they can read what they have written easily and we both feel they don't need to show me. The very lowest tell me their sentence first and then go off and write it on their own. In this way I feel I am providing distance support, but they are actually writing independently. In Big Writing I make a point of not having a TA or myself sitting next to any child, even my child on P scales, so they get used to working on their own and having a go. Hope this helps.
  4. I should think that the best way to encourage it is become relaxed about 'correct' spelling. Insecurity about this paralyses many children's confidence as writers.
    They can usually spell comprehensibly. So if u encourage them to try and say what they want to say, without worrying about the spelling, they might write more. U can work on improving their spelling afterwards, if u want to, based on the mistakes they make.
    I can remember from my supply days in primaries many years ago, children lining up at my desk to give them the correct spelling for words they wanted to use but were not sure of. (Presumably that was what their teacher had instructed them to do.) I thought this was quite insane. They were wasting time waiting, instead of writing.

  5. Msz

    Msz Established commenter

    for some children they will be fed up with writing before they begin if they have done all that and does it make them better writers

  6. minnieminx

    minnieminx New commenter

    I might try that, when I know they will be writing on books. Soooo sensible.

    I would say make the topic interesting and exciting and then they want to write. Mine would write all day on some topics.

    The issue I have is how to get them to write independently to the same standard they do in guided writing.

    Oh and often give them exciting and fancy paper to write on. Let them write with things other than pencils.
  7. Msz

    Msz Established commenter

    "In some subjects a learning objective might actually cap learning." Pie Corbett


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