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Lack of progress in writing

Discussion in 'Primary' started by devilsangel100, May 12, 2012.

  1. Hi,
    I have wanted to post this for a few weeks now, but have finally decided to do it after marking the set of Big Write books I bought home with me.
    I feel as though the children in my class are not making enough progress in their writing. Every time I mark their books I seem to be writing similar comments for each child, even though I know they are reading my marking they just can't seem to improve on it. For example, I have about 10 children who's work just doesn't make sense and I don't know if they are checking through their work and changing it or not. Some are EAL but some just don't seem to be putting in any effort to check their work.
    My assessment shows that some children have made no progress this year, and considering it's May i'm really worried. Sometimes I go back to the beginning of their book and it honestly looks as though their work hasn't changed. I'm not saying it's every child that hasn't made progress, but it seems a lot more than usual.
    Our school doesn't follow the Literacy strategy anymore, instead we plan based on a book which changes every couple of weeks. We also do the big write, which started off great but now I feel that I just get frustrated when I read their writing because they are still making the same mistakes.
    I've tried lots of different things to try and improve their writing, but i'm at a loss. Maths is much more of a strong point for me! Sorry for the essay (especially on a Saturday!) I would just like any advice on ways to help my children progress more in their writing. They are year 4 by the way.
    Thanks.
     
  2. Hi,
    I have wanted to post this for a few weeks now, but have finally decided to do it after marking the set of Big Write books I bought home with me.
    I feel as though the children in my class are not making enough progress in their writing. Every time I mark their books I seem to be writing similar comments for each child, even though I know they are reading my marking they just can't seem to improve on it. For example, I have about 10 children who's work just doesn't make sense and I don't know if they are checking through their work and changing it or not. Some are EAL but some just don't seem to be putting in any effort to check their work.
    My assessment shows that some children have made no progress this year, and considering it's May i'm really worried. Sometimes I go back to the beginning of their book and it honestly looks as though their work hasn't changed. I'm not saying it's every child that hasn't made progress, but it seems a lot more than usual.
    Our school doesn't follow the Literacy strategy anymore, instead we plan based on a book which changes every couple of weeks. We also do the big write, which started off great but now I feel that I just get frustrated when I read their writing because they are still making the same mistakes.
    I've tried lots of different things to try and improve their writing, but i'm at a loss. Maths is much more of a strong point for me! Sorry for the essay (especially on a Saturday!) I would just like any advice on ways to help my children progress more in their writing. They are year 4 by the way.
    Thanks.
     
  3. Msz

    Msz Established commenter

    Have you tried getting them to correct their own mistakes?
    Put a bracket in the margin to indicate where they need to correct and a note that says something like there are 3 missing punctuation marks in these lines can you put them in the correct place?
    and give them 5 mins at the beginning of the next lesson to do the correction ... it should show up if they are just not bothering or if they genuinely need more teaching because they don't know.
     
  4. Do you do guided writing where you sit with the children and model how to edit their work and then guide them through doing so?
     
  5. I feel your pain!
    I've always written lengthy, closing the gap comments in writing books, and sometimes want to tear my hair out at the same children making the same mistakes every time.
    I've always allowed myself to think that the logistics of making extra time for children to respond to comments and act on them (as soon after the piece of writing as possible) makes it too difficult to manage.
    However, in the past few weeks, I've been making a concerted effort to MAKE the time - and it literally only needs a few minutes - for children to respond and make changes. I've been using coloured highlighters to show what is good/what needs improving, which has actually speeded up my marking, and I've been finding time outside of literacy (registrations, guided reading time etc) for children to respond.
    I'm not sure about the impact yet, but I'm hoping there will be one: in the past it's been more a case of "read my comments, now move on to something else". From now on, my children are going to be reading my comments, acting on them, then moving on.

     
  6. beethan31

    beethan31 New commenter

    I like the sound of that elizabeth 1972. I've always felt guilty that I never give my children chance to read what I've written, let alone act on it! I just expect them to get better! So, I like the sound of them correcting their work in guided reading. I have a timetable of GR activities which rotates during the week, and this would be a great activity to add to that.
    What exactly do you highlight? Things like a gap where a full stop should be, or a lower case letter that should be a capital? Do you get them to write it out again underneath?
    Thanks!
    (By the way, devilsangel100, I posted a similar thread a few weeks ago! I know how you feel! Mine are Y3/4. I've since tried to use the first few minutes of my literacy lessons to work on sentences e.g. I'll put 3 connectives on the board and model sentences using each one. I then give the children 5 mins to write their own 3 sentences using each connective. I choose a few to read theirs out, reinforce capital letters, full stops and finger spaces (STILL necessary for some of mine!!), then we move on to the rest of the Lit lesson. It's differentiated by outcome in that my more able kids write longer sentences or add adverbs etc. Lower ability just write simple sentences. It's an effort to remember to do it, and I have to make sure it's in the back of their Lit books - for evidence!! - but someone suggested it on here and I'm hoping it will make a difference)
     
  7. I use green and pink highlighters. I find at least one good sentence/section/powerful word etc to highlight in pink (tickled pink) and one to highlight in green (green for growth). The green is usually a sentence or small section that needs re-writing for sense/punctuation/vocab. choices etc.
    I then don't have to write "Well done, you used some powerful vocabulary (e.g. twinkling). Next time, can you think of a better word than "said"" - it's just a case of highlighting. They know that what is highlighted pink is good, so they don't need me to explain it again at the bottom of their work.
    At the bottom of their writing, I draw a green line about 1 inch long and tell them what their editing focus is. So, it might be:
    ___________ rewrite these two sentences, join them with a connective
    or
    ___________ rewrite using two powerful words
    or
    ___________ punctuation!
    They then write the new version underneath, which I think is better than trying to rub out the original and squeeze things in. It also shows effective marking and progress being made (evidence for the dreaded ofsted!)


     
  8. I do this too!

     
  9. beethan31

    beethan31 New commenter

    Hey, it could've been your idea (elizabeth1972)! I can't remember who suggested it on my thread, but if it was you, thanks!
    Loving the idea of highlighting. I like highlighting (I'm a stationery geek!) Going to try it, as like you said it is an effective method of marking and will show progress. I agree that they need to write it again, as then they can see the difference between the two.
     
  10. rek45

    rek45 New commenter

    Do you use marking ladders? These have made a big difference in our school and we use them for every piece of extended writing. I list in a table the things I'll be looking for in the writing with two empty columns either side of the outcome. The children have to use this as a checklist throughout their writing and then fill in one of the empty columns with a smiley/neutral/sad face depending on whether they feel they have achieved the target. To fill it in, they have to check through their work. If it is a vocab or connective target I put a couple of bullet points and the children have to write next to these the ones that they have used. This helps to make sure that they do use them. I fill in the final column with smiley faces depending on if I think they have met the targets. For every target met, they get a raffle ticket for a draw at the end of the week for a small prize. Sorry if you do use these already as I know they are quite widely used. If not and you would like some examples, I would be happy to e-mail some examples.
     
  11. What particular problems do they all have?
    Spelling? Punctuation? What do u find yourself repeatedly commenting on?
     
  12. CarrieV

    CarrieV Lead commenter

    Their complete inability to spell "you" [​IMG]
     

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