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My class just dont use their phonic knowledge in their writing HELP please!!!!!

Discussion in 'Primary' started by littlelebowski, Nov 9, 2011.

  1. littlelebowski

    littlelebowski New commenter

    I feel your pain! I have Y1 / Y2 and I wonder what they did last year! [​IMG] Again, long story! I have given mine a 'word book' each and if they need to know a spelling, they have to ask a grown up to write it in for them. I notice now that they start to come up to me asking me to spell a word like 'some' that we have been looking at in phonics and they decide that it is less effort to just try and remember how we learned it than come and ask me and wait! Some of it with mine is sheer laziness! If they mispell words that we have been looking at in phonics, I get them to re-write it three times. I don't do this with more 'adventurous' words, as I don't want to stop them using exciting language.
    I also photograph their literacy work and show it on a flipchart. We all read it as a group and make (kind!) comments. One pupil today looked at her own work on the IWB and said 'oops! I forgot the 'sh' sound in 'sharp'! That says 'sarp'!' Halleluyah! They really like looking at their own and others work in this way and they can then spot things like 'wow' words and connectives, as well as punctuation. It did help when the Assistant Head came in today and saw someone's work on the IWB. He made lots of comments on the work and the child just glowed!
    My lower ability group are still struggling with CVC words, so I support them in different ways - they don't have word books yet and I wouldn't ask them to re-write spellings. I just want them to write!
  2. Teachersgem

    Teachersgem New commenter

    It's difficult to give constructive advise without seeing samples of their writing, but I can tell you what I do.
    When I'm teaching writing I let the children know that they don't have to know how to spell all the words. I model how to write by sounding out words but I purposely write them exactly how they sound and then I tell them that this isn't the way adults would write it, but it's ok as they are still learning. I tell them that some children might know how to spell the words but others are still learning and so until they know how to spell it, it's ok to write the word the way it sounds. I also tell them that as long as the person reading it can read what it says then that is OK. I tell them that week by week we will learn the correct way to spell the words but in the meantime just have a go.

    I don't know if that helps or whether your children are just not having a go at all.

    Peer assessment is another good way to get children to change their ways. Ask the children to look at the work of the person sitting next to them and to give them a star for something they have done really well. They then give a wish for something they could improve on. Children are really honest with each other and will pick up on points for improvement. You could steer this in the direction of phonics by giving them an example, e.g. I'm giving you a star for the way you have sounded out the word... I'm giving you a wish because you forgot to sound out the word...

    Another way of getting children to write more is to provide gel pens. They are quite expensive but may be worth the treat. The incentive could be, whoever shows you that they can begin to sound out words in their writing will get to use the gel pens. Your SEN children could get to use them for a different goal if they are unable to achieve this.

    Good luck and let us know how you get on.
  3. Thanks so much for all your replies. So nice to know its not just me!!!
    I dont know how to reply properly on this and I cant see all the other replies, so many apologies for not addressing people by name!! I'm not being rude, I'm just SEN with teachnology...

    Sadly my class (the majority not all) are VERY lazy. I am aware they are very little and I do have high expectations BUT they arent unreasonable!
    We have a number of TAs and they try and play us off against each other, doing certain work for me and not for .... so it is a matter of keeping them in at break (not always obviously) when miraculously they seem to be able to do the work set in super quick time....funny that.
    Parental involvement is very, very little. I have never worked anywhere where the parents really dont care about their kids (and I have worked in inner cities and all sorts) or their education at all, so I appreciate your advice on things to do in the classroom.
    We are going to start doing phonics in books - upping the importance, as I agree - it could be a whiteboard thing.
    In general the kids arent against writing, which is good (other than a couple of them) its the applying thinking "oh, I did this in phonics..." its more. "Cant be *****, will put down anything and I dont care. I just want to get it over and done with so I can play." (thats a whole different issue bl**dy choose time! Which they dont have much of - we are phasing it out for year 2s and they earn it as an incentive to complete work during lesson time)
    We have phonics walls around the classroom (its open plan and an odd shape), so they are able to see them from anywhere in the room. On the tables we have an alphabet arc, but no phonic mats - we dont seem to have room, so I dont know how other people do it?!!
    I have found some word games and thought about how I can use flash cards for random stuff like lining up - read the tricky word before you go and line up etc.
    Cant remember what else I was going to add, as this has taken me 30 mins to type (due to other stuff happening here!!!) but changes are starting Monday, so I shall keep you posted and a massive thank you for your ideas!!
    m xx

  4. Are you using an Alphabetic Code Chart in your class?
    This is an excellent spelling reference chart.
    When the children work out the sounds all-through-the-word that they want to spell, the questions might be for the teacher, "Which spelling alternative (or choice) do I need for this sound?"
    You can then refer to the 'sound' concerned on the alphabetic code chart, look along the row and say, "This one as in the word.....".
    This helps the children to understand the rationale of sounds to spellings and they can see the range of possible spellings - and they need their awareness raised about 'noticing' which words are spelt in which way.
    So, the issue for spelling becomes ways to focus on various word banks of the slightly less common graphemes - all of which have fab word banks which you can base around spelling mnemonic stories or 'acting out' the words, then work in pairs to recall the words.
    It's not enough to have lots of 'phonics' on the walls - they really need to be in an organised format.
    Teachers need to work really hard at teaching spellings - but they need to give their children the alphabetic code overview - which, wonderfully - also supports the adults in the school by having a visual reference point.
    I don't care which phonics programme people use - they need an alphabetic code chart in their classrooms.
    No matter how much I mention this on the forum, I seem to get very little response from people that they've looked at the charts and may have used them.
    Well - I wonder how often people will ask for suggestions and then, actually, carry on regardless with their old habits?!
    In schools that have tried using the charts, teachers and assistants have been amazed at how the children themselves have responded to them. In effect, they start to 'self-teach' because they have such a powerful visual aid to 'understand' what they are doing when they read and spell.
    If your children are not applying their phonics teaching to their general writing, then you need to become more organised and help children to understand the alphabetic code in a thoroughly organised way.
    I totally agree with someone's comments about writing in books and not just on whiteboards.
    Also, I promote the use of Sounds Books which go beyond just putting in graphemes - you need words to blend and so on. I promote the use of Activity Sheets which become part of the school's book bag routine by being collated in clip folders of work for each child.
    This means that the parents at home are regularly informed and can see and understand the phonics teaching that is going on in school.
    Only then can you expect parents to be fully supportive.
    My five year old granddaughter in Year One brings nothing home in the book bag except her random reading books (that is they have not been of the cumulative, decodable variety). How is anyone at home to know what is going on with such a lack of information?
  5. mystery10

    mystery10 Occasional commenter

    Maybe your granddaughter knows my children ...........
    OP I'm sure you do have some unsupportive parents, but they can come from all walks of life, make no assumptions. I spend a lot of time in the local leisure centre waiting for my children; I have to say that I hear a higher proportion of parents from lower social classes (for want of a better term) who sound like they would do something helpful with their child at home (if only they could understand what the teacher wanted) than I do from higher social classes. The latter seem more likely to expect that school is and should be sufficient.
    There is also the issue of how you judge "parental support". Some schools do it by " we held a meeting on x and only 4 people turned up". They seem to expect parents to take time off work or pay a fortune for babysitters for something quite insignificant which they could have dealt with by some other means if it really was so important.
    I also see more and more children from a variety of schools dragging round things like Schofield and Sims books as homework e.g. a page of Schofield and Sims mental maths or English is set each week. Parent is sitting in leisure centre cafe tearing hair out as they don't understand what the book is asking themselves, or thinks child is learning challenged or awkward. I have experienced this myself; this happened week after week to me. After several months of trying to find out why I discovered it was purely that many of the topics being tested in the homework had never been covered at school, or at least not in the group my child had been placed in.
    Then there are other teachers who get cross with you if you want to do anything remotely related to school with your child at home ............. sometimes it's very hard as a parent! I could have done with a flak jacket at one point at my children's school. When I taught secondary I would have been delighted to meet a parent who wanted to do a little well-focused extra to make a difference where needed.
    OP I'm sure you don't fall into any of these traps. But, equally I think it is unlikely that you have a whole class of parents who are unwilling to be supportive. You might find that if you make good headway with the best of the bunch that it will rub off on the others. It is at the start of primary school that it's surely a chance to build good relations with parents and hope that this sticks for life so that they will still be providing some support for children's homework etc in early secondary. My children's school takes the opposite approach - that early primary school are the years where the parents need to learn that their child is now part of a mysterious system where you should just "trust" the teachers and not need to know anything about anything.
    Phonics is more than a one-off wonder. You are hoping that these parents will listen to their children read for years to come, so if you were to give them the wherewithall in phonics to help children decode unknown words and spell then you will have multiplied your effect massively as pupils spend a lot of time at home, and hopefully ask adults to help out with unknown reading words and unknown spellings.
  6. I agree mystery give parents the tools; give as many people the tools as necessary. but all the tools, the resistant to corrosive anxiety ones, the play and talk with your children, ones, the life is made up of all sorts and there is no one way tools. The how to have confidence to show teachers they might be wrong ones. The how to argue against hypocrisy and bureaucracy ones. The believe in yourself ones, the we are all in this together ones, the don't let them keep you or your child down one. The love makes the world go round - and I am spinning - one. The don't fob me off that's my child your talking about one. The hey no actually, thats not true for me one.
  7. inky

    inky Lead commenter

    How are their handwriting skills? Knowing a sound doesn't mean you can write it.
    I'm apalled at how many children reach Yr ! without being able to write letters for corresponding sounds.
  8. Msz

    Msz Established commenter

    I often get the how do you spell ....? then they tell me how to spell the word and ask what does the ... look like?

  9. mystery10

    mystery10 Occasional commenter

    At the moment Yohana I am badly in need of one of the tools you mention - it's the "how to show a teacher they might be wrong" tool. Completely off topic I know. Maybe another thread ......... how does one do it without offending the teacher, or upsetting them, but yet get a result - shift in viewpoint and associated action. It's bothering me badly, and it needs to happen soon before more damage is done.
  10. U have come up against the simple fact that phonics is of very limited use in learning to spell English.
    I would say that it's even of limited use for learning to read, because 69 graphemes have more than one pronunciation:
    I would call only the teaching of the reliable sounds for consonants 'phonics'.

    But even if u call the teaching of alterantive pronunciations, such as
    for the ‘o’ in ‘on – only – other’ phonics as well, this does not teach children to spell those sounds correctly in many other words:
    cough, sausage - moan, bone - up, double
    gone bowl flood
    They have to be learned in little groups of words, as exceptions from the main spelling patterns:
    <font color="#0000ff">http://englishspellingproblems.blogspot.com/2010/11/english-spelling-rules.html</font>

  11. I agree Mystery - teachers continue blithely with their own momentum, they usually avoid icebergs by sailing at a distance- letters, one-way agreements, reports etc. I think the tool you need is in the section of the toolbox called 'feisty and awkward to handle'. Apply it with a bit of care which is difficult if you are not used to handling it however it works best in close confined spaces. You might have to apply a bit of force and persistence, but instist- argue with that stuck part. SHow it there is a looser position; maybe it is poorly adjusted and doesn't know it was intially fitted poorly
    If teachers don't hear another point of view then they think they can just continue. However a little disagrement here, another bit there, everyone isolated in individual parents meetings will still have a drip-drip drip, tiny turn of the nut and sooner or later the most hardened teacher backed up by the most implacable woven school policy may suddenly give. If not turn the setting to HOT and let rip with your passion, your disagreements and what YOU FEEL. Watch the cool, superior-because-feelings-aren't progfessional fascade melt and don't try to catch all the bits. You can sweep them up later.
    Maybe if there had been more people like that on the bridge of the titanic - who knows- even now our very own Captain Grove is up there and god know what charts he is following..
  12. beijaflor

    beijaflor New commenter

    Are you modelling lots of writing and thinking aloud when writing words that are tricky to spell.

    Whenever beginning a long writtten piece I model each section, thinking aloud, asking "hmm I want to write 'was' how do I spell that again it sounds like it should be 'w o s' at which point they will usually jump in to correct me,

    make lots of deliberate mistakes, they could bring word mats onto the carpet and could find how to make the sound you need in a given word -

    Hope it helps......don't forget it's only December, keep at it and it will pay off, you WILL see progress in the summer!
  13. marymoocow

    marymoocow Star commenter

    Do you use guided writing? This has had a big impact on our children last year. I agree a phonics chart is essential, both on the wall and individual referance cards.
    Sometimes 1:1 sessions are needed to give them a boost.

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