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Talk4Writing advice please

Discussion in 'Teaching assistants' started by FEMaths12, Oct 26, 2015.

  1. FEMaths12

    FEMaths12 New commenter

    As a TA in a mixed yr3/4 class I am confused as to what is supposed to happen in the imitate section of the talk4writing process. The teacher I worked with last year used this to act out/ discuss and retell verbally with actions to help. My current teacher does some of this but also wants the children to write the story out themselves independently. A lot of the children automatically want to jump to the innovate stage. I find I'm getting confused and confusing them as well! What should I be encouraging at this stage? As I'm also required to mark the groups I work with I really struggle to add the obligatory comment at the bottom, what should I be looking for?
  2. Kartoshka

    Kartoshka Established commenter

    When I have used Talk for Writing, we did the same as your teacher last year: retelling the story verbally with actions, with some drama, hot seating and discussion as well. We also created a story map for the story, including key words and phrases. Some teachers prefer boxing up - beginning, middle and end - but I found that got a bit complicated as there were often too many events to fit into just three boxes.

    Writing out the whole story seems a bit tedious, but it isn't a bad thing to encourage some kind of recording at this stage. If this is what the teacher wants then this is what you should be encouraging. A "story mountain" approach might work well - this is where you split the story into five sections ("Once upon a time", "One day", "Suddenly", "Luckily", "Eventually"). It offers children clear sentence starters to make their writing more interesting; obviously for more able writers you could discuss alternatives for each of the sentence starters.

    The idea of writing out a familiar story is a good chance for the children to practise making their writing as interesting as possible. As they don't have to think of ideas of what to write, they can focus on how to write. So you should be looking for compound sentences, sentence openers, interesting vocabulary to describe character and settings, etc., as well as the obvious spelling, punctuation and grammar. This is assuming, of course, that the children are able to retell the story in the correct order without missing out any key events.
  3. FEMaths12

    FEMaths12 New commenter

    Thanks that's very helpful. I think my biggest problem is when does it stop being imitating and start being innovating? This is particularly true for our more able writers. Am I right in thinking that as long as they don't change the characters or the plot this is still imitate? The language they use is up to them? I have asked the teacher about this and they tried to explain, I feel like I should have understood this by now but I seem to have a mental block! Thanks again.

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