Weekly blog

Week 10
Our last week. Essentially a week for editing and reflection. We went through our work and discussed our favourites. We also talked about what we had learnt and any particularly memorable experiences. Finalised the cover for the book. Next steps and things to work on in the future. On Friday (our last day), the students and I went for ice-cream.

Week 9
Writer of the week: Liam!
Focused on paragraphing again with the emphasis on only a few sentences per paragraph.
We discussed how to make our stories more interesting by starting each sentence with a different beginning. We examined how writing can become boring by repetition of words.
Students wanted to focus on other text types this week so they were free to explore recounts and information reports (for the most part). Extremely motivated this week and very eager to write. Lots of positive enthusiasm which I can only attribute to them owning their writing and being proud of it. Liam for instance, wrote three pieces this week and wanted to write more.
This extra enthusiasm could be caused by the looming publishing deadline. They are very excited by the prospect of our book being published in America and being shipped here for a book launch. Liam calculated that combined, the students have produced over 20,000 words during the term. That will make a reasonably thick novel.
We came up with our title for our novel: Ten weeks by the Writing Warriors.
Started work on cover design which essentially has their individual photos on it.

Week 8
Writer of the week: Thomas!
Looked at a few things this week that arose from recent work produced. First was the use of tense. In particular, keeping it consistent. Although the students writing has improved, they often switch from present tense to past tense and vice versa.
We also looked at contractions to make our writing faster paced.
Finally, we addressed paragraphs. Most students thought they had some idea about using them but they just weren't consistent. In addition, sometimes they would use them, sometimes not.
The students went to Corban's art centre which provided an incentive to write a recount and their impressions about art in general.

Week 7
Writer of the week this week: Alex
This week we had some great feedback from our mentors. Ms Falvey paid another visit to the class which was most appreciated. The students expanded on their random character generators and came up with a variety of new characters, problems and settings - highly creative too!
Produced some of the most well written and creative stories this week. The output was impressive too. Thomas wrote almost 1000 words before editing. Using the laptops has inspired the students. They are no longer limited by surface features and can focus instead on the deeper features - the actual crafting of their stories.
We discussed feedback in detail and once again voted on the new writer of the week (WoW!)

Week 6
Writer of the week this week: Hannah
The writing 'mentor' program started in earnest this week with several nominated teachers providing valuable support to their student. Special thanks to Ms Falvey who paid the class (and Hannah) and visit.
Introduced random narrative generator this week. This is where the students decide on the setting, the appearance of their character and the problem and roll a six sided dice to determine which one they will choose.
Also looked at consistent tense this week as it was one of the areas students were struggling with. At the end of the week, students read out their work and we voted on who should be writer of the week.

Week 5
Real focus on direct speech, using dialogue in narrative writing. This was due to a desire for the students to include more dialogue in their writing. Strong focus on putting the punctuation in the right place. The task set for the week was to have a conversation between two characters. The narrative didn't have to go anywhere - they just had to write a conversation. Because the pressure to craft a proper story was absent, the students really enjoyed the task and had fun with it.

All the students chose a 'writing mentor or sponsor'. This is a teacher who will give them more formative feedback about their writing from week to week.
A note went home encouraging parents to place more feedback on this site.
We also discussed the 'writer of the week.' This will be the student who produces the best piece of writing in a week (as decided by their peers). The winner will have their piece of writing put up on the school webpage.

Week 4
Due to the desire of all the students in the group, we decided to concentrate on narratives for the entire week. All of the writing warriors were inspired by discussions we had had, especially concerning the Greek gods.
Our focus was direct speech and how to use it. We concentrated on 'new line, new speaker,' and constantly referred to who was talking and when. We continued to focus on punctuation and spelling. Tense was also something we worked on and using different pronouns to avoid repetition.

Week 3
Once again, this was all about student voice. Students chose the topic they wanted to write about, brainstormed it, discussed it and then began the planning and drafting process.
We also discussed, modelled and looked at examples of simple sentences vs compound sentences.
We introduced a new planning template that breaks down the different text types according to whether the writer is an apprentice or more accomplished writer.
Discussed feedback on website and talked about our improved attitudes towards writing.

Week 2
This week, the writing warriors became movie reviewers. We went to see the movie: How to train your dragon 2.
When we got back, we brainstormed about opinions and talked about the purpose behind reviews i.e. to convince or persuade people to watch it (or not).
We examined other reviews of movies we had seen and talked about the structure. We broke the review apart and expressed our opinions about each one.
Finally, we wrote, edited and discussed our reviews. The proof of how good we have been will be if we can convince others to go to the movie (go to the reviews now and make a comment!)

Week 1
  • This week was the introduction week for our writing intervention programme. Each student had a discussion with the teachers about where they are (in terms of writing), where they need to be and what they would like to achieve in this program. What do they think they need to focus on. What are their learning goals? How will they achieve them?

  • We also decided on the name of our group and individual pseudonyms or pen names.¬†We discussed general attitudes towards writing, how we felt about it and what would make us more keen to write.

  • Sit down with each individual child and discuss what they think about their writing. What do they need to improve? What should be their goal? Show where they are in terms of assessment and what they need to do to achieve their goals.

  • While conferencing, others are writing about themselves, their family and what they would like to achieve (use of notebooks). Post profiles up on our webpage. Also wrote an information report on personal specialist subject area.

  • Discuss purpose, learning intentions and success criteria