Writing in action

Updated: Nov 27, 2021

This week I would like to highlight writing.

Over the year, our staff have been working with Dr Murray Gadd, an acclaimed Kiwi independent literacy facilitator, teacher and researcher who works across New Zealand and around the world with school leaders and teachers on a wide range of literacy-focused topics. His workshops with our teachers have strengthened their knowledge and skills in teaching writing across the curriculum and significantly increased our students’ rate of progress.

As a school, our writing data has improved across all levels. He focuses primarily on the critical elements in the effective teaching of writing and how teachers can enhance the engagement, progress and achievement of students as developing writers, especially under-achieving students.

In his sessions, he has focused on:

  • using learning goals as effectively as possible during lessons (letting the learning goal (and genre) emerge from the task: “So what do I have to be good at as a writer to do this task well?” and referring back to the learning goal/s during and at the end of modelling sessions: are we achieving what we set out to achieve?);

  • demonstrating as effectively as possible (continuing to refine aspects of active modelling that emerge, particularly ensuring that all students are engaged in the modelling process); and

  • refining workshops as effectively as possible (continuing to be clear with students about the skill being taught and try not to go beyond that, and putting the writer at the forefront of the workshop but in a positive/ non-threatening way).

One of the key aspects to writing is the conferencing and editing process. The focus for this piece of creative writing was using "The Tiny Seed' picture book for inspiration. Students then created their own tiny seed story and worked with their teacher as part of the editing process. See this example below:

This is a diamante poem by Tessa in Rimurimu. This was connected to our inquiry about Volcano Island. Students used different parts of speech to create a poem about two geological features within one poem.

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