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#1 Rufus

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Posted 25 August 2008 - 08:34 PM

Hi all
I was wondering what your opinion is on writing within early years.
I currently work with a teacher who starts the chidlren off tracing, then they move onto writing underneath, then copying off of a piece of paper and then when ready they become independent writers. This method is only used during focussed writing tasks, during self initiated writing times then the children are independent. Those that aren't ready generally don't choose to write.
However I don't entirely agree.
She says that we have to show them how to write before they can learn to do it which i agree with but I think i'm more a fan of energent writing. Even when I sit and write with the chdilren I don't tell them how to do it. We listen for the phonemes and then they write what they can hear.
Do I have it wrong?
Dos anyone else have a different approach?
I'm just not sure what they learn form copying letters that don't mean much to them.
I confused even thinking about it now!
‎'It is today we must create the world of the future.' Eleanor Roosevelt

#2 eggwoman

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Posted 25 August 2008 - 09:34 PM

Hi Rufus

I'm with you i like emergent writing. When i first started teaching it seemed to be the thing to trace and write over yellow writing. I agree we need to show them how be a good writer how to sit, form the letters correctly etc but just because they are tracing doesn't mean they will form the letters correctly.
We have the sounds and words etc around the classroom, we encourage them to hear the sounds in the words then to write what they can hear and if they only hear the first sound thats fine. All our writing is from emergent, role play, mark making activities. We 'teach' handwriting.

Every now and then we have a go of some unaided writing where we base it on a story etc and we just ask the children to write a sentence, list etc and just see how much they can remember some children will be more confident just making marks some children will write letters and the ones who are getting the hang of it will start to look for letters themselves.


Hope that helps and reassures you

#3 Rufus

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Posted 25 August 2008 - 09:42 PM

That does reassure me eggwoman, it's always nice to know that someone else is doing the same thing.
I feel very strongly that we need to be giving chidlren the cofnidence to write as much as anything and if they cannot see on paper what they are thinking in their head, then that will not make them see themselves as writers.
Do you think any other practioners question themselves as much as us early years folk?
‎'It is today we must create the world of the future.' Eleanor Roosevelt

#4 eggwoman

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Posted 25 August 2008 - 09:56 PM

I'm not sure if others do question themselves as much as we do. I've always felt as early years staff we always question about the well being of the children, how we can make learning fun for them and inspire them. I my get hung drawn and quartered for this but i feel that some junior staff just teach through the QCA/National curriculum do what they need to do mark their books ( i do emphaise some - i know some excellent junior teachers who are trying to embrace how we do things in reception)


With writing yes we need to get the children to be confident writers especially the boys. We have been using films as well to encourage writing. We watch snippets of the film and may ask them to write about a character/setting. We have used Nemo and Madgascar which they love we haven't done this though until last spring term and summer but may try sooner as the children who love TV enjoy writing about something they have seen we watch the whole film at the end of the work.
We also have with our transport and building topic made a huge map (was a little inspired from a teachers tv programme on play i think) the children added roads and made buildings we encouraged the children to write instructions/labels/lists. When the map was finished and they had their cars/trains etc on there and people the children we talked about parking tickets and writing reports for speeding ( we had a PC in to talk about the children for people who help us) so it all linked and the children wanted the paper to write on we just left it by the side of the map for them to use they loved it. And although this was sort of planned (as i had to get the card/paper/boxes etc together) the children led ther way in how they wanted the map built.

#5 catma

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Posted 26 August 2008 - 08:45 AM

Emergent writing is part of child development and follows such crucial stages that I don't see how anyone can ignore it!! (Having trained at Froebel I suppose I would say that though!) It's crucial to understand the stages of development the child is at as it can indicate clear missmatches between "expectations" and actual capability to understand the processes of writing that the child is developing.

To do otherwise is to consider writing merely letter formation and not a cognitive development! The teaching of letter formation goes alongside this of course, but is also closely linked to physical devt naturally so again this can indicate "mismatches" if we are expecting too much control with a pencil when the child does not have the physical skill to manipulate it.

A third strand is the development of phonemic awareness, but again we have to consider the child's aural discrimination skills to ensure they can make sense of sounds and speech patterns around them.

Children then have to learn to put all of that together to have a competency with writing for the purpose of communication of their own ideas.

I firmly believe that unless we consider all of this in the context of child development we will get it very badly wrong for many children as we will try to go too fast too soon and look at learning in the light of product rather than process.

A very old book, by Temple, Nathan and Burris, "The beginnings of writing" 1982 (not sure if still in print) is my bible for emergent writing and I would always have a display for parents and staff in my classes demonstrating the types of writing patterns children would go through.

Cx

Edited by catma, 26 August 2008 - 08:48 AM.

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#6 jmb

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Posted 26 August 2008 - 09:16 AM

I too am a great fan of emergent writing, although the teacher in year 1 in not, so we do have a bit of a debate going on when they arrive into her class and she discovers they can't spell! Some words which are used all the time they're ok with, but obviously they can't spell everything they write.
And it doesn't do anything for the childs confidence when parents pass a comment about how they've written/spelt words, so that is one of the things at the top of my list to speak to them about when we have a meeting at the beginning of term.

So glad this topic has come up, it's so reasurring to know what you are doing is the correct way

Jackie
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#7 dublinbay

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Posted 26 August 2008 - 11:19 AM

IA very old book, by Temple, Nathan and Burris, "The beginnings of writing" 1982 (not sure if still in print) is my bible for emergent writing and I would always have a display for parents and staff in my classes demonstrating the types of writing patterns children would go through.

Cx



We are constantly being asked when we are going to start the children on their 'alphabet' and when we try to explain about emergent writing some parents simply ignore it.

I would love to see a picture of your emergent writing display Catma or an explanation of what is on it. Perhaps we are not explaining to parents very well and this may help. Thanks. :o
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#8 Marion

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Posted 26 August 2008 - 11:48 AM

Stages of Writing I think this is from the book catma recommended
you might also be interested in emergent number
Marion


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#9 Carla Booth

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Posted 26 August 2008 - 12:39 PM

These are fantastic links.... just what I have been looking for!

Thanx

Carla

#10 NickySussex

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Posted 26 August 2008 - 03:00 PM

These are fantastic links.... just what I have been looking for!

Thanx

Carla



Hi,
These links are so helpful. I just wish people in management would read some of thse posts and then they wouldn't make bizarre demands us of such as my head asking me to get 5 peices of writing written in 5 days from my class of 30 children( see a previous post for details). Then again if she did I couldn't off load as I sometimes need to do.

Thanks for all the support and encouragement I get from everyone on this site. Keep up the good work!!!
Nicky Sussex :( :o :lol:

#11 eggwoman

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Posted 26 August 2008 - 03:10 PM

Marion thank you for links. I have seen something similiar layed out but there were just 5 stages so maybe it was a course that my lea did.

I think also that when you get their books/writing that they started in september and in the summer thye lok at their work and show them how their writing has developed/emerge they really are pleased with themselves. Its also lvoely to see the children that come in with lines/cirlces etc and leave writing at that transitional stage.

Like Nicky said this is so helpful to be able to be able to talk to others and also to know we are not in it all alone (especially if you are in schools where you are the foundation stage!!)

#12 dublinbay

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Posted 26 August 2008 - 03:32 PM

You've come up trumps again Marion.......'Queen of the links'!!! Many thanks. :o
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#13 catma

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Posted 26 August 2008 - 03:42 PM

Afraid i haven't been in a class of my own for a couple of years now and can't find any photos - but it was generally a mix of children's writing with explanations about the stages, how normal it all is and what support you can give to help the writing processes and how to understand what your child was trying to do. It also usually had photo copies of examples from books (now websites!!) to show I wasn't making this up.

It did help educate parents about what their children were trying to do and why!

Cx
Educational reforms are like buses, you wait for ages and then 3 come along at the same time
ESPECIALLY WHEN THERE'S A CHANGE OF GOVERNMENT

#14 Marion

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Posted 26 August 2008 - 03:43 PM

I'm actually in the process of reading the Carruthers and Worthington book at the moment lots of links to emergent writing and the parallels between literacy and numeracy.
Marion


Play, while it cannot change the external realities of children’s lives, can be a vehicle for children to explore and enjoy their differences and similarities and to create, even for a brief time, a more just world where everyone is an equal and valued participant.

#15 catma

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Posted 26 August 2008 - 03:48 PM

Stages of Writing I think this is from the book catma recommended
you might also be interested in emergent number



That's the writing thing!! I too am also a big fan of Carruthers etc emergent maths recording work and use it it a lot with my schools who struggle with calculation. Our LA calculation scores went up this year so maybe I'm having some impact with it!!.
Educational reforms are like buses, you wait for ages and then 3 come along at the same time
ESPECIALLY WHEN THERE'S A CHANGE OF GOVERNMENT

#16 Sue R

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Posted 26 August 2008 - 07:50 PM

Coming in here late, Rufus, but I too am a great believer in emergent writing.
Why programme failure into children's experience so early? Let them experiment and become familiar with 'writing' and then begin to 'teach the handwriting' later, when they are otherwise confident!
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#17 catma

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Posted 27 August 2008 - 08:20 AM

It's interesting isn't it how we talk about it as to whether we believe in it or not (not a criticism Sue of your post!! just a thought prompted by it) - it's child developement so what's to argue with!!!!!! There are books and books by emminent researchers outlining the processes so I don't see how we can ignore it - it's normal child development. :o
Educational reforms are like buses, you wait for ages and then 3 come along at the same time
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#18 Marion

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Posted 27 August 2008 - 01:53 PM

As I said in my earlier post I'm reading the Carruthers and Worthington book and have just reached the part where 70%of those interviewed had a very hazy understanding of what emergent writing actually is linked to their setting practice.
Marion


Play, while it cannot change the external realities of children’s lives, can be a vehicle for children to explore and enjoy their differences and similarities and to create, even for a brief time, a more just world where everyone is an equal and valued participant.

#19 catma

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Posted 27 August 2008 - 07:17 PM

I just find that SOOOOOO depressing. How can they support children's development if they don't know what it looks like???
Educational reforms are like buses, you wait for ages and then 3 come along at the same time
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#20 Peggy

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Posted 27 August 2008 - 07:39 PM

I 've found when doing training that not many students understand the importance of building gross motor (upper arm) muscles/strength required to support the later fine motor (wrist/finger) strength required for writing. (a bit like expecting a baby to walk before they can crawl)

I wonder Marion, who the researchers quizzed, NQT's with teacher training or NN's preschool EY workers with their different training. The reason I ask is that the term 'writing' is not often used in EY training, so maybe the term emergent writing wasn't understood, whereas if the interviews included discussion on the development of drawing skills the results may have been different. :o ?

I must admit when parents used to 'demand' that their child was taught to 'write' their name, or were concerned when they didn't, I always used to say to them that as long as their child can 'draw' a circle and a line, then eventually they will be able to put these together to form letters, the most important thing though was to have enough practical experiences and active interests in life to then have 'something to write about', and that their vocabulary and creative thinking skills were priority, before needing writing skills. ( I am talking about 2/3/4 yr olds)

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#21 Marion

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Posted 27 August 2008 - 08:08 PM

I wonder Marion, who the researchers quizzed, NQT's with teacher training or NN's preschool EY workers with their different training. The reason I ask is that the term 'writing' is not often used in EY training, so maybe the term emergent writing wasn't understood, whereas if the interviews included discussion on the development of drawing skills the results may have been different. :o ?


Peggy


Peggy the book says teachers but doesn't say how experienced.
"Of those we interviewed, almost 70% appeared confused by the term "emergent writing" and what it meant in terms of practice. Explanations of their practice included :
children copy over or trace. We use Jolly Phonics
they need help with spelling and copying writing
near the beginning of the reception class they do need to write over the teacher's writing
their first job is writing over the teacher's writing. I support this with dot to dot and tracing. I think fine motor control is very important.
Marion


Play, while it cannot change the external realities of children’s lives, can be a vehicle for children to explore and enjoy their differences and similarities and to create, even for a brief time, a more just world where everyone is an equal and valued participant.

#22 emma grice

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Posted 27 August 2008 - 08:45 PM

i have just purchased 'the begginings of writing' from amazon for a bargain price of 6p its a used copy but i'm not bothered about that!!!!

em x

#23 HappyMaz

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Posted 27 August 2008 - 08:59 PM

As I said in my earlier post I'm reading the Carruthers and Worthington book and have just reached the part where 70%of those interviewed had a very hazy understanding of what emergent writing actually is linked to their setting practice.

This is borne out by research by one of my BA colleagues who did some research into the methods used in her setting (and others) to teach children to write. She found it hard to arrive at a consensus about what exactly emergent writing was, and also where mark making ends and emergent writing begins!

Maz

#24 catma

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Posted 28 August 2008 - 04:51 PM

I would see mark making as part of emergent writing - the point is that the child has a need to communicate in some way and sees this use of paper and pen as a way it is done, regardless of what it looks like to us adults!
Cx
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#25 HappyMaz

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Posted 28 August 2008 - 06:56 PM

I would see mark making as part of emergent writing - the point is that the child has a need to communicate in some way and sees this use of paper and pen as a way it is done, regardless of what it looks like to us adults!
Cx

Oh I say! I'm filing that away for use later. I shall give you due credit, of course, Catma! :o

#26 budgie1

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Posted 28 August 2008 - 07:35 PM

I also am a great believer in emergent writing. In our setting we place huge emphasis on any "writing" that children produce, giving lots and lots of praise and encouragement and displaying things proudly on the walls. That way all children see themselves as writers, believing that they can write and their efforts will be valued. It saddens me when Reception age children tell me "I cant write, I dont know how to" :lol: Our children "write lists, posters, cards, letters and stories with confidence. The more confident they become the more they write and so it goes on, Its like a lovely upward spiral :o
catma, I also trained at Froebel. What a great place!
Begin with the child and everything else will follow

#27 catma

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Posted 28 August 2008 - 07:36 PM

I'm honoured!!!! It is one of my soap box subjects I'm afraid having studied children's development of art and writing at university when i trained. (Albeit a long time ago!)
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#28 Peggy

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Posted 28 August 2008 - 09:27 PM

The use of the terms mark making/emergent writing/even drawing is what I previously meant about the 'jargon'. :o All basically mean the same, yet if questioned about each 'term' individually would we give the same answer? ie: when a child is mark making is he/she writing or drawing? ( most probably either, depending on context)

If observed closely practitioners will see that when a child first attempts and practices and repeats the act of 'writing' their name, ie: on their art work, on labels etc, their 'scribble' or 'mark' is often the same each time, even if the marks don't represent any letters. The 'mark' is like their signature, this obsvervation shows me that children really do make their own sense of their mark making and really do convey their own message.
One child for example used to 'write' her name that always looked like this 00l00000ll (obviously in a drawn scrawl, but the pattern of circles and lines were always the same). Other children would use a combination of zigzags and circles which always followed the same pattern/construction, others 'wrote' wavy lines but if observed closely the wavy lines were always similar in 'shape' and length.

Children are amazing, aren't they. :lol:

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#29 NickySussex

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Posted 29 August 2008 - 03:14 PM

[quote name='Peggy' date='Aug 28 2008, 22:27' post='143975']
The use of the terms mark making/emergent writing/even drawing is what I previously meant about the 'jargon'. :lol: All basically mean the same, yet if questioned about each 'term' individually would we give the same answer? ie: when a child is mark making is he/she writing or drawing? ( most probably either, depending on context)

If observed closely practitioners will see that when a child first attempts and practices and repeats the act of 'writing' their name, ie: on their art work, on labels etc, their 'scribble' or 'mark' is often the same each time, even if the marks don't represent any letters. The 'mark' is like their signature, this obsvervation shows me that children really do make their own sense of their mark making and really do convey their own message.
One child for example used to 'write' her name that always looked like this 00l00000ll (obviously in a drawn scrawl, but the pattern of circles and lines were always the same). Other children would use a combination of zigzags and circles which always followed the same pattern/construction, others 'wrote' wavy lines but if observed closely the wavy lines were always similar in 'shape' and length.

Children are amazing, aren't they. :(
Peggy
[/quote

Hi,
Children are amazing and that's why I love my job as a Reception teacher so much!!!

In my class we value every piece of writing/ mark making that children do and encourage them to write as often as possible. We have a piece of wooden trellis attached to a wall where the children can display their independent writing and no matter what it looks like it can be displayed here for a week. We try to encourage the children to take pride in this work and to share it with their parents at the end of beginning of a day.
However we are constantly fighting a battle with those parents who don't believe a child is writing unless they can recognise every letter and read it clearly. So this year in our new parents meeting I refused to talk about any writing, reading or phonics work and am planning an evening or after school meeting where we can talk through stages of writing and all the different aspects of this area. Yes, it means another evening but I want to explain to the parents in more detail rather than a quick 10 minute mention in our new parents meeting. ANy ideas or useful links would be appreciated, I printed off the stages of writing link fromt he other day and have ordered the maths book to read.

Nicky Sussex :( :o :(




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