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hi all,

 

we're trying to encourage our children to write.

I firmly belief they need some skills, phonic knowledge and handwriting/ fine motor skills as pre-requisites.

 

I have seen some writing displayed as a stimulus on a wall near the writing table, BUT it has been written phonetically which personally I don't feel is valid although I would except it as a transcript of children's own work(it is not this, definitely a teacher example), and would be happy to accept it from the children themselves.

 

What do you do?

Am I old fashioned?

I don't want to be critical if this is generally acceptable.

 

HELP please!!!

 

Susan

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It might be worth checking if the writing was done like this for a particular reason. For example when our class dog 'writes' to the children I write it but make mistakes which the children correct, such as substituting 'on' for 'no'.

The writing might be something the children have 'sounded out' and teacher has scribed. When I am getting them to write and scribing their sound suggestions I don't keep correcting them as it would put the children off. When they are beginning to write I want them to have a go, and I find children who know enough to be worried about speling something wrong, are often held back because of thier fear of making mistakes.

Any examples we write for children , such as labels, key word lists, word banks etc.should should be correct as we should be providing a correct model.

Perhaps a cheery query to your colleague will give you the answer. We have all made mistakes on wall labels, and sometimes we don't notice our own. If it is a mistake have a laugh about it together!

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  • 2 weeks later...

:o hi

 

i usually get one of my puppets (who is "learning to write too") to model emergent writing on a mini whiteboard to encourage the children to write; he can make mistakes, just write the initial sounds of words he doesn't know etc

Our reception keywords are grouped into animal groups which the children are encouraged to learn at home, they get a badge when they have achieved each group. I have these animal words displayed near the writing area and encourage the children to refer to them in their writing.

I've also got a postbox and lots of inviting writing paper, envelopes and freebie postcards from the cinema! I encourage the children to use each others name cards to write to each other, (the namecards are on a magnetic board and have arrows etc for correct formation). Even the children who are in the very early stages of writing seem motivated to want to write their friends a letter.

Hope this is of some use, I'm only a little NQT!

 

Lizz XXXXXX

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How much are Reception children writing? Even our more able children are only writing a sentence or two. Our early yearsadvisor says they should be writing at length. What do other people think?

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Hi Lizz, you shouldn't think of yourself as only a little NQT!

You're a very good NQT and I'm sure your school are lucky to have you :D

 

I wish I had enough space and resources for all the things I want to provide. Clipboards have been a great success with my children, especially the reluctant mark making boys.

 

The writing in question may have been a transcipt of something the children had written with their teacher although it was not displayed as such and in the context that it was displayed I'm still not sure it was appropriate. I found some of it difficult and impossible to decifer and I think even if it had been scribed with the children as such when it was written out it should have been modelled correctly.

 

Geraldine, I think it would be most unlikely that your children in Reception were writing much more than a few sentences. 1or 2 more able older children might be beginning to expand the quantity. My children are struggling to put pen to paper on their own but can offer quite a lot orally if I am scribing.

 

However, I do think that if you are going to be saying that their attainment is 8 or 9 (possibly even 7?)against the profile then your advisor is probably right. They should be writing in quantity. Could this be what was meant?

 

Susan

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No, this was a generalisation. They were children that I had put at 6 for writing. I was also told that they should be writing their surnames by now!!!

 

Gail

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Gail, strangely enough I'm having an almost identical discussion with a colleague.

She has scored several children 8 already and although their books are exceptionally beautiful I don't think they are writing enough to score 8 now.

I have been told that 9 is probably equivalent to 2c (NC level), a child offering only 1 or 2 sentences at SATs would not attain that would they?

But I do not think that many children would be writing that sort of content now, those children on the training video and in the CD examples are writing quite extensively.

 

I'm not sure if that helps or not?

 

Susan

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Hello All,

 

Because I am new to the formal school environment I am not au fait with the exact requirements necessary to fulfill the OFSTED expectations of a reception class. I am coming to this profession with my own formed opinions of a child's development and their potential capabilities.

 

Susan's comment that 'My children are struggling to put pen to paper on their own but can offer quite a lot orally if I am scribing' speaks reams to me. Surely we should be celebrating the fact that the child's imagination is forming - why can't we concentrate on this area of learning? I would have thought that imagination, problem solving and logical thinking were the foundations of any learning - once these skills are honed then anything is possible. With these foundations in place the intellectual ability of a child should then be able to deal with the mechanics needed for reading and writing, the child should be able hear and distinguish the initial, medial and last phonemes of words etc., understand that d, b, p and q all look similar but the orintation is different and are therefore different letters. I personally think that we are expecting (or should I say OFSTED are expecting) some children to reach this stage before they are developmentally ready.

 

I know I am still in that idealised state of seeing a child's potential as magical (and some may say misguided), that the regulations and requirments will wear me down and condition me into seeing a childs progress in terms of numbers and scores but what a shame. Have I really got it totally wrong?

 

Julia

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I agree Julia.. I am the Early years coordinator in my school and it pains me that children are sat down and expected to write, hold a pencil correctly and produce correctly formed cursive writing from their firdt term in school. Yes i have children who are ready to sit doen and write and really do enjoy to do so... but equally I have about 10 in my class that are not developmentally ready to do so. Its a hard one... but you have to stand up to what you belive... My 10 non writers enjoy mark making with a range of different media including paint, crayons and sand but do not yet have the developed coordination to hold a pencil and control it properly.

 

I went on a really interesting outdoor play course a few weeks ago and learnt that we need to allow and encourage children to develop their shoulder muscles because those are the ones we use most when writing... since then i have encorporated some simple Yoga shoulder strengthing exercises in to pe and brain gym and the children really enjoy doing then... they actually ask to do them if I ask which excersise shall we do today. :)

 

Sorry for rambling on a bit!

Lorna

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Hi

 

Lorna, I was interested to read about your shoulder exercises. Could you share what you do with us, along with any other Brain Gym exercises that work for you.

 

I agree that our children are under a great deal of pressure to perform and many of us feel pressure from Heads and KS1 colleagues. It sometimes feels hard to get the balance right.

 

I was interested in people's thoughts on scoring the profile. Last year in our Reception classes we had a couple of children who were beginning to write well, with a lot of encouragement you would get a few short sentences. We have been asked to get all children to write unaided once a term into an assessment book. Here, without support, they write less. We found it hard to grade the higher attaining children, feeling that statements 8 and 9 reflected their work. A colleague in Year 2 said it was consistent with 2C. Now I'm having problems because Year 1 staff feel the children have been set targets that are too high. It seems that we need to think hard about the quantity issue.

 

Lizz, love the post box idea. We have a Christmas post, I think I'll go and retrieve the box from the drama cupboard!

 

Sorry for rambling. Good to share the worries though!

 

Angela

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Good idea Angela, I too would be interested to know what your shoulder excerises are Lorna but wasn't bold enough to ask! Also the brain gym you're finding useful.

Am reading the brain gym books but nothing like some input from the floor!

Susan

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What an interesting thread this is turning into

JCE, pleas dont give up being in that 'idealised state', and no you havent got it wrong at all. I think most of us think like you do, but some of us are under more prsuure than others from above. Doesnt mean that you should stop fighting you corner though. :o

 

Lorna, shoulder exercies pleeesse :D:D

 

The scoring in the profile came up at our meoderating meeting- has anyone esle has these. Group sof school get together 3 times in the year to discuss exactly this kind of issue. Then we were able to come up with a consensus. WE agreed that to score up to 7 on the writing scale did not necessarily require a lot of writing, but more quantity is definitely needed for point 8 and 9. persoanlly I would be very relucantant to give any child a 9 on this scale, unless i was absolutely sure they were writing enough. otherwise you end up with year 1 having set very high targets as Angela said. Our children are nowhere near this level so it so far hasnt really been an issue for us.

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Hi

 

Shoulder exercises are something that I practice regularly with children in amy class (special ed.) and with a small group of children having fine motor difficulties in my daughter's school (mainstream). This was upon the advice of an occupational terapist who attributed one of my children's appalling and very firm pencil grip to weak shoulder muscles. By golly it worked.

 

As follows....

1. hold arms straight out in front of the body for a count of 8. Arms must be straight, so best done when standing so children can't lean on tables, knees or each other. Encourage long straight fingers too.

 

2. Same thing, but rotating the arms so the palms turn down and then back up. Again count to 8.

 

3. Same as 2, but alternate each hand. I call this one up, one down.

 

Be warned, children find this quite tough as it does make the shoulders and upper arms ache quite a bit.

 

Ideally shouldres should be away from the ears too.

 

I do this to music with my class and combine it with finger exercises and Brain Gym first thing in the morning.

 

Therapeutic putty is another activity which helps handwriting too. Great fun and so easy to do.

 

Hope this helps. :o

 

Kate

 

Now I've read the rest of this post, I can't agree with those of you who feel that 'a cjild's potential is magical'. If we don't stick to this and our ideals and only see children i terms of number crunching, what are they going to think as developing young people and a few potential teachers.

 

Upon the length of writing, my daughter who is quite bright and able and is good at writing, cannot write much at one time as she finds it frsutrating that her ability to write an dform letters can't keep up with her thoughts. She has some fantastic ideas that she will scribe to me and I feel that seeing me write them down is just as beneficial. I think they need to have a break.

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We have only started brain gym this year... But the books are good to show you how to do the exercises properly.

 

The sholder exercises I do with my class are

1. Standing straight with your arms out to the sides at shoulder height... Make small circles with the arms keeping the shoulders in the middle of the movement- rotate one way and them the other

 

2. Again standing- put your hands on to your shoulders and move the elbows in circles- making the circles as large as possible- with my class we pretend that we are going swimming- again repeated in a forward and backward motion.

 

3. Again standing- and pretent to be a windmill- keeping the arms straight move them around in circles and you turn to watch the hand that is going backwards- so when one arm is up the other is down- again repeating in both directions.

 

4. The children love the cross crawl- brain gym movement moving across the central line which can be done standing up or sitting down and we use it as a starter to numeracy counting out aloud- forwards and backwards- better than sitting still and having to recite your numbers.

 

I have also changed the names of some of the braingym moves- so that they appeal and are remembered by my class- we call the ear curling exercise- where you massage the outside of the ear from top to bottom and vice versa- to encourage good listening- the caterpillar and pretend we have a tiny caterpillar nibbling at our ears.

 

Hope this helps and if anyone has anyother exercises please share them

 

Lorna :)

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