Report writing and continuing our paragraph focus.
This week I introduced students to report writing as procedural writing is our focus this term. I started by reading a report on an animal to the students and asking them to take notes as I read. ( The objective of this was to teach them to take notes in their own words for when they are researching.)
After this exercise we discussed the report and the notes we had taken. If I was to do this lesson again, I would now print out a copy of the report so they could highlight parts and take notes on the document, labels etc.
In the next lesson I told the students that they would be writing their own report on an African Animal. They were really excited by this. I introduced a rubric to them. (planning web) and asked them to research their animal and fill in the blanks with as much information as possible for an introduction, 3 paragraphs (looks like, habitat, food) and then a conclusion and some interesting facts.
The students loved this part, some actually spent too much time researching I think. The important thing for the students was to remember to write all their information in their own words. (some found this difficult - cutting and pasting was very tempting).
Each day we worked on a different paragraph. I was away for a few days with stage challenge so missed out on the process a bit as relievers had to take some lessons. Therefore the process wasn't scaffolded as much as I would have liked unfortunately and I lost where some students were up to so by the end of the week my students were at very different stages with their reports.
I am also trying a few new ideas at the beginning of writing sessions to keep on top of some of the things students mentioned in their student voice. I have started up a short sharp handwriting session once or twice a week where the focus is on quality not quantity. I give feed back regularly to students on this. I also have started up a phonics based spelling program once or twice a week as well. I will build on this as time goes on. I am also trying to add once a week a typing practise day where students use typing web to practise their typing skills as I have read recently that if NCEA exams are going to be made digital soon, students without good typing skills may be disadvantaged when writing their essays etc.
So many things - So little time!