My RISE focus this time around was the teaching of writing. Recently I had introduced my Newman English group to 'Sizzling Starts'. The students had worked in mixed ability writing groups to compose sizzling starts for familiar stories such as Fairy Tales and today they would need to compose their own using a writing stimulus. The students had attempted this task previously but their work showed a lack of creativity and some students struggled to get their ideas down in the allocated time.
Before a pen was picked up we discussed the topic as I class. The students contributed really well to the discussion and their answers were quite varied. I was concerned that too much time was spent 'talking' and this was a question that I was going to put to my RISE partner Emily. One positive of the discussion was the rich vocabulary that the children were drawing upon.
As I modeled the construction of a sizzling start, I drew upon the students ideas and helped them to structure their ideas into meaningful sentences. I was conscious that whilst the students were sharing their ideas, they were not engaged in the blending and segmenting of the more tricky vocabulary. Emily had some great ideas on how I could improve in this area and explained how she uses her large Sound Waves charts and engages the students by asking them to point to the sounds needed to spell new words.
Once the students began writing, I was really pleased to see what they were producing and excited about the rich vocabulary they were using.
One crucial element that was missing from my lesson was a Learning Intention and a Success Criteria. Emily shared with me a Success Criteria that her students use when they are engaged in writing tasks. Often, this is something that I would do verbally but I can now see the benefit in having something visual for the students to use.
I feel I have benefited greatly from my discussion with Emily. I am excited about implementing her suggestions into my writing lessons and I look forward to seeing the students writing continue to improve.
Thank you, Emily! You are wonderful!