Tuesday, 15 August 2017

Trying to Make Writing Easier

This term I am playing around with how I do writing in my class. I want to make it easier for me and for my students.

For Students

I used to share a writing motivation for the students - this could be a picture, article, video etc - and then they used to write down all their 'wonderings' in their book. Once they had written down these they had to list all the possible ways they could write from their wonderings. The problem with this was all this information stayed with that student.

What about the student that can't come up with something?
How can everyone else's wonderings and possible ways of writing help the whole class?
What if someone else's ideas motivate me more to write?

Taking these questions into considerations I decided to create a Google Form, which I have shared on my class site, that the kids can see the writing motivation on. They then complete their wonderings and possible writing - see pictures below.

On the same page of my site I have embedded the response sheet (Google Sheet) so when they complete the Form their responses are displayed straight away. Now all students can see straight away what each other has come up with for wonderings and ways to write.

For Students and Me

I have shared something along this line before but am sharing again. 

At the end of each writing session I get my students to complete a 'Teacher Help Form'. This helps me prepare for my next session. They need to tick one of the following boxes:
  • Happy with where I am at
  • Have started but have hit a speed bump - need you to swing by my table for a quick chat
  • A little bit lost - can I have a conference please?
  • Totally lost - HELP ME!!!
  • Finished draft, proof read and edited - conference please

For example, today after I have worked with one of my writing groups I know I have to swing by 6 students desks to have a quick chat. The students like this as they have asked for help without anyone seeing they are - which can be a issue for some students. Also - if I have any other time in class I can check in with the students that have asked for help.

How it looks on my site:

Click on links below to make a copy:


  1. Kia ora

    Thanks for sharing your mahi. It's great to see how other teachers are trekking through a similar journey.
    I have started a crowd-sourced document where teachers can share (and access) quality writing examples written by Kiwi Kids. Feel free to check it out, and add some of your students' work if you have time and inclination.


  2. Great work Glen. Great way to track how they are being motivated to write. Jane - great idea as well.

  3. This is an awesome idea - I love how it encourages collaboration with everyone, without forcing the shy kids to sit in a group and discuss ideas. It's like ninja sharing :P The use of the google form is a great way of having the students self regulate in their learning and tell you their next steps! I can see how this would be a great tool for older students, but this is totally an idea I can adapt with my wee Y2s! Thanks for sharing! Have you thought about a way to make it simpler to use for the little ones? Perhaps a slide with a brainstorm or something for what they wonder? My class are just starting out with 1:1 ipads in the last fortnight and we've been using slides to write (merely substitution at this stage as they're still learning to manipulate the ipad!), with one slide with the motivation for writing on it, then slides for each day of the week, just like a book for them. I'd love to hear your thoughts!