Showing posts from September, 2017

Information On Proposed Phonics Test For Australian Grade 1 Students

It is vitally important that educators understand the actual evidence emerging from England regarding the Grade 1 phonics test that has been implemented there - none of which was reported by the 'expert panel' set up to advise Australia's Federal Education Minister, Simon Birmingham. 

Misty Adoniou, Associate Professor in Language and Literacy at the University of Canberra has posted an evidence based response on 'The Conversation,' 

The test proposed for Australian Grade 1 students follows the model of the UK test. 

Here is the link:

It is critically important as educators to be up to date with all the available information surrounding such matters. I urge my fellow educators to read Misty's article. 

Where Do My Words Begin Their Journey?

Rehearsal is critical to my writing. I embrace it. I welcome its comforting presence in my head. I know it assists me to clarify my ideas; find my direction.  Playing with words and ideas internally is such an important part of my writing process. Think of it like a tumble drier with thoughts and ideas rolling around and around until they are ready to be taken out. This is where writing ideas are born. It marks the beginning. 

Writing ideas swirl round in my head. Words collide. They appear and disappear. They are repeated over and over to ensure their suitability. Are they page worthy? I live with them for days and more, before the chosen ones emerge on the page. I frequently wake up thinking about the possible shape of my writing for that day. I wake up thinking about my writing. Later in the morning over a welcome cappuccino, I will probably talk about it –further sorting out will take place. -critical rehearsal for the writing to follow. A bubbling energy is growing within me, -an …

Pre Writing- A Vital Component of The Writing Workshop

I find it increasingly gratifying to witness teaching practice in the writing workshop that recognizes the importance of the pre-writing phase of the process. I see fewer and fewer cold starts where the topic, or writing task is presented to a class and they are immediately instructed to begin writing. –Just like that. No rehearsal- no warming to the task.

Cold start writing was a common practice during my primary school days, Teachers dished out the topic and we began scratching away with our pens. We scrambled for thoughts and ideas, denied the opportunity to mentally plan or prepare. We waited for the teacher to inform us about what to write and we were unable to prepare our thoughts and ideas prior to the writing. Sadly, this approach has not been totally eradicated from the pedagogical practices of some schools. I remain hopeful of its eventual extinction. Getting ready to write is the foundation for producing an improved product. It is a courtesy we extend to the inexperienced wr…

Notebook Nourishment

I was recently approached to comment as a critical friend about how a school was using the writer's notebook to develop the writing of students. They had experienced some confusion around how this valuable resource should be viewed. One view was described as follows:

'Students use their writer’s notebook to create any writing piece they want, in any style, for any purpose, however they wish, whenever they wish, at all times? (E.g. Everyone in the class is writing completely different things, depending entirely on their own desires.)'

While this position most accurately aligns to the vision of authentic writing approaches, it doesn’t quite cover what actually needs to be taking place in the classroom and beyond. It would be erroneous to think the role of the most experienced writer in the classroom is supplanted by this pedagogical stance. It is critically important for teacher- writers to play an active role in the writing lives of students.

We most certainly want our young w…