Week 2 Term 3 Writing a Narrative

I have a third year student teacher in my room at the moment who is on full control. It has been hard for me to hand over my written language programme to her on one hand and exciting on the other - as I watch a student teacher use the tools and systems I have developed through the elearning fellowship.

The children finished off the holiday poems they began yesterday and I was impressed in the quality of their work. The student teacher had totally embraced the use of the oral planners and had got quality work that comes from quality teaching.

The third year student attempted to use the sequenced pictures to assist the children in writing a narrative today. It became quite clear early on that she needed support so we taught it together. It made me realise that you need to really understand the text organisation and language features of a genre to teach it successful.

Quality teaching of a genre just does not happen it's a well orchestrated event. From ensuring you have a grasp of the genre itself to the prep that goes into choosing the pictures you will use to going over in your head the vocabulary that captures what is happening in the the pictures to the actual teaching itself where you instinctively lead the children through the process taking their lead.

I take heart in that the teacher next door is taking my lead and teaching narratives in the same way as I do. She used the pictures I'd used last week and was impressed with the results she got. Her knowledge of teaching this genre is secure I just merely provided her with another way of looking at teaching it. It's a pleasure to teach next to someone who is so receptive to new ideas.monkey_3.jpg

I had identified 4 recordings of the oral planners to share with the class - all for varying reasons. As a class we listened for the text organisation inherent in their work and stopped and reflected on their individual choice of adjectives and how these assisted us in painting a picture in our heads.

One delightful recording had one child who turned 6 earlier this year refer to how the monkey shot out the stole the banana with his hairy hand. His literacy buddy immediately said 'good describing'. - listen to him planning his story using the oral planner.


Here is what he wrote down over two days.
Many years ago there was a very kind and helpful zoo keeper. He checked on all of the animals. One day a monkey was hiding. He shot out his hairy hand out of the cage and stole the banana. The zoo keeper was so furious that he bellowed "that's my banana" The he said "right that's it you are going to the Australian Zoo." The monkey was so sad when he got there he cried for a long time. The zoo keeper came to Australia then the monkey stopped crying and said "I'm sorry that I stole your banana".

Does this approach work for the less able child I hear you ask?
Yes it most certainly does. A number of children in my class use visual planners to plan their work ie they draw three pictures to tell the story.I place labels on the pictures if required which assists when constructing their text.

This child experiences processing problems and has difficulty reading and writing yet she was keen to record her ideas. She wrote
The zoo keeper was eating the banana. The monkey snatched the banana. He ate it. The zoo keeper was angry.
Her personal satisfaction of completing a narrative like her class mates was obvious to all.

This three picture approach to teaching narratives also gives scope for the more able child to explore their own ideas within the structure of the three pictures.
One child wrote -
A year ago a little boy went to the wild life park. The boy was a visitor. He was eating a banana shaped like a moon. When he got to the monkey's enclosure the monkey snatched the banana. He gobbled the banana up. The boy bellowed "you naughty monkey I'm not going to come to this wildlife park again" But the monkey didn't care. The monkey climbed the ropes looking for his next banana.

Two boys from our buddy class came today to help the children to answer questions they had been asked through the commenting section on our blog. This worked well - the boys were very supportive with the bonus being that they bought their class laptop.


They got through the task just as the bell went for morning tea and are very keen to come again- I must make more use of this wonderful resource in our school.

We are behind in our publishing cycle at the moment as the third year student settles into full control I'm hoping this will correct itself in the coming week.

In effect publishing was disappointing today the time frame was tight , the class was noisy and we didn't get through as many children as I had hoped.

Similarly with time being tight - I haven't been having the regular time slot after lunch to talk to the children about our blog and encourage them to comment - This is reflected in the very poor response we have had to commenting on the blog this week. It will need to be addressed next week.

As the week draws to a close – I ponder and acknowledge the following
• Quality teaching of a narrative is a well orchestrated event.
• Children from our buddy class are a wonderful resource that I must ultilise more often.
• Routines need to be maintained in order to get results i.e looking at the blog is a daily expectation in room 15 and I need to ensure that this happens regardless of who is teaching in the room.
• Children presenting with a range of skills and ability are capable of writing interesting narratives.