Week 7 2009 Writing an Information Report

Monday
This morning I introduced the children to the oral language activity ' The Web' I always use this technique when we write information reports.

The activity has a few simple rules. -The ball of wool is always rolled between class members.
- We share facts and only facts on the chosen topic.
- We listen carefully to each other, so not to repeat a fact shared by another class member.

The chosen topic was 'Goldfish' and given that we had made a class Y chart in week 5 of all the information we knew about them the children found this activity relatively easy and a great deal of fun. It's a simple activity which has such impact with little people as they enjoy watching the web emerge from their knowledge.

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I introduced the oral language planner and walked through it as a way to organise and group our FACTS on the topic.

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The children went off to video their buddy and viewing these recordings they used the planner with ease. This is in part to the scaffolding that has gone on - the shared book 'The goldfish' , the class Y chart , the web.
The children then planned their written work using a Y chart which displayed the visuals they were use to.

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Tuesday
We listened to 4 children’s oral planners with plenty of children keen to share their work. It was pleasing to see how the children could identify how the text was organised and what if anything was missing from the samples shared.

Interestingly as we went away to write a large number of children asked if they could listen to their own recording before they wrote. I set up the headphones on my laptop and those who wanted to listened to their recordings.

Today at reading time I used the newly acquired headphones on 2 of the 3 computers so children could listen to and leave a comment on their own work on the blog. Most are reflecting on the way they presented their work as opposed to the content of their piece of writing. The exception would be Ashane who has made a comment about the content of his writing - informing us that he used a putt not a bat when he was playing mini golf.

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Last week, as a class we drew pictures to assist us in understanding the water cycle. Zoe drew the puddle and gas, Julius the sun, Brodie and Aart the clouds, Ora the mountain and Summer the sea.

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Wednesday

We started the morning by viewing an explanation of the water cycle on line.

We then used the print off , of an activity they had each completed on line earlier in the week as a prompt to guide their explanation of the water cycle with their literacy buddy. Thanks to Zoe who took the photo of the sheet.

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This activity was tricky in that it involved the use of technical language. Children being children did what we would expect some used the technical language some didn't.
I made a planner to guide the children when they wrote their explanations of the water cycle.

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The children have also begun to draw their understanding of the water cycle on KidPix

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Ora is back and is immediately reflecting on the cycle we are involved in. She organised the cards including the new one 'we listen' and asked me to video her. I did.


After lunch I sent literacy pairs into 14A to record - the quality of these vary greatly. I smiled when I listened to Vianni's a lovely example of self evaluation.


Thursday
I attended the ICT lead teacher day. Our ICT PD cluster finished our three year contract at the end of last year but as a cluster , the lead teachers are meeting once a term to discuss ideas and share ways we are working on ensuring sustainability in our individual settings.

It's always an action packed day and one where you come away with ideas to try and share with staff. The pick of the bunch today would have to be the use of picnik as a way to put frames around your jpegs.
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From this -
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To this
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Another would have to be the use of the 'writing fun' website. This has great material to use in the teaching of genre in our classrooms.

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Friday
As I was out of the classroom yesterday today we viewed selected children's oral language planners of the water cycle. The recordings were interesting in that clearly some children were comfortable in the use of technical language while others were not. However all could explain the water cycle in a clear and concise way. No one asked to view their oral planner prior to writing today - I wonder why not.

I brought the recording studio into the classroom in the second block as I was keen to watch over the videoing - to keep an eye on the quality and in a hope to get more children through the process. Recording in a busy classroom has its challenges - I wonder what an ideal situation would be !
I'm thinking it would have to be 2 teachers to the 25 children I teach for one block in the week - to enable the recording to be done in 14A ( over seen by a teacher) away from the distractions and noise of a busy classroom.

Ashane continues to comment on his story about playing minigolf with his Dad and sister. Through his comments he is telling us more about his experience - this experience is still very much alive for Ashane and those of us who read his comments. This I find fascinating as I'm sure it's the one line environment that allows this on going conversation about his experience in a way traditional publishing would not. Of the 9 comments left after this piece of work 6 of them are from Ashane.

Aart a keen fisherman brought in his fishing magazine which had a very impressive snapper. This led us to looking at some sites on line and collating facts about snappers on a Y chart. We will write an information report on the snapper next week.

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This is a Venn diagram we made as a class after reading the following shared books
The goldfish and The rainbow fish.
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As the week draws to a close – I ponder and acknowledge the following
• Some children really respond to talking and writing about factual topics.
• An on line environment provides the opportunity a keep a story alive for the author in a way traditional publishing does not.
• An effective inquiry topic connects with the children we teach.
• Scaffolding the teaching and learning enables ALL children to succeed at their own level.