Category: Writing


When talking with the Year 6 Team recently about proofreading, editor’s marks and marking children’s writing in general I brought up the idea of “the edge of knowing”. This something I picked up from a workshop with either Kath Murdoch or Kathy Short.

The idea behind “the edge of knowing” is that, when marking student work, teachers focus only on one or two elements that the student is almost doing. For example, say a student is starting to include dialogue in their writing but does not use speech marks to show that it is dialogue, then the teacher should mark that and maybe one or two other things – maximum! They should then use that as an opportunity to work with that student, and maybe others who are doing something similar.

Not only is this approach much more empowering for students who may be turned off writing by the constant appearance of a page full of corrections, it is also much more time-effective and focused way for teachers to formatively assess student work.

Do you use an “edge of knowing” approach when marking writing?

Could you see how this approach may be helpful in your practice?

Image by Vadim Balakin
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This video contains two clips from reading conferences in 4NB. By involving the students in assessing their own work using the Writing Continuum, Nicky has empowered these two students to think about and discuss who they are as writers. The second clip shows that teachers often need to help students to make the connections between what they would normally say about their writing and the language of the writing continuum.

There is a question at the end of the video. It would be wonderful to hear about your approaches to getting students really involved in the assessment of their writing…

“Unless ideas are massaged into reality, they evaporate” Alan Fletcher

But, how do we capture our ideas?

In Year 6, every student has a “Bubblecatcher” in which they write notes, quotes, checklists, ideas and questions. It’s basically just a notebook, but it’s one they have been and bought themselves. The cool name comes from a guest speaker and author, who also happens to be a parent of a kid in Year 7!

I would like to put together a video to feature how people in the school use notebooks. If you’d be willing to say a few words and share your notebook briefly on this video, please let me know.

In the meantime, please comment and tell us how you catch your bubbles!!!

Something exciting happened this week. James Forsythe, from Phuket International Academy, has been reading the 6SS Class Blog. He noticed some similarities between what our 6SS have been thinking about and what his Grade 3/Year4 class have been thinking about. Both classes have been looking at wisdom and trying to understand what it means. He showed this posting from the 6SS blog to his students and used the 6SS students thinking to take his students’ conversations further:

Read the comments to see how the students’ thinking develops and to see where James adds his students’ thinking to the conversation.

James then sent through some photos to show the process he took his students through to arrive at their interpretations of what wisdom is.

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This kind of cross-pollination of thinking using a blog doesn’t happen that often, but it’s great when it does. Has it happened to you? I am always happy to help people work on their blogs to make them work better as learning tools.

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EY2MI students are taking a book home to read with their parents at the moment. It is a very special book because they wrote it!

Using themselves as the main characters, familiar things like clothing and colours and repeating patterns this book not only empowers these students to feel like authors but they are also able to read what it says. Brilliant!

Which conceptual understandings is Ruby working towards here?

Listen to the way these students explain what they are doing and invite other people into their learning by being so articulate, expressive, honest and confident. Which conceptual understandings are these kids displaying?

This is Elmarie’s class blog. She has embedded a Wallwisher page as a way of collecting her students’ thinking. She is asking parents to speak to their children about school and get them to tell them what they enjoyed most about school this week. Then, the parents “post a sticky” on the wall to share what their kids said. How cool is that?

This is a wonderful posting by Cristina Milos on a collaborative blog put together by Edna Sackson, both regular visitors and commentors on Art of Language.

The reason I have put it on here is because, although it is primarily about inquiry and taking students beyond the facts, it is also very rich in language and in the use of language to unlock and deepen student-thinking. It encapsulates the sentiments that all of our teaching teams expressed about language as a “vehicle for inquiry”.

Click on the image to get to the posting. Please feel free to comment either on here or on the posting itself.

Technology is great. But, there’s only a few technology innovations that really do open up a myriad of possibilities that cannot be done easily on a bit of paper or with other, more traditional methods!\

Voicethread is one of them.

Click on the image above to read an outstanding article about Voicethread and to get loads of ideas for how Voicethread could be used in your teaching.

 

 

In every school I’ve worked in, there’s been a couple of unique weird spellings that have somehow evolved in that school. Here, the one that has become really obvious to me is “alot” instead of “a lot”.

How does this happen?

What weird, but fairly consistent, spellings do you come across?