Monday, 22 May 2017

Shared Writing and Innovation

Shared Writing and Innovation

Shared Writing is when the Teacher facilitates writing with the class.  The Teacher creates an aspirational text before hand with prompt questions (this is to help the teacher guide the piece of writing being focussed on).  During shared writing, the Teacher will set a particular scene and students will provide their ideas to assist with the shared writing.  The teacher asks questions targeting the type of ideas, language and/or writing features they want to teach. This can be done word by word or sentence by sentence.  The Teacher will use their tool kit created so far in the Storytelling sessions such as plot matrixes, mood maps, boxing up, word walls, pictures, maps, plot and character types to assist with the shared writing experience. 

Another focus of shared writing is to demonstrate how to show what's happening in a story rather than tell.  For example, "Mum was cross", you could write, "Mum's face was flaming red and her eyes were as big as saucers".

Below are video snap shots of a shared writing session in Room 2.  Mrs Kearns shared writing session  focussed on describing the setting of the Billy Goats Gruff.  She has her aspirational text and prompt questions to help guide the shared writing.  Mrs Kearns used the word by word response from the children to help describe the setting.


Innovation is where the intention is to change the main elements in the story.  The plot structure stays basically the same but the plot context is changed. This could be done in three different ways:
- substitution
- addition
- plot recycling

Miss Spence and Room 17 innovated the story "The Freedom Bird".   To begin this process, Miss Spence showed the original plot matrix of the story and explained they were going to change some parts of the story.  First the class choose a different character for the story.  The students gave their ideas and Miss Spence recorded their ideas on the board.  Miss Spence then choose one of the ideas and used the thinking aloud technique to give her reasons why.  She wrote the idea onto a post it note and put it onto the original plot matrix.  Next, the class brainstormed where the story could be set.  The process of thinking aloud was repeated.  This is seen below in a quick video snapshot of Miss Spence selecting the new scene for their story.

Finally, Miss Spence got the class to come up with ideas of how they could kill the new character (in the Freedom Bird, the hunter used a bow and arrow).
Below are some photos showing some of the process of Innovating the Freedom Bird.
Ideas for setting:                                                
Ideas for ways to kill the new character:

Original plot matrix:      
Changes made:               


Miss Spence then facilitated a shared writing session with the class creating a new introduction to the story, using the new setting and characters chosen. 

Here is the shared writing sample written by Room 17.  This was written up on the whiteboard as the class created the introduction together.

Keep watching this blog to find out about the next step of our journey, non-fiction texts.

Sunday, 19 March 2017

The Next Step of our Journey - Deepening

The Next Step of our Journey - Deepening
Deepening grows the imagination of the students and allows students to explore "new segments, paragraphs, dialogue and literacy features".
Deepening also allows students to be able to make connections with the stories, empathise with characters, gain knowledge of people, places, time and society, think critically, to question and explore ideas and explore language patterns of stories many times to help improve retelling.
There are a range of deepening activities which teachers can use.  Below are two examples of oral language games which can be used as a warm up as well as to help with deepening.
Reflection Circle: Characters
A group of students from Room 4 are showing the activity, Reflection Circle, which explore the different characters within the story of the "The Gingerbread Man".

Character Interview
Hayden, Maia and Tyson from Room 14 are showing the oral language activity of the Talk Show Character Interview using the story "Princess Rose".  The group had to choose two characters from the story who had a problem with each other and try to reconcile their differences.

There are many other deepening activities which include:
- re-enacting parts of the story, objects and characters
- pictures for key moments
- narrative songs, dances and poems
- key moment descriptors, phone call role play
- re-stepping
- dialogue role play
- job interviews/applications/epitaph
- hot seat - relevant questions
- role play interviews and chat shows
Here is an example of Room 18's classroom display of "Where the Wild Things Are" showing the key settings, ideas and language of the story.


Room 3 and 7 have made a display in the library of "The Gingerbread Man".  Room 3 explored and recorded what their favourite part of the story was.  Room 7 created 'Missing" posters for the Gingerbread Man.  These posters included what the Gingerbread Man looked like in detail.  Below is  Emma's favourite part of the story and Daniel's Missing Gingerbread Man Poster.


Room 3 has just started exploring the story "Goldilocks and the Three Bears".  As a deepening activity, the class made character plates showing special characteristics of their character.  This is seen below:

There are three key matrixes used to help with deepening.  They are:
plot matrix
mood map
boxing up for a purpose
Room 10 have done a class plot matrix of "The little Red Hen".  This is seen below in her classroom display.  Also on the display are chalk pictures of characters from the story. 

The class then created their own plot matrix using the plot of "The Little Red Hen" however they had to change either the characters and/or the type of baking made.  This type of writing is called "innovation".  Here is an example of Paige's plot matrix.

Room 14 have been using the "Boxing up for a Purpose" matrix.  You can view a snapshot of Mrs Wing introducing this activity to the class.   I have also included a photo of their matrix. 



Keep watching this space to see the next part of our journey.

Tuesday, 21 February 2017

Storytelling@Belfast - Come along on our Journey


We are delving into the art of Storytelling during our literacy sessions school-wide.        Storytelling teaches in a way that students can easily remember, and it helps us to relate to one another. Stories are important as they affirm who we are, and allow us to experience the similarities between ourselves and others, real or imagined. They help us make meaning of our lives.  Students are able to delve into the deeper features of writing using this approach.

The steps of storytelling that students have been exploring so far are Hear-listening to the story being told to them, Map-drawing a cyclic mind map using images to recount the key events of the story, Step-Stepping out the key events using actions, Speak-Retelling the story in preparation for writing.

Below are some pics and videos of each stage being used throughout the school.
Hear - Room 18
Miss Truesdale is telling part of the story of "Where the Wild Things Are".  Actions are an important part of telling the story as it hooks the audience and helps them to remember story events.
Map - Room 10
Here are two examples of a map from Yasaman  in Room 10 showing the main events in the story of  "The Little Red Hen".

Step - Room 16
 Libby Crawford in Room 16 is stepping out the first part of the story from "The Freedom Bird".  
Speak - Room 22
There are a variety of ways in which stories can be told.  Olivia Wilson and Jairna Harris from Room 22 are telling part of the story of "The Freedom Bird" using the talking stick.
Warm up - Oral Language activities

At the beginning of storytelling, classes will begin with an oral language game.  Lily and Brogan from Room 18 are playing the game of "Tell Me More Lies". 
 Imitation Writing

For our first piece of writing, the students have been writing a retell of the story they are focussing on.  The other forms of writing are innovation and invention which we will explore at a further time.

Here is an example of imitation writing from Jesse in Room 11.  They have retold (part) of the story of "The Freedom Bird".


Students and teachers will add to this blog to show what they have been doing during Storytelling in their classrooms.  Please watch this space.