As this was the students’ first introduction to writing words and sentences (a daunting, yet, exciting challenge for a group of five year olds), there was a lot to learn and consider about the process of becoming an author.
The focus was on writing a clear and concise simple sentence to describe photos and/or pictures drawn by the students showing their involvement in fun activities during ‘Discovery Time.’ This linked to the current inquiry theme of ‘movement’ and provided a meaningful and relevant context for the students to begin their writing journeys.
Before starting their masterpieces, the students read the book ‘I am Running’ with Mrs Ewen and decided to use this format to write their own sentences. This made the link between reading and writing more explicit and reinforced the idea that we write for a purpose and with an audience in mind. The students also talked about the things that the author of the book did to help convey the message to the reader, thinking about questions like, ‘How do the pictures and the words work together?’ ‘Why are there gaps or finger spaces between each word?’ ‘Why is there a capital letter at the start?’ ‘What is the dot at the end and why is it there?’ ‘How do we know to start reading from the left side? What does that tell us about where we start our writing?’
Lydia: The full stop tells you that the sentence is finished.
Next the students talked about and brainstormed a list of their favourite things to do during Discovery Time and Mrs Ewen took photographs of everyone doing some of these activities. The students each used their own photograph as a picture plan to help them sequence their ideas and construct their sentences.
The group had to remember to use a finger space between the words in their sentences and to start with a capital letter and end with a full stop. They were also attempting to use their prior knowledge of sight words and phonemic awareness to write known and unknown words in their sentences.
Phoebe: I need to use a finger space after ‘I.
Preston: Train starts with ‘tiny turtles t, t, t.
Emma: It’s tricky writing all the letters properly.
After reading their finished sentences to the group, the students talked about how they could change and improve them next time.
Preston: We could put more describing words in our sentences.
Ziah: Next time I will handle it and not be scared to give it a go.
Emma: I needed to colour in my picture more carefully.
Phoebe: We could make a longer sentence.
Finally, each student’s writing was published and displayed in Room 15 for others to read. How did they go?
Keywords: movement, writing, reading, simple sentence
Attributed to: Philippa Ewen, Poihipi Team 2020
Curriculum Links: English - Writing