I decided to go back to a strategy I had tried before and really enjoyed. We made links to a book we had been reading as part of 'teacher read' each day and we created a whole class pourquoi story explaining why Maungarei (Mount Wellington, our local mountain) came to be.
The students were in small discussion groups which would report back ideas e.g. the first thing I asked students to do in their groups, was to create a sentence starter. They discussed the sentence starters they had seen in last week's movies/stories and then reported back their own. As a class, we chose the best one and that was the sentence we put on our plan. This process continued until the story was finished. Here was our completed plan...
I heard one student say "Woah, look at all our writing!" Which showed me they were proud of the story took ownership of those ideas. Here is the written story...
From this story, I created a Skills Flow task. A skills flow task is a great task to practice the literacy modes of listening, speaking, writing and reading. Here is the task I designed:
A skills flow goes as follows:
The teacher reads the story while students put their pictures in order.
Students retell the story in their own words using the pictures (which we have checked as a class, are in the right order) to help prompt their thinking.
Students are then asked to work in pairs (this can be done individually - we had groups of three) to rewrite their stories in their own words. They have a bit more freedom e.g. one group decided to turn the seeds into rubies, another group decided to turn the brothers into ANZAC soldiers (fresh from ANZAC weekend!).
Students asked to read their stories to the class and share their stories with others.
Here are some photos of the process today...
Highlights for me, were that this REALLY engaged the boys in my class. I know it's often a goal for teachers of how to engage male writers. I had one boy ask "Can we read this to the class?!" Which NEVER happens. I have another boy who is often distracted, totally engaged because he could turn brothers into ANZACS - the power of the author! Another key highlight was that one boy who is on the Autism spectrum, was completely tunnel visioned in ordering his pictures and writing furiously and then picking up another picture and saying the words out loud and then furiously writing again. That NEVER happens either!!!
I will definitely be keeping the visual strategy for next week. The repetition without boring. The power of the students owning that story and then rewriting it again. We might make this story into a movie....hmm... let's see!