Initial Noticings…

From our first 4 weeks as a Literacy group, I have tried to take opportunities to sit back and just observe my group when they write.

Over two weeks we wrote various genres of writing to back in to the swing of literacy lessons and to give me the opportunity to assess where they were.

The final genre we looked as was information writing. This was extended over a week and involved skills such as research and planning.  I found the focus learners in my group typically enjoyed non-fiction over fiction and wanted to get on and do rather than plan!

We have moved on the writing our own graphic novels. The ownerships over the learning and the creating something of their own element has been a success. I also think they are enjoying the ratio of image to writing however there are some anxieties around not being good enough to draw a comic book.

There is some tension around the correct use of a chromebook and that it IS A LEARNING TOOL! However they are generally using the writing tools such as storyboard this well.

Key Research

Taken from

What is the research evidence on writing? Education Standards Research Team, Department for Education

© Department for Education November 2012

What do we know about the gender gap in writing?
Evidence suggests that boys perform less well than girls in writing. Research
evidence has identified a range of factors behind their underperformance (Daly, 2003; Estyn, 2008; DfES, 2007). These include:
x Factors related to the quality of teaching such as teaching grammar
separately from contextualised writing, inappropriate use of interventions,
misuse of writing frames and a lack of connection between oral and writing
x School-level factors such as not offering children an active and free-play
environment which has been associated with more progress in reading and
x Classroom-level factors such as ineffective use of ICT, setting and streaming.
x Behavioural and social-level factors.

x Factors related to the way lessons are conducted such as too much emphasis on story writing, not giving boys ownership of their writing, a discrepancy between boys’ reading preferences and writing topics, using ‘counting down’ time strategies and a dislike by boys of drafting and figurative language.

The following strategies for raising boys’ performance have been identified (Daly, 2003; Ofsted, 2005b):
x School and classroom level approaches such as using active learning tasks;
appropriate approaches to discipline; target setting, monitoring and
mentoring; using older pupils as male role models; focusing on the learning
nature of schools.
x Effective teaching from teachers who have confidence in their abilities and
have high expectations from boys.
x A focus on key approaches inherent in the teaching of writing such as explicit teaching of language; topic selection in narrative writing; planning writing using mnemonics; effective use of drafting and writing frames.
x Literacy-specific activities such as appropriate use of oral work; poetry; use of emotionally powerful texts.
x Effective use of visual media and ICT facilities

TAI gets underway!

This year I have decided to focus the question:

How can I build a passion for writing and have an impact on attitudes and outcomes for our reluctant boy writers? – with a focus on student support and Māori learners?

I’ve always had boy heavy classes but with so much to do as a teacher it had never been a focus to think deeply about the motivations behind the classic boy reluctance to write.

With so many of these boys classed in the reluctant writer category it seemed like the perfect time to explore this further.

But what about the girls?! Absolutely! One of my main motivations to become a teacher was to aid in developing the next generation of strong women. In my second year of teaching I had 3 newly recognised dyslexic boys and learnt what benefited them would usually benefit the rest of the class. I’ve used this as a blanket rule going forward, what supports student support learners will typically support all. Girls, I still got you.

I started where I normally start, with a google search.

This video prompted some thoughts about how to build capabilities in using digital tools to encourage writing.

I also found the Ministry of Education’s Success for Boys site hugely interesting and will be implementing ideas from that very soon. Especially the Game of Awesome!