I have had another short session of going through an exemplar from the AsTTle marking moderation that the English Department have been working through. I had help making my way through each section of an exemplar, seeing what level I thought it was for each of the sections and comparing it to the supplied examples for that particular level. We looked above and below to see where it was sitting.
While I am not doing this with the intention of ever being responsible for any ACTUAL AsTTle marking, it is proving a very valuable experience in understanding what criteria the students have to fulfil in their writing in order to gain a level.
How can I use what I am learning?
Ideas - We can discuss ideas for the topic as a whole class or in small teams before they start to write. We can put all our ideas together on shared docs or drawings. This can then support the students in their individual writing that they have to do and make sure that they are covering a range of ideas in their work. I have been building a lot more team work into tasks recently so this will fit in well with what I have already started doing.
How this fits in with SOLO taxonomy? - this fits in the multistructural level where the students are using information from multiple sources.
Structure and language - most of the time, the writing styles that my students are doing are description, analysis and reflection. In SOLO, this takes us from multistructural to relational through to extended abstract, depending on the depth that they do it.
I need to give them a support structure to write to where they can lay out their ideas, show development of the ideas and give reasons why. Some of the ideas that I got from my visit to Robyn's class will help here. Link to blog post about this here.
Guiding them to start with an introduction and end with a conclusion.
Organisation - Giving them a structure to write to to provide an organisation will help them get their thoughts in a meaningful order. Using some of my SOLO thinking charts will be a starting point here for my own planning but I need to make topic specific support material for the students to use. The more they use structures like this in their projects, they will get more used to writing this way as a normal thing. Guiding them to use paragraphs to layout their ideas so what they are saying is clear.
Vocabulary - I have been working on building more activities around subject specific vocabulary and I will continue with this as a high priority. The students need to hear and use the words on a regular basis if they are to get used to using them in their work.
Sentence structure - Having exemplars for them to read will be helpful here so they can see how to construct what they are saying and how to say it. I can get the project exemplars for them to look at from the NZQA website. This will keep it in the same context as they are working. We can also use the peer checking ideas that I saw being used in Robyn's classroom.
Going through exercises together to describe and analyse other products will help them to practice before doing this in their own projects.
Punctuation - The main punctuation that my students will use is the basic ones - full stops, capital letters, question marks, quotation marks, commas etc. Peer marking will help this as will ongoing feedback from the teacher as the project is progressing. These are things that can be corrected as the project goes along so it is not left till the end.
Spelling - My students get the choice of writing in their sketchbooks or typing up on the chrome books, so spelling is very dependent on these two things at the moment. The auto underline / correction of Google Docs is helpful when online. more use of the subject specific terms will get them used to spelling them. Having them available / viewable on the classroom walls will help too.