Strategies for getting DS from 3A to 4B by May(13 Posts)
DS was assessed at the end of last term and his writing is still at a Level 3A (with elements of Level 4). I say still as he's been here for over a year. The areas he needs to work in are around creative writing and making his writing consistently of the same standard. We've tried, his teachers have tried. He's doing well in other areas (Level 5B in maths and 5A in reading) so don't believe it's something he's not capable of, he just seems to have a huge mental block about his writing - he thinks he is rubbish and of course that is self fulfilling.
I'm at a loss as to what to do next. Anyone ever encountered anything like this?
Has he printed out some VCOP examples to try using?
Get the Alan Peat sentences app on tablet/iPad/phone. Goes through examples of different sentence types that children can include in writing to enhance their writing. Really good for making writing interesting/exciting.
Also google 'slow writing'. Idea is that kids slow down and think carefully about their writing. Write six sentences but those six sentences have to meet certain requirements, eg first must begin with an 'ly' word, second must contain a simile etc. Get him to leave a line between each line he does and then go back and up-level what he has done - enhance vocabulary etc.
"he just seems to have a huge mental block about his writing - he thinks he is rubbish and of course that is self fulfilling."
My son was like this. Good reader who was very much aware that what he was capable of writing was nothing like what he enjoyed reading.
We did a lot of talking about how this is normal in all subjects at his age. He's not doing the sort of maths that professional adults do, he's not playing the sort of piano pieces that professional adults play, he can't run as fast as professional adults do. So why would he be able to write as well as professional adult writers?
Once we treated writing as if it was maths (learning techniques and applying them) he was away.
Is there a particular reason that he needs a 4 in writing?
Thanks for the ideas some of which we've tried in a different form, but might be worth another go from an another direction. Big problem is getting him to even try!!
I don't particularly care about his level per se, but worry that if his writing is not up to a Level 4 standard he will struggle at secondary school, thus wanting to address it now. Level aside, I think it's a matter for concern that his writing (in some areas) has not progressed in more than a year.
My ten year old was asked by his teacher to include more varied similes. His most recent piece of writing described the main character as "spraying Lynx on himself like Lewis Hamilton spraying champagne after a win."
I ask because my ds was behind his other levels in writing in year 6- his ideas were good, but getting them down on paper was a problem. He came on by leaps and bounds in secondary school when he had to do more extended writing in history and other subjects. His presentation is still a bit crap though!
I think you need to ask his teacher which areas of his writing are the problem so you can focus on these rather than looking at writing in general.
Ros Wilsons quick fixes can work wonders.
If you try something like Big Write at home, could you join in with him and then give each other feedback and compare how you've interpreted the task differently? As equals, not parent/teacher to child.
I tried this with my DD and we both enjoyed ourselves. We did only allow ourselves 15 mins of writing time, so it wasn't onerous.
I agree VCOP pyramids are really helpful - as they clearly lay out next step for vocabulary/ connectives/ openers/ punctuation - you can get a lot through images on google - just type in VCOP or if you subscribe to TES otherwise try something like this displays.tpet.co.uk/?resource=387#/ViewResource/id387 - press the numbers below the pyramid side to see all 4 sides. As a parent you can see roughly where on the pyramid your child's typical punctuation (for example) would be - and what types of punctuation would help them move up.
The other game I tried with DD1 which really helped was to have her write a sentence describing a character from one of the books she was reading.
So being the queen of the one/ two syllable words - DD1 wrote:
Harry Potter is a wizard.
Yes - that's lovely I said - anything else you might like to add there?
Ok - she said thinking for a bit -
Harry Potter is a boy and a wizard.
Lovely - but kind of boring to read - do you think you could jazz it up a bit, make it more interesting?
Harry Potter seems a normal boy, but is a wizard.
Good - but can you think of another word for normal and maybe a word to make his being a wizard more exciting?
Long sigh - but she thought for a bit and came up with....
Harry Potter may seem an ordinary 10 year old boy, but actually he's a wizard.
I said - now that my dear is a very exciting sentence to read - and can you see how much more interesting that was than the first sentence.
We did it with lots of the Harry Potter characters and also with characters from the Hobbit (DH was reading this to her at the time and she was seeing the films as they came out).
We sincerely found the process of taking a first sentence and revising it (thinking of better words, altering word order, etc...) really helped after a while - we tended to do this kind of exercise in short bursts - often whilst waiting to collect DD2 from a club.
The other game we played was a synonym/ antonym game - where one of us would think of a word - so for synonyms we found colours were a lot of fun - so say red - and then we would alternate thinking of words that were the same: so scarlet/ crimson/ brick red/ blood red/ ruby red/ rouge/ etc.... For antonyms we might use moods: angry - happy/ calm/ agreeable/ placid (that was me - I was accused of cheating by DD1 there)/ nice/ gentle/ quiet/ friendly....
VCOP pyramids are a useful tool but it should be remembered that they only offer a small number of examples not a definitive list and there is flexibility within each band. There are new versions available to match the new curriculum.
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