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Help levelling this writing please...

(24 Posts)
writingblues Fri 29-Nov-13 11:27:17

DD has really struggled with writing compared to her class mates (their work is up on the walls all around the class room, so it's easy to see the difference). I've only encouraged her to keep writing her spellings, which she gets each week, as more than this caused stress and prior to this she's never written more than 3 sentences or so.

Then the other day, she told us a story in the car and I asked if she'd like to write it up and she was really up for it and has been very relaxed about the whole process. This is by far the longest piece of writing she's ever done and I wonder if anyone's happy to level it. I know this one piece doesn't represent her over all level, but it would be great to have a rough idea on the piece itself.

All spellings, capitalisation, punctuation, etc. as she's done them, with correct spellings in [] if I think it might be tricky to decipher. The only help I gave was at the point I've put a * - she was going to finish with 'they lived happily ever after' and I suggested that she checked her story to make sure all the problems were resolved - she did and realised the pirates were still lost and then completed the story as you see below.

Ounse opon a time there was ... a pirout [pirate] with her shipmates. One day they saled out to sea the blue wavey sea. One day there was a thunder storm and they got lost. Sudnly a monster came out from the blue sea. It was called the Monster Mersivle. He had terrible claws and terrible teeth. He has slimy tenticls and a slimy head. He came closer and closer waving his tenticls. Suddenly The captan had an ider. [idea] She got out the ancer [anchor] she throo the ancer into the air and it hit the monster and it fel over.* Then there frend the pirot fish apeard. "Helo" said the pirot fish "do you need eny help?" "Yes please!" So the pirot fish led them home. THE END

zingally Fri 29-Nov-13 11:52:26

Infant teacher here:

You don't say what year she is in, which, why that doesn't affect the level, can affect whether that writing is good, bad or just okay. For example, if a Year 2 wrote that, I'd be pleased. If a Year 4 wrote that, it wouldn't be that impressive...

So... The grammar is generally correct. The spelling of common words are correct, and more difficult words are phonetically plausible, she's used speech marks correctly... I'd probably level it around the 2a level. Although the quality of her handwriting also comes into it a bit, and I can't see that. smile

If I had to guess... at this stage in the year, just pre-xmas, that is the writing of a fairly bright (probably top group) Year 2, or a middle of the road Year 3 child.

writingblues Fri 29-Nov-13 13:18:29

Thank you zingally smile

I understand how knowing the year helps you to know whether it's good or bad as it is of course a relative thing, however she is not in the top group and the writings up on the wall are both longer, with more accurate spellings and greater complexity.

Handwriting is all joined up and although it's not the neatest it is all legible. However when I say DD really struggles with her handwriting what I mean is this - it took her 1.5 hours to write this, with a 15 minutes break and two small chocolate biscuits to encourage her (although for the first time ever she seemed to enjoy writing)!

Not sure how much of a difference this info makes to your initial assessment, however thank you so much for taking the time share your expertise.

mammadiggingdeep Fri 29-Nov-13 17:37:57

Congratulations on finding a way to inspire the story. Bless her taking so long but sticking with it smile could you try recording her telling her story then playing it back as she writes it up, so she doesn't lose any ideas.

Just on that piece, and obviously it's just levelling this piece I'd say it has elements of 2b...correct use of full stops, consistent tense, nice 'story language' (closer and closer).

mammadiggingdeep Fri 29-Nov-13 17:41:02

Ps- also let her type her stories for speed, handwriting practice can be done separately if this is what makes the process so long. Better to let her get her ideas down 'less painfully' if it helps motivate her

writingblues Fri 29-Nov-13 23:21:15

Thank you - I've noticed in other levelling threads that one persons 1b is another persons 2c - I wasn't expecting a 2 anything as up til now she's needed constant encouragement & support to write even a few sentences so it feels like going from 0 to 10 (to me, not to her I am sure ). Also the fact that she's suddenly written so much independently (well chocolate biscuits aside) is wonderful and the positive feedback from you both is the cherry on top!

mammadiggingdeep Fri 29-Nov-13 23:29:13

The fact that she has used full stops consistently is good and suggests level 2. The sentence 'he came closer and closer waving his tentacles' is fantastic!! Shes choosing verbs to add detail.Also the fact she used suddenly as a sentence opener is really encouraging- all aspects of level 2.

Lets hope this is the start of her enjoying writing a bit more and that her enthusiasm helps her as a writer at school smile good stuff!

Whatevertheweather Fri 29-Nov-13 23:33:35

I'm not a teacher but it looks very similar to the type of story by yr2 dd would produce. She levelled at 2a for literacy overall at the end of yr1

writingblues Sat 30-Nov-13 08:17:56

Whatevertheweather - out of interest when was your DD producing stories like this (as in would those stories have gone towards her 2a levell at the end of year 1) and more importantly how long would it have taken her to write this much?

Whatevertheweather Sat 30-Nov-13 09:23:37

Yes those sort of stories would have gone towards 2a so when she was in yr1. She is in the top group in yr2 now. That would have taken her probably 10-15mins to write down roughly, maybe 20-25 if she was really concentrating. This is one of the pieces of work she did an the end of yr1 (her work starts from wail)

The other day I was flying slowly through a large, fluffy, cloud and suddenly I heard a witch.....

wail and then I let out a fearfull Roar! And then I whizzed up behind her and we raced through the cloud and then I did a nasty trick and hiden behind a cloud. And then the wich zoomed too the ground. And said 'phew' but the trobble was not over yet. And then I approached the horified wich and the wich gulped help. I was Just going to nibble and then a beast rose and it said buzz off that's my wich! And I trembled and spread out my great wings and set off for home and all my servants turned back to wiches while I was gone! I chased them out of my lair and with a blaze of fire I wrote I the sky, do not disturb and then I settled dowen to rest.

Obviously they'd been studying room on the broom and this was a diary entry from the dragons POV but I was written independently and from memory.

Whatevertheweather Sat 30-Nov-13 10:03:33

Actually I'd be interested to know from any teachers if that piece does fit 2a criteria

zingally Sat 30-Nov-13 17:31:34

Whatevertheweather - As a teacher, I'd probably give that a 2b. It's got lots of elements of 2a, the spelling is fantastic, but it's not quite there yet.
I'd have liked to have seen speech marks used, and although there is lots of good vocab, it reads a bit like they might have had a good talk about "exciting words" in class before she started to write. The story is also rather disjointed and doesn't really flow.
So, yeah... I'd have given it a 2b.

mrz Sat 30-Nov-13 19:20:21

I wouldn't level it as a 2A i'd probably go for a good 2C. I would be looking for different kinds of punctuation, connectives, variety of sentence length the vocabulary is good and she will definitely get there.

Whatevertheweather Sat 30-Nov-13 20:59:13

I also thought 2a was quite generous smile She's definitely moved on a bit this term and is using lots more time connectives and stopped using and to start sentences! 2a was her overall literacy grade though not just based on that piece.

I only wondered as the teacher told us she was expecting her to get 3b's or even a 3a literacy and numeracy in her sats and wanted to know how much work she needed to do smile

writingblues Sat 30-Nov-13 21:24:24

Really feeling confused zingally, as you levelled my DDs writing at 2a and whatevertheweather's DDs writing as 2b, although that piece is much longer (obviously I don't understand the levelling process)?

Mrz am I right thinking you'd apportion a lower level to my DDs pirate story too?

Whatevertheweather Sat 30-Nov-13 21:37:40

It must be hard to level literacy writing as there must be an element of subjectivity whereas numeracy must be a bit more black and white.

I don't think the length matters, your DD's punctuation is a little better and she doesn't start every sentence with And smile My DD is good at spelling though my recent particular favourite story she wrote included Kate the Olympic gymnast who stayed in the Premi Air Inn grin

The room on the broom work she did was in the May of year 1, I'll be interested to see what she brings home in her literacy folder at the end of this term.

mrz Sat 30-Nov-13 22:44:06

It really isn't possible to level a single piece of writing accurately but I don't see enough level 2 elements to award more than a low level 2 writingblues

writingblues Sun 01-Dec-13 13:00:45

Fair enough mrz.

In any event it seems like you would all be pleased if a year 1 child produced this now, even if it took an hour and a half and even if it wasn't as good as the (clearly?) high achieving class that are writing more, with better spellings and done more quickly????

mrz Sun 01-Dec-13 15:28:04

Quality is always preferable to quantity IMHO

zingally Sun 01-Dec-13 15:46:16

Writingblues - Your DD wrote a better piece. It made more sense, used speech marks, the general grammar was better. The spelling wasn't as good, but on balance, I thought it was marginally better.

The levels from bottom to top, go C B A. So a 2a is better than a 2b and a 2b is better than a 2c.
It sometimes feels a bit counter-intuitive to go that way round... shrug but it is what it is.
Although, as we've said, it's hard to judge from a single piece of writing. Either way, firmly within Level 2. Which, if she's Yr1(?) is no cause for concern and is, in fact, very good!

Mrz - What year group do you teach?

mrz Sun 01-Dec-13 15:56:12

Currently teach Y1

writingblues Sun 01-Dec-13 20:00:26

Ziingally - thanks for the additional info & yes she's year 1.

It's incredibly reassuring to know that even though she's struggling with the mechanics of writing, (her teacher stated she's behind, needs to speed up and gave us a handwriting book for extra home practise right at the beginning of year 1, not that she's used it apart from the spellings!), she pays attention to the grammar (well punctuation wise at least), is starting to get the 'form' of a story and is developing the patience to persevere & finish a story despite it being a slog for her on a physical level.

Thanks again everyone

montymum Sun 01-Dec-13 23:13:49

I too would level this as a 2C moving towards a 2B. She has lovely ideas and real potential to be a great writer. Her writing pace and Stamina will increase as she finds handwriting easier so don't worry about that. Keep encouraging her love of story telling and sharing books. This will increase her vocabulary and improve her writing style.

writingblues Mon 02-Dec-13 10:53:11

Thanks montymum smile I will do exactly that!

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