We were working on narrative tenses and the writing task of the lesson was ‘writing a story’. My class is small and it’s a real mixed-ability class. although it’s small, it sometimes takes very ages for the students to master something. The book we’re using organized the activity very well – first making students to know and use the connectors to make them aware of the sequences in a story. We did the exercise on the book and wrote a paragraph using At First, Then, After that, Eventually, Finally but some of the students had problems writing their own paragraphs so I decided to continue.
photo credit @AClilToClimb #eltpics
I divided the group into two and told them they would write a story using At First, Then, After that, Eventually, Finally.
Each group now had a good students to help the others.
I changed one student from the groups and exchanged them with each other after they finished writing and reading their paragraphs aloud.
I left the good ones in the group, changing one students after writing a paragraph for four times.
In the fifth round, all the good ones were in one group but two groups managed to use the connectors and produced their own sentences.
Then they all went back to their seats and wrote their own paragraphs.
As a follow-up, they wrote another paragraph, creating a book with bookr.
Hi, I found this post very interesting. I like the idea of dividing the students into groups when they don’t understand on their own. Peers are great aids at helping others to understand information. I also liked how all the good students helped out the ones who needed the help but then were separated and the students who did not understand the information at first were catching on and writing paragraphs on their own. Thank you for sharing, I found this very useful.
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I admire your efforts to teach the writing process to any group of children, especially a mixed ability group. Kids learn how to talk at an early age, but learning how to be a skilled and artful writer takes quite a bit longer. I taught 5th graders for three years, and I found teaching the writing process one of the most difficult things to teach. I’m sure it has only gotten more difficult with with invention of texting slang.
I think your idea to group the students in high-low groups, and then switch them to high-high and low-low was great! This gave the students the opportunity to work with someone not only on a different ability level but also the same, or near the same, ability level.
Did you try using a graphic organizer to help them get their initial thoughts on paper?
I always found that a helpful tool. Another idea I had, but never tried was to record the student orally telling their story. They can talk much better than they can write. 🙂 They could playback their story to themselves and transfer it to paper one sentence at a time. This sounds like a tedious process, but I think it would prove to the students that they actually can write!