Analysing Children's Writing Samples

Topics: Lev Vygotsky, Writing, Writing process Pages: 5 (1760 words) Published: May 14, 2012
Critically Analyse Student Writing Samples
Analysing children’s writing is critically important because it allows teachers to have an understanding of what the child knows already, and what he/she needs to build on with their writing (Stewart, 2012). In the paragraphs ahead, two samples have been chosen and have been analysed using the Victorian Essential Learning Standards and the Western Australia First Steps Developmental Continuum. The Victorian Essential Learning Standards have established “what is important for students to achieve at different stages of their schooling, set standards for those achievements and provided a clear basis for reporting to parents and for planning programs.” (Victoria Essential Learning Standards, 2011) VELS have been implemented in various Victorian schools; however it is up to the educators to come up with a curriculum plan to meet these standards. WA First Steps (1997) was created to help teachers deal with challenges in English, Mathematics and Physical Education. First Steps provides maps of developments in different areas of study, so teachers can evaluate student’s progress and observe student individual needs.

Sample 1: (Appendix 1)
Sample 1, known as Nelson, was born in Australia. His first language is English, followed by Cantonese (spoken to parents and elders). Nelson was ten years of age at the time of this writing sample. Looking at WA First Steps Developmental Continuum (1997), Nelson would be placed in Phase 4: Conventional Writing. The Conventional Writing Phase is where children make less spelling mistakes and are familiar with the writing process modeled and explained by educators. In this sample piece, Nelson has produced an independent writing piece of a short narrative domain. This shows that Nelson is able to select forms of writing to suit different purposes (WA First Steps, 1997).Nelson has shown ability to choose his own topic which is an important step in Calkin’s(1986) process writing. Nelson has shown the ability to write in chronological order that is, “writing from one point in time to another.” (Emily Kissner, 2012). Nelson’s writing sample shows words that sound similar such as “Hair” and “Everywhere,” “Hive” and “Flies.” This shows Nelson’s knowledge of rhyming words. Nelson shows some use of narrative structure that is beginning, middle and end of a story. Nelson begins to write the beginning, giving the audience a brief description of his character, he has included a cause and effect and an ending. Nelson is competent in using capital letters and full stops where needed. Nelson, however, contradicts his text by writing the man has been stung by a bee, and then he has never been stung. Looking at the VELS Achievement Levels (2011), Nelson would be categorized in Level 3. Nelson shows some use of writing strategies such as editing. He corrected his spelling from “Suddenely” to “Suddenly.” Nelson attempts to spell an unknown word “Clappsed,” this shows use of phonemic awareness, by being able to sound out the first and last letters of the word of “Collapsed.” ADD IMAGE Text conventions Nelson shows is writing directionality left to right, return sweep top to bottom and spaces between words and lines. (Hill, 2012, p. 323) Next steps for Nelson would be to revise his work, and also proof-reading, looking at punctuation, using quotation marks when needed. Educators can assist Nelson with these next steps by having a “conference” with him, going through his writing together and suggesting, not correcting areas for possible improvements and asking questions (Cooper, Kiger & Robinson, 2012, p. 336) such as: * Has Joe been stung by a bee before? It says here that he has and then it says that he hasn’t. This question would make Nelson aware of proof-reading his work again and making changes. During this time of conferencing with Nelson, the educator should praise Nelson’s attempt to spell collapsed and assist him to make corrections. Educators can also...
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