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Amy writes her name

Reflection - what these stories exemplify

exemplar wheel

Key competencies

There is clear evidence of Amy’s thinking as she develops the links between reading and writing. She initiates language, which is extended by the teacher into a simple sentence. Amy is able to read the sentence back, correctly matching one-to-one (thinking).

These stories show that Amy is making sense of written language. She understands the communicative effect of the written word and is keen to master skills in the areas of reading and writing (using language, symbols, and texts).

These stories demonstrate Amy’s active involvement in her class with her peers and class teacher. She seeks feedback and is beginning to self-evaluate (participating and contributing).

How might this string of stories strengthen Amy’s identity as a learner?

Amy is actively involved in her learning. She values her achievement and independence as she becomes a reader and a writer. Amy understands that the written form of her name represents her and is a part of her identity (agency).

This skill of writing is practised with a range of materials across settings. Amy is now able to identify items as belonging to her by reading her name (breadth).

Once she has mastered the task, Amy is keen to repeat it. The first thing she now does when given a piece of paper is to write her name on it. Legibility and neatness continue to improve with practise (continuity).

As Amy’s skill and confidence improves, she is attempting to write other words. She likes to practise writing letters on the whiteboard with the class. She is also practising writing at home and is keen to share this learning with her family. She is able to write her name in a variety of situations (depth).

For more information on the four dimensions of agency, breadth, continuity, and depth (ABCDs), refer to Narrative assessment: a guide for teachers.

Learning areas

Level 1 English

Amy is aware of the links between reading and writing and she is learning to use a personal content word (her name) to create meaning. Amy’s success in writing her name is highly motivating and she is a keen participant in these foundation literacy activities.

Effective pedagogy

What does this tell us about teaching and learning in this setting?

Amy’s inclusion is highly valued. Supportive relationships between peers are encouraged by the teacher. The environment is organised to provide opportunities for positive interaction, with meaningful tasks for all students. The teacher, supported by the teacher aide, encourages a culture where Amy and the other children are independent learners within the social context of the classroom (creating a supportive learning environment).

Teaching is carefully scaffolded. The challenge now is to physically form letters. As Amy develops the skills to print her name independently, she uses her prior knowledge of the letter sequence of her name (making connections to prior learning and experience).

Printing her name is a meaningful and relevant skill for Amy, which can be applied across a range of different settings. She enjoys sharing her successes with peers, teachers, and family. In doing so, she is enhancing her verbal communication skills (enhancing the relevance of new learning).

Amy is a motivated learner who always completes printing lessons with the class. Assessment shows Amy understands the meaning of basic print concepts. The IEP goal of writing her name remains meaningful, as there is still the need to improve legibility. The variety of tasks is motivating for Amy and other students also requiring additional support in this area are encouraged by the class teacher to join her. While Amy is fully included within the class programme, her teacher provides additional specific activities to help Amy achieve her learning goals (providing sufficient opportunities to learn).

Reflective questions for the reader

“Have I offered my students as wide a variety of appropriate formats for practising their new learning as is possible?”

“Do I provide many opportunities for my students to present and share their new learning with all the members of their learning community? Does the sharing include the stories, art work, constructions, and so on?”

Useful resources

Ministry of Education. (2003). Effective literacy practice in years 1 to 4. Wellington: Learning Media.