In the online exemplars for narrative assessment, there are a string of stories about a boy called Finn who is becoming increasingly involved in the class’s writing time. His interests are drawn on by the teacher and he is supported individually to engage in this time.
I particularly liked the reflective ‘conclusion’ to this series of learning stories about Finn’s developing interest in writing and ability to use this as a skill. The approach and the breakdown are revealing, communicative, and purposeful.
“You are a writer Finn!
Reflection – what these stories exemplify
These stories show Finn communicating his ideas through writing. They also show he understands that words can convey a message (using language, symbols, and texts).
Finn is becoming motivated to write and is able to organise himself to participate in the class writing routines (managing self).
How might these stories strengthen Finn’s identity as a learner?
This string of learning stories describes how Finn is becoming motivated to write stories more often. He writes about real experiences that are important to him (agency, continuity). Finn is discovering that he can find words in a variety of places around the room to aid his writing (depth).
For more information on the four dimensions of agency, breadth, continuity, and depth (ABCDs), refer to Narrative assessment: a guide for teachers.
Level 1 English
Through participating in the daily writing programme, Finn is working within the strand Speaking, Writing, and Presenting. He is developing his written skills to create meaning and is beginning to recognise sounds and high frequency words.
What does this tell us about teaching and learning in this setting?
The classroom offers a supportive learning environment where Finn’s needs have been recognised and catered for. In planning programmes, the teacher has taken into account his personal interests to support and motivate him.
Time has been made available to work with Finn on a one-to-one basis, as well as in small groups. This will ensure that he has sufficient opportunities to learn.
Reflective questions for the reader
“How can I use peer support to assist with Finn’s learning?”
“How do I fully use the teacher aide’s skills to continue and strengthen Finn’s writing programme?”
“Have I fully examined what resources are available to support Finn’s learning?”
Janney, R., & Snell, M. E. (c2004). Modifying schoolwork (2nd ed.). Baltimore: P.H. Brookes Pub.
Janney, R., & Snell, M. E. (c2006). Social relationships and peer support [Part of the set Teachers’ guides to inclusive practices] (2nd ed.). Baltimore, Md.: Paul H. Brookes Pub. Co.
Ministry of Education. (2003). Effective literacy practice in years 1 to 4. Wellington: Learning Media.