This year I have been faced with a significant number of difficult students in my class. Let’s face it, no class is a ‘breeze’. There are individual nooks and crannies to every single student, however the Year 2 class I am teaching in 2015 seem to present a myriad of ‘specialities’.
Trying to get my Year 2 students to write is challenging. I have a student with Oppositional Defiance Disorder (ODD), who needs physical stimulation, eg a trampoline, massage, yoga, roller-board to shift his ‘writing brain’ into action. Despite his Occupational Therapist providing me with a wide range of suggestions – some days there is no progress made – the ‘Defiance’ part of his diagnoses comes into play, well and truly!
Add to this mix a boy who has autism and hates any fine motor activities, a girl who has super low processing speed, a boy who has the attention span of a gnat…it’s really like any regular classroom.
Trying to write descriptions last week was my chance to really find out what I could expect from these students. I started with a 3 step process:
I decided to eliminate the editing stage, to try and build that success. I helped edit briefly, but wanted to show the children that publishing work is fun and something to be proud of.
We used this template to brainstorm words to describe our lunchbox. I then modelled how to write the words into sentences as a whole group activity. Once the students had written their sentences, it was time to publish.
Using the iPads, students worked in pairs to use PicCollage to describe their lunchboxes. I gave (and modelled) the following instructions:
- Take a photo of your partner with their lunchbox.
- Open PicCollage and add the photo of your partner.
- Add text boxes with your descriptive sentences.
- Change the background etc.
There were a few types of students – those who completed all three stages with ease. Others who did the planning, but found the drafting too draining. There were others who planned and drafted, but weren’t overly interested in publishing – they’d prefer to spend their iPad time doing whatever they like, rather than a set task.
It was a fabulous activity to include all students.
What other strategies/apps do you use to encourage reluctant writers?