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Free Sample: Murray Gadd Reads & Writes from “Our Granny” for Year 2-4 students

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In this episode of ‘Building Excitement, Engagement and Achievement in Writing with Dr. Murray Gadd’, we watch Murray reading and writing from “Our Granny” written by Margaret Wild.

This video is primarily aimed at Year 2-4 students. It was originally broadcast by Murray on YouTube during the Covid-19 lockdown (March & April 2020)

Scroll down for the video or click here

“Our Granny” – Purpose:

The purpose for this lesson is for students to write about a person who is special to them and make them ‘come live’.  This might include what they look like; what they like to do; what you and the person like to do together. It will probably be part of a series of reading and writing lessons in which students explore characters. 

Teacher Notes

I move through six set steps of writing instruction in this lesson:

  • Introducing the topic: Introducing the text and linking it to my special person (my grandma) and a person who might be special to them. I also encourage them to think of their special person as we read.  Why do I introduce the text in this way?
  • Developing content for writing. I read and discuss the text with students, often by putting in my own personal little comments (about my grandma) as I read, and encouraging them to think about their person as I read.  Why do you think I do this?
  • Developing a task for writing. Now that we have read the book, what shall we write about?  ‘Let’s see if we can make our special person come alive for a reader.  We might need to think about what they look like, what they like to do and what we like to do together.’  
  • Demonstrating how to get ready for writing: I record the three headings (‘look like’, ‘do’, ‘do together’), think aloud about my grandma in relation to the three headings, draw my grandma and record some of the key words around her.  Note how I sound out some of the key words and mention spelling patterns that go with them. ‘Now I think I’m ready to write’
  • Establishing criteria for writing: What will we have to be good at as writers to do this task well? Note how I record the criteria as pictures/icons at the bottom of the modelling sheet: ‘adding detail’; ‘using descriptive words’; ‘re-reading and making changes’.
  • Differentiating the group. Although I don’t differentiate in this lesson, I probably would in a ‘real’ classroom (rather than my front room). I would invite or direct students to either move off to begin writing about their special person independently (having told me what person they’ve chosen and how they’re going to start) or remain with me to ‘help me get started so I can help you get started’.  This is the group that I would do my shared writing/modelling with and it would normally be my strugglers or reluctant writers. 

Note within my modelling how I:

  • Decide where and how I’m going to start from my planning ideas;
  • Think aloud my first sentence and record it accordingly.  This includes ‘teaching’ a sentence formation rule (‘My grandma and I’) and suggesting options for how to record ideas;
  • Apply my knowledge of word sounds and transfer words from the planning to the text as I record the sentence; 
  • Make changes to the text by adding detail and ‘putting on my teacher’s hat’ to make a spelling change;
  • Return to the criteria to check whether we’ve been successful.

I then encourage students to think further about their special person and begin planning and writing just as I have done.

This lesson may be undertaken over several time periods, not necessarily following each other.  It may be, for example, that you read and discuss the text on one day, but return to it for analysis, discussion and writing the next day. 

You might also want to use one of the junior Anthony Browne books (‘My Mum’, ‘My Dad’, ‘My Brother’) for this lesson.

You might want to use this video in several ways.

You might want to use it just to give yourself a good idea for a writing lesson, or just to remind yourself what you need to do in an effective writing lesson.

Or you might want to share all or part of it with your students to motivate them as writers.  For example, you might want to move through Steps 1-5 with the whole class, but do your own modelling (Step 6) with a small selected group.


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