Our children are taught all aspects of Writing in class groups. Any child who has achieved year group expectations in class is then given the opportunity to work on these objectives in greater depth.
Planning for the Curriculum
National curriculum objectives are placed in our long term planning, to ensure there is adequate coverage throughout the year. Content is determined by the National Curriculum, and by our gap analysis, based on half termly summative assessments. We incorporate daily “Closing the Gap” teaching (based on formative assessments). Individual curriculum targets can be found in the front of every child’s topic book, and these are monitored by the children and teacher. Targets are signed off when there is sufficient evidence. Evidence is gathered via observation, marking and feedback and from evidence in “Assessment for Learning” books.
Our children benefit from a structured writing process, which includes 3 phrases:
Phase 1 – Familiarisation: Identifying and annotating features of the text type.
Phase 2 – Capture ideas and write sentences through modelled/shared writing.
Phase 3 – Teacher scribing, supported independent writing and editing.
Vocabulary, Grammar and Punctuation are taught as a block of work, or on a set day each week if preferred.
The national curriculum states that by the end of Key Stage Two, all children should be able to spell the word-lists for years 3 and 4 and years 5 and 6 as these are statutory. The lists are a mixture of words pupils frequently use in their writing and those which they often misspell. Some of the listed words may be thought of as quite challenging, but the 100 words in each list can easily be taught within the four years of key stage 2 alongside other words that teachers consider appropriate.
All children have a weekly spelling test made up of words teachers consider appropriate to each individual child and in line with year group expectations. In addition to this, children are tested on a half-termly basis on the words from the Statutory spelling lists.
On a daily basis, children are encouraged to use dictionaries in class to support their spelling in independent work. If a child misspells a word that the teacher considers they should be able to spell, then they are asked to correct it.
Handwriting is taught as a whole class in Year 3, with children given the opportunity to apply their skills independently throughout all lessons. Whole class handwriting sessions are phased out as the children progress through school but there are still very high expectations set by all teaching staff with regard to handwriting and presentation in books. Children with poor handwriting skills are given additional support through targeted interventions.
Writing skills are used in other areas of the curriculum at Forest View. Applying in this way encourages learning at greater depth. For example, during science and history topics, children may be asked to write a report on a science experiment they have done, or a paragraph on the clothes that the Egyptians wore. In D.T. children may write a set of instructions as to how they made their pop-up Christmas card. During theme weeks such as, “Enterprise Week” children produce written work related to the theme; letters of persuasion, newspaper reports. Cross-curricular writing is displayed across school and opportunities are identified in Year group Curriculum Maps.
Our aims in all of the writing we teach in school are to: acquire a wide vocabulary, an understanding of grammar and knowledge of linguistic conventions for reading, writing and spoken language, and to write clearly, accurately and coherently, adapting language and style in and for a range of contexts, purposes and audiences.
We teach by firstly immersing the children in the text type and all its features and following this, we model the whole thought process from gathering ideas to forming, editing and improving sentences/paragraphs or writing.
Differentiation can be seen in all writing sessions, and children have the opportunity to move through “Must, Should, Could,” targets daily. Children are not moved on to new content until they are secure in what they are learning. The “Should” target always reflects what children “Should” be doing based on age related expectations, while the Could target will provide opportunity to learn the same objective at greater depth. Therefore, if a child has achieved “Should” objective, they may begin the following session on “Could” target.
Interventions are provided for children during school time. Fixed interventions are carried out with a specific group of children, following a pre- designed programme. Flexible interventions aim to ensure progress for any children who have not understood an element of writing being taught that day/ week. The aim is to ensure at least good progress is made. After school booster sessions are provided for year six children, to prepare them for their Vocabulary, Grammar and Punctuation SATs tests in May.
Our gifted writers write for the monthly community magazine with an update on School news.
The methods and strategies used to teach Writing are having a positive impact on learning. At the end of the summer term 2016, 81% of our Year 6 children met the expected standard, which was well above the national average figure.
Writing at Forest View is constantly evolving, as we face the challenges of new assessment procedures and the new curriculum. This year we will be working alongside the Adastra partnership and the FORGE Trust.
Please click each of the Drop Down Bars to view all detail on the different categories of teaching methods with regard to Writing, Spelling, Vocabulary, Grammar and Punctuation.