Writing at Estcourt
Writing is a key aspect of the curriculum and along with reading, speaking and listening, including oracy, it makes a significant contribution to the development of children as thinkers and learners. It is a central part of the academy’s role that all pupils develop their writing ability and enjoy the process of cultivating this lifelong skill. At Estcourt Primary Academy we strive to provide children with exciting, purposeful and inspiring contexts in which to become writers. This strategy aims to ensure that there is coherence, continuity and progression within our teaching throughout the school.
We aim to:
- Nurture the children’s sense of themselves as writers
- Create an ethos of achievement in writing
- Encourage children to become enthusiastic, confident and reflective writers
- Provide purposeful writing opportunities where children write for a variety of audiences
- Enable children to independently produce high quality writing across all curriculum areas
- Encourage children to play with language and write for pleasure
- Ensure children can write using a legible, joined script.
In particular our teaching of writing will increase children’s abilities to:
Write imaginative, interesting and thoughtful texts
- Produce texts which are appropriate to task, reader and purpose
- Organise and present whole texts effectively, sequencing and structuring information, ideas and events
- Construct paragraphs and use cohesion within and between paragraphs
- Vary sentences for clarity, purpose and effect
- Write with grammatical accuracy
- Experiment with adventurous and effective vocabulary which are appropriate
- Apply their understanding of phonics and spelling rules to all forms of writing
Strategy to develop writing:
KS1 and KS2
Estcourt Primary Academy, we believe that effective writing is developed through eight key elements.
Each of the elements outlined must be evident throughout the writing journey. Teachers will outline this journey in a medium term plan which may change to address the needs of the children as their writing journey moves forward. See Appendix B.
The 8 elements of writing
- Modelling is an important part of the writing process where children get to observe and learn from how expert writers think about the writing process.
- During modelled writing, the teacher thinks aloud while writing and models strategies in front of the children, communicating the strategies being used.
- Teachers may model writing skills such as punctuating, rehearsing, proof reading, editing, word selection, sentence construction and paragraphing.
- This strategy can also be used in guided writing groups and should be used more frequently than modelled writing.
- In shared writing, the teacher skilfully invites contributions from the children and teaches writing skills such as rehearsal, proof reading and editing, and production of a final draft.
- Shared writing should be focused around smaller pieces of text in order to ensure that the focus is on the quality of the writing and deeper learning can take place around more focused content.
- The teacher and children should have a clear aim at the start of the shared writing process: the purpose of the sentence or paragraph and its effect should be made clear.
- In order to enthuse and capture children’s imaginations to want to write purposeful pieces for a wide variety of audiences, all writing units will start with hook/Immersion. This element of the sequence will give children the necessary desire and knowledge of content to be able to write high quality pieces of writing.
- Children’s prior experiences, knowledge and interests should all be taken into account when planning and ensure that children are not disadvantaged through a lack of the above outside of school.
- There is no expectation as to what the hook/immersion should be presented as; however, opportunities for speaking and listening, drama, research, ICT, debate, Talk for Writing etc. are all ideal vehicles in which should be used to immerse children into their writing.
- Good speaking and listening skills are crucial to the development of writing. Drama and role play opportunities are provided prior to writing. Teachers also plan for talking opportunities through drama, talk partners and group discussion to enable children to verbally rehearse their ideas before writing.
Understanding and applying genre specific grammar.
- Wherever possible, grammatical terms should be implemented within teaching in shared and modelled writing sessions.
- Grammatical terms that are specific to the genre should be taught within the journey of writing.
- If terms do not lend themselves to the writing journey, then every effort should be made to teach these explicitly in separate grammar lessons.
Understanding and applying genre specific features
- Each unit will incorporate a focus around the features of the genre specific texts.
- Children will be presented with a variety of opportunities to engage with, analyse, and discuss the genre specific features that make up the unit.
- Children should see these features used across a variety of texts within the genre and be able to evaluate their effect and purpose, so that they can make informed decisions when creating their own piece of writing.
- A WAGOLL may be used but this should be used carefully, avoiding over-reliance.
- Comparing two OR more opening WAGOLL paragraphs is an effective way to show a range of writing structures that will enable children to develop their own authorial voice.
- Editing and Redrafting are considered essential elements of the writing process.
- Editing will often have a focus on syntax, spelling and basic punctuation; whereas, redrafting will have a more prominent focus around the vocabulary, composition and cohesion of the piece.
- Both of these elements need to be modelled to children frequently in order for children to observe expert writers improving their own work.
- In shared writing sessions, children will discuss and debate the editing process and its effect.
- We believe that writing should be purposeful and children should have a final product in their writing that they take pride in.
- At the beginning of the unit, an example of the purpose of their writing will be shared with the class and placed on display for children to refer to throughout the unit.
- Children should be given regular opportunities at all points throughout the unit to write independently.
- There is an expectation that in each unit children will write at length, and the amount of this is at the discretion of the teacher dependent on the type of text and child.
- Independent work can still take into account feedback from peers and adults as long as children are making decisions for themselves about the content and structure of their work.
Planning and assessment in writing
Sequencing of lessons
The sequencing of these elements will vary dependent on the year group, genre and ongoing assessment and there is no preferred sequence, leaving this to the discretion of the class teacher. There is, however, an expectation that all units will start with hook and immersion and will end with publication.
The academy adapt a feedforward approach to feedback in writing. Research has found that marking consumes too much time and productivity and focuses on past work which cannot be changed. Instead, teachers will read through every book on a daily basis and make notes in their feedforward journal on
- Children producing excellent work and why
- Students who may need more support
- Common misconceptions/errors
- Spellings and other details such as presentation.
- Concepts to reteach or reinforce.
Teachers will the use this information to continue to plan and deliver effective writing lessons. The effectiveness of the lessons planning and feedforward assessment is monitored by the leadership team. Examples of feedforward planning can be found in appendix A.
Marking and feedback:
Whilst the children are working independently, staff should use this opportunity to live-mark. Live-marking is marking what is good on the children’s work in a green highlighter. Any work that has not been live-marked, should have at least the learning objective swiped or dotted as necessary.
Marking for editing process
After/during the session, staff should use a yellow highlighter to address spelling, punctuation and grammar issues.
Spelling – Underlined/Dot
Punctuation – Circled
Grammar - Squared
Y1/2 – Spellings underlined and then written by the teacher at the bottom of the work, Grammar to be squared and then addressed by the child and Punctuation to be circled and then addressed.
Y3/4 – Spellings underlined and addressed independently, Grammar to be squared and then addressed by the child and Punctuation to be circled and then addressed.
Y5/6 – A dot for spelling at start of the line. A square at the start of the line for grammar. A circle at the start of the line for punctuation.
Alongside the Feedforward approach, the academy assesses children’s work for basic skills at the end of each journey. These assessment sheets are stuck at the back of the children’s exercise books. For an example of the academy’s assessment sheets see Appendix C.
Celebration and Recognition
The academy takes every opportunity to ensure that writing is celebrated inside the classroom and one piece of writing each journey will be displayed on the Writing Working Wall.
Within the classroom and throughout the writing process teachers will celebrate a range of elements from children either to show good practise or to discuss ways to improve. Finding lots of opportunities to celebrate will help to develop the confidence of children within the process.
The writing working wall should include examples of key vocabulary that the children will need during the current journey, will showcase good work from the previous journey and include year specific punctuation and grammatical terms.
A finished published example should be presented on the display wall so that children have a clear idea about what their own publication could/should look like.
See appendix D for an example.
Developing Writing Skills in the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS)
Writing down ideas fluently depends on effective transcription: that is, spelling quickly and accurately through knowing the relationship between sounds and letters (phonics) and understanding the morphology (word structure) and orthography (spelling structure) of words. This understanding begins in EYFS through daily, high quality phonics lessons.
In the Foundation Stage, children are encouraged to attempt their own emergent writing and their efforts are valued and celebrated. As their phonic knowledge increases, so does their ability to write independently. At the same time, their knowledge of key words is supported through reading and writing activities, including shared reading and writing. Legible letter formation is explicitly taught and modelled on a daily basis. A wide variety of opportunities are provided for children to engage in writing activities and independently apply their phonic skills through role play, creative activities, computing and the outdoor area.