The teaching of writing
The Pie Corbett approach is used across the school when appropriate, beginning towards the end of EYFS.
When used, this follows the ‘imitate’ – ‘innovate’ – ‘invent’ cycle and can include these defined steps:
- Set an independent ‘cold’ writing task to identify what the children can already do and what they need to develop – minimal teacher input
- Create a plan to address the gaps and areas to develop identified following marking of the cold task
- Create or find a model text, which includes language features and grammar that needs to be learnt (WAGOLL modelling)
- Learn the model text off by heart, including actions to help fully internalise the text and a story map to prompt pupils (particularly for emerging writers and unfamiliar language)
- Teach children specific writing skills/text elements, through modelling, working walls and shared writing
- Pupils write a new text based on the model text making targeted changes to practise using key features and skills
- Complete an independent ‘hot’ task following all input into a particular style /genre of writing to capture progress and potentially identify new areas for learning
The full cycle will not always be used and text types will be revisited at a later date to provide pupils with opportunities to apply their knowledge fully independently.
We use an app called ‘Pocket Punctuation’ that contains clear and consistent explanations of key punctuation terms, teaching activities and progressive examples in a defined teaching sequence. This is used to ensure that children receive consistent explanations regarding grammar and that progress expectations are clear. KS2 pupils all also have individual grammar workbooks that are used throughout the year for focused grammar homework tasks to practise key skills.
Writing is high profile across the school and is celebrated in display. In every class there is a writing wall with an individual space for each child. This is updated termly to represent their progress. If pupils have not made progress then their space is not updated and it is clear who needs additional focus. There is a set colour for each term. The work builds up over the years giving pupils the chance to see how they have progressed. Looking back at their work is something they enjoy sharing with parents during our termly open classroom sessions.
We use the PENPALS handwriting scheme to support pupils to develop a fluid joined style. This scheme gives some flexibility regarding which letter to join and when children start joining so that each child can develop their handwriting at an appropriate pace alongside their physical development.
Across the school you will also see
- Dynamic grouping to ensure that teaching responds to previous learning/errors
- Lessons with a spelling, grammar, and punctuation focus to pick up on gaps identified from marking and other assessments e.g. termly writing assessments. In KS2, this is recorded in English books and applied in a Curriculum book within cross-curricular writing
- Working walls or display work representing the current learning of the class with a good writing model and aspirational vocabulary available for reference
- For extended pieces of writing, checklists are given as success criteria: KS1 focus more on the basic writing skills (e.g. capital letters and full stops) whereas KS2 include features related to purpose and audience
- Editing is an important part of writing across the school which is evident in books (See below)
Some elements of the teaching of writing are phase-specific:
Opportunities for emergent writing and mark making in all areas of the provision e.g. role play area, chalking outside, whiteboards.
EYFS & KS1
- Daily writing and the application of phonics as part of the RWI session and encouraged during other writing activities
- Alternatives to writing planning (e.g. use of flashcards and storyboards) are in place to support emergent / lower writers
- Purple Polishing Pencils are used by children to self-assess and edit their work
- Writing targets are given to individuals on post-its where needed and are displayed on the classroom writing wall to remind pupils
- At times cumulative writing activities are used where a longer piece is worked on over several days with feedback provided after each session this process focusses on editing and improving
- Children edit their work within a lesson using pen or pencil, however they respond to marking prompts using their Purple Polishing Pens