At Bishop Wilson, we expect that each child will achieve the highest level of which he or she is capable in each of the four elements of English: Speaking, Listening, Reading and Writing. In line with the National Curriculum, we promote high standards of language and literacy by equipping pupils with a strong command of the spoken and written word by ensuring all pupils:
- acquire a wide vocabulary, an understanding of grammar and knowledge of linguistic conventions for reading, writing and spoken language,
- write clearly, accurately and coherently, adapting their language and style in and for a range of contexts, purposes and audiences,
- use discussion in order to learn; they should be able to elaborate and explain clearly their understanding and ideas,
- are competent in the arts of speaking and listening, making formal presentations, demonstrating to others and participating in debate.
Pie Corbett’s Talk for Writing teaching sequence informs the teaching of Writing lessons and writing across the curriculum. Talk for Writing advocates that children imitate the key language needed for a particular genre orally, before reading and analysing it. Learning texts orally is a powerful tool for helping children internalise language and story patterns. The use of story maps (a visual representation) and actions (kinaesthetic) helps children become familiar with storytelling, using expression, and rhythm. Overtime, children build their bank of well-known texts and acquire language which enables them to become inventive and experimental with words to create their own pieces of writing.
The Learning Journey
Baseline Assessment: Each unit begins with a baseline assessment called the ‘Cold Write’. An interesting and rich starting point provides the stimulus and content. The aim is to identify what children can do independently at the start of a unit, drawing on their prior learning. This baseline highlights what needs to be taught and creates learning objectives for the whole class, small groups and individuals.
Imitation Stage: Teaching begins with a creative ‘hook’ to engage pupils with a sense of enjoyment, audience and purpose. The model text is introduced to the children in the form of a story map, allowing them to internalise the underlying structure, language patterns and transferrable skills which they need when they are independently writing. During this time, the classroom is an immersive, stimulating environment where all children are warming up words, phrases, sentence patterns and grammar to develop comprehension and understanding of the model text. The children become text detectives as they ‘read as a reader’ seeing the model text in the written form. This is an enjoyable experience for all children, as less confident readers have internalised the text and can read confidently with fluency and expression. To support the transition into innovating, the children must understand the underlying structure of the text and recognise the tools that have been used to make the writing effective as they begin to ‘read as a writer’. Together, the class co-construct their writer’s toolkit and box up the text which will help them plan their own writing.
Innovation Stage: Once the children have internalised the text, they are ready to apply the skills in a structured manner. The genre of writing will remain the same, but the stimulus will change. Younger or less confident writers will plan their independent writing by altering the existing story map and orally rehearsing sentences. Older and more confident writers use the boxing up structure to organise their ideas. Opportunities for shared writing throughout this stage is the priority as teachers’ model how to use transferrable skills from the text and strengthen the toolkit. Teachers demonstrate the importance of reading work aloud, thus helping children to generate better, more effective vocabulary. This is a great opportunity for children to share and ‘magpie’ ideas as well as carry out self and peer assessment.
Independent Application: At the end of each unit, the children produce a ‘Hot Write’ which is a chance for them to apply their newly acquired skills in an independent piece of writing. It is an opportunity for children to be imaginative, creative and effective writers with a clear focus on audience and purpose. It is important that throughout each stage, writing becomes increasingly independent of the original model. Whilst EYFS and KS1 may only make a few simple changes, older pupils should be adding, embellishing, altering and manipulating the original structure. From Key Stage 2 onwards, almost all children will be using the text structure and writing tools to write; drawing on the model, their wider reading and experience so that they are writing independently at a high level. For teachers, this stage continues to focus on the next steps for all children in order to support progress. Teachers and children continue to work together to set individual targets which focus on areas for development. Children use purple ‘polishing pens’ to up level their work based on teacher and peer feedback and will publish their work so that it can be displayed and enjoyed by a wider audience.