Implementation (KS1 & KS2)
How We Teach Writing at The Avenue: KS1 and KS2
We believe that having ideas, understanding how to use grammatical constructs to turn these ideas into meaning, and bringing this meaning to life through authorial language choice are essential in enabling children to communicate effectively. We ensure children are immersed in a flourishing environment that values speaking, listening and the development of language as a vital part of the writing process. We use Jane Considine’s The Write Stuff methodology to ensure pupils are explicitly taught the craft of writing.
Learning to Write
Teaching sequences include experience days and sentence stacking lessons, that have modelling at the heart of them.
Sentences are taught under the structural framework of The Writing Rainbow teachers prepare children for writing by modelling for the ideas, grammar and techniques of writing
The Ideas of Writing: Feeling, Asking, Noticing, Touching, Action, Smelling, Tasting, Imagining, Checking
The Grammar of Writing: Adverbials and adverbial forms, Basics (word classes), Complex sentences, Dialogue and contracted forms, Structure and style, Purpose, Paragraphs, Passive or Active voice, Past and present tense, Punctuation
The Techniques of Writing: Simile*, Alliteration*, Rhyme*, Onomatopoeia*, Repetition*, Personification, Pun, Symbolism, Pathetic Fallacy, Metaphor (*KS1 are introduced to these; KS2 are taught all)
- Experience lessons stimulate ideas, and are used thoughtfully to further generate ideas and vocabulary for writing
- Each Sentence Stacking lesson is organised into three learning chunks to stimulate, model and enable pupils to build clear and progressively rich language alongside contextualised application of specific writing objectives
- Each sentence stacking lesson is based around another ‘plot point’ for narrative, or part of the ‘shape’ for non-fiction genres
Initiate: teacher shares a stimulus e.g. Film clip picture, drama; word gathering and discussion; ‘chotting’ – pupils chat and jot words they want to use in their exercise books/whiteboards
Modelling: the teacher does demonstration writing, explicitly explaining choices of words etc, using 2-3 lenses from the Writing Rainbow, modelling thesaurus thinking – to write three sentences, using vocabulary gathered in the initiate stage
Enable: Being clear about the sentence idea, the children are then asked to write their sentences sticking to the clear criteria. The children have their ‘chottings’ to support their word choices.
For every sentence written: children need to think about the IDEA of writing and the INTENT – e.g. positive or negative – that will affect word choice.
Pupils apply their learning from the sentence stacking lessons to a new task based around the text/genre. They plan, choose lenses from the writing rainbow and write independently, using the vocabulary they have gathered, and examples of sentences structures and generic features they have learnt. Pupils are given the opportunity to practice writing in a range of styles and genres.
During the Independent Write it is crucial that children’s errors or amendments are highlighted directly but in a way that expects the children to use their knowledge and understanding to address. The final part of the writing process looks at revision of what has been crafted.
The suggested approach is to interrogate the writing in three ways. Teachers introduce and use this code to encourage pupils to edit their work:
- E1 = Revise - spelling, punctuation
- E2= Rewrite i.e. a *sentence is re-written by the child (no guidance is given regarding why it needs a rewrite)
- E3= Re-imagine ...tell me more- write additional sentences or sentences
Pupils have to check their work and make decisions about what needs to be revised, rewritten or reimagined.
Support and Challenge
The use of a visual narrative or shape map in the classroom for sentence stacking lessons, the structured explicit nature of those lessons, and the writing rainbow supports weaker writers. More able writers are encouraged to ‘deepen the moment’, and to extend detail or make independent choices in the sentence stacking lessons and in independent work, using their knowledge of the writing rainbow.
Choice of text
The fiction books used as stimulus for may be linked to history, geography or science. For non-fiction pieces, the stimulus is also used as a model. Some units are chosen for exposure to a range of genres.
Cross curricular opportunities
By the end of KS2, most genres of writing are familiar to pupils and teaching can focus on creativity, writer’s craft, sustained writing and manipulation of grammar and punctuation skills when writing in other areas of the curriculum.
Monitoring progress in writing
We carefully monitor children’s writing progress regularly; during the sentence stacking lessons, and after each independent write, so we can ensure they are supported and challenged in the right way. This information is used to help teachers plan learning that will meet the needs of all children, helping them make the best possible progress.
We use No More Marking as part of the Acorn Trust assessment schedule, which allows us to use comparative judgement, another way to inform our understanding about how pupils are progressing in their writing.