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English - Writing

TALK FOR WRITING AT KINGSMOOR LOWER SCHOOL 

 

At Kingsmoor Lower School we use Talk For Writing to support our text based approach to the English curriculum. Talk For Writing was developed by the author Pie Corbett and is a fun, creative, yet also rigorous approach to developing writers.

 

The Talk for Writing approach enables children to read and write independently for a variety of audiences and purposes within different subjects. A key feature is that children internalise the language structures needed to write through ‘talking the text’, as well as close reading. The approach moves from dependence towards independence, with the teacher using shared and guided teaching to develop the ability in children to write creatively and powerfully.

 

INTENT

Through the use of carefully selected fiction, non-fiction and poetry texts, we strive to develop our children's love of reading, writing and discussion by creating a curriculum that encourages them to become excited and engaged with English.  By embedding the English skills and knowledge in every lesson and within the wider curriculum, we endeavour to nurture the children's understanding of the value of English to them now and in their futures.

 

We aim to enable our children to:

  • Enjoy quality experiences that will enhance their knowledge, skills and understanding
  • Be enthusiastic and critical readers of stories, poetry and drama as well as non-fiction
  • Become lifelong learners as readers and writers through Talk for Writing.
  • Explore global issues through writing (for example, persuasive writing and spoken language)
  • Write with confidence, fluency and understanding, orchestrating a range of independent strategies to self-monitor and correct
  • Write a range of text types (fiction and non-fiction) and in a range of genres and be able to write in a variety of styles and form appropriate to the situation
  • Increase their ability to use planning and drafting to improve their work
  • Use a variety of mediums to express their written ideas, e.g. ICT and Drama.

 

IMPLEMENTATION

At Kingsmoor, writing is taught in a cross-curricular way, so that the subject specific skills are often scaffolded within a theme or context each half term or term. This is done by making natural links with other areas of the curriculum which enhance and complement our topic learning. Teachers plan and tailor units of work and lessons to address the specific individual needs but also take into account the interests of pupils so that everyone has the opportunity to reach their full potential regardless of their starting point.

 

Pupils are taught the craft of writing using a variety of stimuli such as film clips, photos, artefacts as well as carefully selected books and texts. Pupils are supported to move towards independent writing through a range of activities including discussion, modelling, shared and guided writing as well as peer and self-editing. The teaching of writing focuses on the skills of writing and the development of sophisticated vocabulary as well as the author’s intent. We encourage the pupils to see themselves as authors, considering the purpose of the text, the audience and justifying the choices they make. To promote the status of written work, we provide opportunities for pupils to publish their work on our phase home learning page or by creating their own books that can be shared in school.

 

Initial Assessment

Teaching is focused by initial assessment. Generally, teachers use what is known as a ‘cold’ task or a ‘have a go’ task. An interesting and rich starting point provides the stimulus and content but there is no initial teaching. The aim of this is to see what the children can do independently at the start of a unit, drawing on their prior learning. Assessment of their writing helps the teacher work out what to teach the whole class or where to target different groups as well as allowing them to adapt the model text and plan more appropriately for their class. Targets can then be set for individuals, groups or the whole class.

 

The three phases of writing instruction are:

   

 

 

Imitation - Telling a Story

Each Talk for Writing unit starts with enjoying and sharing stories. The teaching begins with some sort of creative ‘hook’ which engages the pupils, often with a sense of enjoyment, audience and purpose. Children then learn to tell a story off by heart. They tell the story with expression and actions. The model text is pitched well above the pupils’ level and has built into it the underlying, transferable structures and language patterns that students will need when they are writing. This is learned using a ‘text map’ and actions to strengthen memory and help students internalise the text. Activities such as drama are used to deepen understanding of the text.

 

The quality of the model texts is crucial to progress. The models should be short and provide excellent examples of the key linguistic features being focused on, and they should increase in difficulty.

 

In each unit, a text is introduced and read to the children; together the class learn to tell the story. To help the children remember the text a multi-sensory approach is used:

 

  • A visual story map
  • Actions
  • A focus on lively, animated expression when retelling

 

As children learn the model stories word for word, they develop the use of specific sentence structures, which they can then use in their own writing. The principle is that if a child can tell a story, they will be able to write a story

 

With younger children, the imitation stage will take longer, as the children need to establish the language patterns that will underpin their learning; this is so that they can see how to innovate on a text and write their own version independently. As they get older, more sophisticated ways of imitating text and a greater range of models can be used, and there will be a greater emphasis on ensuring that the innovation stage helps the pupils to move away from the initial model, so that they become increasingly skilled as independent writers.

 

All of this first phase is underpinned by rehearsing key spellings and grammatical patterns. Short-burst writing is used to practise key focuses such as description, persuasion or scientific explanation.

 

When the children are first taught a text type, they will co-construct the toolkit to help them understand the ingredients to consider. As they progress up the school, these toolkits should travel with them so that, year-on-year, they are refined as the pupils develop their skills. Over time, they should internalise these toolkits so they select appropriate features automatically and no longer need a visual support to scaffold their writing.

 

Innovation – Changing a Story

Once students are familiar with the model text, then the teacher leads them into creating their own versions. In this stage, the original text is adapted by the children. Children will make changes to their story map and rehearse retelling their innovated story orally.

 

In KS1, once a story is learnt, the children are encouraged to adapt it to make it their own. For example, by changing the characters or the setting and a new story map is created to retell the new version. Children in Year 2 will begin to move towards boxing up their stories. In KS2, children use boxed-up planners and the teacher demonstrates how to create simple plans and orally develop ideas prior to writing. This may involve telling the story from a different viewpoint.  Ideas may need to be generated and organised or information researched and added to a planner.

 

Shared and guided writing is then used to model writing over a number of days so that students are writing texts bit by bit, concentrating on bringing all the elements together, writing effectively and accurately. Feedback is given during the lessons, as well as using some form of visualiser on a daily basis, so that students can be taught how to improve their writing, make it more accurate, until they can increasingly edit in pairs or on their own.

 

Pupils receive next step feedback at this stage in the form of pink comments which indicate successes and green comments which indicate areas to develop. There is an opportunity to respond to this marking, before writing the next section. The teacher will also use this to address misconceptions and select areas that need further work. It is a very supportive and structured approach, so children gain confidence and  know what they need to do in order to get better.

 

In the early years, children should be playing at making up stories daily, acting stories out and at least once a week be led by the teacher through making up class stories for future sharing.

 

Invention - Writing My Own Story

The final stage is the invention stage where the children use all the skills, they have learnt over the unit to write an independent piece. This is when they apply independently what has been taught and practised. Before this happens, the teacher may decide to give further input and rehearsal. Students are guided through planning, drafting and revising their work independently. It is essential to provide a rich starting point that taps into what students know and what matters so that their writing is purposeful. This may only be a small section of the story to allow the children to focus on one or two key skills they have been learning.

 

There is the freedom to draw upon their own ideas and experiences, or they can ‘hug closely’ to the shared text should they need to. With non-fiction, students should apply what they have been taught across the curriculum. The final piece is used as the ‘hot’ task, which clearly shows progress across the unit.

 

It is important that at the innovation and independent application stages, the writing becomes increasingly independent of the original model rather than a copy. Whilst children in Early Years and Year 1 may only make a few simple changes, children in Years 2-4 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. This has to be modelled in shared writing.

 

Inclusion

Talk for Writing (T4W) has a strong contribution to make to the learning and writing development of all children, including those identified as having special educational needs, children from diverse cultural backgrounds, those for whom English is an additional language and children who are particularly gifted and talented. Children in any of these groups benefit considerably from the strategies and approaches used in Talk For Writing. Teachers should ensure that:

  • Wherever possible, all children are included, whatever their needs, in Talk for Writing sessions and learning sequences.
  • Appropriate adjustments are made for pupils identified with speech, language and communication needs or dyslexia.
  • Scaffolds are used to support pupils towards the learning objective through the use of resources e.g. word mats, sequencing cards, pictorial representations and other tailored help sheets.

 

Curriculum:

At Kingsmoor, we teach the Literacy elements of the Early Years Foundation Stage Curriculum in Ladybirds and Rabbits (Nursery and Reception).

Statutory Framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage

 

In KS1, we teach the English National Curriculum in single year group classes to allow us to build a strong foundation of the early reading, writing and discussion skills. In KS2, the National Curriculum is taught in mixed Year 3 and 4 classes.

English Programmes of Study: Key Stages 1 & 2

 

IMPACT

The impact of the reading and writing curriculum is reviewed half termly and progress is measured against end of year outcomes for individual pupils and for the year group. Their attainment and progress is monitored and analysed which not only informs future teaching and learning but also informs Pupil Progress meetings between teaching staff and subject leaders to help identify children who may require extra support.

 

Evidence of impact on the children include:

  • Children enjoy writing and find the process creative, enriching and fulfilling;
  • Children are exposed to a wide variety of texts and are able to recognise   good writing, and understand what makes it good;
  • Children are aware of the key features of different genres and text types;
  • Children learn about the skills of writing from their reading and draw (consciously or unconsciously) upon its models in their own work;
  • Children have ‘something to say’ (a purpose and audience);
  • Children know how to develop their ideas;
  • Children know how to plan and prepare for writing;
  • Children make informed choices about what they are writing, as they write (for example, about vocabulary, grammar, text structure, etc.);
  • Children understand how to reflect upon, refine and improve their own work;
  • Children can respond to the constructive criticism of others.
  • Teachers are confident in their teaching and assessment of writing skills.

 

Monitor and Review

The English Lead:

  • Monitors and evaluates the standards of attainment and progress through termly book looks and evaluates the formative and summative data.
  • Coaches teachers on the correct Talk for Writing texts, planning and implementation of the programme.
  • Attends up-date training and meetings when they occur and report back to the teaching staff.
  • Speaks to the head teacher and SENCO regarding children that have been identified as at risk of not reaching year group expectations.

 

At Kingsmoor, children are assessed during every lesson which enables our teachers to plan the next steps for each child. Teachers assess against the learning questions and the basic skill requirements for each year group and provide live feedback which enables each pupil to make progress within the lesson and over time.

Parents Guide to Writing at Home

Progression in Writing

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