Our Approach to Writing
The Teaching Sequence
A suggested unit in Literacy follows the teaching sequence:
• Creating Interest
• Reading phase:
o Reading and responding
o Reading and analysing
• Gathering content
The amount of time spent in any one phase needs to be tailored to the needs of the class.
Extended Writing Outcomes:
Each genre should result in at least one extended, written outcome and several short bursts using high quality texts as a stimulus. This allows children several opportunities to practise and apply newly acquired skills in context.
Outcomes are identified as follows:
1. Scaffolded outcome
This is completed on a regular basis during the writing phase. It is supported through daily, whole-class, shared and modelled writing. It may be further supported by small-group, guided writing for some pupils. Each section is supported through teaching, with the children working on their own version following the teacher’s model.
The effectiveness of this model is enhanced by:
• feedback and marking on a daily basis and pupils being given time to respond;
• use of ideas and vocabulary gathered during earlier phases displayed on the working wall;
• displaying the shared and modelled writing from across the writing phase.
2. Independent extended writing outcome
This is a second opportunity for the children to write in the same genre or text-type, but this time, more independently. Generally, takes place at the completion of the unit. The children have time to think, plan and discuss their ideas and they also have access to prompts created through the unit, e.g. content from the working wall, genre checklists, word banks, dictionaries etc.
Crucially, there is no adult modelling of writing to support the completion of this second outcome.
As well as giving children another opportunity to apply their skills, this outcome is very useful to inform assessment and next steps in teaching and learning. Consequently, feedback and marking for this outcome might be less in-depth and feature on completion of the piece only.
This provides an ideal opportunity for pupils to make improvements to their independent writing via redrafting and self-editing. The piece can still be used for assessment purposes, provided that the process is not over-scaffolded by the teacher and is the result of the child's own improvement.
3. Cross curricular application
This works best for non-fiction units. It provides opportunity for children to revisit text types and revise skills. Pupils are given time to refresh their knowledge and understanding of the text type, looking back at their own writing and prompts created. Again, this outcome is particularly useful for assessment purposes and children are given opportunity to edit and improve their own writing.
Children invariably write more effectively when they have a real audience and purpose for their writing. Thought are given to this at the outset and shared with the children. This might involve:
• writing stories to entertain Year 2, for example: arranging an opportunity for the children to share their stories with them in small groups;
• writing, then redrafting, non-chronological reports to make a class book which is put on display in the school library;
• children reading, rehearsing and performing their own poetry/playscripts to be recorded and shared on the school website.
As mentioned previously, all writing is not left until the writing phase! Writing skills are constantly practised and revisited throughout the reading and gathering content phases. Outcomes are linked to a specific learning objective e.g. LO: To infer character thoughts and feelings –
Examples of short writing opportunities include:
- diary entries
- character profile
- dialogue exchange
- fact file
- letter to a problem page
- book review
Grammar and Punctuation
An age-appropriate grammar and/or punctuation focus are selected for each unit, based on the genre or text type from the unit. However, teachers will consider the children’s current skills in relation to grammar and adjust this focus if necessary. As well as the acquisition of grammar skills, knowledge and terminology, children are shown how to apply these appropriately in their own writing.
The process involves:
• Short, sharp grammar warm-ups - a highly effective way of introducing and practising
the skills initially;
• The teacher modelling the appropriate application during the writing phase;
• Establishing the expectation that the children will apply the skills appropriately in their own
• The children having opportunity to self and peer assess;
• Teacher feedback and marking which also reflects the grammar or punctuation focus.
Spelling and Handwriting
Spelling and Handwriting is taught regularly using the school handwriting policy and the No Nonsense Spelling Scheme.