Writing at Thorndown
We are really trying hard to become superhero writers at our school. Look at how we learn how to write!
In Reception we ‘write’ from first hand experiences. We continue to write ‘formally’ each week in an adult supported group for a variety of purposes. Our writing goes into our very special learning journeys.
During Literacy lessons we aim to improve children’s writing skills by focusing on four main aspects of writing:
During daily literacy lessons, children develop and enhance their understanding of these four areas and then apply what they’ve learnt during a ‘Writer’s Ink’ session. This session may take the form of various writing genres – i.e. they may apply their knowledge by writing a biography, persuasive letter, information text, story etc.
On Friday mornings, every class has a ‘Writer’s Ink’ session. A calming, engaging atmosphere is created by providing a good stimulus, background music, special writing pencils/pens, lots of praise, VCOP pyramids, candles and a timer. It starts with a VCOP starter and an input by the class teacher. During the main input the teacher will model writing the task, using the children’s suggestions. In KS1 the children have 20/30 minutes to write and 30/40 minutes in KS2.
Stimuli can be from many sources – e.g. a photograph, short film clip, piece of art, sculpture, natural object, holiday snapshot, visitor in, visit out, artefact, poetry, conundrum, when, how, where, what, why questions, piece of music, passage from a book (links to Guided Reading), assembly topic, holiday diary, memory or past event, curricular links e.g. life as a Victorian child, instructions, information texts, traditional tales and rhymes …….the list is endless.
Early Years have adapted ‘Writer’s Ink’ to best suit the children. The session is on a Thursday morning and children have the opportunity to write with the support of an adult. The children are aware of VCOP with a clearer understanding of Vocabulary Vengeance and Professor Punctuation.
It is essential that spelling, punctuation and grammar is taught weekly across both key stages, starting at year 2. Our sessions are interactive and engaging. Some sessions are taught as stand-alone lessons and others are taught as starters to the day’s literacy lesson.
At Thorndown, our aim is that pupils will be supported to develop a cursive handwriting style which is clear, joined and fluid. Inevitably some will be neater than others, but each child can acquire a consistent and fluent style. We believe this raises standards in writing in the early years which will impact throughout the whole school, developing confidence, accuracy and fluency and improved presentation.
The cursive handwriting style helps:
- to minimise confusion for the child as every letter starts on the line with an
- entry stroke and leads out with an exit stroke;
- as letters naturally flow into each other, this helps children to join their
- form spacing between words as the child develops whole word awareness;
- to develop a child’s visual memory;
- all children’s writing skills regardless of academic ability;
- to develop skills of punctuation and grammar.
To help children realise their full potential and maintain high expectations in every piece of writing, we have devised a list of writing expectations to be met every session and ensure that all previous learning is built upon. Any children that need extra support to achieve these expectations will have strategies in place with their class teacher.
We hope you find this useful.
All children have individual target cards to support progress in writing. For writing we use our target cards across all subjects. The cards show which particular targets children are currently working on and show children how to progress their learning. The writing cards are located in children’s writing exercise books.
Each week during Celebration Assembly children from each class are awarded for being ‘A Thorndown Super Writer’. Children from each class have the opportunity to display their work in the hall and receive a certificate. An overall winner is selected and they receive a trophy for ‘Super Writer’ and ‘Best Handwriter’.
‘The Thorndown Chronicle’, the school newspaper contains outstanding pieces of writing. The purpose of this is to celebrate our children’s writing. The newspaper is sold to adults and parents each term.