Writing at Thorndown
Subject Leader: Miss Godbold (Headteacher) & Mrs Browne (Year 2 Teacher)
At Thorndown, writing is a crucial part of our cross curricular curriculum. All children from the Early Years Foundation Stage to Year 6 are provided with many opportunities to develop and apply their writing skills across the curriculum.
Our aim is for children to be able to plan, revise and evaluate their writing. To be able to do this effectively, children will focus on developing effective transcription and effective composition. They will also develop an awareness of the audience, purpose and context, and an increasingly wide knowledge of vocabulary and grammar. We also expect children to leave school being able to use fluent, legible and speedy handwriting.
Writing at Thorndown is centered around a high quality text that captures the children’s interest from the outset. The model that is used to teach writing is a personalised approach based around best practice taken from ‘The Write Stuff’. The school environment enfolds children in texts, stories, settings and language. There is a focus on drama, oracy and language development, equipping children with fundamental knowledge and skills that will enable them to be successful throughout their lives.
Please click on the link below to see how writing progresses from Early Years right through to Year 6 at Thorndown Primary School.
Here you can also view the English overviews for Early Years, Key Stage and Key Stage Two.
We are really trying hard to become super 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. Early writing is taught through early mark making, then when the children begin phonics they are taught the letter formations. This begins with writing (whether with a writing tool or in the air) CVC words, moving onto short sentences using the sounds they have been taught. The children also learn to remember and write stories through text mapping and rehearsal and repeat techniques. They are encouraged to write independently in continuous provision.
We use Jane Considine’s ‘The Write Stuff’ from Y1 to Y6 as the vehicle for teaching writing. This is to ensure a consistent and systematic approach to teaching the skills of writing across all cohorts. This also means that children know what to expect when they transition through classes. Following a method called ‘Sentence Stacking’, the approach places emphasis on sentences being ‘stacked together’ chronologically and organised to engage children with short, intensive moments of learning that they can then immediately apply to their own writing. Within each genre studied by the children, they will learn to sentence stack, focusing on the style of the author and impact of words and sentences most appropriate for that particular genre.
Within each writing lesson, pupils learning is ‘chunked’ into three distinct parts for a writing lesson; initiate, model, enable. The initiate stage is a time to inspire: through the use of a stimulus, pupils are immersed in a rich language discussion and activities to provide a wealth of vocabulary to aid their writing. The model stage is the chunk whereby the teacher demonstrates the thoughts and processes of a writer and articulates writing choices. The enable stage is the opportunity for pupils to showcase what they can do within particular writing parameters known as The Three Zones of Writing: FANTASTICs, GRAMMARISTICs and the BOOMTASTICs.
The Three Zones of Writing are essential components to support pupils in becoming great writers. Through the nine idea lenses known as the FANTASTICs, pupils focus on intended purpose of a sentence. The GRAMMARISTICs allow pupils to focus on the grammar element of writing which focuses on sentence structure, grammar rules and punctuation. The BOOMTASTICs allow pupils to capture and create a vivid visual for the reader through the use of poetic devices. Throughout the writing process, children edit and redraft their work in response to feedback from their teacher and peers.
Please click below to watch a video explaining ‘The Write Stuff’
Children at Thorndown are encouraged to see writing as a journey; re-drafting and editing are used before writing is published. Writing extends across the curriculum with children being given opportunities to write for a range of different purposes outside of the writing lesson.
Click on the images below to see examples of our writing.
Year 1 Year 2 Year 3
Year 4 (1of 2) Year 4 (2 of 2) Year 5
Year 6 (1 of 2) Year 6 (2 of 2)
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.
SPaG (Spelling, Punctuation and Grammar)
In the English curriculum, punctuation, grammar and spelling now play a key role in the child’s writing. It is essential that SPaG is taught daily 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 English lesson.
Spelling is one of the curriculum areas we are working to develop at Thorndown, and we have changed how spelling is taught. Each class, from Year 2 to Year 6, have separate spelling lessons each week, as well as developing their knowledge of spelling through phonics, grammar, reading and writing lessons. The spelling lessons look at spelling patterns and children engage in playing spelling games and editing sentences. Research has shown that weekly spelling tests are not the most effective way for children to learn spellings, as they tend to forget them quickly. Children need to apply their knowledge regularly as part of their ongoing work. Spelling lists for different year groups have been published within part of the National Curriculum. To help us ensure your child’s year group spellings remain current for them, you could help by practising at home. Below you can find fun ways of learning spellings in our spelling guide attached. No more than 10 minutes of practice every week is required.
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. This process begins in early years where the children master letter formation first and this continues into Year 1 where the children are introduced to the cursive 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 handwriting;
- 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.
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’.