How we teach writing at Fosse
Having a clear audience and purpose is at the heart of every written outcome at Fosse. We believe our children need to understand who they are writing for and why they are writing!
At Fosse we use a thematic approach to teaching Writing. This means that each unit of work has a novel/ picture book or a short text at its center, from which all written outcomes originate. The texts used have been specially selected so that they are appropriate for the year group and provide a wide range of audiences and purposes for the written outcomes. These are detailed on the Long Term Plans. It is expected that there is at least 1 extended written outcome produced by children over 5 lessons.
The teacher planning process for these units begins by “Boxing it up” this is an overview of the entire unit. The length of a unit depends on the length of the term and the needs of the children. The work completed throughout the week builds upon the skills and knowledge that are required to write that particular genre. This will also include the grammar teaching points that will be needed and potential spellings from relevant National Curriculum spelling lists / ‘High Frequency Words’ that the children could include. The children must be exposed to a good example of what they should write (‘What a good one looks like or WAGOLL) at the start of each unit of work so that they are able to identify what it is they should be working towards. There should also be a chance for them to plan what it is they are going to write as well as an editing/ improving session. Boxing up contains the Learning Objective/s (LO) and the ‘Steps to Success’ (S2S) required for the children to meet the LO. This method of working ensures that there is a broad range of genres covered as well as audiences. Which genres the children are taught are informed by on-going assessments against the Writing Assessment Grids (see Assessment section for more details).
Modelled, Shared and Guided writing
Within any unit of work there will be elements of all three of these processes. These are required so that the children are provided with clear scaffolding and support in order to make as much progress as possible.
Modelled writing – Where the teacher demonstrates the writing process by sharing their thoughts “as a writer” out loud with the children, the children do not contribute but observe what “good writers” do/ think. Model writes are prepared in advance of the lesson so that they contain all relevant elements.
Shared writing – Where the children participate in the writing process by sharing ideas and suggestions with their peers/class/ teacher. These are then up-levelled either by the teacher or children before the “best” example is then added to the version being written by the class.
Guided writing – Is a small group, teacher led activity. This happens as part of a lesson, after the main teach and children with similar needs are grouped together to receive support (through further teaching or modelling) for the same, specific need. In the following session, these children should independently demonstrate their ability to apply the skill taught.
Grammar, Punctuation and Spelling (GAPS)
The most effective teaching of GAPS is when it forms part of the English lesson itself. We believe that children need the opportunity to practise various grammar concepts but in order to ensure that it is included in their writing it must be modelled and then immediately applied.
Grammar content is reviewed continuously and referenced wherever possible so that our children have good understanding of the terminology as well as the skills to apply it correctly.
The teaching of spelling also follows this structure. When planning a unit of work, use the HFW/ NC spelling lists word banks to identify words which the children could use for that text type. These are then shared with the children as part of the WAGOLL (‘What a good one looks like’) and also as part of the starter activities of lessons so that children can identify their meaning and practise the correct spelling before applying in their work. They are also to have these words sent home as homework and should be tested on them weekly.