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Writing

'You can make anything by writing'

CS Lewis

Our key texts this half-term (Summer 2) are: 

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Foundation: What did the tree see?

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Year 1: Journey

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Year 2: Sky Pirates

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Year 3: Stormbreaker

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Year 4: The Great Dream Robbery 

Intent

At Henbury View First School we foster an environment that encourages our pupils to become independent, lifelong learners. We aim for excellence in all of our school activities and encourage all pupils, whatever their ability, to achieve the best they possibly can. We believe that providing pupils with a well-balanced, enriching and engaging English curriculum will aid them in developing into self-assured communicators.

The National Curriculum (2014) clearly states that teaching the English language is an essential, if not the most essential role of a primary school.

‘Teachers should develop pupil’s spoken language, reading, writing and vocabulary as integral aspects of the teaching of every subject. English is both a subject in its own right and the medium for teaching; for pupils, understanding the language provides access to the whole curriculum. Fluency in the English language is an essential foundation for success in all subjects.’

Our school will ensure that in reading lessons, children’s knowledge and experiences are deepened through the use of high-quality texts, and in writing lessons, opportunities are provided for children to apply skills and produce outcomes for different audiences and purposes. We endeavour to broaden and deepen a child’s knowledge and understanding, in writing we do this by providing a range of different genres and styles to experiment with. At times, considering alternative viewpoints and character perspective too.

Implementation

English provision at Henbury View First School follows the National Curriculum Programmes of Study for each year group and planning outlines clear and progressive learning journeys.

Writing provision

The programmes of study for writing at key stages 1 and 2 are constructed similarly to those for reading:

  • transcription (spelling and handwriting)
  • composition (articulating ideas and structuring them in speech and writing)

It is essential that teaching develops pupils’ competence in these two areas, alongside how to plan, revise and evaluate their writing. Each unit of writing should follow the agreed ‘reading into writing’ model across the school, showing a clear independent outcome. Learning will be progressive and ensure the children are taught the skills, knowledge and understanding needed to complete the independent outcome and evidence good progress within and between units of work.

Reading into Writing

At Henbury View, we follow a ‘reading into writing’ model to teach writing. Teachers begin this journey by mapping ‘text potential’ prior to planning a unit of work. This ensures that the chosen text is fit for purpose, is of high quality and the teaching of vocabulary can be planned for. Purpose, audience and form are key drivers in each unit of writing. These are shared with the children at the start of a unit and can been seen on the working wall and learning journey overviews within children’s English books.

The principles of the reading into writing model are:

Text Immersion

During this stage, tier 2 and 3 vocabulary from the text must be discussed and displayed:

  • Commonly used words form Tier 1 vocabulary.
  • Tier 2 vocabulary develops words that do not form part of a child’s everyday language but are relatively common place and can be used between different contexts.
  • Tier 3 vocabulary contains words that are highly specific and subject based.

A model text should be used to demonstrate to the children a clear expectation of what their final outcomes will include. This model text must contain exemplification of the key skills to be taught in the unit. This becomes a writer’s ‘toolkit’ and is used at many different reference points throughout the learning journey. 

We explore text or film stimuli, at the start of a unit, in a variety of ways: book talks, drama techniques, debates and text discussions are a few examples. This stage of writing is heavily discussion based and will link explicitly to our whole class guided reading sessions. The two will interlink, sometimes meaning there is an extended reading and writing session focused around the text immersion work at the beginning of a unit. There would be little written work from the children so English books may only show photo pages to evidence this stage. The working walls in classrooms are showcases for rich vocabulary that has been ‘magpied’ from various sources.

Skills Building Stage

This is a heavily guided, taught and marked stage in the reading into writing journey. Key unit skills are broken down for children. This is a practise stage whereby teachers would use ‘I do/you do’ sessions, sentence doctor workshops or skills building sessions to teach National Curriculum objectives from the appropriate programme of study. Children would be writing sentences or short burst paragraphs only in their books to practice and master this skill. The English working wall would be used to gather examples and provid support for this stage of writing.

Teacher Modelling Stage

This is another heavily guided, taught and marked stage in the reading into writing journey. In lessons, teachers model writing sentences, paragraphs or whole texts to the children, verbalising explicitly the choices they are making as writers, alongside their reasoning. Sometimes children will listen, sometimes they may join in verbally or with whiteboards.

It is important that outcomes from any skills sessions, short burst writes or teacher models be different to the independent outcome expected by the children.

Independent application stage

Independent writes will be easily identified in children’s books. Each independent piece will be written in black pen and be labelled clearly as ‘Final Outcome’ at the top of the piece of learning. There will be no success criteria stuck in books for an independent write. Independent writes are completed on the left-hand page of a double page spread. The right-hand page is used for editing in green pen. At Henbury View, editing is far more than correcting spelling or punctuation. Children need to develop the ability to select paragraphs or sentences that require re-drafting. The school teaches editing as part of the writing process. Children use ‘polishing pens’ alongside a peer to edit in a supported manner. Children should always be mindful of the purpose and audience of pieces and choose vocabulary and structures accordingly. There will be less teacher marking for independent writes. Open ended advice should be given at this point rather than specifics.

Reading into Writing Journey Unit Overviews

Writing planning should follow our agreed school format and should indicate the following:

  • a clear independent outcome
  • clear purpose, audience and form for the piece of work
  • National Curriculum taught skills
  • a progressive ‘reading into writing’ teaching sequence
  • vocabulary that is expected
  • links to spelling rules, common exception words, handwriting and phonics
  • display the range of high-quality stimuli that will be used to support the teaching

The planned teaching sequence must link to a high-quality stimulus – a quality text or film clip; have a series of inputs to teach the children new skills; it must have opportunities for teacher modelling and for children to practise; it must be rich in vocabulary and supported by discussion and images to aid a child’s understanding. These key elements of the teaching sequence must be displayed on the English working wall to support independence.

Spelling

At Henbury, we use the Ruth Miskin Programme for Spelling from Year 2 – 4 to teach each year group’s spelling rules as described in the programme of study in the National Curriculum. These are taught in discreet 15 minutes sessions at least three times per week. Every child has a spelling logbook that details the focus spelling or phonics rule learnt that week in school. These are checked weekly and children are expected to practise these spellings at home. Children’s progress is monitored half termly and children are assessed on 4 words per unit in the form of a written spelling assessment. Teachers produce an overview to reflect the attainment and to inform necessary revision and recaps. When planning reading into writing journeys, teachers carefully consider the unit rules that are currently being taught in discreet spelling sessions and match units that reflect vocabulary that can be modelled as part of the learning journey.

In EYFS and Year 1, teachers continuously plan for and model the range of phonics and spelling rules that are appropriate to the stage of learning children are working within their phonics lessons. This will be clearly set out in learning journeys. In Year 1, children’s phonics for spelling is assessed termly in the format as described above. In EYFS, teachers will complete a summative assessment at the end of the year sharing children’s understanding of how they use phonics to spell. This can be used as a baseline for the beginning of Year 1.

Children are expected to read and write the common exception words linked to their year group. These words are taught and used within writing lessons as well as revised every week as part of our spelling programme and daily phonics lessons. Children’s progress in spelling these common exception words is recorded on a termly tracker and this information is also given to parents to support practise at home. These are taken from the common exception word lists for year group, as per the National Curriculum appendix 2.

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Handwriting

At Henbury, we follow the Ruth Miskin handwriting policy that links explicitly to our phonics and reading programme.  It is expected that children are able to write fluently and legibly with correct joins at the end of year 4. A break down of when each element of the programme is introduced is outlined in Appendix 1 to this policy.

The handwriting programme is broken down into these essential stages:

Stage 1a

Children practise beginning letter formation using the known mnemonics that link to their phonics sounds. You can see the handwriting rhymes linked to all of these in the table below. Children learn the handwriting families and learn to practise these in the groups below to support their rehearsal.

  • ‘Around’ letters: c, a, o, d, g, q
  • ‘Down’ letters: l, t, b, p, k, h, I, j, m, n, r, u, y
  • ‘Curly’ letters: e, f, s
  • ‘Zig zag’ letters: v, w, z, x

Sound

Handwriting Rhyme

a

Round the apple and down the leaf (apple)

b

Down the laces to the heel, round the toe (Boot)

c

Curl around the caterpillar ( caterpillar)

d

Round his bottom, up his tall neck and down to his feet (dinosaur)

e

Lift off the top and scoop out the egg (egg)

f

Down the stem and draw the leaves (flower)

g

Round her face, down her hair and give her a curl (girl)

h

Down the head to the hooves and over his back (horse)

i

Down his body, and a dot for his head (insect)

j

Down his body, curl and dot (Jack in the box)

k

Down the kangaroo’s body, tail and leg (kangaroo)

l

Down the long leg (leg)

m

Down Maisie, over the mountain, over the mountain (Maisie and mountains)

n

Down Nobby, over his net (football net)

o

All around the orange (orange)

p

Down his plait and around his head (pirate)

q

Round her head, up past her earrings and down her hair (queen)

r

Down his back, then curl over his arm (robot)

s

Slither sown the snake (snake)

t

Down the tower across the tower (castle tower)

u

Down and under, up to the top and draw the puddle (umbrella)

v

Down a wing, up a wing (vulture)

w

Down up, down up (worm)

x

Down the arm and leg and repeat the other side (exercise)

y

Down a horn, up a horn and under his head (yak)

z

Zig – zag- zig (zip)

 

Bouncy vowels

Bouncy consonants

Stretchy consonants

Stage 1b

Children learn where to place letters on the line using images of a sea, boat and the sun to guide them. At this essential stage, the children work in wide lined exercise books and complete this as part of their daily phonics session. At this stage, children continue to practise the letters in the groups outlined above to support them but the letters are referred to as ‘boat’ letters, ‘sun’ letters or ‘water’ letters depending on where they sit on the line.

  • ‘Boat’ letters: a, c, e, I, m, n, o, r, s, u, v, w, x, z
  • ‘Water’ letters: y, j, p, q, g
  • ‘Sun’ letters: b, d, h, l, t, f

Stage 2

Children are taught how to join letters with the two main joins. We can then ‘washing line’ joins (horizontal) and ‘arm’ joins (diagonal). In Year 2, children will concentrate on practising the different joins in handwriting sessions throughout their phonics lessons but will also be expected to begin showing ‘arm to boat’ joins in their written work. Throughout Year 3 & 4, children will practise and perfect their ‘arm’ and ‘washing line’ joins to ‘boat’, ‘sun’ and ‘around’ letters. Children will understand that we don’t join b, q, g, j, s, y, z, p because as a school we don’t adopt this particular style of handwriting.

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