Crags Writing Curriculum
At Crags, writing is an integral part of our curriculum and it is our aim by the time the children leave Year 6 that they will be independent and fluent writers. Our curriculum is designed with reading and writing at the core and all children are provided with opportunities to develop and apply their writing across other subject areas.
Teachers use the National Curriculum and school progression grids to plan a unit that encompasses spelling, punctuation and grammar. These lessons build towards a piece of writing which showcases pupils' acquired knowledge, skills and understanding. We tailor our curriculum to meet the needs and interests of our pupils, choosing texts or subject areas to drive the writing curriculum to inspire, motivate and establish pupil enjoyment and engagement in the subject.Our curriculum is:
- Broad and balanced.
- Adaptable to meet the needs and interests of all pupils.
- Uses different ways to stimulate children’s writing such as: visits, drama or experiences.
- Encourages children to write for a range of purpose and audiences.
- Designed to show progression through year groups and through genres.
- Lessons will teach new vocabulary as well as embedding vocabulary found in reading.
- Spelling, Punctuation and grammar is taught explicitly or as part of the unit plan.
- Handwriting is taught using the Sheffield Cursive scheme
Writing – The Write Stuff - The Fantastic Approach to Writing by Jane Considine
We have adopted ‘The Write Stuff’ approach to our teaching and learning of English to ensure clarity to the mechanics of writing. We call this the Fantastic approach to Writing. Following a method called ‘Sentence Stacking’, this 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 the impact of words and sentences most appropriate for that particular genre. All genres covered within writing sessions are those as taken from the Genre Overview in our Writing Progression Document.
- Within each writing lesson, pupils' learning is ‘chunked’ into 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. This could have independently, in pairs or as a whole class
Through the nine idea lenses known as the FANTASTICs, pupils focus on the intended purpose of a sentence All classrooms from Year 1 – 6 have materials supporting ‘The Write Stuff’ approach to writing in their classrooms.
At the end of each unit, children will then plan and complete an independent write. After marking, children will then be given time to improve their work and will be taught different ways of to do this – The Revise, The Rewrite and The Reimagine.
Teachers will then meet with the children to share their next steps for their writing based on marking.
When planning a unit of work, teachers will then use these next steps and their assessment for learning to plan the next lessons. With guidance from both the National Curriculum and our progression grids, there is a clear path to what we expect children to achieve. Teachers will amend planning accordingly based on the needs of all the children in their class.
Handwriting is first taught during the phonics lessons in the ‘write the sentence’ and ‘spelling’ section. Additionally, children will have handwriting sessions 2/3 times a week when teachers will focus upon specific letter formations.
We use the formation phrases to teach correct letter formation for each grapheme. At Crags, our children learn to first write using print.
In Year 2 and beyond, when teachers feel that children are ready, they will start to introduce children to cursive handwriting.
Children are taught how to make all the correct letter shapes before learning how to join them fluently and develop a neat, cursive handwriting style.
Our cursive style is based on the agreed Sheffield Scheme for handwriting, with letters being formed from left to right using a single pencil stroke (other than i, j, t, x and several capitals, which require the pencil to be lifted from the paper).
At Crags, we know that the teaching of spelling is vital for our children to become good writers. We have developed our own spelling progression document that links the phonic knowledge used in Little Wandle to the National Curriculum expectations for each year group.
Initially, we teach spelling in all our ‘Little Wandle’ lessons. We help children segment the sounds in words, work out which graphemes make those sounds and then write them down. We teach children the skills of spelling.
Furthermore, we ensure that we embed the spellings we teach in class outside the phonics lesson.
In Reception, this might be through modelling spelling when we write, through practising spellings for a specific GPC or writing lists of words with that GPC.
Soon we start talking to children about why certain words are spelled in a specific way. Even in Reception, children read and spell words where they will need to make choices about how they spell certain phonemes.
Children will be taught to spell explicitly in phonics and spelling lessons and then this is re-enforced in other writing lessons. Lessons are planned in a way that children re-visit past concepts, are taught something new and then given chance to practise and apply their skills. Children through school are then all given spellings that they are focusing on to work on at home.