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Abbotswood Primary School

Together We Aim High, Believe and Achieve

Writing

Abbotswood Writing DNA

 

 

At Abbotswood we believe that learning to write is one of the most important things that a child at primary school will learn; they will use their writing to communicate learning in all other subjects of the curriculum. We want to prepare children with the essential writing skills they will need for later life by providing an enriched and engaging English curriculum, where they write with a clear purpose across all subjects. By the end of Year 6 we aim for our children to have developed a love of writing and to be able to express their thoughts and ideas clearly and creatively through the written word. We also intend to create writers who can re-read, edit and improve their own writing, and enable children to be able to confidently use the essential skills of grammar, punctuation and spelling. These skills are essential to support them in successfully moving to secondary school and to giving them as many future opportunities as possible so that they may achieve their future aspirations.   

 

How do we do this? 

EYFS

At Abbotswood, children learn to write in the EYFS through a combination of adult-led activities and child-initiated play. Alongside play, and lots of writing opportunities, teachers will encourage children to begin to write through more formal activities.


We believe that talking and a good understanding of vocabulary is the basis for all writing in the EYFS as you can’t write a sentence unless you can say it. There is therefore a lot of emphasis put on speaking and listening in all activities and it is essential that the use of language and new vocabulary is modelled correctly by all adults.

We think that learning to write also involves all the senses. For instance, if the children are learning a story, not only will we read it over and over again, but we’ll act it out, get the children to join in with reciting it, and use story maps with pictures of what happens to act as a visual reminder.

 

Learning to write is a gradual process. At first, children’s writing is just mark-making, but as time passes and they begin to learn the sounds of the alphabet, they’ll begin to make letter shapes, often starting with the letters in their name. Through adult-led activities, they will also be taught to move their hand and write from left to right across the page, and from top to bottom.

As children begin to learn about 
phonics, their writing enters a new phase where they start to write letters. At first, they tend to just write down the dominant sounds in a word – so, for instance, ‘cat’ might be ‘c t’ – but as their phonics learning progresses, they will write with more accuracy and write all the sounds they hear. It is the hoped that by the end of Reception, most children will be writing independently, and writing clearly enough that we can read what they have written. 

Helping your child learn to write

Phonics

Phonics is taught as a way of decoding written letters and spoken sounds in the early stages of learning to read. Learning to read is like cracking a code so, by teaching phonics, we teach children to crack the code. 

 

At Abbotswood Primary School we teach synthetic phonics throughout Key Stage One. We follow the ‘Read Write Inc’ program which provides a structured and systematic approach to the teaching of phonics. It aims for children to develop fluent word reading skills and have good foundations in spelling by the end of Key Stage One. Your child’s class teacher will be able to tell you which set they are working on.

 

How we Teach Phonics:

Here at Abbotswood the teaching of phonics begins in Reception, using Read, Write, Inc to introduce sounds to the children. Children will then learn further sounds in line with Read, Write, Inc progression.

 

In Reception, Phonics is initially taught in classes then in groups as necessary.

In Year 1 and 1/2 the children will be in phonic and spelling groups based on regular assessment.

 

Assessment in Phonics:

At Abbotswood, assessment is carried out on a regular basis to identify gaps. Teachers will plan to fill these gaps and children moved between groups accordingly.

 

Handwriting

At Abbotswood we teach the letter formation with the flick at the end which leads into joining when digraphs and trigraphs are introduced, following the RWI phonics program. Handwriting lessons are taught explicitly until children can form all of the letters correctly and join them appropriately. Once this has been mastered by the majority of the class, intervention groups can be run for the small number who still need the explicit teaching.

KS1 & 2

In Key Stages 1 & 2, children are given regular opportunities to write to inform, persuade and entertain through daily lessons. Each term there is a Fiction unit, Non-fiction unit and a Poetry unit. These are based around a key text, which can, where appropriate, be linked to the term’s Topic or Science work. In each of the units, children will be introduced to a 'Model of Excellence' to show the expectation for the end of the unit. Within the unit, up to 3 grammar and spelling objectives will be introduced.  We follow a Try it, Use it, Prove it approach – the objective is taught (try it) and practised through short burst writing opportunities (use it) before being included in the end of unit piece of writing (prove it). As part of each unit, new vocabulary is also introduced through spelling lessons and the Model of Excellence. The meanings are investigated and the children are expected to use them in their writing. Each classroom has a uniform Writing Working Wall where learning and expectations are displayed as a learning tool for the children to use. All types of writing taught are practised at appropriate opportunities in other areas of the curriculum.

 

Spelling

As well being taught through the writing teaching sequence and the new vocabulary, spelling is taught through explicit daily lessons in Years 2-4 through Spelling Shed. A spelling rule is given each week and children are tested on the rule on a Friday. Years 5 and 6 teach spelling explicitly 2 times a week – Mon, Wed and the children are tested on a Friday.

 

Grammar

Grammar is taught in years 1-6 through the writing teaching sequence and practiced and used within the writing produced. Years 5 and 6 also teach grammar explicitly twice a week (Tues & Thurs) to help prepare the children for their SpaG SAT in Year 6. SpaG.com is used to support this.

 

Planning

The planning sequence follows the same pattern each unit. The non-fiction unit that follows the fiction can be reduced to 2 weeks if needed and using the same text. Poetry is usually just 1 week and at the end of a term.

 

 

Mon

Tues

Wed

Thurs

Fri

Week 1

Introduce text

 

Model of excellence

Write to understand text

SPaG 1 – try, use, prove

Write to apply

(+ intervention for those who couldn’t use)

Edit & redraft

(+ intervention for those who need more support)

Week 2

SPaG 2

Write to apply

(+ intervention for those who couldn’t use)

SPaG 3

Write to apply

(+ intervention for those who couldn’t use)

Edit & redraft

(+ intervention for those who need more support)

Week 3

Plan end of unit piece of writing

Write/ edit

Write/ edit

Write/ edit

Edit & redraft.

 

 

 

Working Walls

Each class has a writing working wall. All are Green and have the same 5 sections – Our Quality Text is…, Model of Excellence, SPaG focus, Vocabulary and Non-negotiables.

Assessment

We assess writing throughout each lesson and mark the work completed according to our marking policy. When we find that children have not achieved the expected outcome for a lesson, they are given extra support, either during assembly time, the next lesson or during an afternoon.

 

Writing is also assessed using the school’s ‘Age Related Expectations’ (AREs) 5 times a year. From this, we can see any gaps in progress and we can prioritise support for individuals and/or groups for the following term.

 

Children are assessed at the end of Years 2 and 6 for the end of Key Stage Statutory Assessments (SATs).

 

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