Writing at Dobwalls Primary School
At Dobwalls, we aim to create a language rich environment where we deliver a writing curriculum that inspires all children and embeds a true love for writing. Our long-term plan ensures that all children are given moments of awe to inspire and engage. We understand that reading and writing go hand in hand and carefully select texts to maximise engagement of all children. This enables teachers to model quality writing across a diverse curriculum which is rooted in local and current affairs as well as the wider world. We believe that when children leave Dobwalls, they will be prepared for life, confident in conveying their ideas through writing and will be successful authors.
Moreover, we intend to:
- To create opportunities for children to write coherently for a range of audiences and purposes including real audiences (e.g. using our enrichment to give purpose to their writing)
- For children to become fluent writers; teachers use direct instruction and modelling, followed by extensive, deliberate practice for children which includes planning, drafting, editing and publishing their writing
- To be exposed to a wide range of vocabulary across all areas of the curriculum enabling children to reach a high degree of cultural capital
- To ensure children use their knowledge of sentence structure and punctuation, spelling rules (including phonics), fluency, vocabulary and comprehension when writing for all purposes across the curriculum
- To ensure a clear sequenced curriculum to enable children to develop key skills
- To ensure children grasp key concepts of grammar (using our ‘sentence focus’) and to enable children to investigate spelling rules using Jane Considine’s Spelling Book
- To encourage correct letter formation using ‘Penpals’ progression before introducing pre- cursive (Year 2) then cursive in KS2 to enable children to write with stamina
- To support each individual teacher with the delivery of broad, exciting writing opportunities in a variety of subjects, genres and stimuli
- To ensure staff understand the writing progression at Dobwalls and to support CPD (to provide whole staff support as well as tailored individual support as and where identified) in these areas
- To encourage children to use spoken language by giving them opportunities to discuss text types, to develop a spoken vocabulary of useful phrases, to use spoken language to peer mark and self-edit, to speak confidently about a range of topics to discuss and debate
- To ultimately enable children to confidently communicate their knowledge, ideas and emotions through their writing
We provide a literacy rich curriculum that enables the children to be immersed in each topic. Our curriculum also ensures the learning is enhanced with a variety of engaging trips and activities. We teach writing through our daily English lessons where we expect there to be an outcome by the end of every lesson. We expect for every piece of writing a clear audience and purpose identified.
Our writing progression is based on a spiral around five plot genres e.g. warning and rags to riches stories. These are planned and sequenced carefully, with texts developing and building as they progress through the years. These can be seen on our long-term English overview. Every lesson shares a WALT (we are learning to) and success criteria. These are referred to at the beginning and end of the lessons to support pupil progress. Regular feedback ensures children know what they have done well and what they need to do next.
Non-Fiction Teaching Sequence:
Knowledge organisers for non-fiction writing have been planned for Y1 through to Y6 to support progression over the years. These are in every child’s writing book to support repetition of the features of non-fiction genres to support children’s long-term memory retention and progression of skills and knowledge through the years.
Our non-fiction writing is built on our humanities learning. A variety of purposes for writing are covered across the school. These include writing to inform, to instruct and to persuade.
1) Compare fiction and non-fiction
2) Model text analysed for features
3) Practice sentence writing in the style
1) Model texts analysed for features including comparing fiction and non-fiction
2) Reading text as a reader
3) Reading text as a writer
4) Practice sentence writing in the style
4) Boxing up/ text structure, planning text
5) Practice sentence writing in the style
5) Boxing up/ text structure, planning text
6) Shared writing
6) Practice sentence writing in the style
7)Drafting opening and/or ending
7) Practice sentence writing in the style
9) Independent write including time for proof reading and editing
8) Independent write
10) Re-write and editing
Fiction Teaching Sequence:
Week One: They begin by learning the text and immersing themselves in the text including drama and short writing activities.
Week Two: A continued focus on retelling the story to learn the vocabulary well. Grammar focus takes place in the second week where children unpick the grammar explicitly used within the texts.
Week Three: Following this, children innovate upon the known texts.
Week Four: The final phase of writing is invention where children can be creative within the plot genres they have learnt.
Everyday Toolbox for Writing
Year 1 and 2
Year 3 and 4
Year 5 and 6
Author Journals – Author Journals are our way of supporting the children to collate high quality vocabulary and sentences. In Key Stage One, these are shared resources. In Key Stage Two, every child has their own individual Author Journal.
English Working Walls:
Working walls must be up to date and relevant to the current learning as a teaching resource. Each class has an English working wall which includes…
- Sentence focus
- Word of the week
- Story mountain
- Half-term spelling focus words
- Text map
At Dobwalls, we have two weeks dedicated to poetry. Children are given opportunities to compare poetry as well as listen to and write a range of poetry genres. Poetry types are mapped out into a spiral curriculum, to allow children to experience a variety of poetry during their time at Dobwalls Primary.
Additionally, a poem is learnt each half term during our whole class reading sessions. Children perform these as a class during whole school assembly. This allows all children to regularly experience learning, performing and listening to poetry.
Although poetry is taught and experienced explicitly during these occasions, poetry is also interwoven across the curriculum.
Early Years Foundation – EYFS:
In the EYFS, a child's writing journey starts with acquiring sufficient strength in their shoulders, arms, wrists and fingers. This begins with lots of big movements to develop gross motor skills and finger strengthening activities to develop fine motor control in our class 'finger gym'. Together with the physical preparation for writing, children need to be immersed in a language rich environment both oral and written. Children need to be exposed to a variety of genres and must be given the opportunity to re-tell and recite rhymes and traditional tales. At Dobwalls we bring this life with a 'story and rhyme of the week'. Each week a high-quality text is used as a stimulus for early writing and storytelling. Alongside this, children are encouraged to learn a nursery rhyme each week to develop their vocabulary and use of language. The stories, books and rhymes are planned to be progressive in the language that children are exposed to, as well as considering the children's own interests.
Within the EYFS teaching and learning, weekly planned shared/modelled writing sessions give children the opportunity to see writing led by an adult. At Dobwalls we use the 'talk 4 writing' approach in EYFS which is consistent with the rest of the school. During this process children learn extracts or shortened versions of stories using a story map and actions to build up their knowledge of story types and patterns. Through these sessions, the adult is able to explain the decisions being made, so children understand how they share their thoughts, ideas and feelings. The progression of lessons for children in EYFS is fluid and mainly focuses around talk.
Writing opportunities are available daily during continuous provision both inside and outside. A range of stimuli are used to inspire children to write throughout the year to help on their journey to becoming independent writers.
Look at some of our super writing! This was inspired by a super poetry week giving a super purpose to our writing.
Statutory spellings from the National Curriculum, are planned out within our English long-term overview. Each year groups statutory spellings are also shared with parents each half term on their homework menu.
In EYFS, children complete daily hour long RWI lessons with separate sessions focussed on red tricky words. In Year One and Year Two, daily spelling lessons track the children’s learning of statutory spellings.
In Year One, children begin learning a group of spellings each week. These grouped together by spelling rules, which are shared with the children. Embedding the rules, allows children to apply them to other words that they would like to use. The weekly rule and spellings are also shared with parents. This approach continues throughout the school. Each year groups statutory spellings are interweaved within the weekly spellings.
We use the following interventions alongside quality first teaching to support individual learners:
- Teaching is adapted to meet the needs of children with SEND including use of scaffolding, group work, pre-teaching, chunked learning activities, use of ICT and more
- Handwriting and fine motor skills sessions are used to support children who we feel would benefit from this
- Some children may use a laptop and type their writing when completing longer pieces of writing
- Adaptive questioning to challenge and support every child
- Provide children with sentence starters/scaffolds
- Encourage thought and talk through ideas with children to help formulate sentences
- Regular recall of previous learning through flashback fours
Please see below specific strategies linked to the four areas of need as per the SEND code of practice. Please note many children may need strategies from more than one area of need as we recognise they overlap and it depends on the need of the child.
Social, Emotional and Mental Health
- Additional adults prepare pupils to contribute to feedback sessions, where necessary
- Link to personal and real-life situations
- Plan for possible emotional or activity breaks which may be needed
- Pre-teach of the activity, vocabulary, key learning
- Show what a good outcome looks like
- Personalised activities towards the child’s personal interest to motivate engagement
Cognition and Learning
- Give pupils extra processing time and opportunity to discuss in pairs before recording
- Use of ICT to record and research
- Adults act as scribes
- Use of talking tins
- Use of visuals to support learning
- Clear and simplified language e.g. for tasks, worksheets, teacher talk and use of whiteboards
- Pre-teach of the activity, vocabulary, key learning
- Show what a good outcome looks like
- Activities chunked – cut up and broken down
- Adapted resources, e.g. sentence stems, missing word activities, labelling
Communication and Interaction
- Recognise that the technical language of grammar may be challenging for many pupils and adapt to individual needs
- Alternative communication modes, such visuals (Widget) and audio are encouraged
- Use of art, drawing to communicate opinions and ideas
- Use of talking tins and talking photo albums
Sensory and/or physical difficulties
- Some children might require adapted printed materials e.g. font size and style, print size, background, Braille, symbols
- Some may require simplified or raised diagrams or described pictures
- Pale coloured backgrounds for all whiteboards
- Use of coloured dyslexia overlays, bookmarks as needed
- Use of ICT
- Use of ear defenders for noise
- Sensory and/or movement breaks
- Using a range of different writing tools
As a school, we use RWI letter patters and the Penpals scheme.
Early Years learners progress through the following early learning stages: fine motor skills, mark making, letter formation using the RWI patter.
In Year 1, children continue to build handwriting skills through RWI letter formation. We begin to join in Summer 2.
In Year 2, the children are taught, through carefully modelling to join their handwriting. Penpals supports a progressive sequence through to Year 6.
Children are taught to hold the pencil effectively through nip, flip and grip. Handwriting is celebrated through handwriting hero certificates awarded each half-term for effort and progress with handwriting.
We support left-handed writers through carefully planned seating arrangements to make sure all learners have space to write. The children are taught to use the correct pencil grip and use a writing triangle to encourage good posture. Children are encouraged to use a lightly blunted pencil and exceptions are made in joined handwriting when crossing letters.
Y1 Homework linked to their story of Goldilocks and the Three Bears!
Amazing effort with creative skills and writing.
See examples of our writing below...
Y4 writing linked to Rainforest Topic
Enrichment is an important part of writing (which includes speaking and listening) at Dobwalls in order for children to realise the real purpose in learning to write confidently and fluently. There are a wide range of opportunities provided including:
- School Magazine Club – a magazine written by the children of Dobwalls and sold to all
- Theatre visits e.g. Squashbox Theatre, Hall for Cornwall, Theatre Royal Plymouth
- World Book Day Annually Celebrated with a range of opportunities planned
- Author Visits: Sally Crabtree, Jenny Scott, Ellie Jackson, Simon James
- Christmas Performances across the School
- Y6 Summer Performance
- Y2 Zoo trip
- National Poetry Day