Writing at Southfield Park
Approaches to writing
We aim to develop the children’s ability to produce well structured, detailed writing in which the meaning is made clear and which engages the interest of the reader. There is a consistent and progressive approach to teaching writing across the school. All year groups follow a ‘Learning Journey’ process for writing that progresses from exploration, vocabulary generation and role play into sentence level and grammar techniques and opportunities for several different pieces of writing.
To illustrate the Learning Journeys, every class has a Learning Journey display which acts as a working wall and includes:
- An overarching Learning Journey title and a specific purpose (writing to entertain, inform persuade or discuss) which spans all of the pieces of writing in the unit.
- Progression or objective statement for each stage of the Learning Journey
- Modelled and shared writing.
- Children’s work (photocopied from books/whiteboards)
- Post it notes
- Example vocabulary
- Steps to success/success ladders
Where possible, Learning Journeys are linked to our topic and/or other areas of the curriculum; this helps ensure the learning is more purposeful and meaningful. We encourage the children to reflect and consider the reader and audience at all times. All of the writing in the unit should be for the same purpose and explored through well-chosen model text types and different contexts. We aim for one ‘quality write’ per week which should include a differentiated mini- marking ladder and provide the opportunity for child and teacher assessment. A ‘big write’ timetabled at the end of each unit should draw on the skills developed throughout the Learning Journey.
During English lessons, teachers model writing strategies and the use of phonics and spelling strategies in shared writing sessions. Guided writing sessions are used to target specific needs of both groups and individuals.
Approaches to spelling
In Reception and key stage 1, daily phonics is the key to the children’s learning of spelling. Children are taught to blend sounds to read and segment to spell. At the same time, they learn words which are not phonically regular (common exception words). From year two and into key stage 2, the children move towards using their phonic knowledge to help them to understand spelling rules and patterns according to the expectations outlined in the National Curriculum 2014 (See Southfield Park’s spelling progression in our English Scheme of Work). Classes must ensure they teach to the scheme to ensure coverage.
Spelling is taught daily throughout key stage 2 in short, discrete sessions using a ‘teach, practise, revisit’ approach. Children learn the different spelling rules and conventions through investigative and interactive sessions using games and activities to ensure that it is engaging and exciting. Spelling skills taught are consolidated through activities in book browse, handwriting and English lessons.
As outlined in our marking and feedback policy, spellings (appropriate to age, year group and ability) are identified in children’s books for them to practise. Regular spelling errors are recorded at the back of books on the spelling flap and children are encouraged to spell these words correctly to avoid repeated errors.
Spelling homework follows a three part structure, linked to the spelling focus in class. In the first week, a word list is given based on a spelling rule/pattern with five words given to key stage 1 and ten words given to key stage 2. In the second week, an investigative task is set and in the third week a more in depth writing task is given to embed the spelling rule/pattern. At the end of this three week structure, the children are then tested on a selection of these spelling words. In reception, they are given jolly phonics sound worksheets weekly which can also be supported by a phonic writing activity.
Each classroom in key stage 2 has a designated spelling wall/area where recently learned rules or spelling patterns are displayed and resources to support spelling are kept for the children’s reference. This should be treated as a ‘working wall’ which can be added to when relevant; it can include children’s work, photocopies of whiteboards and post-it notes as well as teacher modelling.
All classrooms clearly display the year group common misconception words identified in the curriculum. These have been further split into year groups (See Southfield Park’s spelling progression in our English Scheme of Work). Interactive spelling areas are included in all classrooms where children can practise the spelling of these words in different ways.
Approaches to grammar
Grammar is taught according to the 2014 National Curriculum and the Southfield Park English scheme of work which detail the expectations for the teaching of grammar and the agreed terminology. Grammar is embedded within each learning journey and identified clearly on planning. We follow a colour coded grammar system to help the children recognise word classes and support the ‘colourful semantics’ program for SEN children. The colours are as follows: Verbs-yellow, adverbs-pink, nouns-green, adjectives-purple, conjunctions-black writing on white background. Where ever possible, resources and displays promote this colour code. In key stage 2, all classrooms have a grammar wall display with examples of word classes and definitions.
Approaches to handwriting
Handwriting is taught through explicit handwriting sessions where the teacher models cursive handwriting and explains how letters are formed. Teachers follow the handwriting policy where expectations are set out per year group. In key stage 2, children have the potential to gain a ‘Pen Licence’.