Writing (including Grammar, Punctuation and Spelling)
Our over-arching intent is for our children at Fox Hill to be enthusiastic, creative, confident and independent writers across the curriculum.
Grammar, Punctuation and Spelling
At Fox Hill, spelling is taught in discrete, regular sessions across the week. Learning to recognise the high frequency words on sight is crucial in developing fluency and accuracy in reading and then writing. Once children are confident in reading and spelling these words, they are taught spelling rules and are encouraged to apply these rules in their writing. Class teachers use Spelling Shed to support with the teaching of the different spelling rules. Spellings are sent home in each year group as part of the children’s homework; the pupils are then tested on these words in their weekly spelling tests. Statutory Spelling words are taught at the start of each academic year and revisited and consolidated throughout the year. Children are encouraged to use them in their writing. Children with additional needs in this area are supported through precision teaching and use of Dyslexia Gold software.
At Fox Hill, handwriting is taught in regular sessions across the school to help children write legibly, at length and at speed. We use the Letter Join handwriting scheme to ensure a consistent approach across the school. In Key Stage 2, children are expected to write in a cursive font and this is modelled by staff. Staff have high expectations of handwriting and presentation and celebrate and share examples of children making progress and trying their best in this area.
Punctuation and Grammar
Children are taught short, discrete punctuation and grammar lessons at the start of English lessons. This ensures that new concepts are being taught, revisited and consolidated regularly. Teachers use a range of resources to support them in their teaching of GPS and children in Key Stage 2 are assessed using Pixl assessments three times a year. Punctuation and grammar is also taught through daily English lessons, where it is relevant to the text type being explored and written.
Tier 2 vocabulary is taught explicitly across the school. These words are displayed alongside other newly-acquired tier 2 and 3 words. Children are encouraged to use this higher-level vocabulary in their spoken and written language and celebrated for doing so.
Children are given regular opportunities to write for a range of purposes and audiences within English lessons and across the curriculum. In most cases, writing is also linked to a class text or curriculum driver. When planning the writing process, teachers use the following Talk for Writing strategies to build up to an independent piece of writing:
Children are taught the value of editing as a crucial part of the writing process and are encouraged to be reflective of how they can improve their own writing. Teachers give verbal feedback to children during the writing process, which is purposeful and relevant. This allows children to edit and redraft their work independently.
Talk for Writing
Talk for Writing
Our aim is to help all our children develop into thoughtful readers and creative writers and it is through the Talk for Writing approach that we believe we can achieve this.
Through multi-sensory and interactive teaching it enables children of all ages and abilities to learn to write a wide range of story/text types using various methods including:
At Fox Hill we are all very enthusiastic about this approach as it brings out the best in the children and the teachers. We are all writers together! Writing becomes a joint adventure and the results are exciting!
Talk for Writing is an innovative approach to teaching writing developed by the literacy specialist and writer Pie Corbett. It uses high quality model texts to introduce the children to different story/text types which they then learn off by heart and scrutinise with a writer’s critical eye.
They learn the underlying structures and the process of planning using story maps. They also learn about the key strategies for creating interesting characters and settings and how to use a range of sentence types to create different effects including suspense or adventure.
Talk for Writing has three key phases which work together to develop knowledge, confidence and independence in writing:
We usually like to start our Talk for Writing units with a ‘hook’ starter which fires up the creativity and imagination of the children before they immerse themselves in the model text.
During this phase the children learn a model text using actions and story maps. The key to success for the children is that they internalise the text type through repetition and rehearsal. They explore the structure of the narrative and investigate the different characters, settings and events. We call this process "reading as a reader" which links closely to our Whole Class Guided Reading. They also begin to look closely at the language used and the effect this has on the reader. We call this process ‘read as a writer’. The classroom becomes a dynamic, interactive resource filled with word ideas, sentence types and language tools collected by the children to use in their stories later.
During this phase the teacher and the children begin to change aspects of the model text using their own ideas. They explore the text using different characters, settings or events and new ideas for descriptive language whilst sticking closely to the underlying structure.
It is during this phase that the children work using their toolkits. The toolkits, based on the features and ingredients of the model text, remind children of the different strategies they could use in their stories and helps them to see the progress they are making.
During the invent week the children plan and write their own story based on the text type they have been learning. They experiment with the ideas and begin to explore their own style of writing using sentence types from the model text.
By the end of their learning journey with us, our learners will:
Writing is assessed through regular teacher assessment against National Curriculum objectives. At the start of each unit of work, children will produce a piece of independent writing that the teacher will use to identify existing knowledge, strengths and gaps. From here, the teacher will plan their lessons with this initial assessment in mind. At the end of the unit, children will complete a second independent task that the teacher will use to measure progress from the starting point.
Teachers will complete a termly summative assessment of the children's writing and RAG (red, amber, green) rate each national curriculum objective. This will give them a clear picture of what the child needs to progress in the following term. Teachers receive termly internal or external writing moderation training/practice to ensure that their assessment and judgement is in-line and consistent with other colleagues.
Writing is monitored both formally and informally through a mix of Leadership Team whole school monitoring and also by the English Lead. Our Governors also play an active role in assessing the quality of our English Curriculum at Fox Hill. The English Lead also gathers both staff and pupil voice, using this to inform priorities, actions and staff CPD.