We want all of our children to become successful and confident writers. From the beginnings of Nursery through to the end of Year 6, the children develop their writing skills through a wide range of purposeful and exciting activities and experiences. There are two aspects of writing, ‘transcription’ (spelling and handwriting) and composition (articulating ideas and structuring them in speech and writing).
At Ivingswood Academy, we have adopted ‘The Write Stuff’ by Jane Considine . ‘The Write Stuff’ follows a method called Sentence Stacking where there is an emphasis on vocabulary, sentence structure and developing ‘chunks of sense’.
An individual lesson is based on a sentence model, broken into 3 learning chunks. Each learning chunk has three sections:
- Initiate section – a stimulus to capture the children’s imagination and set up a sentence.
- Model section – the teacher close models a sentence that outlines clear writing features and techniques.
- Enable section – the children write their sentence, following the model.
Children are challenged to ‘Deepen the Moment’ which requires them to independently draw upon previously learnt skills and apply them to their writing during that chunk.
‘The Write Stuff’ uses three essential components to support children in becoming great writers
The three zones of writing :-
The FANTASTICs represent the nine ideas for writing. These lenses teach children about emotions and feelings and the internal workings of characters and people in non-fiction. As writers, children use the FANTASTICs lens to zoom into how characters are experiencing the world.
The GRAMMARISTICS. The grammar rules of our language system. These are the tools which allow children to be in control of their grammar choices to improve precision and the impact of their writing.
The BOOMTASTICs. The writing techniques to add drama, style and poetic devices to writing. They enable children to showcase their personal voice and writerly style through the techniques they use.
Thinking side & writing side.
Children develop their writing by building vocabulary and phrases using a technique called ‘chotting‘ with a partner (chatting and jotting). This allows children to work on their writing ideas and we emphasise the importance of thinking about their writing ideas and vocabulary. Books are divided into two sides: the Thinking side where the ideas and chotting are recorded and the Writing side where children contruct their sentences.
Celebrating the craft and construction of sentences
A class sentence stack is created to celebrate children’s sentences. This helps children to clearly see how a piece of writing is crafted and built before independently writing.
Independent writing – The published pieces
At the end of the unit of learning, children apply the skills they have learnt to their own piece of independent learning. They enjoy using the writing rainbow to create their own unique piece often as a double-page spread.
The school has a handwriting policy centred on the Nelson Handwriting scheme of learning. Physical development in the Nursery and Reception classes includes plenty of opportunity to develop eye-hand co-ordination and fine and gross muscle control which will in enable each child to be a successful writer. The children gain a wide range of experiences in the Early Years in order to learn the correct letter shapes and formation.
As the children move through the school they continue to build their handwriting skills and these become more refined. The children focus on learning shape and letter patterns in letter “families”.
Once the letters are being formed in the correct direction, children will be encouraged to consider placement on the lines (e.g. hanging ascenders below the line) and differentiation between upper and lower case letters. Once children are solidly demonstrating these skills, joined writing will be taught from Year 2 with the view to fluently joining letters. Children who join their writing well will be offered a handwriting pen to use, typically from Year 4.