Writing at Westwood
Structure of lessons
The programmes of study for writing at key stages 1 and 2 consist of two dimensions:
Effective composition involves forming, articulating and communicating ideas, and then organising them coherently for a reader. This requires clarity, awareness of the audience, purpose and context, and an increasingly wide knowledge of vocabulary and grammar.
From Year 1 upwards the children will have four writing lessons a week. Grammar and punctuation will be part of every lesson. In Year 6 there will be a grammar and punctuation lesson in addition to the writing lesson. Handwriting will be taught separately to the writing lesson.
Writing lessons will always be set within a creative and engaging context. An audience should be identified and there should always be a purpose for writing. It is an expectation that all children will be taught the same objective in the lesson unless a child has specific SEN needs which means they are unable to access that particular objective. The teacher and teaching assistant will have a guided writing group within writing lessons. Within writing lessons children should be given the opportunity to engage in activities such as:
It is not an expectation that children will be writing in every writing lesson as children need to develop their knowledge and understanding of the context as well as time to form and articulate their ideas.
In writing lessons there will learn about different genres and their features, and the technical aspects of writing (sentence construction, grammatical structures, vocabulary, punctuation).
Children are expected to write an objective or title at the beginning of each piece of work.
Assessment and feedback
In all years except Y2 and Y6, we use the Oxford writing criteria to level writing. In Year 2 and Year 6, we use the statutory exemplification criteria. When writing independently, children are provided with a checklist to help them self-assess and improve their work as they are writing and when they finish. This check list will be dependent on what the children have already been taught.
When children have completed their independent writing, the teachers will highlight where children have met previous targets, or where they have included some particularly good features or elements. The criteria from the Oxford writing criteria (or the Year 2 and Year 6 exemplification criteria) will be ticked off so that children can see which elements of different levels they are achieving and where the gaps are. From each piece of independent writing, the children will be given a clear target which they should work on over the next two weeks.
In children’s writing books, the teacher will continue to highlight as in the big writing. Basic errors or weaknesses must be picked up on (for example spelling errors, incorrect letter formation, missing punctuation, overuse of ‘and’, repetitive sentence construction). The teacher will indicate that this is a target and there is a clear expectation that children either correct this, practice it at the end of the piece of work or address the error in subsequent work.
Throughout the year your child will be bringing home sets of spellings to learn. These are spellings from the new National Curriculum. The spellings for each year group are taken from the spelling patterns and from the list of common exception words (as listed in the curriculum). All children in each class will be working on the same spellings and these will be taught regularly throughout the week in short bursts. The list may appear slightly longer than previous weekly lists but this is because the spellings are now to be learnt over two weeks. In the first week, your child should try to learn as many words as he or she can. The children will then be tested on Thursday so they are aware of which ones they still need to practise. On the Thursday of the second week the children will repeat the test and see if they can beat their previous score. The children will then receive a new set of spellings for the two-week cycle to start again.
This new spelling system should greatly support your child’s progress and will ensure that your child has more opportunities to learn the spellings for his or her year group. Please make sure that the spelling record book is brought to school every Thursday. Please refer to this book to find out which words your child spelt correctly in the test and which words still need to be learnt.
Children in Reception and Year 1 must focus on accurate letter formation on the line. Children will be taught cursive script from the start of Year 2 and will be expected to have fluent, cursive, legible and speedy handwriting. There will be daily teaching of handwriting and an opportunity for the children to practise their handwriting independently on a Friday.