Curriculum Intent and Implementation
Writing Curriculum Statement of Intent
At Westwood we aim to teach children to become confident and competent writers. Through the ‘adventure approach’ to the curriculum we provide the children with a purpose and desire to write as they feel invested in what they are doing. Writing is cross curricular or taught through a book therefore children begin every piece of writing being able to draw upon prior knowledge taught; this allows them to create links across the curriculum. Expectations of writing remain high across all subjects developing a sense of pride within the children.
Throughout Early Years, Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2 the children are given opportunities to write for a range of purposes, genres and audiences. Over the year they have the chance to revisit writing for a certain purpose to show progression in their writing.
Through writing we aim to extend and enrich our children’s vocabulary. We believe that having a wide vocabulary helps children communicate their ideas in a more engaging way and boosts their power of persuasion and the impact on the intended audience.
Writing Curriculum Implementation
At Westwood, we believe that providing a curriculum which is engaging and hands on is key. Through the whole curriculum we want to create a culture of ‘botheredness’ so the children are fully immersed in what they are doing. In order to do this, we deliver our lessons through learning adventures where each key stage follows an adventure, which has a strong narrative running through it, where all subjects are taught following the same story. This includes writing, which allows children to feel a purpose for their writing and have the necessary information and motivation to produce excellent pieces of cross-curricular writing.
From Early Year to Year 6 we use a range of teaching strategies to engage and inspire the children in the writing curriculum:
Imagineering: When using Imagineering in writing the children can fully immerse themselves in the writing, allowing them to feel a purpose in what they are producing. Imagineering may offer the children a ‘problem’ that they need to solve and they can explore this through their writing. It can be used to develop a clear understanding of a setting, character or situation through the use of drama. Imagineering also provides opportunity to ‘hook’ the children into a piece of writing.
Outdoor Learning: Through the use of the outdoors, real-life experiences and writing hooks are created. This gives the children an insight into what they are writing about and builds on their imagination.
Active Learning: Active learning within writing motivates children and enhances their learning experience. In writing, children complete a range of active learning activities, either moving around the classroom or outside, ranging from the teaching of the genre, the specific writing objective for the writing lesson and generating ideas to include within their writing.
Real life experiences
We endeavour to ensure that our writing curriculum is enriched with real life experiences ranging from trips, visitors or hands on practical learning to ensure all our learners are starting their writing from the same advantage point. We believe every child should have the opportunity and access to a wide range of experiences.
At Westwood we want to equip the children with rich and varied vocabulary that they can use to enhance their writing. Westwood’s Word Wizard provides the children with 3 words per genre for KS1 and 5 words per genre for KS2 for them to learn and use within their writing. The wizard reveals the words at the beginning of the week, followed by direct teaching about the word meanings and how to use them correctly in different contexts. A game or activity will take place to help embed the new vocabulary. The children will then be encouraged to use these in their work. Within their writing, the words will be highlighted in blue. If they include all of the given words, they will receive an individual reward (based on the class reward systems).
It is not an expectation that children will be writing in every writing lesson as they need to develop their knowledge and understanding of the context as well as time to form and articulate their ideas.
In writing lessons there should be a balance between teaching and learning about different genres and their features, and the technical aspects of writing (sentence construction, grammatical structures, vocabulary, punctuation). All teachers are provided with a list of genres which must be covered and assessed throughout the year.
Early Years and Key Stage One
Lower Key Stage Two
Upper Key Stage Two
Biography or auto-biography
Structure of teaching a genre
Every week children will be learning to write for a new genre. In KS1 children may complete two genres in one week. The structure of the writing remains the same for every new genre that is taught. In the first lesson children discover the purpose for writing and the genre they will be focussing on. They will look at a model text for that genre and analyse the key features by completing an activity. In the second lesson they will learn the new wizard words for that piece of writing. They will then begin work on the first paragraph. For every paragraph, children will focus on a new objective (grammar or punctuation). They will have explicit teaching for this objective and complete some sentences or an activity based on it. They will then write their paragraph after completing shared writing or analysing a model written by the teacher. This same structure continues until the children have completed all the paragraphs needed to have a final piece. Children complete 4 writing lessons a week. They write one paragraph per day which enables them to remain focussed and engaged in the task.
At Westwood, along with focusing on poetry through reading lessons, we celebrate poetry in a ‘Poetry Week’. During this week the children will write a range of different poems based on the adventure they are doing, focus on poetry during guided reading lessons and work towards a performance of a poem in a poetry celebration assembly.
Marking and feedback
We know that effective marking and feedback can have a significant impact on children’s progress and is an integral part of the teaching and learning process. At Westwood we aim to make all marking and feedback meaningful, manageable and motivating and our guiding principle is that marking is entirely for the benefit of the children. Marking and feedback will celebrate children’s effort and achievement and will also enable the children to make corrections and improve their work (see marking and feedback policy for more information).
Effectively editing a piece of work can often be a difficult skill to master. Being able to identify where you have made mistakes and know how to improve something you have already finished can be difficult. For this reason, we will ensure the children at Westwood learn to become independent editors of their own work by the time they leave Westwood.
In order for children to become independent, effective editors, direct teaching of this skill is needed. At Westwood children will be taught how to edit in a variety of ways: editing lessons and editing stations. Editing lessons focus on the different skills children need to acquire to edit their own work. Editing stations allow the children to apply the skills gained in the lessons into improving a piece of their own work. This type of editing takes up the time of a complete lesson and is planned for in detail. The children rotate around each of the four stations and each one will focus on a specific editing task (see marking and feedback policy for examples and more information about the deeper editing process).
Twice a half term, teachers will choose two pieces of writing that they will assess to see what level the child is working at. This piece remains in context to the adventure the children are currently working on.
In Year 2 and Year 6, we use the statutory exemplification criteria. In all other years we use an assessment criteria devised from the curriculum. When children have completed their independent writing, teachers will highlight where children have met previous targets, or where they have included some particularly good features or elements. The assessment criteria for the appropriate year group will be ticked off so that teachers can see which elements 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 few weeks. The target is written in the front of their writing book so they can easily remind themselves of it before they start writing.
SPAG and handwriting
At Westwood we equip the children will all the skills they need to be capable writers. Each year group has a spelling word list, that is taught over the year, taken from the spelling patterns and list of common exception words (as listed in the curriculum). These are taught in weekly blocks and the spellings will be taught regularly throughout the week in short bursts. Children will have a weekly test on the spellings. A whole-school spelling incentive runs alongside the spelling tests. Explicit grammar and punctuation lessons are taught from Year 3 onwards. In LKS2 there will be 2 explicit SPAG lessons per week and for UKS2 there will be 3 per week. In addition to this, every writing lesson has a grammar or punctuation-based objective.
In handwriting, children in Reception and Year 1 focus on accurate letter formation on the line. Children are taught cursive script from the start of Year 2, if they are deemed ready, and are expected to have fluent, cursive, legible and speedy handwriting. There will be daily teaching of handwriting and many opportunities for the children to practise their handwriting (see handwriting policy for further detail).
Writing Curriculum Impact
As a result of well-structured lessons, a clear vision for the subject and quality teaching, children at Westwood will write with confidence and understanding of the purpose, genre and audience. Through the use of assessment, children’s progress will be measured to ensure they are meeting expectations and achieving within the subject.