Here at Urchfont, we use a variety of approaches to stimulate and enthuse our pupils to want to write for a variety of purposes. One exciting way that we use is “Drama into Writing “approach which was developed by David Mason, an author and poet who wanted to improve pupils writing in a different and more meaningful way.
Through drama, the children learn how to describe scenes, feelings, actions and emotions, using high quality vocabulary. The movement is slowed down to give them time to listen to the adult’s narration or build a narration of their own. This type of work is accessible to all abilities and behaviours, transcending differences between children. The children are then asked to immediately transfer this piece of work into their books, using the same or similar vocabulary to liven and improve their work. A key feature is that children internalise the language structures needed to write through the narration and their own responses to it. The approach moves from dependence towards independence with the teacher using shared and guided teaching to develop the ability in children to write creatively and powerfully.
Whatever stimulus that we use, we strive to equip children to develop a rich vocabulary which can help them bring their writing to life. Basic skills and non-negotiables underpin writing in all areas of the curriculum. Teachers model the writing process and demonstrate the ambitious high standards expected of all children. Every child is encouraged to let their imagination and personality shine through in their writing. They explore and record their ideas through classroom dialogue, drafting, editing and proofreading, honing their skills through focussed teacher feedback. Finally, children present their completed work before being challenged to compose their own independent piece of writing based on their studied genre. Throughout the process, spelling, punctuation and grammar are taught as separate activities and we devote specific times through the week to teach this knowledge. This knowledge and relevant skills are then weave into work through morning challenges, warm-ups and shared writes, ensuring that skills are recapped and reinforced to embed and instil deeper understanding. We promote handwriting and pride ourselves that all our children from Foundation Stage to Y6 are taught a joined script and the children are very proud when they achieve a pen licence.
The National Curriculum specifies spelling rules to be taught each year as well as specific word lists which the children need to learn. These can be found in National Curriculum Spelling Appendix 1.