At Lacewood we teach writing based upon the engaging teaching framework - 'Talk For Writing' developed by Pie Corbett. We feel this is an effective teaching process because it is based on the principles of how children learn. It enables children to imitate the language they need for a particular topic, before reading and analysing it, and then writing their own version.
Talk for Writing Process
1. Baseline assessment and planning – the ‘cold’ task
Teaching is focused by initial assessment. Generally, teachers use what is known as a ‘cold’ task or a ‘have a go’ task. An interesting and rich starting point provides the stimulus and content but there is no initial teaching. The aim of this is to see what the children can do independently at the start of a unit, drawing on their prior learning. Assessment of their writing helps the teacher work out what to teach the whole class, different groups and adapt the model text and plan. Targets can then be set for individuals. By the end of the unit, pupils complete a ‘hot’ task or a ‘show us what you know’ task which is an independent task on a similar type of writing with an interesting stimulus. Progress should be evident which encourages pupils and helps schools track the impact of teaching.
2. The imitation stage
The teaching begins with some sort of creative ‘hook’ which engages the pupils, often with a sense of enjoyment, audience and purpose. Writing challenges, such as writing a letter linked to a class novel study or producing leaflets for younger children about healthy eating, provide a sense of purpose. The model text is pitched above the pupils’ level and has built into it the underlying, transferable structures and language patterns that students will need when they are writing. In year 1, this is learned using a ‘text map’ and actions to strengthen memory and help students internalise the text.
3. The innovation stage
Once students are familiar with the model text, then the teacher leads them into creating their own versions. A new subject is presented and the teacher leads students through planning. With younger pupils, this is based on changing the basic map and retelling new versions. Older students use boxed-up planners and the teacher demonstrates how to create simple plans and orally develop ideas prior to writing. Ideas may need to be generated and organised or information researched and added to a planner. Shared and guided writing is then used to stage writing over a number of days so that students are writing texts bit by bit, concentrating on bringing all the elements together, writing effectively and accurately. Feedback is given during the lessons so that students can be taught how to improve their writing and make it more accurate. From the Summer term in Y3, child use their blue 'editing pens' to up-level vocabulary, correct spelling mistakes and respond to teacher feedback independently.
4. Independent application and invention – the ‘hot’ task
Eventually, students move on to the third phase, which is when they apply independently what has been taught and practised. Before this happens, the teacher may decide to give further input and rehearsal. Students are guided through planning, drafting and revising their work independently. It is essential to provide a rich starting point that taps into what students know and what matters so that their writing is purposeful. Writing may be staged over a number of days and there may be time for several independent pieces to be written. With non-fiction, students should apply what they have been taught across the curriculum. The final piece is used as the ‘hot’ task, which clearly shows progress across the unit.
It is important that at the innovation and independent application stages, the writing becomes increasingly independent of the original model rather than a pale copy. Whilst four-year-olds may only make a few simple changes, older students should be adding, embellishing, altering and manipulating the original structure. From Key Stage 2 onwards, almost all children will be using the text structure and writing tools to write, drawing on the model, their wider reading and experience so that they are writing independently at a high level. This has to be modelled in shared writing.
Lacewood Writing Progression Document
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