Writing at Pashley
Our teachers are confident delivering an engaging English curriculum with reading at the heart. Reading is a golden thread throughout everything we do and this is clearly evident when you look at our English overview (attached below.)
We use a range of strategies to teach writing, with strong influences from Talk for Writing and Power of Reading. All staff have had training on Talk for Writing from 2021-2023. This has enhanced subject knowledge and we have adapted our teaching approach in line with this approach, keeping some of our original strengths within our curriculum. The focus on oracy is clear throughout our teaching.
We follow the teaching structure: immerse, imitate, innovate, invent.
Immerse: we spend the first part of the teaching sequence immersing children in the key text and themes that surround it. An example of this is with the text ‘We’re Going on a Bear Hunt’ in EYFS Term 1 when the children go up to the woods and find clues about the story. Lots of drama activities take place to really excite the children about the story and get them immersed into the characters and the plot.
Imitate: the second part of the teaching sequence is imitating a model text. The model text is based on the key story but adapted to suit the needs of the children in the class. The unit draws upon a ‘cold task’ where children are asked to write without support to show what they know already. The teachers skilfully analyse the children’s writing to understand what the children need to be taught, which is added into the model text to learn for the term. The children learn the model text by heart. They also have daily short burst writing activities which engage them in the tools they need to learn to become better writers. These short burst writing lessons always include poetry which focuses on the children generating a range of vocabulary that will be drawn upon later in the sequence of work.
Innovate: this third part of the unit is very fun for the children! This involves the class changing part of the story/ non-fiction text, to make it their own. They take part in boxing up the story, shared writing, more drama, alongside regular short burst writing activities.
Invent: some children will invent their own stories/ non-fiction texts or poems by the end of the unit. Some will work with the ideas that have been generated as a class/ group. All children will carry out a ‘hot task’ to showcase their learning within the unit of work.
Our approach to teaching English draws in grammar, handwriting, reading, spelling and punctuation, through the context of a story or non-fiction unit of work. We teach children to write for a range of purposes and audiences and give them authentic reasons for publishing their work.
At Pashley we teach cursive handwriting from EYFS in a structured systematic way, from pattern making, through to letters taught in sets. This approach was adopted in 2019 following high levels of research, and it is now fully embedded in our teaching and learning. The handwriting throughout the school is of a high standard. See the attached overview for the trajectory of teaching.
Grammar is most effective when taught in the context of reading and writing; either in the context of the linguistic demands of a particular genre or the writing needs of a child. We take a pragmatic approach to the teaching of grammar and believe effective grammar teaching takes place in meaningful contexts. Grammar is taught through our English lessons, using short burst writing, linked to the story/ non-fiction text.
Playing with words, investigations, puns, jokes, and rhymes all enrich and inform grammatical knowledge and understanding and develop a genuine interest in how language works.
Teachers encourage children to play with language through short games based on children’s needs (AFL) and also areas of the National Curriculum to be covered by the year group. Poetry supports our teaching of grammar very well. Teachers use the appropriate meta-language when talking about writing ensuring children learn the appropriate terms.
We want our pupils to become fluent and effective writers; and we believe accurate spelling is a means to that end. Competent spellers need to spend less time and energy in thinking about spelling to enable them to channel their time and energy into the skills of composition, sentence structure and precise word choice.
A good spelling programme gradually builds pupils’ spelling vocabulary by introducing patterns or conventions and continually practising those already introduced. Experience has confirmed that short, lively, focused sessions are more enjoyable and effective than an occasional skills session.
Spelling strategies are taught explicitly and applied to high-frequency words, cross-curricular words and individual pupils’ words. Proofreading is taught during shared and guided writing sessions and links are made to the teaching of handwriting.
All classes have word(s) of the week which are on display. These are words that don’t always follow the phonetic code and need to be taught in different ways. In every class you will see what the words have been over the past term, and the word of the week will be on display.