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Strand on the Green Junior School

Writing

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Writing gives visibility to our thoughts. It preserves the facts, foregrounds imagination and helps to clarify understanding. Our aim is for children at Strand to see the power and possibilities of language and to master the written word with a confidence that supports their own self-expression. Whatever the message, they need to be able to say it in writing.

 Content

Children at Strand engage in many writing activities, some functional, others creative but all important in building their capacity to write well.  To achieve this, our curriculum covers the rules and conventions of good writing, the features of different text types, the tools and techniques of the writer and the process by which writers draft and refine their work. In line with the National Curriculum, we organise our progression into the two strands outlined below.      

 Transcription

Scribing text

Spelling

Handwriting

Sentence structure

Grammar

These are the building blocks of transcription. Each of these elements is developed singularly and in combination across the junior years. Getting better at writing involves scribing text in more complex ways, with increasing control. The sooner learners can write words and sentences automatically, the more attention they can devote to content and message. That’s why in the lower school (Y3 and 4), we place a great deal of emphasis on developing sentence structure as a platform to fluent writing. Equally, handwriting receives more attention in these earlier years when a cursive script is systematically taught.

 Composition

Shaping and styling writing

Process

Planning, drafting, evaluating revising and editing

Text Types

Genre features; story genres, poetry, non-fiction such as informative, explanatory etc

Technique

Use of vocabulary and other devices used to adapt writing to purpose and audience

Successful writers need to make a host of decisions about what to say and how best to say it. Starting simply, we scaffold these decisions, gradually increasing challenge. Over time we extend our learners understanding of different genres, the distinct stages of writing production and the techniques that writers use to shape and style their work.

 

 


Sequence and Progression

The building blocks of transcription and composition have been sequenced to introduce content gradually, with plenty of time afforded for practice and revisiting. For example, familiarity with genre grows by introducing and developing two or three new text types each year and then practising them thereafter in subsequent years, sometimes in cross-curricular tasks.

 

Read our full writing progression model here



Organisation

English Writing Units

Along with oracy and reading, writing is part of the English curriculum and is taught in English lessons. English units are usually aligned to a book, theme or the main half termly topic. Learning typically begins with a text used either as a model or stimulus. Children are taught to read as writers, going beyond enjoyment and comprehension to uncover the underlying grammar, vocabulary and techniques. English units typically last two to three weeks with sentence structure and grammatical points incorporated into the learning sequence that leads up to the planned writing tasks.

English writing units are not taught every single week. Sometimes teaching across a week will focus exclusively on sentence structure and grammar points that benefit from being taught separately.

Most English teaching follows a class based teaching model. In Year 6, however, some units are taught in sets aligned to reading groups. This enables the stimulus texts and teaching points to be tailored to learning need.


Big Writing
By Year 6, the aim is to increase versatility. Interspersed between English units, are ‘Big Writing’ sessions. These enable children to manage the entire writing process, from planning to publishing, across different text types.  In time, children get better at orchestrating the array of knowledge and skills needed to produce great pieces of writing

 

 

 

Examples of English Units

Y3

 

Day of the Dinosaurs

Once Upon A Time (fairy tales)

Y4

 

Traditional Tales

The Sound of Silence

Y5

 

Greek Myths

Iqbal

Y6

 

Life Stories: Black Britons

Spots versus Stripes

Cross-curricular
Writing is a skill that needs plenty of practice. Opportunities to consolidate are increased through writing in other subjects. For example, factual information reports or explanatory paragraphs may be part of science; essays are often used to answer the big questions in our topic subjects.

 

English writing units are not taught every single week. Sometimes teaching across a week will focus exclusively on sentence structure and grammar points that benefit from being taught separately.

Most English teaching follows a class based teaching model. In Year 6, however, some units are taught in sets aligned to reading groups. This enables the stimulus texts and teaching points to be tailored to learning need.

Spelling is systematically taught, usually in isolation from wider English learning. It is often consolidated through homework activities.  



 

 Big Ideas

 Six +1 Traits

The six +1 traits offer a conceptual framework for thinking about writing. Often the traits are best understood in the pairings set out in the table here, which fit well with the writing process. When children shape the content of their writing they focus on ideas and organisation. They may adopt a particular style through word choice and voice. The final traits relate to correct and fluent transcription.

 

Children’s understanding of these traits grows over time, with the more complex ‘writer’s voice’ introduced in the upper school. 

 

 

                6+1  Writing Traits

Shape

 

1. Ideas

 

2. Organisation

Style

 

3. Word Choice

 

4. Writer’s Voice

Scribe

 

5. Sentence Fluency

 

6. Accuracy of Conventions

+1   Handwriting and Presentation