Writing and SPAG at Church Lench
At Church Lench C E First School we want our children to become writers who are confident, creative, coherent, accurate and reflective. We achieve this by using high quality texts throughout our English curriculum immersing them in adventurous vocabulary and exciting sentence structures which leads to developing their creative minds. By the time our children leave Church Lench they are able to write at length for different purposes and audiences.
In Class 1 we have four dedicated English sessions, linked to a high quality text, plus daily phonics. In a typical writing unit, children will first become familiar with a text through short focused tasks, role play, drama work, linked play activities and class discussions. Any related grammar objectives will be taught during this time for the children to incorporate into their writing.
Alongside our English lessons, we work on the children’s gross and fine motor skills in our play provision. Children in the EYFS also have extra letter formation activities to support their early understanding of the writing system. In our play provision, there will be other activities linked to our class text.
In class 2 we have 4 dedicated writing sessions per week linked to a high quality text. The focus for each session is building effective sentences. Each unit of work has ‘experience sessions' where we immerse ourselves in a topic. These experience days are dotted throughout a unit as and when they support the children in the best possible way (they are not always at the start of a unit). As well as ‘experience sessions’ we have guided sessions led by the teacher and then independent writing opportunities at the end of a unit to enable the children to write at length and build stamina for writing.
Building and sharing vocabulary is at the heart of every session and the teacher and children work together to create vocabulary banks to help with writing the most effective sentences possible. The children then get an opportunity to try the new vocabulary out and create their own sentences. The children can then refer back in their books when they do their independent writing as it is clearly laid out.
The children are also taught about the importance of editing and rewriting their work to improve it which they do to their independent work. Also the children use a ‘ticklist’ of skills and literary features when writing to help evaluate their work as they write.
Class 2 also have one dedicated grammar session each week. The year groups are split and the grammar as set out in the National Curriculum is taught explicitly.
In Class 3, we have 5 dedicated English lessons per week linked to a model text, which is either an excerpt from a high quality text or a specially written text, which incorporates all the features of the writing genre we are studying. A typical writing unit will involve an analysis of the features, a discussion as to whether we are writing to entertain, inform or persuade, shared writing, building effective paragraphs, practicing using language features and structures and opportunities for extended writing.
Grammar is taught contextually and there is also a discrete session in which to focus on the aspect of grammar most relevant to our genre.
Children are taught the importance of checking and editing their work and regularly use purple pen to review and edit their work and the work of their peers. This skill is taught and builds upon the work on proofing already done in Class 2. Children are given genre specific checklists when writing independently and part of the editing process involves adapting and rewriting work to ensure that specific features are included.
A range of classroom resources are available in each class to help the children with their writing including word lists, dictionaries, thesauruses and grammar reference books. The children are taught how to use the resources in an efficient way and are encouraged to access them independently.
There are many opportunities for discussion, debate and drama both within English lessons and in other curriculum areas. There are opportunities for cross-curricular writing in history and geography lessons, science and R.E. where children are encouraged to apply the same high standards used in English lessons.