Writing – Talk4Writing
Writing is delivered in line with the Talk for Writing approach (developed by Pie Corbett). This is a proven and powerful method that allows children to read a model text and analyse features of a genre and to imitate the language before writing their own version. The Talk for Writing approach has three stages:
STAGE 1 – The imitation stage
Each term commences with an Engage event in which the new genre and context is introduced in a creative manner. Subsequent lessons focus on reading as a reader and, subsequently, on reading as a writer. Analysis of the features and language of a model text is undertaken, in addition to activities that build on reading/comprehension skills. A text map for the model is drawn out and learnt by heart. Retelling with physical movements helps the children to recall a story or non-fiction piece and to internalise its language and structure. Drawing up a toolkit for the genre, enables pupils to identify – and later to remember – the elements needed in their own writing.
STAGE 2 – The innovation stage
Once the children have internalised the text, they are ready to start innovating the text; this is done initially on a whole-class level. Small changes to the text map/boxing are discussed and a new plan agreed. Skills work is a key focus of this stage. In KS2, daily SPAG lessons provide the opportunity for children to develop skills at word and sentence levels (including punctuation). Oral rehearsal of the model text continues. The key activity in this stage is shared writing; this helps the children to write on their own by “doing one together” first. This begins with a boxed-up grid (innovating the exemplar plan) on which the text is re-planned. This second version is modelled paragraph by paragraph at two levels: to the whole class by the teacher and to small groups by the teacher or TA. This phase allows the children to see how the exemplar text can be innovated and to select words and phrases that really work. Skills of punctuation, sentence structure and the use of advanced vocabulary are developed through modelling, practice and through marking, pupil-teacher conferencing and responding to marking. Self-assessment at the end of each writing session, develop pupils’ skills in identifying both successful work and work in need of up-levelling.
STAGE 3 – The invention/independent application stage
The final stage gives children the opportunity both to continue their development of skills and to apply what they have learnt. In order to ensure success, this phase begins with a lot of talking and acting that, in turn, is used by the children independently to plan. Typically, throughout this time, teachers emphasise word and sentence structure targets to which pupils need to attend in addition to close use of the toolkit. The children again write – but independently this time (without modelling) – one paragraph at a time. Critical review and editing is key.
At the end of the unit, the children’s work is published or displayed.
The teacher now has a good picture of the features on which to focus in the next unit in order to move the children further forward.