Our English genres revolve around our topic for the term in each Key Stage and uses a lot of Visual Literacy and the Active English grammar cards. For instance, KS2 recently had a topic of Changes from the Stone Age to the Iron Age, which allowed children to watch “The Croods” and write setting and character descriptions, diary entries and non-chronological reports on the animals around in these Ages among other cross-curricular topics.
We learn about, revise and practise writing a new genre each week (although, some genres may take longer than one week); focussing mainly on the writing and grammar skills needed. Once a week, children are given the chance to write independently in THE BIG WRITE after a class planning session, before editing and improving it the following day.
Big Write: Structure of the Week
Set the challenge for that week’s Big Write activity.
Little Write - initial pre-assessment. Discussion of the vocabulary to be used during the week building a class vocabulary bank, which is to be displayed on the English Working wall. Children read and understand what a good example looks like and discuss and record the features of that genre.
Practise of a discrete skill related to that genre.
Practise of another skill building up to the Big Write
Planning for the Big Write. Recap of the week’s learning (e.g. analysis of features, up-levelling of an example of that genre) and modelled and shared writing as a class. Then the children plan their writing.
THE BIG WRITE
Children write independently for 30-45 minutes, depending on age and ability. Use soothing or classical music, but insist on complete silence while writing.
Editing Session - the children will peer assess their Big Write. Then, when marking, the teacher will pick up an area for development from the children’s writing and work on improving it as a class in a shorter literacy lesson. The children then respond to individual marking by editing and rewriting a section of their work as highlighted by their teacher.
Active English - Grammar Cards
This is a new programme for Seathorne, which enables pupils to develop an understanding of language and sentence construction. There is a variety of symbols that have been devised to represent each grammar focus. Children will learn the meaning of the card and how to use it within their writing. Daily activities ensure that pupils retain, recall and fully engage with each concept.
Children learn spelling through the Read Write Inc Spelling scheme for year 2 - 6, which complements the Read, Write, Inc Phonics scheme taught in KS1. Spelling is taught daily as part of the Literacy lesson. Children are encouraged to become proactive learners by taking accountability for learning trickier spellings as part of the scheme. Throughout the week, children are taught a range of words from a given spelling rule. Any words that the individual child finds tricky, generates their weekly spellings and these are written down in their log books. The children are tested weekly on their individual spellings.
We believe that children should take pride in their work. Emphasis is placed on accuracy and fluency and children join their letters when they show maturity and consistency. This can be at different ages for different children. Children practise their writing in their learning journals or handwriting books (depending on the age of your child) at least twice a week.