Writing and SPAG
At Hallam Fields we want children to develop a love of writing whilst embedding their understanding and knowledge of grammar and spelling in to their writing. At Hallam Fields we use Rainbow Grammar throughout the school a as a progressive scheme to develop children's use of grammar and sentence structure. Children begin by using Rainbow Grammar card which they can write on and move elements of sentences about to develop their understanding of how elements can be moved and have a different impact. In writing we ensure we have a good balance of different genres for children to experience and use some of the Jane Considine to support our work. We plan our curriculum to encompass the aims and programmes of study in the National Curriculum for Key Stage 2 and to be progressive so that the children develop their skills, knowledge and understanding throughout the four years with us. For each subject we have identified Key Concepts which we will revisit throughout the children's time at Hallam Fields so that we can develop their understanding of how key concepts link between different topics and units of work, helping them to apply their learning and remember more.
You will find below links to our overview of Writing and Grammar, our Key concepts and we will be adding some examples of work.
At Hallam Fields, we believe that writing is not only a key skill for life both inside and out of education but also a crucial part of every subject taught in our school. We aim for ALL our children to become expressive and independent writers who can confidently produce well-structured and engaging pieces across a range of fiction, non-fiction and poetry genres. Through our appealing and highly structured 'Write Stuff' lessons, our children develop a broad range of transferrable skills in shaping writing, sentence structure, expanding vocabulary, using a wide range of punctuation and accurate spelling which are revisited regularly and at increasing depth throughout their four years with us. We are determined that our children will leave Hallam Fields certain that they are able to communicate effectively through writing and with a genuine enjoyment and pride in being able to do so.
We believe that it is vital that every child, regardless of age and ability, sees themselves as a writer and therefore follow Jane Considine's rigorous and engaging The Write Stuff approach in all our classes. The Write Stuff brings clarity to the mechanics of writing and provides clear systems through which to focus the writer’s attention. As a teaching team, we have carefully selected a combination of fiction and non-fiction units. These units provide the children with a four-year writing journey through a wide range of high-quality visual clips, short extracts, novels and non-fiction books from a range of different authors. In our lessons, all teachers follow a repeated pattern of ‘Initiate’, ‘Model’ and ‘Enable’ whereby they use the three zones of writing to provide a consistent whole school systematic approach to writing carefully constructed sentences known as 'sentence stacking'. High expectations and access to the same texts for all children are coupled with careful modelling and scaffolding. This allows us to ‘hold the hands’ of our children as they write and support them to drill deep into the mechanics of a sentence so that they feel ready to write independently at the end of each unit by drawing on the wide range of writing tools they have been taught to use.
Our four-year plan for writing outlines the fiction and non-fiction units taught and the National Curriculum writing objectives which they each cover, demonstrating clear progression across the Key Stage. At the end of every half term, the children plan, write and edit a piece of independent work which is self-assessed by the children, using a writing checklist, and by the Class Teacher using the age related Write Stuff Performance of Writing (POW) grids. These tasks have a clear balance of fiction and non-fiction foci and provide the children with an opportunity to independently apply the writing skills that have been taught in their 'sentence stacking' lessons. The POW grids allow class teachers to identify the next steps for each child and share these with them using clear writing targets which are displayed in the front of the children's books and marked as achieved three times. They also provide a clear view of each child's progress in writing and a visual record for both staff and children of their ability to know more, do more and remember more in their writing. At the end of KS2 our target is for children to be in line with national (expected and greater depth) and with progress and attainment to be at least good across KS2. We aim for the children to have a love of writing and to approach independent tasks with enthusiasm and confidence, recognising the importance of being able to write with clarity in our everyday lives.
Across school, our writing curriculum is monitored and evaluated in a variety of ways:
Learning walks with information gathered used to identity individual and whole staff training needs.
Lesson observations with specific feedback
“Book looks” with specific and purposeful criteria
Voice of teachers and children
Data on Otrack for both the summative and formative assessments which is shared in pupil progress meetings
Writing governor learning walks and meetings with subject lead
During their time at Hallam Fields, children should gain an understanding of the value of grammar, and why it is such an important feature of any reason for writing. They should understand how sentences are created and be able to use grammar creatively for a variety of purposes. With regards to spelling, children should have developed a strategy for tackling tricky words and have a good understanding of the mechanics of the English language.
Grammar is largely taught through the teaching of writing, but is also taught once per week in a dedicated grammar lesson. Rainbow Grammar is used to teach children the building blocks to sentences and allows them to explore a variety of sentence structures. This is then embedded in writing lessons to give the children context to their learning. Spelling is taught during daily spelling sessions using the No Nonsense Spelling scheme. Children are taught to break the word down into its sounds and syllables, in order to spot patterns or link to other words.
As SPaG is tested during KS2 SATs, children become familiarised with the style of questions during end of term assessments. This also allows teachers to spot weak areas of understanding in order to cover them during teaching time. Similarly, it also allows teachers to spot children who may need intervention to help them reach their full potential. Spelling is assessed weekly during spelling tests consisting of 10 spellings, which follow a common theme.