The Teaching of Literacy at Oasis Academy Nunsthorpe
At Oasis Academy Nunsthorpe, it is our intention to provide pupils with a high-quality education that will develop their ability to speak, read and write with fluency, master the mechanics of both reading and writing for communication while developing a love and passion for literacy.
Writing is an integral part of our curriculum and we encourage children to see themselves as writers. Pupils are taken on a writing journey which builds their knowledge of writing for audience and purpose, providing opportunities for children to explore a variety of genres, and engage with the different elements of the writing process. It is our aim to broaden pupils' exposure to high level vocabulary, providing them with the language and vocabulary they need to become ‘word rich’, enabling our children to communicate their thoughts, ideas and emotions effectively: we are giving them a voice and empowering them with words. By achieving this, we are breaking cycles of educational deprivation and bringing advantage to disadvantage, creating a climate where our children can succeed and achieve.
IMPLEMENTATION: THE TEACHING OF LITERACY
The writing sequence at Oasis Nunsthorpe follows a whole school 5 stage approach:
|IMMERSE||ANALYSE||SPAG||PLAN & WRITE||EDIT & REVIEW|
Teaching and learning opportunities are linked to High Quality Texts which in turn are linked to the wider curriculum. These act as models and stimulus for children’s own writing. Writing is taught through a progressive sequence with builds to a final piece of writing. Each part of the sequence has its own purpose.
Immerse: This is the first and in many ways the most important part of the Teaching Sequence for Writing. This is where we separate the WHAT to write from the HOW to write. Very often we give pupils exciting, interesting writing contexts but ultimately they fail because the children do not have enough knowledge of what to write about. During the IMMERSION stage the teacher’s role is to give the pupils the context for writing - the vocabulary, phrases, facts etc. The immersive activities can involve the following:
Reading for research purposes. Drama to develop vocabulary / empathy. Visual literacy to enhance and bring the topic to life. Small writing tasks that help to understand the context for the writing. The ultimate goal of the IMMERSION stage is for the pupils to TALK through the context for writing. Oral rehearsal is vital for successful writing. If we want pupils to use a better word for scared in their writing, then we have to give them as many opportunities to say improved vocabulary out loud.
Analyse: The National Curriculum states that children must ‘evaluate writing similar to that which they are going to write’ NC 2014. The analysis stage may also be known as ‘deconstruct’ and it is where we introduce the concept of the WAGOLL – What A Good One Looks Like.
The WAGOLL should be the same text type that is going to be written and on a similar theme. This way the pupils can analyse the language features of the genre. However, if the WAGOLL was identical to what we wanted to produce, copying would be unavoidable and this would be considered too scaffolded. Therefore, the WAGOLL should be different but similar, in that the context requires similar vocabulary but the events and the emotions might be different.
Through the analysis phase the teacher can skilfully lead the pupils down the SPAG road and identify the features of the writing that the pupils need to learn in order for the writing to be successful and meet the year objectives for Appendix 2 of the National Curriculum. It is here that the pupils identify the SUCCESS CRITERIA for the next phase of the Teaching Sequence for Writing. If you are very skilled you can even make the children think that it is all their own idea as well – making the SPAG phase meaningful and relevant to the pupils.
SPAG: We believe that the best way to teach SPAG meaningfully is to teach the SPAG is in the context for writing. Using skills and authorial structures identified during the ‘analyse’ part of the sequence, teachers explicitly teach these skills, discarding or providing a quick recap on skills children can/should already be able to do and focusing on new learning or those identified as needing to consolidate. When teaching the skills and asking children to practise and apply them for their writing, the sentences/learning should be used within the context you are writing. The children are therefore practising sentences that are not only correct but directly applicable to their writing. One or two may even crop up in their writing.
Planning: We want children to see writing as a process, not just a final product and as such, it is vital that children learn how to plan to enable them sequence their writing correctly with all of the necessary components included. We use a variety of planning formats including story mapping, boxing up, timelines and story boarding. We reiterate the Success Criteria and give pupils time to write words, phrases, sentences that match the Success Criteria that has already been negotiated. This gives students a structure for their writing while providing them with the freedom and autonomy to write independently.
Write: The write part of the Teaching Sequence for Writing should be the most straightforward providing they have:
•Immersed in the WHAT to write (displayed on the learning wall)
•Analysed the text type that is to be written and the types of words / phrases / sentences that should be used.
•Reinforced the SPAG objectives appropriate to the year group AND introduced them to new learning.
•Planned the piece with the pupil knowing exactly what each paragraph is going to contain.
This will include discussions and reflections after modelled, shared and guided writes throughout the sequence.
Edit and Review This should take place constantly from the planning stage onwards. Children, from the earliest stage must be encouraged to re-read their writing for sense, making corrections constantly. Pupils have, for too long, been given the message that the first draft is the finished piece and therefore are reluctant to make changes to their writing. We need to foster an ethos in our classrooms that the best writing is scribbled over and changed. There is a place for presentation and super handwriting at the very end. Writing through the teaching sequence should have an element of ‘controlled messiness’.
Children should be allowed the time to complete the finished text to a high standard for them – presenting it as a finished, complete piece of writing that they are proud of.
The teaching sequence for Writing is now complete. Sequences vary in time and pace and the evidence in the books builds over time to a brilliant, high standard piece of writing. The teacher plays an intrinsic part in teaching the pupils how to write – to develop the writers craft and with each sequence the familiarity of how to write means that the children are no longer daunted, put off, discouraged from writing – they may even learn to enjoy it!