At Windmill, we endeavour to develop confident and creative writers who can write for a range of audiences and purposes, showing mastery and flair with their use of the English language.
We do this through implementing daily Talk for Writing lessons: an approach where pupils imitate, innovate and invent a piece of writing. Our writing process generally lasts three weeks and the class text is used as inspiration for two writing units per half term. Early on in the writing sequence, teachers and children establish the purpose and audience for writing to ensure the experience is meaningful and relevant.
In addition to daily writing in English lessons, writing opportunities are embedded across our curriculum with many opportunities for the application and progression of writing skills in cross-curricular contexts.
Talk for Writing Sequence
Before a sequence of learning begins, children complete a baseline assessment known as a ‘Cold Write’. This gives the class teacher the opportunity to find current strengths in specific text-type composition, as well as finding areas of development for individual children and the group as a whole.
Within this stage of Talk for Writing, children analyse a model text. From this, they are able to focus on aspects of language, structure and form that are striking and appropriate for the text type and year group. Sessions here will focus on analysing author craft (reading as a reader), contextual grammar and punctuation teaching (reading as a writer) and the opportunity to apply these newly learnt skills in a ‘Speed Write’.
From this, teachers then lead children in the adjustment of the model text. Children are encouraged to change elements of plot, character, setting, and language in order to create their own version of the model text. This is done by ‘boxing up’ the original model – where features of language are unpicked and analysed further before alterations are made. Consequently, children create an ‘innovated’ piece of writing.
In this part of the Talk for Writing sequence, children craft their independent version of the text type studied. Children will plan their text before composition and have time to edit and enhance their final piece after completion after feedback has been received from practitioners and peers.
Finally, children choose a ‘best piece’ of invented writing per half term to publish in their writing portfolios. Children publish three pieces of learning per academic year in their portfolios and these portfolios follow the children up through school from Year 1 to Year 6. Children feel incredibly proud of their published work and it gives them the experience of writing the final draft. They enjoy looking back on their work from previous years and celebrating their progress and achievements.
Writing for Pleasure
- The Junior Authors are a group of children in Year 5 and 6 that meet weekly. They enter various national competitions while refining their writing craft. They have the annual opportunity to attend the Hay Literary Festival in Hay-on-Wye, Wales, where they meet various inspirational authors.
- National Poetry Day is celebrated annually. Sessions follow the given annual theme and children are encouraged to respond in a way that is personal to them. The Junior Authors provide support to each class during this day in order to motivate and inspire other children. Children’s poems are shared with National Poetry Day founders.
- School is visited annually by a nationally recognised author, where children partake in bespoke workshops to dissect writing craft. The Junior Authors work closely with the visiting author and gain valuable insights into the process of publishing writing.