‘You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have.’ Maya Angelou (1982)
Our writing curriculum is taught through a Talk for Writing approach, during daily lessons. Talk for Writing is powerful because it is based on the principles of how children learn. Talk for Writing enables children to imitate the language they need for a particular topic orally before reading and analysing it and then writing their own version. Each unit follows the sequence of imitate, innovate and independent application. Opportunities to invent are threaded throughout the curriculum. Punctuation and grammar are taught through this approach, and modelled daily to pupils. Short burst writing and precision writing reinforce these skills.
Baseline assessment (cold task)
At the beginning of each writing unit, pupils complete an ‘unseen’ writing task, which is written on lined paper with a cold task sticker. Teachers then tailor whole class teaching and guided support around identified areas for improvement.
IMITATION – familiarisation
Begin with a creative context such as drama, book, video or an off-site visit. Warming up the tune of the text.
Model text is mapped and internalise until it can be told fluently. Emphasise certain sentence structures. Multi-sensory approaches to make memorable. Whole class participation with communal, group and then independent retelling.
Reading as a reader – Booktalk, vocabulary, comprehension, speed words.
Reading as a writer – magpie-ing ideas, boxing up text (might be called ‘bare boning’), co-constructing toolkit.
INNOVATION – adapting a well-known text
Create new plan/boxing up. Talk the text.
Spend a considerable time modelling writing, one paragraph at a time (on flip chart). Display ‘growing’ text on a washing line. Ensure text is of a high quality and models sentence structures etc.
Teach tips e.g. ‘name the noun’, dotting underneath words that need ‘spell checking’. Reinforce strategies e.g. ‘we never dodge a good word because we can’t spell it’.
Guide pupils to ‘have a go’ through guided writing and peer assessment. Encourage pupils to magpie words, ideas, tips and hints. Make effective use of additional support e.g. modelling being editing partner, creating a word bank, modelling thinking.
Provide frequent, specific oral and written feedback. Mark work, after children have had a chance to peer- and self-assess. Use visualizer to provide whole class feed-forward. Provide re-reading and ‘polishing’ time, to respond to marking.
In fiction writing, build up a new story – drawing, drama, images, video, first-hand experience, location, quality reading, etc.
In non-fiction writing, work within a form but chooses own topic.
Independently apply non-fiction across the curriculum.
The ‘finished products’ are published around the school e.g. communal display, school website, class assembly or presentation to partner class.
What do Peartree pupils think of 'Talk for Writing'?
Our T4W project is supporting pupils with the process of writing. Pupil feedback has been 100% positive.
"I like having the story to check in to when I'm writing."
"I think it's the fact that you learn the story and the actions off by heart so it helps you write the story."
"First I took everything I knew from the story and then I innovated which means I changed a character or a setting and a bit of the plot. Finally I wrote my own story independently."