Writing, Oracy and Drama
We encourage a genuine engagement in writing as part of a creative and cross-curricular English curriculum. Our integrated programme of Speaking and Listening, Reading, Writing, Punctuation and Grammar aims to develop our children’s abilities in a way that helps them make links between the different areas of learning.
We know that good readers make confident writers, and that to write children need to be able to say it first, so our sequence for teaching writing specifically interrelates the requirements of the English national curriculum. Our creative, broad and balanced approach recognises the importance of making purposeful links across our ‘Learning Challenge Curriculum', and of celebrating meaningful writing experiences for all pupils.
Three strands underpin our approaches to teaching writing:
- Oracy framework
- Vocabulary learning - Word Aware
- Talk 4 Writing
“[Oracy] is what the school does to support the development of children’s capacity to use speech to express their thoughts and communicate with others, in education and in life” Professor Robin Alexander
Teachers plan for a variety of different types of talk on the continuum of exploratory to presentational talk. Opportunities for this type of talk can be provided through the use of ranking activities, Concept Cartoons and odd one out questions for example. Voice 21 resources support the rigorous planning of talk to include ‘purpose, structure, scaffolds and reflection’. Groupings, space, protocol and roles are planned so that children have a scaffold to ‘hang their learning on’ such as providing question prompts and sentence starters, modelling expected responses and celebrating children’s successes. Tower Hamlets sentence stems are displayed in classrooms to support teaching and learning.
Vocabulary Learning - Word Aware
We use the STAR approach to teach children new vocabulary:
Selected, Taught, Activated and Reviewed
which allows children to embed the new words they hear in the high quality texts they are exposed to, use them when they speak and in turn use these same words in their writing.
Talk 4 Writing
The Talk 4 Writing approach involves children learning to write through the practices of ‘Imitation', ‘Innovation’ and ‘Invention’.
Imitation - children learn stories, non-fiction texts or poetry off by heart and with actions to aid memory.
Innovation - children change the stories they have learned off by heart to add their own ideas and apply their own knowledge.
Invention - children write independently, with scaffolds to support where needed.
Children write independently at the 'innovation' and 'invention' stage of 'Talk 4 Writing' and by the end of KS1 and through KS2, children re-read, edit, up-level, critique and review their writing (this may be a small focus section of a longer piece). Self-assessment, peer-assessment and group peer critique, are all ways in which children work independently to improve their first draft of writing. Their teacher’s feedback, comments and guidance will also support them in this process. By editing and reviewing their writing, children are encouraged to make choices as writers whilst considering their audience. These are skills which are developed over time and younger children will start with making small changes to their writing to begin this development. This practice begins in EYFS when adults re-read aloud to the children the ideas that have been scribed on their behalf in order to review that what they have said has been effectively conveyed. Edits are made accordingly and in agreement with the children.
‘Big Write’ sessions are an exciting and purposeful opportunity to write independently and build writing stamina. These take place throughout school at least every two weeks and build upon the preparation stages which children have experienced in EYFS and Y1 via the high quality Helicopter Stories model. They are preceded by a ‘Talk Homework’ where children and families are given the writing task to discuss at home as pre-learning. Children also take part in warm up sessions immediately before the ‘Big Write’, which include games linked to vocabulary, conjunctions, openers and punctuation. This pre-learning warm up prepares children to write independently and with confidence. Children’s ‘Big Write’ can link to the book or Learning Challenge that the class are currently immersed in and provide opportunities to revisit previously taught writing genres.
School Production - Montgomery Theatre
A standing ovation for the children who performed ‘A Midsummer Night’s Scream’ at The Montgomery Theatre. Superb acting, dancing, singing, music, stage and lighting. Mr Eddison’s genius script brought laughter and tears!
All children in Y5 and Y6 have the opportunity to perform in the annual summer production at the Montgomery Theatre in the centre of Sheffield. This performance brings together a culmination of all the skills in speaking, listening and performing that have been developed during their learning journey at Arbourthorne.