The St. Mary's English Curriculum has been designed to give all children rich opportunities. All units are based high quality published texts as the foundation for the teaching. Our teachers create a bespoke learning journey based on their assessment of the pupils they teach. All teachers have been trained in Talk for Writing which puts oracy and vocabulary development at the heart of the curriculum.
The key purpose of teaching writing is to support pupils in their learning journey and help them to become better communicators. The skills of writing are taught within daily English lessons.
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.
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.
Also, class teachers are expected to create their own model text which incorporates the objectives they have identified to teach their classes as well as features of their selected text type.
IMITATION – familiarisation
· Begin with a creative context such as drama, book, video or an off-site visit. Warming up the tune of the text. At St. Marys we call this the “Hook.” Pupils are engaged and keen to delve into the learning after experiencing the “hook” as it is exciting and it gives them a context for their learning.
· 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. Actions for selected vocabulary and to help internalise the plot of the model text are created.
· Reading as a reader – Book talk, vocabulary & comprehension
· Reading as a writer – "magpie-ing" ideas, boxing up text, constructing toolkit – success criteria to use within their writing in order to be successful at writing that text type.
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 (see Marking and Feedback Policy).
Children are asked to use the skills they have learnt to write the text type they have just learnt but using a different context to which they have written it in their writing lessons. For example, within their topic unit.
· The ‘finished products’ are published around the school e.g. communal display, school website, class assembly or presentation to partner class.
Reading is our greatest priority in school and children have a wide range of quality texts available to them in the library to choose in addition to the texts that have been carefully selected to link to English units and across the wider curriculum. Each day pupils engage in guided reading, individual reading, 1:1 reading with an adult, 1:1 reading with a volunteer, being read to by class teachers and by reading out loud to the class each day in our St. Mary's Reading. Children in Key Stage 1 and EYFS learn to decode through Read Write Inc. phonics and children who still require a phonics approach into Key Stage 2, do so. Our aim is to ensure that all children become fluent readers.
To promote oracy and vocabulary development, staff are trained in the delivery of Word Aware, NELI and ELKLAN. Staff also use Makaton signing to support the acquisition of new vocabulary. Though these approaches, we ensure that pupils acquire a wide vocabulary and can make good academic progress across the curriculum as a result.