Children take part in pre-writing activities that strengthen their muscles and develop their hand-eye co-ordination before taking part in formal handwriting lessons. These consist of ‘Write Dance’ ‘Dough Disco’ and ‘Funky Fingers Activities’ both inside and outside the classroom. We teach the children the lowercase letter formation within phonics and when completing writing activities. There are numerous, fun and exciting opportunities for the children to apply their writing skills independently.
Children will take part in more formal handwriting activities when ready and these focus on lowercase, uppercase, the size of each letter and position on the line.
The Talk 4 Writing approach ensures children experience different genres of writing throughout the year. They learn a piece of text in depth before making changes and writing their own text based on the original.
We also facilitate ‘Helicopter Stories’, these are stories that the children individually tell us and are written down word for word with the children being able to edit and make choices throughout. The children are able to see their sentences being scribed which helps them to see the writing process. These stories are acted out in front of the class with the children being the actors. The children are invited to enter the stage and take on the roles of the characters if they wish to. This fosters a love of storytelling, builds imaginative ideas and values the children’s work.
In Year 1 we use the Talk 4 Writing approach where the children imitate, innovate and invent pieces of writing based on a text which links to the topic focus. Within each session there is a focus on developing the children's writing and ensuring they are using the correct punctuation and grammar.
Mighty Writer is also used to help support story writing. The children plan a story as a whole class with movable Velcro images with a particular focus on punctuation. The children then create their own story plans using a Might Writer paper template. This is used to support them when writing their stories.
Children also have the opportunity to write during directed challenges and 'Show Me What You Know' time, to help the children develop their writing skills independently and away from the point of teaching.
Children take part in daily formal handwriting sessions, introducing the cursive script when appropriate. Firstly we introduce letter families, moving on to the Year 1 common exception words and finally linking our handwriting to our phonics learning of the week.
In Year 2 children have the opportunity to write for different purposes throughout the day. At the beginning of the day the children start by writing a sentence that includes one of their spelling words for the week, trying to make the sentence interesting as well as remembering key grammatical features.
During our English sessions we use the Talk 4 Writing approach which allows the children to take time learning the text with actions and pictures, innovating the text by changing parts of it and then inventing their own versions. Within each session we focus on a particular area to help improve their writing e.g. including adjectives, conjunctions etc.
Children take part in formal handwriting sessions where they learn joined up handwriting. This will also include other literacy features we have been covering during the week to help reinforce and embed them e.g. exclamatory sentence, spelling rules etc.
At least twice a week, the children take part in Rocking Writers. Children have 15 minutes to write about a topic of their choice. The class teacher will choose an aid to support them (for example a picture or video) for children who do not know what to write about. Calming music will also be played whilst the children write silently to help focus them. This gives the children to develop writing constantly for a sustained period of time, as well as giving them the motivation to write through their freedom of choice.
Children also have the opportunity to write during directed challenges and 'Child Initiated' time, to help the children develop their writing skills independently and away from the point of teaching.