Writing Curriculum (The Write Stuff)
Writing - The Write Stuff Approach
Sacred Heart has adapted ‘The Write Stuff’ approach by Jane Constantine to bring clarity and consistency to the mechanics of writing and to enable our children to write effectively and coherently. As a school, all children from Reception to Year5 learn to write through the Write Stuff approach.
It is a fun, creative and rigorous approach to develop children’s writing. This approach allows children to apply basic skills, vocabulary and grammar knowledge to write effective sentences, which are full of impact and keep the reader interested. The meaning of language and grammar are considered to allow pupils to develop their writerly instincts.
With The Write Stuff approach to writing, the children explore high level, rich vocabulary and are taught grammar in context through different writing lenses on the Writing Rainbow. There are three lenses used to support children with their writing:
Fantastics – ideas for writing
Grammaristics – tools for writing
Boomtastics – writing techniques
The Write Stuff is based on two guiding principles; teaching sequences that slide between experience days and sentence stacking lessons.
As part of the teaching sequence, teachers plan experience days; sentence stacking lessons and independent writing sequences. Experience days immerse children in experiences linked to their writing and drench them in vocabulary linked to the lenses in ‘The Writing Rainbow’.
From the experience days, children take part in the sentence stacking lessons. Sentence stacking lessons focus on writing three sentences with focuses on lenses of the rainbow. Sentence stacking lessons allow children to explicitly practice the skills they have been taught. Children are taught through 'Plot Points' (moments in a story or non-fiction text) to help them understand how to construct longer pieces of writing.
An individual lesson is based on one plot point from the text, broken in to three learning chunks:
- 1. Initiate section – a stimulus to capture the children’s imagination and set up a sentence.
- 2. Model section – the teacher models a sentence that outlines clear writing features and techniques.
- 3. Enable section – the children write their sentence, following the teacher’s model.
This part of the unit is heavily scaffolded with lots of teacher input and modelling of vocabulary use, sentence construction and use of grammar with reference to the 3 writing lenses.
During the initiate section children ‘chot’ (chat and jot) down their ideas from stimulating resources, such as pictures, music and drama. The children are encouraged to use ‘kind calling out’ where they call out examples of vocabulary, adverbs, onomatopoeia etc.
During the Model section the teacher prepares children for writing by modelling the ideas, grammar and techniques of writing taken from the writing rainbow.
In the Enable section pupils write their own sentences, taking the opportunity to deepen the moment. ‘Deepen the Moment’ is where children are challenged to independently draw upon previously learnt skills and apply them to their writing during that chunk.
Following the sentence stacking, children are given the opportunity to show what they have learnt by planning and writing their own independent piece of writing based on stimulus or a real purpose for writing. After they have written their independent piece, their work is marked by the class teacher who identifies different aspects of their written piece to be edited. There are 3 elements to the editing:
E1 Edit: The Revise
Edit Type 1: These are often ‘little’ adjustments or changes and tend to fall into one of these categories; Spellings Missing words or Punctuation
E2 Edit: The Rewrite
Edit Type 2: Children are asked to re-write a sentence if it doesn’t make sense, could be restructured or generally improved.
E3 Edit: The Reimagine
Edit Type 3: This is when a writer wants to add more sentences to develop an idea further. For this the children are shown how to use ‘editing flaps’. Editing flaps are extra pieces of paper that stick onto their writing and show the additional sentences added into their work.
The Write Stuff provides a balance of narrative, non-fiction and poetry writing throughout each term.
Spelling is taught in all year groups across the school. In Key Stage 1 and EYFS, spelling is mostly taught through Phonics though there are some spelling rules that are taught outside of this.
After completing the RWI phonics programme, children progress on to the Spelling Books Scheme (developed by Jane Considine). The programme is structured in the following manner:
Children are presented with a hypothesis to test. With support from the teacher, children will explore letter strings, spelling rules and exceptions by sorting and categorising rules. Spelling is explicitly taught in this manner every fortnight.
Children have 10-15 words to learn (sent as homework) for two weeks. These are then tested the following week during a 20 minute spelling test.
Every other week, children will take part in 5-10 minute short activities to help retrieval previously taught spelling rules and exceptions.