Writing at Acacias
At Acacias, we aim to ensure that our children leave us with a solid set of skills that will enable them to be confident and effective writers, ready for the next part of their education. Our curriculum is designed so that children will be able to identify the audience and purpose of their writing, adapting their style to suit, and will be able to include a range of genre specific features in their compositions.
‘Talk for writing’ is used at Acacias as a three part teaching sequence in which the children are immersed in a text, innovate the text using specific success criteria and invent or independently apply this text type to a new subject.
The teaching begins with a shared reading lesson where the children are exposed to the model text that they will use as a scaffold for their own writing later on in the process. The model text is pitched well above the pupils’ level and has built into it the underlying, transferable structures, language patterns and vocabulary that students will need when they are writing. This is learned using a ‘text map’ and actions to strengthen memory and help students internalise the text. Activities such as drama are used to deepen understanding of the text.
Once students are familiar with the model text, the teacher leads them into possibly the most important phase of the process: innovation. With younger pupils, this is based on changing the basic text map and retelling new versions. For example, when looking at the book The Enormous Turnip, children in Year 1 created a new version based on the original text called The Gigantic Banana. Older students will look at specific writing objectives and will apply their new skills in short burst writing activities, either independently or in shared and guided writing sessions. Teachers will model writing on the whiteboard and specific feedback is given so that students can be taught how to improve their writing, make it more accurate, until they can increasingly edit in pairs or on their own.
Eventually, students move on to the third phase, which is when they apply independently what has been taught and practised. Children in the younger years may only make a few simple changes to the model text, whereas older students should be adding, embellishing, altering and manipulating the original structure.
Students are guided through planning, drafting and revising their work independently. Writing is often staged over a number of days and there is specific time given to proofread, edit and publish their work. The final piece is used as the ‘hot’ task, which clearly shows progress across the unit.
You can find further information about Talk for Writing here.
Each year group has a Writer’s Toolkit, which are key skills that children are expected to use in their writing. Each year group’s toolkit is progressive, building on what they have learnt in previous years, and are based on objectives taken from the National Curriculum. You can find each year group’s writing toolkit below.