Lessons are taught through the use of high-quality texts, which are linked to the half-termly topic. All writing at Franche is for a purpose and is at the core of each of our cross-curricular topics. We find this not only motivates pupils but also gives them a recognisable audience, which leads to higher standards of work. This purpose might be letter writing (to request resources as part of a fundraising project for the local foodbank), information leaflets (to persuade people to save water) or creating a poem or storybook (to entertain a specific group of children or adults within the community).
Curriculum Progression in
Our teaching sequence begins with the immersion of the children within the text through the use of an engaging starting point, drama, speaking and listening activities and vocabulary discussion. A ‘WAGOLL’ (What A Good One Looks Like) text is shared with the children. We look at what makes the text effective, identify key features and examine the language. Word and sentence level skills are then taught and developed in the context of the text through teacher modelling and supported and shared writing. This explicit teaching of writerly skills and slow-writing technique results in the production of high-quality writing on a daily basis. Vocabulary discussion links closely to our school’s ‘reading into writing’ approach and is supported by explicit vocabulary teaching. In reception, ‘Concept Cat’ teaches the children a new concept each week. The children are encouraged to use this new word as much as possible and explore using it in sentences. Throughout key stages one and two, ‘Vocab lab’ starter tasks are used to teach specific vocabulary relating to the current text.
Children are encouraged to self or peer assess their writing daily, which builds resilience and encourages children to reflect and improve their writing. The teaching sequence culminates with what we like to call a “Franche Write”. This is an independent piece of writing, based on a given stimulus, whereby children can apply their taught skills and develop their creativity. Editing and re-drafting time is later given so that their piece of writing is ready to be shared with the audience.
The teaching of writing is further developed during our creative curriculum lessons, where history, geography and science knowledge and skills are demonstrated through high-quality writing activities.
At Franche, we use PenPals for Handwriting. This is a complete handwriting scheme for 3–11 year olds that offers clear progression through five developmental stages: physical preparation for handwriting; securing correct letter formation; beginning to join along, securing the joins and practicing speed, fluency and developing a personal style. Because PenPals is focused on whole-class teaching, the teaching of explicit handwriting is timetabled weekly. The handwriting joins are displayed in each classroom and modelled throughout all teaching. PenPals is supported using digital resources to enable modelling and interactive learning, along with Practice Books and Workbooks to support independent work.
Spelling is vital to communicating in school and in public life. The ability to write clearly and with accurate spelling is a very important skill that children need to acquire and, as such, it is important to help and encourage children to develop as confident, competent spellers. At Franche Community Primary School it is our aim to promote the development of confident writers who can use their spelling skills competently in all areas of the curriculum. We have high expectations for accurate spellings, challenging children to achieve a 'POPS' (Paragraph Of Perfect Spelling). We also use a wide range of engaging approaches to help pupils learn new spellings:
As a school we have purchased a subscription to a website called ‘Spelling Shed’. The children have their own log in and they will have their weekly spellings set by their teachers as games. This will allow them to play various games to support them in learning these spellings in preparation for their weekly spelling test. There are also ‘other’ year group lists they can learn, which will support their general spelling.
Some children will be given differentiated spelling lists, if they are not ready for the spelling lists for their year group. Don’t worry though as we will always ensure these are challenging but achievable. Click the Spelling shed link below to start playing!
At Franche, we like to have fun with learning spellings! In addition to active games, we practise in our 'Spoodle' books: combining mindfulness doodling with spotting patterns in words to help make them more memorable. Every year, we celebrate the glory of being an accurate speller by holding a spelling bee. Staff and pupils dress up and engage in a whole host of fun and engaging spelling activities. Pupils also get involved in creating new and exciting ways to help others spell tricky words. Here are some of our YouTube videos from previous years:
Click the buttons below to download the spelling lists for each year band:
Writing in Early Years
It all begins by making our mark! As soon as our youngest learners have mastered the skill of hand-eye coordination, we encourage them to make marks in all kinds of different environments: mud, sand, paint, on chalk boards and even on the walls. They can do this with any writing tool, including their hands. The messier, the better!
Once we are confident making marks and talking about what we are doing we then start to explore the ‘Pre-Writing Symbols’. These are developed in Pre-School and mastered by the time the children move to Reception. This is when the children start to write ‘secret messages’. To an outsider, this may look like the children are using lines, circles and swirls but through writing these secret messages the children will gain the confidence that they are able to write. It is essential that we praise and encourage the children to write these secret messages to build their confidence and self-belief when writing.
Once this skill is embedded and their confidence is growing, we focus on applying our phonics knowledge whilst thinking about the correct way to form letters. In Reception, we develop children’s handwriting skills following the ‘Little Wandle Letters & Sounds Revised’ phonics scheme. Little Wandle provides our children with fun formation phrases and appealing mnemonics to scaffold correct letter formation habits in the early stages of writing. We embed these formation phrases and mnemonics through many areas of our Reception curriculum.
When we are ready to write real words, we start by hearing and writing the initial sound in words, then move on to writing CVC words and ending the year with the target of writing sentences. When writing sentences, it is really important that we remember to start with a capital letter, separate our words with finger spaces, put our letters on the line and remember a full stop at the end. We use this simple reminder to help us remember everything we need to make a super sentence.
When supporting your child with writing, encourage them to write all of the sounds that they can hear in each word and use a sound mat if they can’t remember what the sound looks like when it is written.
Here you can see all the sounds we learn in Reception which your child will refer to when writing.
We also teach ‘tricky words’ which are words that cannot be sounded out and contain an alternative spelling strategy that we haven’t yet learnt.
Click the button below to find out more about Phonics at Franche, as well as more information on Early Years Reading.
Click on the link below to find out more about how you can help your child develop their fine motor functions, to help them with learning handwriting.