Writing at Firs
At Firs our approach to writing is based on Pie Corbett’s Talk for Writing which supports children to explore, through talk and guided practice, the thinking and creative processes involved in being a writer. Out aim is for children to develop the powers of imagination, inventiveness and critical awareness.
Talk for Writing allows the children to engage in high-level model texts. Through using text maps and actions, it helps the children to learn structural techniques and high level vocabulary that they can use with in their own work.
We follow the Pie Corbett Talk for Writing model to teach a text types whilst also meeting national curriculum objectives. We believe that if children can’t say it, they can’t write it. All writing lessons should be about teaching a genre and a yearly programme includes at least two narrative units and a poetry unit. On average, the teaching of a text type should last 3 – 4 weeks. All writing lessons must be taught within the context of the text type being studied. Discussion/discursive writing is only taught in Y5 and Y6.
At the beginning of a unit of work, the children complete a ‘cold task’ to assess their current skill level, doing this enables us to personalised planning and teach the children exactly what they need teaching. At the end of a unit the children then complete a ‘hot task’, allowing children to show great progress they have made through the unit.
Handwriting at Firs
At Firs we follow Martin Harvey’s Achieving Excellence in Writing. This starts in EYFS where our staff help our children in developing physically and establish a good pencil grip. Once children have mastered a good pencil grip, and have appropriate shoulder, elbow and wrist dexterity, we teach the children individual letters then move on to cursive handwriting.
We teach the children the different heights of the letters by referring to them as short, tall and tail letters and show them how they sit on our handwriting paper with solid and dotted lines. The children also have this line in their English books enabling them to further apply and practice their skill outside of handwriting lessons.
Consistency is the key word to how we teach handwriting and to ‘Do it little and do it often’, we teach handwriting for 10 mins daily at the start of the year then for 10 mins 3 times a week to keep up high standards through-out.
We follow 5 habits in school for handwriting and presentation of work.
- Two hands. Insist on children always using two hands when writing. One hand to hold the paper and one hand to write with.
- Six feet. Children must always keep six feet on the floor.
- Ensure that children always sit in the BBC position – Bottom Back in Chair.
- Tummy Near Table. This ensures that the child is sitting with their body close to their work, instead of having to stretch forward to write.
- Paper position. The paper should be upright when the child is writing or at an angle not greater than 45 degrees.
Good posture and correct seating position are vital components of developing good handwriting. The habits above must not be seen just as good habits for handwriting. They are insisted upon in all subject areas, throughout the school day.