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The More Able Writer. Helping children move their writing from Level 4 to Level 5. The More Able Writer. Helping children develop a love for the craft of writing. Agenda. More Able Writers What do we mean by ‘more able’? Readers as Writers The role of reading in the writing process

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The more able writer

The More Able Writer

Helping children move their writing from Level 4 to Level 5


The more able writer1

The More Able Writer

Helping children develop a love for the craft of writing


Agenda
Agenda

  • More Able Writers

    • What do we mean by ‘more able’?

  • Readers as Writers

    • The role of reading in the writing process

  • Teachers as Writers

    • The value of modelling the writing process

  • Children as Writers

    • Helping children develop their writing


More able writers
More able Writers

  • What do we mean by ‘more able’?

    • In this context, we are looking at two groups:

      • Children, who through their own ability, have developed a good grasp of the writing process;

      • Children, who through our teaching, have reached a good understanding of the writing process;

    • By the time these children reach Year 6, they are already working at a good level 4 or above

    • But, there is also a third, smaller group, who are not secure with the writing process but still have the potential to reach Level 5.


More able writers1
More able Writers

  • Firstly, the most obvious perception of ‘more able’:

    • Children, who through their own ability, have developed a good grasp of the writing process;

  • These are often the children who can ‘already do what we are teaching them’ – they either participate well or don’t listen but tend to ‘come up with the goods’ anyway!

  • Therefore, they are more often than not, the children who get left to their own devices, yet still producing good work

  • But, although they can give the impression of knowing what to do, as quite often they have ‘picked things up’ through their own reading, they don’t necessarily know why they are doing it!

  • These children tend to write well but never seem to improve – mostly because they’re not sure how to!


More able writers2
More able Writers

  • Secondly, the less obvious perception of ‘more able’:

    • Children, who through our teaching, have reached a good understanding of the writing process;

  • These are often the children who give a good impression of understanding what we are teaching them

  • Therefore, they are usually the children who make a ‘pretty good go’ at achieving the lesson’s objective

  • But, although they do produce a good piece of work in that lesson, a few weeks later, it’s all forgotten!

  • These children tend to write fairly well but never seem to make the improvements hoped for – mostly because they’re not given the time to consolidate the new skills they’ve learnt!


More able writers3

Nonetheless, all

these 'more able'

writers need to

be one thing...

More able Writers

  • Finally, those who are rarely perceived as ‘more able’:

    • Children, who are not secure with the writing process but still have the potential to reach Level 5;

  • These are often the children who are attentive, maybe even keen and enthusiastic, but whose writing does not mirror those qualities (especially not when its being deciphered and then marked!)

  • Yet, amidst the marks on the page, occasionally there is something that actually meets the lesson’s objective

  • Although they do produce work that is really only just Level 4, the fact they’re learning shows potential – quite often illness, a holiday, a change of school, or simply the way they learn has led to ‘gaps’!

  • These children tend to write fairly poorly but show a flare in a specific aspect of the writing process – if the ‘gaps’ are filled in, these children can make huge progress!


Readers as writers
Readers as Writers

  • The role of reading in the writing process

    • As has previously been said, children who are already good at writing are so because they are good at reading!

    • So once all children have been turned onto reading (but that’s a different workshop!)…

    • Then, it’s a good idea to take them one step further…

    • Encourage them to ‘read as writers’


Reading as writers
Reading as Writers

  • If children are to become good writers, they need to read what other writers have written, thinking about why that person wrote it as they did.

  • In other words, make use of the assessment focuses for reading:

    • Identify and comment on the structure and organisation of texts, including grammatical and presentational features at text level;

    • Explain and comment on the writers’ use of language, including grammatical and literary feature at word and sentence level;

    • Identify and comment on writers’ purposes and viewpoints, and the overall effect of the text on the reader;

  • Hopefully then they will begin to understand why and how writing devices are used and for what effects.

AF4,5&6


Reading as writers1
Reading as Writers

  • Three ‘reading as writers’ activities useful for developing children’s awareness of writing are:

    • The Writer’s Toolkit: Give children a short extract (usually a paragraph) and ask them to investigate the author’s use of … (eg. suspense)

    • The Writer’s Guide: Having taught a specific feature of language use or sentence structure, ask them to find examples as they read, jot them down and explain their effect on the reader

    • The Writer’s Journal: Give children a book where they can collect, borrow and steal (ie. be a magpie) good use of language that they read


Teachers as writers
Teachers as Writers

  • The value of modelling the writing process

    • The most effective way of furthering children’s writing is to establish a ‘writing environment’

    • Teachers are central to such an environment so, as such, children seeing teachers actually writing will be one of the most valuable learning tools that we can exploit!

    • Therefore, if we can, writing our own material for lessons involving the teaching and learning of the writing process could be a valuable and worthwhile experience for all involved.


Teachers as writers1
Teachers as Writers

  • The benefits of modelling the writing process

    • First and foremost, by writing our own material we put ourselves through the same thought processes that we expect the children to face – in this way, we will experience the same hurdles and consider how to overcome them;

    • Secondly, by modelling those thought processes as we write, we have the chance to exploit some valuable learning experiences with the children;

    • Furthermore, by writing with the class, it is possible to teach the writing process at all levels, supporting weaker writers whilst extending the more able;

    • Finally, watching an adult become involved in the writing process is a valuable way of nurturing a similar interest in writing for the children.


Children as writers
Children as Writers

  • Helping children develop their writing

    • As with all teaching of writing, this falls into three strands:

      • Sentence structure and punctuation

        • vary sentences for clarity, purpose and effect

        • write with technical accuracy of syntax and punctuation in phrases, clauses and sentences

      • Text structure and organisation

        • organise and present whole texts effectively, sequencing and structuring information, ideas and events

        • construct paragraphs and use cohesion within and between paragraphs

      • Composition and effect

        • write imaginative, interesting and thoughtful texts

        • produce texts which are appropriate to task, reader and purpose

    • Yet, it is also worthwhile remembering the premise of text, sentence and word level work as choice of vocabulary is also crucial


Children as writers1
Children as Writers

  • Helping children develop their writing

    • It is also useful at this point to remind ourselves of how children’s writing must improve between a Level 4 and a Level 5:

    • Level 4Pupils' writing in a range of forms is lively and thoughtful. Ideas are often sustained and developed in interesting ways and organised appropriately for the purpose of the reader. Vocabulary choices are often adventurous and words are used for effect. Pupils are beginning to use grammatically complex sentences, extending meaning. Spelling, including that of polysyllabic words that conform to regular patterns, is generally accurate. Full stops, capital letters and question marks are used correctly, and pupils are beginning to use punctuation within the sentence. Handwriting style is fluent, joined and legible.

    • Level 5Pupils' writing is varied and interesting, conveying meaning clearly in a range of forms for different readers, using a more formal style where appropriate. Vocabulary choices are imaginative and words are used precisely. Simple and complex sentences are organised into paragraphs. Words with complex regular patterns are usually spelt correctly. A range of punctuation, including commas, apostrophes and inverted commas, is usually used accurately. Handwriting is joined, clear and fluent and, where appropriate, is adapted to a range of tasks.


Children as writers2
Children as Writers

  • So first of all ‘Vocabulary choices are imaginative and words are used precisely.’

  • One of the key features of a confident piece of writing is the writer’s use of precise language, ie. trying to find the most accurate way of expressing an idea.

  • So it is important at all levels for children to collect new language that they discover.


Children as writers3
Children as Writers

  • So first of all ‘Vocabulary choices are imaginative and words are used precisely.’

  • A good activity for developing choice of vocabulary is ‘warming up the word’

    • Provide the children with a word that links to the theme of that day’s writing

    • They then generate as many associated words or phrases as possible before sharing as a class – if successful, each child could contribute an offering

    • It can also be used for text types whereby the children collect as much useful language for writing a … text as possible.


Children as writers4
Children as Writers

  • Next, ‘Simple and complex sentences are organised into paragraphs. A range of punctuation, including commas, apostrophes and inverted commas, is usually used accurately.’

  • There are three key areas that children need to be able to use confidently in their writing – variety, clarity and accuracy

  • So children need to know how to vary their sentence structures, how to express themselves concisely and effectively and how to record this accurately using the appropriate punctuation.


Children as writers5
Children as Writers

  • Next, ‘Simple and complex sentences are organised into paragraphs.’

  • Good activities for improving sentences are:

    • Sentence doctor (amend a sentence)

    • Reorder (mobility)

    • Drop in (subordinates – eg. relative clauses, John, who was…)

    • Crazy Clauses (Although the zebra was on a diet, …)

    • Imitation (After the jelly had been served, …)

    • Compare (Tom got up; Tom yawned, wrestling with the duvet)

    • Construct (Washing line with clauses)

    • Improve (The cat sat on the mat)

    • Who-did-what-and-to-whom? (Passive Voice)

    • If I win the lottery,… (Conditionals)

    • Apply (Whiteboards!)


Children as writers6
Children as Writers

  • Also, ‘A range of punctuation, including commas, apostrophes and inverted commas, is usually used accurately.’

  • Good activities for improving use of punctuation:

    • Sentence doctor

    • Take a break (Commas)

    • Contract (Apostrophes)

    • Collect & Classify

    • Punctuate it

    • Sequencing (Jumbled sentence)

    • Who said what? (Speech marks)

    • Apply (Whiteboards)

Don't forget

'Grammar for Writing'!


Children as writers7
Children as Writers

  • Furthermore, ‘Simple and complex sentences are organised into paragraphs.’

  • There are two key areas that children need to be able to use confidently when structuring their writing – coherence and cohesion

  • The first refers to the underlying logic and consistency of a text (ie. ideas are relevant and enable the reader to follow the meaning);

  • Whereas the second refers to the grammatical features in a text which enables the parts to link together (ie. through the use of connectives to relate events, maybe in time; or pronouns or phrases that link back to previous content)


Children as writers8
Children as Writers

  • Furthermore, ‘Simple and complex sentences are organised into paragraphs.’

  • Good activities for improving paragraphs and structuring texts are:

    • Paragraph doctor (amend a paragraph)

    • Structure it (labelling the segments of a story, eg. dilemma)

    • Title it

    • Sequence it (order paragraphs to create a flowing text)

    • Toolkit it (identify the cohesive features)

    • Predict it (write the following paragraph cohesively)

    • Split them (un-jumble two paragraphs)

    • Improve (add in connectives etc.)

    • Replace (improve connectives, eg. consequently not therefore)

    • Coh-ease (spot and mark all the links in a text)

    • Apply (Whiteboards)


Children as writers9
Children as Writers

  • Finally, ‘Pupils' writing is varied and interesting, conveying meaning clearly in a range of forms for different readers, using a more formal style where appropriate.’

  • The key areas here are for children to write ‘imaginative, interesting and thoughtful texts’ and to ‘produce texts which are appropriate to task, reader and purpose’

  • So the children need to be able to maintain the appropriate form throughout their writing – in other words they must be aware of the purpose of the writing!

  • In a story, they must control their plot – therefore by the end of the story it is evident how events at the start are related and that the story hasn’t just rambled blindly on!

  • They need to be aware of the audience – this will require them to maintain a viewpoint throughout their writing.

  • And last but not least, they should be beginning to demonstrate ‘well-crafted’ writing, including appropriate stylistic devices.


Children as writers10
Children as Writers

  • Finally, ‘Pupils' writing is varied and interesting, conveying meaning clearly in a range of forms for different readers, using a more formal style where appropriate.’

  • Once again, good activities for developing children’s awareness of purpose, audience and style are:

    • Buddy systems: pairing classes gives children’s writing both purpose and audience, eg. Year 6 class writing story books for a Year 3 class

    • Class councils: write about issues that matter to them – a school/class council is a good starting point

    • Real writing: Find external reasons for writing, eg. inviting visitors to school, writing to newspaper editorial columns

    • Marking grids: Children marking each others use of …

    • Response partners: Great for discussion in all three areas!


The more able writer2

The More Able Writer

Helping children develop a love for the craft of writing

Hopefully, by combining many of the suggested ideas, we can go some way to achieving the above. If that is possible, then helping children move their writing from Level 4 to Level 5 will become a much easier task!

Good Luck!


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