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Session 3 . Continuing to Raise Standards in Writing. Focused Teaching through Guided Writing. Let’s get into the mood……. , “” !. Start a sentence with……. Unfortunately,…. Despite his appearance,…. With a glint in her eye,. Aims of the session. To share recent success.

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Session 3 l.jpg
Session 3

Continuing to Raise Standards in Writing.

Focused Teaching through

Guided Writing.

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Start a sentence with……..


Despite his appearance,…

With a glint in her eye,..

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  • Aims of the session.

  • To share recent success.

  • To revisit Guided Writing.

  • the why, the when and the how!

  • To audit whole school practice.

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Identifying slow moving pupils in English.

While not wishing to stereotype ……the children making less than expected progress in English tended to share characteristics…

  • They were often boys.

  • Generally well behaved.

  • Positive approach to learning, to school and to

  • teachers

  • Described by teachers as ‘invisible’ children,

  • with the girls especially undemanding of any

  • attention.

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  • Often bubbly, lively and keen to answer questions

  • without time taken for reflection.

  • Persevered with routine tasks lacking challenge.

  • Lack self help strategies – depend on friends to

  • support rather than show initiative

  • When stuck – put their hands up and then happily

  • wait for attention


Their test results surprise us.

Marking their work often disappoints us.

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Obstacles to Progress

“I get mixed up when someone interrupts me”

“It’s hard to concentrate, I forget which word I’m on”.

“Writing long pieces is hard….I use all my good ideas at the beginning”.

“Sometimes I have a sentence in my head but by the time I’ve worked out how to spell a word…I’ve forgotten what I was going to say”.

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  • Reading

    • Limited range of strategies

    • No higher order skills

  • Writing

    • Difficulty in combining different elements of writing

    • Restricted opportunities for oral rehearsal

    • Limited access to guided writing

    • Limited amount of useful feedback

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Speaking and Listening

  • Didn’t recognise as a skill

  • Limited direct teaching

  • Unable to describe progression

  • And …

    • Low level targets

    • Limited opportunity to apply targets

    • Dependent on TAs

    • Teachers unaware of progress and expectations

    • Unsystematic intervention

    • Infrequent review of progress

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One solution…..


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What is Guided Writing?

  • An essential part of a balanced writing curriculum.

  • An additional step towards independent writing.

  • Carefully targeted sessions towards groups of children according to their needs or targets.

  • Time taken to embed specific writing skills

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What might Guided Writing look like in:

Foundation Stage

Year 2

Year 6 ?

When might it take place?

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When do we do Guided Writing?

Time to work with a guided group is scarce so it must be clearly focused. Guided Writing can take place at any stage of the writing process.

Before writing to support children’s planning and drafting of their work

At the point of writing

After writing – feedback sessions

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Planning Circles

  • Shared reading:

  • decoding

  • understanding

  • text analysis

Phase 1

Phase 1 to 2

  • Gathering ideas and content:

  • Visual literacy, drama, speaking and listening,

  • Short writing opportunities

Phase 2

Phase 2 to 3

  • Planning,

  • Shared writing,

  • Independent and guided writing:

  • Creative outcomes

Phase 3

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Why use Guided Writing?

  • Familiarises pupils with the management of the writing process

  • Enables pupils to be active participants in writing conferences – obvious links to successful AfL strategies.

  • Encourages pupils to be analytical and reflective about writing

  • Provides a forum for pupils to discuss what makes effective writing

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  • Supports EAL pupils confronted with the

  • demands of writing in the English language.

  • It provides the bridge between shared and independent work – an opportunity to practise writing in a supported group context.

  • The teaching focus and teachers intervention can be tailored in response to particular needs

  • Its flexibility allows for individual, paired or collaborative group work – children can learn to share and problem solve aspects of writing.

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The Guided Writing Cycle







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For example, with the teacher, the children have rehearsed joining two simple sentences with a connective and have written their own.


Share ideas and connectives


Take a look at one of the sentences and dissect it.


Look at your sentence. Is there anything you would like to change?


Share revised ideas.

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Watch these clip showing a Year 1 and a Year 3 example of Guided Writing

Does the teacher support the children through key questions, constructive comments, teaching at the point of writing?

Can you see a clear structure to the session?

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What challenges might there be for teachers in implementing guided writing?

  • Classroom management/time

  • Analysing writing and framing targets

  • Subject knowledge

  • Understanding progression in writing

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Audit of Current Practice. guided writing?

  • Is Guided Writing a feature of teaching in your school?

  • Is the purpose of GW clearly understood by all teachers and TAs?

  • Do GW sessions have explicit teaching/learning objectives tailored to the needs of the group by the teacher?

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In the school monitoring of writing – is there evidence of specific writing skills being taught systematically?

Are all your staff confident in teaching writing skills to children and do they understand ‘where next’?

Are there any immediate CPD implications arising from this session today?

How can I help?

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Other materials to support guided writing: specific writing skills being taught systematically?

  • Excellence and Enjoyment: Learning and teaching for bilingual pupils in the primary years – teaching units to support guided sessions for writing – ref:00068-207FLR-EN

  • I can email to you:Planning for ‘Precision Intervention’ in writing – using GUIDED WRITING as an element

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What the children need generally specific writing skills being taught systematically?

  • A repertoire of self-help strategies

  • Coaching in exploratory and analytic work

  • Teaching that focuses on ‘deep’ learning that gets to

    ideas, concepts and true understanding

  • Improved oral work to help them think things through and become articulate and ‘ready to write’ or solve

    mathematical problems

  • Planning aids

  • More group coaching such as guided work

  • More direct support from the teacher rather than the teaching assistant

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What the children need in mathematics specific writing skills being taught systematically?

They need…

  • more open activities to talk and think about

  • more paired discussion to shape their ideas

  • to be shown how to explore different approaches to solve a problem

  • time and teacher support to explore and explain their methods and thinking

  • to keep mental calculation strategies fresh through regular use

  • more freedom to make their own decisions on how to record their work

  • to be taught how to use number lines more flexibly

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What the children need in English specific writing skills being taught systematically?

They need…

  • a range of reading strategies to tackle unfamiliar texts successfully

  • to see reading as pleasurable and meaningful

  • help with writing as they write

  • planning strategies to help them with extended writing

  • to be given high value targets to improve their writing

  • to use focused talk to think through their ideas

  • to be explicitly taught the conventions of speaking and listening

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Discussion specific writing skills being taught systematically?

Consider your schools and the ‘slow moving children’ and ‘children falling behind’ for mathematics or English

  • What do the children need to do to address this issue?

  • What do the teachers need to do to address this issue?

  • What support and professional challenge could Headteachers and senior leaders provide?

  • What are the implications for LA support and challenge?