- Plan. Collecting and generating ideas and mapping out the piece of writing.
- Draft. Writing the first draft, following their plan, but deviating from it where they have a better idea.
- Evaluate. The stage where there’s time to analyse the first draft, receive feedback, and see how effective it is as a piece of writing.
- Edit/Redraft. An opportunity for children to make improvements to their first draft in the light of the evaluate stage.
By teaching children to work through this process each time they write, rather than simply ‘doing some writing’, we are teaching children to be craftsmen, shaping their words to communicate their intended message as clearly and effectively as possible. This process of planning-writing-improving-sharing runs through every key stage and year group of the curriculum, from a Year 1 child telling their partner the sentence they’re going to try and write, to a Year 11 student proof-reading his answer during a GCSE exam. For many children writing is all about the end product: once their pen dots a full stop after the last word in the final sentence, the piece of writing is finished. Asking children to return to their work and make improvements isn’t always the easiest thing to do, but if we can help children to get into this habit early in their school career it will stay with them forever, supporting them to become better writers.
And that is what it’s all about.
With thanks to James Clements for writing this post. James is the director of ShakespeareandMore.com. He works with schools and local authorities all over the country to support the teaching of English. Until recently, James was a senior leader and teacher at an outstanding inner-city primary school and he is a member of the DFE’s English Subject Expert Group.
Have you seen our Creative Writing Tubs? They provide your class with a launch pad for original and inspirational writing. As children delve into one or more of the 20 tubs, they’ll find colourful items to help them create their own story or enhance their non-fiction writing. Each tub has a selection of characters and artefacts which can be used to help build a story, create a setting and add characters or characteristics to their writing.
For children that have weaknesses in their writing, look no further than the Writer’s Pyramid. A visual support which draws out four features of writing:
- Sentence Openers
- ‘Wow Words’
Build these pyramids up and have them out in the classroom for writing sessions to provide a tool for writing prompts and inspiration. Children will be able to see what features to include in their writing, as well as broadening their vocabulary and versatility in the texts they create.
As each side of the pyramid is the same shape, you could build a pyramid that contains all four writing features, or even create a pyramid of just punctuation.
A wonderful aid designed to give children confidence in their writing, as well as expanding their vocabulary and providing inspiration. The Writer’s Directory can be used before pupils start writing to plan events and characters, during writing to find an adjective and whilst editing to correct spelling and find alternative words. Includes an easy to use index system.