Writing at Christ Church Primary School
Writing is at the heart of our creative curriculum and there are strong links between subjects so children see writing as relevant and purposeful. Teachers plan for children to practise and apply the skills, knowledge and understanding acquired in literacy lessons through other areas of the curriculum.
Children are taught to write with growing independence according to their age and stage of development. We call it ‘Big Writing’ and it has high status in every class in school.
What is ‘Big Writing’?
Ros Wilson is the creator of the ‘Big Writing’ concept. She developed a way of teaching writing to children which focuses on four main aspects of writing – Vocabulary, Conjunctions, Openers and Punctuation (VCOP). Through weekly writing sessions (known as ‘Big Writing’), children will develop their skills in these areas, as well as learning about and revising several different writing genres, therefore improving their overall writing ability.
We have been using aspects of Big Writing for many years and have seen improvements to children’s writing. Children have become better at improving their own writing through self-assessment and have developed a greater understanding of the writing process.
The children all have a current writing target which they know and work hard to achieve in all lessons which involve writing. See if your child can tell you their target.
Big Writing takes place each week. Classes play calm, classical music during the writing session, as we find that this create a calm atmosphere for learning and gets creative juices flowing!
The Four Elements of Big Writing
Every class has a 'Wow Words' board where new and impressive words that the children have used and have found in good quality texts, are shared with everyone.
The children are encouraged to use these words where appropriate in their writing.
Every class displays examples of powerful connectives (joining words). The children are encouraged to use these in their writing to join sentences and paragraphs, therefore improving the organisation of their writing.
Every class displays and discusses good sentence ‘openers’ (sentence starters) that the children can use in their writing to make their sentences and overall texts more interesting. We teach ways of improving a basic sentence by changing how it begins e.g. ‘She opened the door’ to a better sentence, 'Cautiously, she opened the door.'
Every class has a 'Punctuation Pyramid' displayed, showing the levels of punctuation. Children are taught the names of the higher level punctuation from Year One onwards and learn to use them in their writing. The levels of punctuation are National Curriculum levels which children are assessed against, ranging from full stops (Level 1) to using colons and semi-colons (Level 5).