Not being optimistic about any further action being taken to make the new writing standards more accessible, it’s time to work out how to help my children to achieve them. We have decided to do this in exactly the same way as we do everything else. One step at a time.
When the writing standards were produced in November last year, I created target cards for my pupils with all of the expected objectives on. These were given out in January and we explained to the pupils that these were the expectations that had to be met by May but stressed how far away that was. We also stressed that we didn’t expect anyone to achieve all or even most of them in any one piece of work. And so gradually, we began to chip away at the objectives.
We began with the things that they were already quite good at such as using fronted adverbials. Very quickly nearly all the children got ticks in the relevant box and so we moved the focus onto the next achievable objective.
Monday’s writing task was to write a story including dialogue. We used a picture prompt from Pobble 365 which we have used before to good effect. When I began marking the stories last night, I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of the children’s writing. Even my SEND children are showing clear progress.
Over the rest of this term and next, we will continue to chip away at the objectives. We will reteach where necessary and carry on looking for examples of things such as the use of the passive voice in real texts to show the children how they can be used. We are also doing lots of oral work where they use a sentence as a model to create their own. Games such as creating silly sentences with random word combinations work well for this.
I have told my pupils to focus on objective at a time eg In your next paragraph, can you include a relative clause. Hopefully by the end of May, we might possibly have the evidence needed to say that they are writing at the expected standard.
It might seem a bit like writing by numbers and looking for features rather than the quality of the writing and in some ways it is like that.
However, I prefer to think of it as part of a long term project. I am going to try and give my pupils all the tools that they need to write well and I am really hoping that my colleagues in secondary school can take those tools and really show the children how they can used to the very best effect.