It has been a ridiculously long time since I put my thoughts and ideas down on here. So much water has passed under the bridge…but my passion for learning has not wavered and with renewed energy and focus I will continue!
In many respects the title of the blog is apt…
Being a control freak I have rather enjoyed this newly discovered approach to crafting amazing writing with my Year 5 and 6 pupils. Browsing through blogs and Pinterest one day, I came across the idea of ‘slow writing’ where the writing process is controlled sentence by sentence to making vivid the impact of using a variety of sentence structures.
Using a photo or film clip as a stimulus I guide the children in creating a descriptive paragraph by creating a list of what each sentence structure must be…
1. Start the sentence with an -ly opener.
2. End with an exclamation mark.
3. Use a simile.
4. Use an emotion.
5. End with a question mark.
6. Use an ‘if, if, if, then’ sentence.
I linked this to Alan Peat sentence types that we had learned. I can’t recommend his resources highly enough, both his ‘Exciting Sentences’ books and apps are easy to use and effective.
I continued in this way for six or seven sentences. I taught this whole class, although the children worked individually and we shared and discussed good examples as we went (lots of opportunity for ‘magpieing’). The children really enjoyed the process as no one got stuck for ideas and they were really pleased with the resulting paragraph. The pace of writing was slow, but the learning was tangible. Children of all abilities discussed the impact of sentence types and experimented with words, no one was afraid of getting it wrong.
The impact was instant, children continued their writing specifically choosing sentences for effect! Try it…I will use it again soon and might challenge children to follow lists independently…my NQTs used it and loved it too.
After a fantastic training session with Pie Corbett I became obsessed with creating a dragon themed topic. After much reading and watching weird ‘Youtube’ videos I came up with loads of useful materials which the kids in KS1 and 2 loved. It all begins with a brilliant documentary I found produced by The Animal Channel.
I focused on visual texts to support EAL learners and to allow all children to access it at some level. Some of the books that worked brilliantly are…
George and the dragon – Chris Wormell
The Dragon Snatcher – M.P. Robertson
The Snow Dragon -Vivian French
The Egg – M.P. Robertson
Ignis – Gina Wilson
The Dragon Machine – Helen Ward
The Great Dragon Rescue – M.P. Robertson
Another fantasically useful website is ‘Love Reading 4 Kids’
If you register with them (which is free) you can download extracts from hundreds of books. It also guides you as to age / interest suitability and links you to the cheapest place to purchase them.
These books are fantastic to use as model texts for non-fiction (the Pie Corbett idea of using fantasy in non-fiction). I did a really easy but effective ‘How to trap a dragon’ using ‘Talk for Writing’ approaches (information on this can still be found on the old Primary Framework site – easy to read and understand – have look!) which eventually the children used as a template for real life instructions.
Ok here I go, my very first blog…
The purpose of this blog is to continue my consultant role in a virtual way. Also it gives me a place to keep all my ideas and thoughts and experiences together.
My story so far is…
I taught for 10 years (mainly in Year 6 – very hard to escape!) becoming a Literacy Advanced Skills Teacher for the last 3. For a change of pace and the opportunity to develop my subject knowledge further I became a Literacy and ICT consultant for the National Strategies popping back into school as a Deputy for a while. After 4 brilliant years in post I have made a decision to develop my senior management experience and am heading back to school for good!! However I still get a big kick from sharing ideas and supporting other colleagues, so this is why I have created this blog…