At Chestnuts, we follow "The Write Stuff" approach by Jane Considine to bring clarity to the mechanics of our writing. "The Write Stuff" follows a process called "Sentence Stacking" which refers to the fact that sentences are stacked together chronologically to create larger, complete texts. The lessons that we teach are designed to engage children with short, intensive periods of vocabulary building and modelling which they can immediately apply to their own writing. Each individual lesson is broken into two or three learning chunks which themselves have the following three integral sections:
- The initiate section – a stimulus to capture the children’s imagination and give them a purpose to write.
- The model section – a teacher model sentence that outlines clear writing features and techniques. The teacher explains their writerly choices throughout.
- The enable section – a chance for the children to complete their own piece of writing, using the model as a guide.
In each learning chunk, the children are challenged to ‘deepen the moment’. This requires them to independently draw upon previously learnt skills and apply them to their writing, providing them with an opportunity to show the skills that they have mastered.
"The Write Stuff" approach consists of three essential components to support the children in becoming great writers. These are known as the three zones of writing: The Fantastics, The Boomtastics and The Grammaristics.
- The FANTASTICS provide the children with the ideas for writing. They represent the nine lenses through which the children can craft their ideas. At Chestnuts, we believe that writing is strengthened when children have good imaginations. These can be developed by focussing closely on each of the FANTASTICS
- The GRAMMARISTICS provide the children with the tools for writing. They are designed to teach the children the grammar rules of our language system in an accessible way so that they can then be applied to writing. At Chestnuts, we strive for our children to be in control of their grammar choices so that the precision and impact of their writing is improved.
- The BOOMTASTICS provide the children with the techniques to create engaging texts. These techniques help the children to shape their writing and express their personal voice and writerly style through the choices they make.
At Chestnuts, we follow the Nelson Handwriting Scheme which ensures a consistent, whole-school approach from Years 2 to 6. This meets the requirements of the 2014 National Curriculum. The children are taught to form their letters accurately and position them correctly in relation to one another before being introduced to a cursive handwriting style. We want our pupils to take care over their handwriting and develop their own, cursive style.
Prior to Year 2, pupils focus on mastering the formation of individual letters through the Read Write Inc. Programme, using the associated rhymes to support them.
Handwriting is a basic skill that influences the quality of the children’s work throughout the rest of the curriculum. At the end of Key Stage 2, all pupils should have the ability to produce fluent and legible work, writing confidently and at speed. They should also understand that different forms of handwriting are used for different purposes.
At Chestnuts, we place considerable emphasis on a neat and fluent handwriting style. This is because, once the children have mastered this skill, they are able to focus their attention on the other aspects of the writing process such as the ideas, the tools and the techniques they wish to use.
Throughout EYFS and KS1, the children learn the sounds for each of the phonemes so that they can use these to support their spelling of words. We use the Read Write Inc programme to help support the teaching of phonics and segmenting for spelling. During Year 2, the children also experience short spelling sessions which focus on learning the common exception words from the National Curriculum spelling list.
In Key Stage 2, children have spelling sessions throughout the week to support the learning of their set spelling rules and the words from the key word lists. These sessions then culminate in an assessment to ensure that the rules have been embedded.
To support the teaching of spellings in school, we use an interactive programme called Spelling Shed. It is a fun way for children to practise their spellings at home. Each child in Years 1 to 6 has their own username and password so that they can access it either through the website www.spellingshed.com, or through the Spelling Shed app. Once they have logged on, the children can practise all of the phonics phases and the National Curriculum spelling lists for KS1 and KS2.