Is there any creativity left in Literacy?

(25 Posts)
bicyclebell Mon 04-Apr-16 23:18:21

Since the new curriculum and all the pedantic nonsensical grammar (have been reading about it on Michael Rosen's facebook page and frightening myself silly) - I've just been wondering whether there is any space for creativity in primary literacy lessons anymore?

I suppose this is a question for teachers ...

Absolutely on the verge of de-registering DS from school. It seems a complete waste of his time being sent in and brainwashed with all this stuff.

mrz Tue 05-Apr-16 06:06:15

I think your DS is probably best placed to say what happens in his school but as usual I don't recognise the extreme described Mr Rosen.
The new tests and lack of accurate information (there had been so much information often contradicting the previous piece ) teachers are confused and yes some will panic and cram grammar in favour of a more balanced content but not all.

RafaIsTheKingOfClay Tue 05-Apr-16 09:03:55

My advice would be to stop reading Michael Rosen's FB page. He's determined to scaremonger for n apparent reason.

Other than perhaps the current yr 6, there is no need to cram the grammar. It can mostly be taught through reading and writing and there is plenty of room for creativity as well.

The most important thing is what's happening in your school. hat Rosen has decided is happening in every other school is neither here nor there is your school are teaching grammar differently.

postmanpatscat Tue 05-Apr-16 09:11:19

If you are concerned, ask your child's school/teacher about their Literacy curriculum. Personally, I can't bear to teach dull lessons any more than I expect the pupils to tolerate them.

fluffypenguinbelly Tue 05-Apr-16 09:17:45

It's perfectly possible to teach as creatively as the teachers wishes. As with most of these things it's up to the teacher. I haven't changed my style of teaching or my lessons to cater for anything. I get excellent results without cramming for tests. School should be fun.

Thumbcat Tue 05-Apr-16 09:28:16

I wondered about this after DS's recent parents evening. He's in year 3. His teacher was talking about poetry they had been writing, but rather than wanting them to be creative it was just about getting them to use loads of pedantic grammar. Honestly, the grammar/punctuation/subject criteria for the poem were so rigid that there was no room left for creativity.

irvine101 Tue 05-Apr-16 10:26:21

At my ds's parents' eve(yr3), I was told totally opposite. His use of grammar,punctuation and spelling is very good but sentence is too logical. There's nothing wrong with it, but it's not creative enough . It's just boring. So, not all school/teacher is cramming grammar.

bicyclebell Tue 05-Apr-16 23:00:43

Oh that's a relief. Although DS hasn't had the best year with a struggling NQT who seems to have given up. I wondered whether it was because she was overwhelmed with the new curriculum on top of everything else she's expected to do/learn.

I have been very scared by Michael Rosen's comments on it all. Will take it all with a pinch of salt from now on.

RafaIsTheKingOfClay Tue 05-Apr-16 23:11:06

I'm not sure he realises how much fear he does put into parents heads when he starts off on one of his rants. He tends to get a bit carried away and wanders off from the facts.

mrz Wed 06-Apr-16 07:40:23

Which year is your son in?

teacherwith2kids Wed 06-Apr-16 12:58:37

The way we plan English writing is a bit like making a cake...

So we might start off with something immediately engaging / intriguing - maybe a book, but could be a sound clip or an artefact or a collection of objects or a map or a letter or a visit or a physical experience of some kind...

Then we add in some exploration of a text or text type ... which would probably take in some vocabulary and its spelling, and some word-level grammar about word classes and their use...

Then we drop in some relevant sentence-level grammar and some practice of its use....

We always add in lots of opportunities for speaking and drama

Then we come up with relevant and interesting pieces of writing that the children might do to respond to all of this, including the use of grammar, spelling and punctuation in context.

Then we mix it all up and separate it out into a sensible 'storyline' of lessons that follow on sensibly after each other..

And we tweak and evaluate it as we go along. We have a 'checklist' of grammar objectives for the year (we're still doing some catch-up on the gap between old curriculum and new, so it's a bit heavier this year than it will be next year) so that we can ensure that our overall set of year group plans covers the curriculum, and we do assess SPaG separately as part of termly assessments. The children seem to pick it up absolutely fine when taught in this 'embedded within English' form, which works better for us than separate 'Grammar' lessons.

bicyclebell Wed 06-Apr-16 22:37:02

Year 4, Mrz.

LunaLunaLovegood Wed 06-Apr-16 22:43:22

My Y6 son showed me a video today that he'd watched in literacy. Having seen all his spag books I was expecting something boring but it was actually a really good video which we chatted about and made me realise they are still managing to include interesting creative stuff. Hats off to the teachers.

LunaLunaLovegood Wed 06-Apr-16 22:44:30

I do think Michael Rosen is good though. He has a y6 son as well as being an author so he is well placed to comment IMO.

forkhandles4candles Wed 06-Apr-16 22:49:51

What Michael Rosen says matches a lot of my DD's experience. Formulas, endless grammar...and my year 3 son was critiqued for spelling and grammar, but not praised for wild creativity.

bicyclebell Wed 06-Apr-16 23:38:19

Yes, this year - for my son - has been lacking in creativity. Very different from the years before.

His written, literacy work has gone from pages (in his school book) to single paragraphs where it seems as though they're being so precise about what they asking him to write. No freedom or creativity at all.

All the comments are about grammar. But none of it seems to be going into my son's head - apart from learning to paraphrase certain formulaic sentence openers.

mrz Thu 07-Apr-16 07:16:08

Luna he is well placed to have an opinion about his child's school but not about every single primary school in England.
I'm not sure how being an author makes him more or less qualified than any other parent. Some that work in schools might be far more knowledgeable but less vocal than him.

Wait4nothing Thu 07-Apr-16 08:53:04

In our year 2 classes we have introduced 1 weekly grammar and spelling lesson a week, just to ensure coverage and opportunities to revise the basics (my lowest ability need to revise word classes weekly or they seem to forget what we're talking about!) but apart from that our literacy teaching hadn't really changed much (a bit of a push on joining for those ready which wasn't really a priority before).
Still links to topic work, around a text type and involves drama/speaking a listening.

LunaLunaLovegood Thu 07-Apr-16 09:33:42

mrz, I didn't mean he was more qualified than any other parent, but he is a good author, and people will listen more to him than to e.g. me!! And clearly he knows about language and communication and ideas and all the good things about 'literacy with common sense'. He definitely comes across as on the side of children, teachers, and parents. Some of the stuff he points out is scary and shocking, but what the government is doing IS scary and shocking. So I'm glad he is speaking out.

RafaIsTheKingOfClay Thu 07-Apr-16 09:50:03

But the fact that people listen to him more than other parents is part of the problem. Particularly when what he says is totally inaccurate.

An increased focus on spelling and grammar in the curriculum is fine. It was often under taught in the previous curriculum. The SPAG test and how some schools have chosen to implement that is a different matter.

It might be more useful to children, teachers and parents if he spent more time using his knowledge to help schools introduce and teach grammar in a better way. But I don't see him doing that any time soon.

ReallyTired Thu 07-Apr-16 10:00:59

My daughter is in year 2 and is flying with her creativity In literacy. The fact that she has been taught the basics means she can spell whatever word she wants. My son who is seven years older and was taught with the old curriculum struggles to get his thoughts down on paper. He is crippled with poor spelling.

Children need to learn the basics before they attempt to write in multiple genres. I love the emphasis on phonics and being taught grammar explicitly.

corythatwas Thu 07-Apr-16 10:27:41

I was taught in a very spelling and grammar-focused educational system and I can't see what's so joyless about it. Something that enables you to understand how languages are structured and makes it easier to learn more of them at a quicker rate - doesn't sound all that terrible to me. Of course a pedantic and rigid teacher can make anything pedantic and rigid, but I doubt they form the majority.

kesstrel Thu 07-Apr-16 10:36:02

I agree, Reallytired. And while it's important to give opportunities for creativity in school, I think parents should also remember that children have plenty of time for creativity outside of school; after all, they're only in school for half the days in the year.

And creativity isn't everything. My DD1 (now 25) attended a primary school where nothing seemed to be praised except creativity. It used to make me really upset; she wasn't good at thinking up stories, or at art, but she was enthusiastic, caring, worked hard, was interested in everything, and behaved well. Yet none of that seemed to matter in the constant drive to get the children to "be creative".

ReallyTired Thu 07-Apr-16 10:54:57

Reading to your child is the best way to improve vocabulary. There is only so much a teacher of 30 kids can do.

Doowrah Thu 07-Apr-16 17:15:19

My Year 4s love English and are thriving on my interpretation of the new NC, I am teaching as I have always done with a good mix of everything, a nod to requirements and healthy doses of intelligence and humour. My class are nothe easiest bunch either their behaviour sets the limits on what we can achieve, which once they realised they sorted out themselves.

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