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Not enough Level 3s at the end of KS1

(10 Posts)
rollonthesummer Wed 12-Nov-14 11:30:55

My HT is getting suddenly hysterial about the number of L3s we (aren't) going to get for our Y2s in this year's SATs and wants to do something drastic before an Ofsted is triggered. I'm not directly involved in teaching literacy or Y2 but I wondered what people on here use in Y1/2 that they think really supports their writing?

Does anyone use RWI, Big Write or Talk For Writing with any success? What about setting for writing across a year group/across KS1? Or having an extended writing session once a week?

I'd love to hear what other teachers think works for writing in their school?

padkin Wed 12-Nov-14 18:30:07

We are a RWI school. From my experience, our reading levels are great, but writing not so good. We have introduced a 4day RWI week, and then are focussing on talk for writing on the fifth, with a full 'talk for writing' week every half term. I'm also about to the majority of my Y2s off grey RWI (which should be 2Bs reading or above) , and starting a more Talk for Writing focus to bring the writing levels up. We used to do a Big Write, but it didn't work, as the children were all focussing on different things in their RWI groups each week.

If it were up to me, we would do a daily 20 min speed sound lesson (RWI structure with spelling, in differentiated groups across KS1), a class daily 'talk for writing' session combining SPAG, then guided reading using the RWI books in the same differentiated groups for the speed sounds. RWI is fantastic for reading, 'talk for writing' is great for writing.

rollonthesummer Wed 12-Nov-14 18:57:42

That's really interesting, thank you for replying! Do you currently set for your one day a week TFW? If so, is it across a year group or the whole of KS1? What would be the structure of that one off lesson?

padkin Wed 12-Nov-14 21:07:04

The one day TFW is class-based, and a longer session than RWI, with the TA supporting lower ability. We plan a story or info text to be used over the whole half term, loosely based on theme planning, text following a prescribed story type or info genre, make a map etc. We tell the story aloud, learning it over the first week, using the first day as a starter and then practising every afternoon, in story times etc, then follow a bastardised version of innovate and invent over the next few weeks on the TFW day. It's a bit disjointed, but as it's usually to do with our theme, we fit in extra bits during afternoon non-core stuff as well, if that makes sense. Not ideal, but useful all the same.

temporarilyjerry Fri 14-Nov-14 17:21:32

We are also a RWInc school. By the beginning of Year 2, the children who have finished RWInc are in a literacy group which does a lot of Talk for Writing stuff. As the year goes on, more children finish RWInc and are added to the lit set. By the Summer term, there are 2 literacy sets. We have an intake of 45, so our sets are about 23 children each.

chilephilly Sat 15-Nov-14 07:19:27

I'm in a secondary SM school. One of the reasons we are in SM is our results do not match target grades. The students come to us with over inflated English SAT results which lead to high GCSE target grades. Thus the kids are set up to fail. And so are we. Be careful what you wish for.

WillkommenBienvenue Sat 15-Nov-14 07:33:10

Not a teacher, but When I was in the equivalent of year 4 our teacher would lists of 3 words on the blackboard and we would have to write 5 sentences with them. We did it every day for a year at the same time each day. I think we could draw illustrations as well if we had time.

AdorabeezleWinterpop Sat 15-Nov-14 08:25:35

Not a Y2 teacher (but have been in the past). I use T4W with my Y6 class and the results have been fantastic. We spend lots of time reading and learning a text types before moving on to innovate etc.

I have been extremely impressed with the impact RWI has on reading in our school. Not much direct experience (we didn't use it when I was KS1) but DD, who is in reception, has moved three book bands since starting school in September.

toomuchicecream Sat 15-Nov-14 18:40:00

For the first time this year I think I might have got a grip on teaching writing in year 1 & 2!!! I too am a huge fan of T4W and am introducing it across the school because it's worked so well in my class - message me if you want to know more because I've got all the training materials I used when I ran 2 insets this term.

I have a mixed year 1/2 class and have taught them for nearly 2 years - previously I taught mainly year 6 so it was quite a culture shock (!) when I moved. The school is also so small that I am KS1 - no one to ask questions of so I've had to work it out by myself, making lots and lots of mistakes along the way, so it's taken me a while to feel on top of things. We have a number of whole school policies which have to be implemented in years 1-6, regardless if they are relevant to the younger children or not.

So my class have to complete a piece of independent, extended writing every week. I spent most of last year stressing because my able year 2 writers just weren't writing enough to justify a high level 2/level 3. I'd be interested in opinions on here about the quantity of writing needed, but having spoken to lots of different people, the most common answer I got was an absolute minimum of a side of an A4 exercise book for a 2a, and more than that for a 3. Whatever I tried, the children never managed more than 2/3 of a side. Decent quality, but just not enough. Then, round about Easter, I finally worked out the reason. It's slightly embarrassing to admit how long it took me to realise that the reason they didn't write enough was because I didn't give them enough time.... A 1 hour lesson just isn't enough to do input about what they are going to write about, let them produce a decent length of writing and then any form of self/peer evaluation. Also, having the younger children in the room who just can't write that much was a distraction.

So this year I have writing all Friday morning (if necessary). I split the year 1s & 2s too. For the first 1 hour lesson I send the year 1s to the hall with my TA to do drama, talk, picture sequencing or another activity relating to what they are going to write about. Then after break they come back and work in my side room, putting into writing what they've prepared in the first hour.

I then have the year 2s. It normally seems to work out at about 1/2 an hour to talk about the task and set success criteria/expectations (and do a short warm up activity). They get around 1/2 an hour before break, spread out across the room so there's plenty of space and the easily distracted children can sit by themselves. While they are writing, I can concentrate on supporting the less able year 2s which wouldn't happen if the year 1s were there. Normally this means sitting next to them with my marking so I can guide and encourage them, whilst also giving them the space to get on with it. It's a very quiet, calm session where even the most active boys are learning to concentrate and get on with it.

Then after break they have as much of the second hour as they need to finish their writing. As they finish, I give them a highlighter pen to mark their punctuation and any evidence of having met the success criteria (this is a work in progress...). I then pair off early finishers on the carpet to read their writing to each other and do 2 stars and a wish together.

It's working extremely well - I've been bowled over by the quality of the writing that both year groups are producing. I should say, however, that the majority of the children have professional/graduate parents who are extremely supportive of their education. I know that the sort of things I do in my school just wouldn't work in a lot of other places. I'm also very, very lucky to have an incredibly competent TA and a side room to use.

We don't do RWI or follow any other scheme. We do have a separate 20/25 minute phonics lesson each day, apart from a daily 1 hour English lesson (but no English on Thursday as we do double on Friday). I build up throughout the week to what they are going to write on the Friday. To be honest, it's a bit stressful sometimes, thinking of something that they can write and do a decent job of. But the 3 week T4W cycle (imitate, innovate, invent) is producing really good results. I can see exactly why some people don't see the point of the Big Write, but I firmly believe that to have the writing stamina to produce a piece of extended writing, the children have to practise it regularly.

Hope some of those ideas help!!

toomuchicecream Sat 15-Nov-14 18:43:07

Oh - and the highlighter pen for marking punctuation has made a huge difference to those who habitually forget full stops and/or capital letters. By the end of year 1 I had quite a few who would put in the full stops but forget to follow them with a capital letter. Or ones who would punctuate at the beginning and end, but forget in the middle.

When they go through with their highlighter, if they've got it right all the marks should be in pairs. Each time I mark their writing I see can see where some of them have rubbed out the lower case letter at the start of the sentence and put the correct capital in. Highlighting also makes it extremely obvious when there is not punctuation in the middle, and makes it very easy for them to go back (or me to send them back) to put it in.

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