Big Writing is the development of the ‘writing voice’ through fast, fun, lively and predominantly oral activities.
Pupils talk the ‘writing voice’ in a dedicated ‘Big Writing’ session & at other points in a week. It is based on the premise, IF A CHILD CAN SAY IT, A CHILD CAN WRITE IT
What it isn’t:
• The teaching of features of text types or fiction writing.
What it is:
• The development of the ‘writing voice’ through fast, fun, lively and predominantly oral activities. Pupils talk the ‘writing voice’ in a dedicated ‘Big Writing’ session. It is based on the premise, IF A CHILD CAN SAY IT, A CHILD CAN WRITE IT
• One session a week from year one to year six – on Friday mornings
• One hour a week in Year one; one hour 15 minutes in Year two (recommended 1:30 hours); one hour and 30 minutes (Year 3-6)
• A session which is split into 2 equal parts (recommended before/after break time) with a clearly defined brain break of 5/10 minutes between them eg. 9-9.30 followed by 9.40 – 10.15 for Year 2.
• Year one may start with 10 minutes/10 minutes and work towards 30 minutes/30 minutes within the first term<
• First part of the session is fast, fun, lively, ORACY based.
- Focuses on VCOP (20-25 minutes for KS1; 35 minutes for KS2)
- Provides planning time (5-10 minutes KS1; 10 minutes for KS2)
- Use of talk partners; whiteboards; no hands up to encourage wider participation
- Use of pupils work to model
- Includes reference to/discussion of levels – uplevelling/downlevelling
- Questions such as...
a) Can you describe...
b) Can you give me a better word for...
c) How might you use the word superb...
• Second part of the session is the independent, silent writing time within a calm, inspiring atmosphere
- Candle burning and extremely soft classical music as well as silent food will provide this environment
- Those unable to write for the full time will have a choice of at least two other silent activities (related to literacy) that they can change to without disturbing the class. This routine needs to be set immediately so that they know the expectations for a silent setting
- The average Year two child should be able to write close to a side of A4 from January and from Year 3 a side increasing slowly to a side and a half in UKS2.
- From Year 2, during the silent writing, there will be mini reminders about editing one of each of the VCOPS, approximately every 10 minutes.
- Towards the end of their writing time, there is an opportunity to edit their writing and assess it against the learning objective and the success criteria.
• In KS2, their edits will be in a different coloured pen/pencil as this will aid teacher assessment and target setting.
• Encouraging children to reflect on their writing is also an important part of this time eg. Ask them to comment on 2 aspects of their writing that has improved in today’s writing compared to last week.