Session 46 – Thursday 19th May 2011

Session Title:

Getting them Writing – Focus on Skills and Motivation

Session Summary:

This ukedchat special session was sparked by a twitter conversation which focused on writing skills for pupils, with schemes supporting or hindering development. Secondary colleagues are often reported as noting a gulf in writing skills, with secondary schools having to ensure their pupils catch up with the requirements of education during the build up eventually to GCSE’s.
The session was quite a balanced conversation, with a few schemes really being explored. One notable scheme which was discussed was the Big Writing scheme, developed by Ros Wilson. Various contributors commented how the VCOP philosophy had really helped their pupils, whilst others noted how constricting it all was, and should be taken to work alongside other creative ideas. In fairness, Ros Wilson did earlier tweet that it is about building up the skills of pupils, and letting them go ‘off piste’, with their renewed confidence.
Pie Corbett’s schemes were applauded, although the focus of the conversation did not really go into why they were so engaging, apart from their relationship with reading and stories. A good writing tool ‘A CARP PIE’ was highlighted to help and support pupils, with various links added below in the web list.
A discussion also ensued about the effects of APP within schools. It was claimed that many schools use APP as an objective tool, although it was categorically stated that this was never the intention of APP, with the message received by school leaders being skewed, or mis-read, therefore not being used as intented.
Before the session was concluded, there was a brief conversation about colleagues using writing tasks as a punishment (e.g. lines, letters of apologies etc.) and how this was sending out the wrong message to pupils, that writing is a punishment, and not a pleasurable, liberating experience. This message needs to be pushed through the education field, as we are trying to encourage pupils an enjoyment of the writing process – used as a punishment, it will be bad by association.
A few contributors were given a soap box to stand on at the end, to get their passion for writing across to others. Take a look at the tweets of the week, for the real eye-catching contributions.

Notable Tweets from the Session:

@hilldwellertom1    Agree VCOP can make writing formulaic, esp. when working through L3, but provides children with confidence and skills to write.
@janeconsidine    once upon a time… takes chn to new places, new times to meet new people on their adventures or we squash reading aloud out?
@Educationchat    if any scheme worked for writing then writing wouldn’t be on every Primary Schools’ School Improvement Plan!
@ICTmagic    @colport Luv that Ros Wilson @rosBIGWRITING! Lots of level 5 writers because of her.
Julian3576    @ukedchat: How to improve writing skills for pupils?< Schools should be about providing creative contexts that make pupils want to write.
deerwood    Ye gods, writing! I avoid that where I can as I prefer typing!
@janeconsidine    @genkijen Drama for writing by Paul Bunyan, a very good friend and we do a course called Nine Drama Journeys together
@kvnmcl    My main issue with writing schemes is that they are creating very similar writers all over the country
@mikeatedji     I’d suggest making the writing purposeful – i.e. linked to something that interests the pupils – very often real life
@colport    (4/4) #ukedchat RT @RosBIGWRITING Learn the formula, practise the formula, become creative with the formula, go off piste!
@colport    (3/4) #ukedchat RT @RosBIGWRITING .. &effective style as the child masters the form.Also, most early teaching in most subjects is formulaic.
@colport    (2/4) #ukedchat RT @RosBIGWRITING Please also consider emergent phases of anything leading to stilted practice that settles into natural…
@Creativeedu    I’ve seen e.g.s of children who were ‘scared’ to write but could be motivated if the topic was one they loved #UKEdChat
@john_at_muuua    my issue in secondary is making literacy skills transferable. get past the ‘we don’t do paragraphs in *****’ syndrome #ukedchat
@kvnmcl    @colport I spoke to secondary teachers who say that primary writers all sound the same and use WOW words unnecessarily #ukedchat
@iteachyear4    Writing has to be something that is done for enjoyment. As teachers we need to allow them to write about what they want #ukedchat
@Educationchat    Writing is NOT about using 2 connectives, 3 WOW words and 5 different pieces of punctuation! It’s about purpose!!! #ukedchat
@john_at_muuua    so to that end we created a ‘literacy bookmark’. spells out the skills nicely, and can use in any subject, not just English #ukedchat
@andywhiteway    secondary teacher here. Start with words – stick with words. Find words students like and use them. lots. (within reason!) #ukedchat
@siwels196    #edchat #ukedchat all videos in class need to have captions turned on – ask parents to turn this feature on at home as well
@Joga5    @colport No there are examples in the Support for Writing materials which are brilliant in helping Ts develop ideas and strategies #ukedchat
@Educationchat    This is why I HATE SATs – forces teachers to teach writing as a formula….becomes more important than audience and purpose.  #ukedchat
@Mskinnider    #ukedchat what about the disengaged writers? How do we appeal to them? pupils in my class and not WOWed by WOW words.
@stefras    Neat! RT @siwels196: #edchat #ukedchat disengaged – take all the words out of a comic or graphic novel and have them redo the story
@chezallen    I find it hard to teach pupils to write creatively because it’s not a skill they’ll NEED to use later in life, unlike ‘persuasion’ #ukedchat
@kvnmcl    I do not use writing formulas, I do not use schemes, I do not use VCOP. Yet my class writes well. #ukedchat
@BobToms100    If teachers lack confidence in showing or demonstrating their writing to class, shouldn’t they try to practise more?  #Ukedchat
@Future_Schools    Using Shirley Clarke’s ideas of generating success criteria, peer assessment and visualiser has improved writing in my class #ukedchat
@MrAColley    #ukedchat Use post its to help structure – ideas are malleable and can be moved around without starting again.
@john_at_muuua    @Joga5 our solution kinda just happened, but only just noticed the transformation… kids respecting literate peers. big shift. #ukedchat
@kidnap    I’m convinced reading & writing go together: neither must be a chore. Both must start with the child and the child’s interests. #ukedchat
@rashush2    Lots of practice speaking helps. If you can’t say it, you can’t write it #ukedchat
@andywhiteway    @Future_Schools agree that visualiser can make a huge difference. Pride and confidence increased from having work on it #ukedchat
@Joga5    @colport We always said that the key to success for our materials was to charge for them and the leadership would ensure use! #ukedchat
@cherrylkd    @ianaddison @dughall. #ukedchat its practise for all exams later in life right up to MA when own work is produced.
@kvnmcl    Unfortunately we are playing into the writing APP’s clutches and teachers feel inclined to push writers to meet those targets #ukedchat
@SusanElkinJourn    If we want to unlock the writer in every child we have to teach and develop the use of a wide vocabulary used in original ways. #ukedchat
@MrsPrentice11    children need a real reason to write, too much of what we do in school is contrived #ukedchat
@ColinGoffin    I always find context essential – and creativity. Too many simple ideas designed for criteria used which don’t stimulate students. #ukedchat
@genkijen    #ukedchat . writing is never good enough always needs improvement , why can’t we just say . “that was great”, every now and then

Tweets of the Week:

@genkijen    Writing is never good enough always needs improvement , why can’t we just say . “that was great”, every now and then
@Nicholas3000    Children need pride and praise in their work to want to improve it. Therefore it needs an audience and purpose #ukedchat
@Joga5    Read lots, talk lots and model, model model before giving the children time to write, review and improve #ukedchat
@TheHeadsOffice    Don’t make writing a chore! Let them play with it & enjoy it! It’s the reader who should use ‘wow’!  #ukedchat

Web Links Highlighted:

@Creativeedu – Is it simply writing that is vital or COMMUNICATION saw some fab student work on voicethread today: http://bit.ly/lMt5eu
@MrAColley – Amap is a great tool for structuring written arguments http://is.gd/RCdEdM
@genkijen – @colport  #ukedchat here are some details on a ppt about how to get drama for  writing schemes  http://tinyurl.com/3w7n7uw
@colport    @Nicholas3000 CARP PIE Details http://bit.ly/lgQIqk
@MrAColley    #ukedchat @dwplibrary Have you seen stripgenerator? http://is.gd/tRKxWw
Nicholas3000    A CARP PIE display #ukedchat http://twitpic.com/4zrqmy
@LisaTaner    @iteachyear4 Ours was part of learning about the GCE Send my friend campaign- see here 4 inspiration! http://www.sendmyfriend.org/ #ukedchat
@eduKatescom    At ks3 http://bit.ly/1aDPoA lets chn write drama, screenplays etc in industry standard format – sense of writing ‘for real’ #ukedchat
@tim7168    In case it hasn’t been mentioned…Everybody Writes – great set of resources/inspiration http://bit.ly/ic3m9f #ukedchat

About your host:

Currently teaching Year 2 in a Southport school.

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