At English Martyrs' we have adopted The Talk for Writing (T4W) method by Pie Corbett, enabling children to imitate orally the language they need for a particular topic, before reading and analysing it, and then writing their own version. T4W is a process that uses spoken activities to develop writing skills. First expanding and developing pupils’ oral language skills and then scaffolding and modelling the teaching of sentence, paragraph and text construction create quality writing.
Writing is taught daily using the T4W method. High quality texts are used to challenge, engage and enthuse children.
Talk 4 Writing key stages:
1. Initial baseline assessment
Cold Task An interesting stimulus is provided to see what children can do independently prior to starting a unit of work. No teaching is given but children are encouraged to draw on prior knowledge. Assessment of this piece enables the teacher to plan what to teach the whole class and different groups. Teachers can then adapt the model text and set individual targets.
2. The imitation stage
This stage begins with a ‘hook’ to engage the children and give them a sense of enjoyment, audience and purpose. A model text which is pitched above the pupils’ level, is learnt through a’ text map’ and actions (standardised across the school) to strengthen memory. This model text contains the structures and language patterns the children will need when writing for themselves. Activities such as drama are used to deepen understanding. The model text and other quality texts are read for vocabulary, comprehension, language patterns and writing techniques (toolkits). Underpinning this phases is the rehearsing of key spellings and grammatical patterns. Short burst writing is used to practise key focuses.
3. The innovation stage
Once familiar with the model text, pupils are led by the teacher into creating their own version. Pupils in EYFS & KS1 change the basic story map and create a new version. Pupils in KS2 use ‘boxed up’ planners with simple planning modelled by the teacher and orally rehearsed. Shared and guided writing modelled by the teacher is used to enable pupils to write their own version step by step concentrating on bringing all the elements together, writing effectively and accurately. Feedback is given during the lesson so that pupils can be taught how to improve their writing, make it more accurate, until they can increasingly edit in pairs or on their own.
4. Independent application and invention (hot task)
This is the opportunity for pupils to independently apply what they have been taught and practiced throughout the previous stages. Pupils are provided with a rich stimulus to make their writing purposeful. Writing will often be staged over a number of days. Non-fiction writing allows pupils to apply what they have learnt across the wider curriculum. The hot task clearly shows progress across the unit as writing becomes increasingly independent. Pupils in EYFS should be playing at making up and acting out stories daily. With guidance from a teacher they should making up class stories to be later shared and acted out. Pupils in KS1 will make a few simple changes to the original model text. Pupils in KS2 will be adding, embellishing and altering the original structure using writing toolkits and drawing on the model text and their wider reading so their writing becomes more independent and at a high level.