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big writing/pie corbett - story writing

Discussion in 'Primary' started by Elfreda6969, Mar 8, 2009.

  1. Would be interested to hear from others - I started the year by devouring anything on big writing - i purchased all the books and tried to digest and implement the suggestions. However, the Big Writing Sessions I have implemented have did not produce good pieces of writing. I read Pie Corbett's Bumper story book and implememted his suggestions and this approach has produced some very good pieces of writing.
    With Corbett's approach I noticed that even many of my SEN and reluctant writers were able to get their heads down and write!
    One particular child, when we did our big writing just simply repeated WOW words over and over again on her page - lots of other children struggled over the content. When we adopted Pie Corbett's approach the change was quite significant - this child wrote a whole story and began to use interesting sentence openers.
    I also find Pie's approach less intense and manageable. I have found it so hard to continue with the strategy for the main part of the week, slot in oral VCOP work, slot in oral work geared towards Big Writing and then expect the children to write a piece without any real shared or guided writing work.
    Interested to hear from others - esp those who are doing BW successfully or who are doing the Pie Corbett approach.

    I am in a Year 2 & 3 class.

    Thanks
     
  2. Would be interested to hear from others - I started the year by devouring anything on big writing - i purchased all the books and tried to digest and implement the suggestions. However, the Big Writing Sessions I have implemented have did not produce good pieces of writing. I read Pie Corbett's Bumper story book and implememted his suggestions and this approach has produced some very good pieces of writing.
    With Corbett's approach I noticed that even many of my SEN and reluctant writers were able to get their heads down and write!
    One particular child, when we did our big writing just simply repeated WOW words over and over again on her page - lots of other children struggled over the content. When we adopted Pie Corbett's approach the change was quite significant - this child wrote a whole story and began to use interesting sentence openers.
    I also find Pie's approach less intense and manageable. I have found it so hard to continue with the strategy for the main part of the week, slot in oral VCOP work, slot in oral work geared towards Big Writing and then expect the children to write a piece without any real shared or guided writing work.
    Interested to hear from others - esp those who are doing BW successfully or who are doing the Pie Corbett approach.

    I am in a Year 2 & 3 class.

    Thanks
     
  3. Hi, I do Big Writing but am rapidly running out of ideas. Would you recommend I buy the PIe Corbett book? What is the title?
    I find the whole idea of Big Writing rather strange, I teach a mixed yr 3/4 class and many struggle with writing a few sentences, they become completely bored/disengaged during Big Writing. I've asked about it and been told that they must try to complete their work and that I'm not to do any other activities with those who are struggling, which I think is madness! Anyway - be good to see what other people are doing that's working!
     
  4. Joined my school in September and immediately bought loads of Pie Corbett stuff. I've been using his approach all year, as a trial, while the rest of the school has been doing 'big write' and in my class everychild has gone up at least a full level where as in other classes writing has become a big issue nd they've been sent to me to observe. I'm all for Pie Corbett's aproaches!
     
  5. Pie Corbett's book is The Bumper Book of story telling into writing. Would also recommend How to teach Story writing. Also found Alan Peat's approach - Improving Story Writing interesting. I think lots of children need very clear structures which is what I think both these approaches do very well. From what I have seen of Big Writing - its all about a collection of word classes - ie WOW words or connectives - but I have found that the children cannot string these into meaningful sentences.
     
  6. Msz

    Msz Established commenter

    I think it's more than possible to use both techniques. Also Alan Peat and Sue Palmer (for other genres) offer extra idea that work well
     
  7. Big Writing is in danger of being another band wagon. Pie Corbett's approach is much more in line with what good teachers have done for years. Children have to have a purpose for writing, write from real experiences and above all enjoy writing. Like everything else we must not allow ourselves to be deluged in targets, frameworks and strategies - look where that has got us! Use what is best for your children in each of the authors - there is no solution which will suit everyone.
     
  8. Pie Corbett and Alan Peat are the two writers of resources that I most love to use.
    I echo the Elfreda6969!
     
  9. Elfreda
    I am a head teacher of a large 3 form entry school and as such have been striving for many years to significantly raise standards in writing especially low attainers and boys. I am too aware of a number of writing 'gurus' who claim to have the answers and have read up on and had a go at most of their ideas.
    The single biggest success in our school was Ros Wilson's Big Writing. We have been doing it now for 3 years and the results have been truely remarkable. I attended one of Ros' training days with my senior team and then gradually over time sent all of my staff. The books are good but I found it was the training that really made it all make sense.
    The main difference for me is that Big Writing is not just about writing stimulus, it is about giving children the skills for writing for life and most importantly the writing voice.
    As a head I love the fact that she advocates 10 minutes of Basic Skills every day. We were amazed at just how many of our children actually had huge chunks missing. It was these revision sessions that helped to raise standards just as much as the VCOP.
    As we have committed to these sessions over the years we are finding that the Basic Skills gaps are much smaller in subsequent cohorts because we are filling them earlier.
    At one point after about a year, my staff felt that the approach to Big Writing was getting stale and that children were not attaining to the levels that we thought they should so we did a refresher, only to find on re visiting that there were lots of bits that we were missing out or had let slip.
    Staff also use the Big Writing website because there are lots of ideas to 'nick' and a teacher's chatroom for Big Writing discussion.
    We had spent years trying different writing frames, methods of planning a story, story starters, etc..etc..This mixture achieved some good results but not in all areas and when we stopped concentrating on that aspect of writing, standards went down again. What we were lacking was one comprehensive approach and that is what Big Writing does for us.
    By the sound of your post Elfreda you don't seem to be implementing it as it was intended which could be why you are not getting the results you would like.

     
  10. I'm going to echo slightly. I'd heard about Big Writing, I'd been trained by our co-ordinator. It was only GOING on a Big Writing that made it all understandable.

    Like anything, never forget your old tools but consider the new ones too.
     
  11. One of my concerns with Big Writing is the lack of shared/guided writing. I have followed the plans in her book for my year group (yr3) and been disappointed with the end product. Despite doing lots of oral work - the children needed to develop an understanding of structure of stories etc.
    Perhaps as you say its all about going on the training courses.
     
  12. Msz

    Msz Established commenter

    Shared and guided writing are an important part of the build up to Big Writing I suggest you visit the Andrell forum for some input from Ros.
     
  13. We've started Big Writing recently and at the moment I'm finding positive results with all of my year 4s (including SEN and beginner EAL pupils). The rest of the week I'm doing odd bits of the Big Writing material, but I mostly concentrate on my normal Literacy planning with guided and shared writing where appropriate. The biggest hurdle I'm finding is fitting in Non-Fiction Big Writes as the children need to have the knowledge to write them.
    giggle. xx
     
  14. well, I have been following the lesson plans in the books and not once do they mention guided or shared writing. For example - if you go to the gold book and look at the lesson plans in the back of the book they state:

    Warm up - recap VCOP
    Pair activity - (text deconstruction)
    Whole class activity - (text deconstruction)
    Independent Writing Activity - chn write the next paragraph...continue the story etc.
    I also do not ever recall the mention of shared writing in these books (but maybe I am wrong) as that was one of my concerns.

    Similarly, there appears to be lots of examining extracts and not whole texts. The problem is that you are trying to follow the normal literacy time table for most of the week that the children do not have appropriate levels of immersion for the Big Write text - whether they have met that text type or not.
    I now just incorporate Big Writing aspects in my everyday literacy - ie oral starters, up levelling sentences etc.
    I find that children incorporate language and text features after considerable and consistent exposure to texts - not just short snippets.
    If you have read the book, would welcome your clarification on where it talks about modelling text types to children. Thanks
     
  15. Agree with Ht who stated importance of training and also making sure you do all the bits ie not just BW lesson and VCOP.
    Also dont see any issue with using resources from Pie and Alan etc within the approach
    Finally the whole point of the andrell forum is for people to share specific queries and also get responses from Ros Wilson so id suggest doing that
    Id also suggest that the lesson plans in the books are revision stuff for either y2 or y6 they are not a format for whole year as such
     
  16. Bluerose - if you feel that this is the case then the publication should make it clear. Big Writing is good for REVISION, but the standard approach of text analysis and teacher modelling is far more effective in my opinion.
     
  17. I really like a lot of Pie Corbett stuff. A long time ago, before he invented it, that was how we taught story writing - immersion, role play, modelling etc. Now it's fashionable again it's great.
    I also like Big Write, but particularly with the vocabulary, you have to get the children to 'take ownership' of the words, lots of paired work, sentence saying or writing, uplevelling etc. A lot of complaints I've heard come from staff who didn't do so much of the activity side but more of giving lists of words to learn, and then complaining that they used them inappropriately, especially in SATS.
    I think, if you are going to trial something, everyone should have the official training.Cascading back by one staff member is only as successful as that person's memory for retelling something they've only just heard about.

     

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