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Brief definition of VCOP and Big Writing

Discussion in 'Primary' started by jackie3, Jan 10, 2008.

  1. Can anyone give me a BRIEF description of VCOP and Big Writing. I've looked at the andrell website but I'm still not sure what it entails! (sorry for sounding a bit dim, have had a bad day!)
  2. Can anyone give me a BRIEF description of VCOP and Big Writing. I've looked at the andrell website but I'm still not sure what it entails! (sorry for sounding a bit dim, have had a bad day!)
  3. Short, fun, oral activities on improving vocabulary, connectives, sentence openers and punctuation (VCOP) every day - some done in any spare couple of minutes, e.g. waiting to go into hall/end of day - referred to as 'stocking fillers'.

    Daily 10 minutes on basic skills - grammar, handwriting and spelling (GHASP). Targets broken down into tiny steps (if appropriate) to ensure quick success for less confident/less motivated pupils.

    Once a week extended writing session called Big Writing) consisting of 45 mins before break and 45 mins after (30 mins each if year 1). Session before break on lively, oral VCOP activities, brief recap of features of text type, few mins to consolidate planning. Range of planning formats available for children to choose from - choice encourages engagement. After break silent writing in special atmosphere - v. quiet Mozart, scented candle, dim lights, grapes. Teacher provides 'brain breaks', after each ten minutes have gone by, in the form of a reminder:
    - after 10 mins writing check how many types of punctuation you've used;
    - after 20 mins writing check WOW words (accurate, interesting, carefully-chosen vocabulary);
    - after 30 mins writing check range of openers and connectives used so far;
    - after 40 minutes - you have five minutes left - finish off your writing or, if you have out-of-date GHASP targets, check you have achieved these targets in your writing.

    At end of school day before Big Writing session, discuss stimulus for tomorrow's BW and briefly recap features of the text type required. The BW text type should be one the children are already familiar with so that it can be recapped/'recycled' rather than needing to be taught. By year 6 this means any text type could be used. Homework for the night before BW is oral - talk to as many people as possible about what you will be writing about, discuss ideas, opinions, possible phrases, suitable vocabulary etc. If no one to talk with, think and maybe make a few brief notes - overnight your subconscious will work on it for you.

    Imaginary friend who is both SEN and G&T - makes all the mistakes the children make (endears him to pupils) and can produce some very good writing (modelling). Must have name unlikely to belong to any pupil in school. Should be male to motivate the boys who might not be motivated by female imaginary friend (writing seen as 'girly') and girls more likely to achieve well/be keen to please.

    Classroom displays are important - punctuation pyramid, lists of connectives or a connectives pyramid, WOW word display of ambitious vocabulary, examples of sentence openers of different types - VCOP again. Pyramids have levels on - level one at top to level 5 at bottom. Examples of connectives etc get harder as go down pyramid's levels. Children encouraged to make sure they are using examples from 'their level' and anything from the next levels up - positive reinforcement for attempts at working beyond their level.
    Also, displays of synonyms of boring words such as 'said', 'went', 'big' and examples of adjectives etc.

    I've probably left out lots of things and muddled a few. Hopefully someone will add corrections/missing info.

    If you're really interested in VCOP & Big Writing buy the gold book from Andrell. I bought one just before Christmas, my class love the activities and are much more motivated. The improvement in their confidence and writing ability is remarkable. I'm usually sceptical of things that strike me as possible 'bandwagons' but I've been very pleased with the results of this and intend to continue to implement the different ideas. We tried Kung Fu Punctuation for the first time today. I wasn't sure how the children would react to it. They thought it was great fun and want to do it every day!

    While you're waiting for the book to arrive, check the threads on here and resources in the resource bank as there is a lot of useful material on this site.

  4. Wow, great and thanks very much. It sounds really useful, we have great kids but writing is awful! Will certainly have a look and order the book!
  5. Hi, can you tell me what VCOP stands for cos I've never heard about this!!! We're just coming out of the ISP programme so have generally known about any new iniatives, and usually, had to do something in line with them!!!
  6. Msz

    Msz Established commenter

  7. Msz

    Msz Established commenter

    It isn't a new initiative just common sense to improve writing
  8. hey
    can you define VCOP what does it mean &can it work for reception classes
    sorry for being dim
  9. Msz

    Msz Established commenter

    Yes it can work in reception classes although I begin by doing Big Talking
    Andrell is offering a new course Big Learning for Little People (nursery to Y2)
  10. Msz

    Msz Established commenter

    Jackie we have seen amazing improvement in writing (and reading) since taking Big Writing on board but it requires staff to be really committed to the ideas.

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