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Improving writing standards - Year 6

Discussion in 'Primary' started by Gratzia, Nov 3, 2010.

  1. Gratzia

    Gratzia New commenter

    Although I have one or two good writers in my Year 6 class, in general the standards are awful and three half terms to go before SATs!!!
    I am an experienced teacher and I am trying my best to improve the writing skills but this class are really below standards.
    I know they have been in my class for only one half term but every week feels like the first week!
    I choose really interesting, up-to-date texts. They get really involved in guided writing. They like the class displays which are well focussed. I model writing regularly. Formal lessons. Fun lessons. Role play. etc. etc.
    I introduce the process of writing during phase 3 of each Literacy unit and carry out extended writing too.
    I would love to hear from other Year 6 teachers who have raised standards from nothing. What did you do?
    Thanks.

     
  2. Gratzia

    Gratzia New commenter

    Although I have one or two good writers in my Year 6 class, in general the standards are awful and three half terms to go before SATs!!!
    I am an experienced teacher and I am trying my best to improve the writing skills but this class are really below standards.
    I know they have been in my class for only one half term but every week feels like the first week!
    I choose really interesting, up-to-date texts. They get really involved in guided writing. They like the class displays which are well focussed. I model writing regularly. Formal lessons. Fun lessons. Role play. etc. etc.
    I introduce the process of writing during phase 3 of each Literacy unit and carry out extended writing too.
    I would love to hear from other Year 6 teachers who have raised standards from nothing. What did you do?
    Thanks.

     
  3. If they can see it, and feel it, they can write about it. If they can't see it, or feel it, they can't write about it. It's just words. And words, by themselves, are boring.
    It's as simple as that. My favourite area of teaching, and my partypiece, is creative writing. I can get children writing reams, and boys enjoying writing. And wanting to write more and more.

    Before I start, I get them to close their eyes, relax and:
    see
    smell
    touch
    taste
    hear
    And guess what? It works, works well. Get them to make quality movie scenes in their heads, then they will have something they will want to write about. Get them relaxed first. Then, get them to put their hands out and touch what is in front of them. Is it soft, smooth, rough, what? Get them to sniff. Get them to really listen - what can they hear in there scene?
    You may well be flabbergasted by the results you get.
    It's too far out for most teachers I admit, as I learned all this from hypnosis and NLP. But it works a treat. I've taken children out of classes, walked them in. Children are much, much better at this than adults - they will take it seriously if you do. Try this, if you are brave, you might be shocked. Sorry, you will be shocked.
    One hundred pounds, please.
     
  4. One of the most successful lessons I ever did, with a bottom set year 6, similar to the above ideas was describing a setting in detail without explicitly stating where they were. So if they wanted to be on a beach they weren't allowed to use the words beach or seaside. I got things like the sharp sand glistening in the bright sunlight, the seagulls swirling overhead etc.

    I did this lesson very early on in the term and the children loved it and discussed it in various forms throughout the year. It can then be adapted for describing characters etc. Worth a try.
     
  5. Ideas above are great. If you are near the Midlands, inset by Alan Peat is very good.

    See www.alanpeat.com
     
  6. Alan Peat is fantastic. Not local but 3 schools and shared cost.
     
  7. Hi

    Read your message! You could try the old Pie Corbett story writing formula for a journey story. It involves the use of actions and then adapting the story. You tell the story and then they learn it and repeat it with actions.

    Then they write the story, in their own words - before adapting it by changing bits. It sounds very long winded but the confidence this gives the children is amazing and it really supports them. If you dont know the Pie Corbett story any nursery story will do as they all follow a journey type structure. It just gets the children writing.

    Hope this helps - it just gets across to the children that they can be good writers!!
    Hope this helps

    Fellow year sixer!!

     
  8. I second this My school started following Alan Peat's teaching methods with year 6, last year and saw significantly improved writing (and SAT results). It especially helped with punctuation, sentence structure and text organisation:eek:ur SATs scores were much higher for these elements.
    We are now introducing these teaching methods to the rest of the school .
     
  9. I am in the same boat. I agree about seeing, feeling, hearing. I have been focusing on delivering a whoe unit on poetry writing : all kinds, it is short, achievable and publishable in one lesson, they get to use words they never normally would, and express what they never normally would.
    THE other tip is this... there is a site called seven steps to successful writing, the program is fantasic!!!! It is an Australian site, I have been using it all year, to amazing relults. Good luck.
     
  10. We used SPOOCS last year. SPOOCS is a writing revision module for YEAR 6. £100 for course and teachers notes, DVD etc were free! Just type SPOOCS into search engine and contact info will appear. We had OFSTED last year they loved it we ended up with OUTSTANDING grade. SPOOCS was qouted in report. Excellent kids love it. Writing grades for SATS was improved.
     
  11. oops 'quoted'!
     
  12. Never heard of SPOOCS, but I have been on several Gill Matthews' courses some years back. It is good to read about the different resources out there.
     
  13. There's a game for the PC that we use in yr 6 called Myst - it's absolutely fantastic for getting even the most reluctant writer going. They can write a couple of pages of descriptive writing ( can model first if you want) without stirring from the spot in the game, just looking around - and almost effortlessly. They also love the fact that they're playing a computer game in school!
     
  14. Good to hear that you enjoyed SPOOCS (I'm one of the authors). We've just written another resource that works along similar lines www.backfromthefuture.co.uk .
     
  15. I had a blip year about 3 years ago which got me trying everything in an effort to raise standards quickly to avoid the same thing the following year (- yes it was one of the schools where some children needed to make a whole level in a year).
    One thing that reaaly helped with the nuts and bolts, was an AQA course with Jan Mort, who was brilliant and an actual teacher. She invents fun games that supports their literacy and even make boring connectives fun with 'Connective Cricket'. My class love it and beg to repeat it, whilst learning to manipulate clauses!
    I highly reccomend her book 'Games to get them going', which I think you can order through AQA.

     
  16. The AQA site has a faulty link, the literacy link takes you to the numeracy order form.
     
  17. I have used Talk for writing methods as prescribed by Pie Corbett. The idea is that the children talk about their writing before putting pen to paper. For example, non-stop description of a character in talking partners whilst they ask questions that readers might ask.

    This allows children to try different sentence structures and ideas without fear of being wrong or having to cross out. The writing really improves as a result. i am using the methods in Year 4 at the moment, having used it with Y6 and will use it in Y2 when I start in Jan.

    Other methods I have used are writing journals and using any opportunity across the curriculum to promote writing.

    Good luck, I know how hard Y6 can be.
     
  18. My first ever post! I decided two weeks before half term to ditch the literacy framework. I am still teaching the different types of writing but in my own way. I use drama when needed and the children are getting used to chopping and changing from different types of writing. Alan Peat has some great ideas about writing structure and is well worth a look.
     
  19. Agreed x100 to the movie idea.
    They should be imagining the camera swooping down through the mountains like the intro to a movie. They should be thinking about the smells of the castle/markets and the sound of the scurrying rats around the waterways. They should be writing about spooky stories in horrible snotty castles with slimy monsters and even "yukky" little creatures if necessary. By all means get them to write original works using unoriginal characters if it helps.
    Aside from that, they should be writing descriptions daily. Get in some artwork, find a picture on the internet, get in something interesting - I brought in some cool sicilian puppets and they loved 'em. Bring in a dog for christ's sake. Bring in a vile and stinking beast.
    Writing is describing. Only when (more likely "if" given general idiocy levels) students develop an ability for abstract thought can you expect much more.
     
  20. We had Jane Considine in a while ago doing a course on Improving Literacy. Full of excellent ideas and teaching resources. She uses a system call 'fantastic' which breaks down the elements of writing, including the senses. Brilliant, would highly recommend. We booked her through www.thetrainingspace.co.uk
     

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