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Talk4 Writing

Discussion in 'Primary' started by TEA2111, Nov 6, 2015.

  1. TEA2111

    TEA2111 Established commenter

    Are there any teachers who do NOT like Pie Corbett's Talk4Writing?
  2. guinnesspuss

    guinnesspuss Star commenter

    Did you have to? On Friday night???
    I'm doing this on Monday and have never done it before.
    TEA2111 likes this.
  3. TEA2111

    TEA2111 Established commenter

    I will be very interested to know how it went guinnesspuss.
  4. JessicaRabbit1

    JessicaRabbit1 Senior commenter

    We are a 'Storytelling school' and use this throughout Literacy. It is insisted upon all the way through to Y6, by which point the kids are heartily sick of it and desperate to do something else. So not a massive fan.
  5. TEA2111

    TEA2111 Established commenter

  6. TEA2111

    TEA2111 Established commenter

    Has doing it through to Y6 impacted on the children's ability to write confidently?
  7. americanateach

    americanateach New commenter

    We use it our junior school (the connected infants do as well). This is my first time using it.

    I can't say I'm a fan. I don't see the benefit in learning the text by heart. It takes ages and wastes time. I do love looking at a model text in depth, but instead of doing all the silly movements and pictures for a week, why can't we look at the model text and pick it apart?

    And while I think it does help the less confident writers, I feel it holds back the stronger ones. They are limited by the structure of that particular text and aren't free to just write.
  8. TEA2111

    TEA2111 Established commenter

    Phew...I am sooo relieved that I am not the only on who thinks this. Our new Literacy coordinator loves it, as does our assistant head, so I see it only as a matter of time before we are expected to teach this way. When it comes to that, I will be saying 'bye-bye' to the school.
  9. Kartoshka

    Kartoshka Established commenter

    I think your school's approach is the issue, rather than Talk4Writing itself.

    I like Talk4Writing and think it can work really well (with younger children - can't comment on KS2 as I haven't taught them). However, I see it as an approach, to be used where appropriate, but not exclusively. That way the children are familiar enough with it to reap the benefits, but not so familiar with it that they are bored.
    TEA2111 likes this.
  10. Kartoshka

    Kartoshka Established commenter

    When we are teaching writing, I don't see anything wrong with encouraging children to use a carefully chosen structure as a framework for their own writing. As you say, it supports weaker writers, and stronger writers should be encouraged to write freely within the structure (developing their use of descriptive language, for example).

    However, if this is the only approach your school uses then it is limiting for stronger writers, who also need to be given the freedom to "just write" some of the time, without a structure. It comes down to the school's approach. Perhaps sometimes you could use Talk4Writing to support those in the class who need it, while others follow a different approach (eg. exploring features from the text, incorporating these into their own writing rather than having to follow the whole structure of the text).
    TEA2111 likes this.
  11. abacus1982

    abacus1982 Established commenter

    I've used Talk for writing in three different schools and like using it. It is more than just learning a text though. It's all of the word games, book talk and discussion that goes into writing. I also don't use it as the only way of teaching writing. As with all things it's good but if it's the only way writing is ever taught it loses it's excitement. Cine Literacy is wonderful at engaging the children and getting them to write but if it was used every single time then the kids would soon get bored of it. Last year my role was teaching in Year 6 for children aimed at getting a level 6 and I didn't use it at all as the children didn't need it because they already had banks of stories, language etc to use and needed more freedom when writing. I think it's a case of using it as and when it is appropriate but sometimes children need to read lots of examples of a text type or use a good quality novel or a good quality film to help them write etc. Variety is the spice of life after all.
    TEA2111 likes this.
  12. JessicaRabbit1

    JessicaRabbit1 Senior commenter

    I was new to the school last year, and new to Storytelling. I came into Year 6 to find a class of children brought up entirely on this approach, and also purely on fiction, so that when it came to non-fiction all they could write were stories. They really did not enjoy writing at all.

    Fortunately the powers-that-be have listened a little and allowed some leeway with it this year. allowing us to use novels instead.
  13. RheaClark

    RheaClark New commenter

    I am currently carrying out a research study on teachers views on Talk for Writing and was hoping some of you could answer a few questions for me! I am looking for key stage 1 teachers please!

    Which year group do you teach?

    How long have you used Talk for Writing?

    What are the benefits?

    Do you find it easy to plan for?

    Do the children enjoy it?

    Has it improved writing?

    Any negatives?

    How do you feel about talk in your classroom?

    Thank you in advance!
  14. americanateach

    americanateach New commenter

    I find my children have a hard time writing anything other than stories too. Although last year they would have done non-fiction text with T4W, they get so immersed in fiction after the 6-7 weeks, it's hard to switch to anything else.
    TEA2111 likes this.
  15. lottie04lots

    lottie04lots New commenter

    I personally love T4W. I can only comment on KS1 but I've found that it has really improved the children's structure in writing.I think it particularly gives the lower ability and less confident children a solid plan to work to. The higher ability children then have the basic story that they can add their skills too. Obviously it's not the only way I teach writing, otherwise i'm sure it would be very boring. Having said that we have just finished a unit where we have used talk for writing and the children absolutely loved learning a story using a story map and actions and some even went home and wrote the story out of choice.
    TEA2111 likes this.
  16. MsNiChearuil

    MsNiChearuil New commenter

    I'm currently using it with Y. 2 in a predominantly EAL class. We didn't bother with the learn-the-story-off bit, howrver we do use the cold task/reading as a reader/reading as a writer/boxing/guided writing/independent writing/hot task model, giving a week to each. I agree with most commenters here; it has given great structure and support to my weaker children, but my top tier are limiting themselves a bit now I think. They get a bit focused on aping the pattern of the story (with their own substitutions) rather than being creative. It's not working half as well for non-fiction as for fiction I find, but we're expected to follow it so follow it we will. It's a pity though, I really do think this would be better tackled discretely.
    TEA2111 likes this.
  17. ProfSnape934

    ProfSnape934 New commenter

    As a previous participant in many other writing initiatives including The Literacy Hour, Further Literacy Support, Booster Units, Grammar for Writing and Big Writing ad inf. I love Talk for Writing and I'm delighted to be finally working in a school that has embraced it wholeheartedly, especially as they support and encourage the evolution of the general format, as Pie Corbett himself has advised.

    I'm a long-in-the-tooth Y6 teacher, with a large number of 'beyond expectation' writers in our class. Consequently, we push through the imitation stage at a pace in order to start innovating and inventing as soon as possible. A typical first week to a unit will see the cold task followed by an examination of the model text. We quickly establish a writers toolkit, often using symbols for the tricky paragraphs and then pupils set their own writing targets, aided by the AfL marking that followed the cold task. We have a 'lite' approach to whole class chanting and encourage independent text maps designed by the pupils, We then 'box up' the model to reveal its 'bare bones' which allows further investigation, in the following week, of alternative examples to support pattern spotting (something that the confident writers can play with). We have a quick drama session with hot seating in the latter half of the first week and by the end of it most pupils have already started writing their first version of the text type from either a shared or independently written plan. It's fast, creative and engaging for the pupils and myself.

    I can understand the roots of some of the negative opinions that have been voiced here. No one likes a routine that has become repetitive and tiresome, but the initial genesis of TfW came from the premise that many children in the UK do not have an library of books at home to read, love and use to inform their own writing. That's why the various model texts (which you should really write yourself - to tailor them to your classes needs) came into existence. If you are lucky enough to work in a school where a good proportion of the children are already reading for their own enjoyment then you should adapt your 'TfW' practice to suit your school profile and imagine Pie nodding his head in approval.

    Talk for Writing is a great vehicle to help you to get lost in a book, understand writers decisions and feel confident about emulating them yourself - for the pupil and the teacher!. The best way to get the most from it is to immerse your class in a particular genre for one half term. Last half term our class focus was on fantasy stories. The class book was a fantasy book called Darkmouth by Shane Hegarty (a bit hit!). Guided reading sessions used fantasy novels like Elidor, How to Train Your Dragon, The Sleeping Army etc. Our initial writing week explored dragon poems. We then had a four week fiction unit on writing a fantasy quest story and ended the term with a three week non-fiction unit on persuasive advertisements for fantasy based businesses that you might get a flyer through your door, in any of the fantasy worlds that the pupils had read about - eg The Kwick Quest Recruitment Service (from the model text), Darkmouth Theme Park, Isle of Berk Dragon Salon (How To Train...) and the like. The pupils loved it, they all made progress and I had a great time teaching it, especially the drama, which is not usually one of my strong points!

    In a climate of educational uncertainty, with alternative assessment schemes vying for position across the country and this year's new SATs papers (especially grammar and maths) making Y6 teachers shudder, my 'Talk for Writing' lessons have become something to look forward to. The saving grace of the new curriculum is that it was launched to promote more creativity in schools and less reliance on formulaic methods. Remember the Literacy Hour? With 5 mins of this and 10 mins of that and woe betide you if your 'time management' was at fault - as mine always was! TfW isn't about establishing another mechanical process, it's about giving teachers and the pupils the tools to enjoy writing creatively with a purpose ; you need to give the approach the quality material and the space it needs. It has been gratifying to see the comments here of teachers who have already embraced this and I hope that as many more of you as possible can do so.

    In the words of the famous speech given by Churchill to Roosevelt - during WW2 (relevant for teachers everywhere and still hanging on in my revised Y6 history curriculum under the topic of 'Conflict in the British Empire' !!)

    "Put your confidence in us. Give us your faith and your blessing, and under Providence all will be well. We shall not fail or falter; we shall not weaken or tire. Neither the sudden shock of battle nor the long-drawn trials of vigilance and exertion will wear us down. Give us the tools and we will finish the job."
    sirenne, TEA2111 and son1bun like this.

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