VCOP and Big Write:
Commencing 2017 all teachers have completed professional learning and implement the VCOP writing approach. Last year a number of teachers introduced the approach and enthusiastically inspired their team members to observe them.
What does the program look like? Children are taught to think about their writing in four particular ways Vocabulary, Connectives, Openers and Punctuation. They then use these aspects to help them improve. It must be remembered however that this process is to do with one aspect of their writing. We are also committed to improving the quality of the content and how they use writing to express themselves. The elements below will vary according to the age group of the children. For younger children much of what is taught will be less explicit and will use more 'friendly' terms and less grammatical terminology.
Vocabulary: Classes have a 'Vocabulary Wow Words' board where new and impressive words that the children have used are shared for everyone. The children are encouraged to use these words where appropriate in their writing.
Connectives: Older classes have a 'Connectives' display, where powerful connectives (joining words) are displayed. Children are encouraged to use these in their writing.
Openers: many classes have an 'Openers' display, with good openers (sentence starters) that the children can choose from. We also teach ways of improving a basic sentence e.g. 'The children climbed the hill slowly' to a better sentence by changing the word order; 'Slowly, the children climbed the hill.'
Punctuation: Key Stage 2 classes have a clearly displayed 'Punctuation Pyramid' showing the levels of punctuation. Children are taught the names of the higher level punctuation from Year One onwards and learn to use them in their writing. These 3-d pyramids sit on the tables in the classrooms and serve as a visual reminder for children. They help them remember what they need to do and then what they need t do to improve.
Big Writing lessons are also characterised by a ‘special’ atmosphere with a calm and quiet environ is created in the classroom and quiet music playing while the children write to enhance the special experience. They may have special paper, special books and special pens or pencils.