At Eltham North Primary school, the skills needed to become a proficient writer are explicitly taught from Foundation through to Year 6. Starting in Foundation, where students are taught to write the alphabet and the sounds they can hear in simple sentences. These skills are then built upon throughout the child’s time at school. At ENPS we use a variety of instructional practices to teach and support our developing writers. We believe that Reading, Writing and Spelling are interconnected and all must be developed and a strong focus on Oral Language is critical for students to achieve success.
The primary approach used by Eltham North Primary is the VCOP Instructional Practice. Children are taught to think about their writing through four focuses. These are Vocabulary, Connectives, Openers and Punctuation. They then use these focuses to help them develop 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 use more 'friendly' terms to represent 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: Classes have a 'Connectives' display, where powerful connectives (joining words) are displayed. Children are encouraged to use these in their writing.
Openers: 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: Children are taught the names of the higher level punctuation from Year One onwards and learn to use them accurately in their writing.
Big Write lessons are also characterised by a calm and quiet environment created in the classroom with quiet music playing while the children write to enhance the writing experience. The aim of the Big write session is for students to develop a love of writing and to practise skills taught in previous explicit sessions.
Students are supported in the editing and revising of their work. Together with teachers, they identify areas for improvement and learning goals are created for future learning.