Improving Outcomes in Writing:
The Write Stuff Approach
As a Federation, we have adopted ‘The Write Stuff by Jane Consadine to bring clarity to the mechanics of writing. ‘The Write Stuff’ follows a method called ‘Sentence Stacking’ which refers to the fact that sentences are stacked together and organised to engage children with short, intensive moments of learning that they can then immediately apply to their own writing.
This approach makes sure that all of our children are exposed to high quality texts that stimulate quality responses to reading, high quality writing and purposeful speaking and listening opportunities. Our curriculum ensures that all children have plenty of opportunities to write for different purposes. We encourage writing through all curriculum areas and use quality reading texts to model examples of good writing. Writing is taught through a number of different strategies. We believe that children need lots of rich speaking and drama activities to give them the imagination and the experiences that will equip them to become good writers.
An individual lesson is based on a sentence model, broken in to three chunks:
The Write Stuff is based on two guiding principles; teaching sequences that slide between experience days and sentence stacking lessons. With modelling at the heart of them, the sentence stacking lessons are broken into bite-sized chunks and taught under the structural framework of The Writing Rainbow. Teachers prepare children for writing by modelling the ideas, grammar or techniques of writing.
● Initiate section – a stimulus to capture the children’s imagination and set up a sentence.
● Model section – the teacher close models a sentence that outlines clear writing features and techniques.
● Enable section – the children write their sentence, following the model.
The Write Stuff also reinforces grammar with:
● The FANTASTICs, which are an acronym that summarise the ideas of writing
● The GRAMMARISTICs is a classroom tool that enables the teacher to drive key grammar messages.
● The BOOMTASTICs which helps children capture 10 ways of adding drama and poetic devices to writing in a vivid visual way
Key benefits of The Write Stuff:
● A supportive planning framework for teachers so that they have a deeper and more flexible knowledge of sentence structure.
● Pupils who understand how to apply sentence scaffolds to their independent writing as they develop their expertise.
● Standards improve because many worked examples are provided over the year(s) that extend understanding through a wide range of genres and non-fiction text types.
● Children have a clear view of what high quality writing looks like, their learning is structured clearly, and misconceptions dealt with.
● Pupils know how to improve their writing and make it more focussed and actionable feedback is provided to guide their learning.
● Children have a concept of how to build, plan and complete a piece of writing due to narrative maps and non-fiction shapes.
● Teachers have clear pathways of how to guide pupils in weak areas such as cohesion and paragraphs.
How does it improve outcomes for lower ability or disadvantaged children?
As a Federation with limited teaching and learning support staff, it is vital that we implement one strategy very well (linked to teaching as opposed to intervention) and that this will be more effective in helping improve the outcomes of our disadvantaged and lower attaining pupils. The Write Stuff uses effective approaches for tackling disadvantage, which is heavily supported by the EEF. Wider research shows us that disadvantaged children have lower self-esteem and feel less successful; they have a reduced vocabulary; less or different life experiences and we know relationships really matter to these pupils. We need to make it our job to help these children with these particular areas so that they become confident and independent writers.
How will an effective implementation of The Write Stuff Approach support our most vulnerable learners?
1. Experiences - every unit ensures that all children have experiences to build ideas on which to write. There are no assumptions. The experience days are varied and provide an opportunity to talk and build up a meaningful vocabulary bank. The experience has a direct link to the learning.
2. The Writing Rainbow scaffolds learning providing clear ideas, tools and techniques for writing.
3. Vocabulary and words are integral to every lesson. This provides opportunities for children to be exposed to a growing number of words and begin to identify the effect and nuance they bring to the meaning of the writing.
4. High expectations on all children. A strong, high quality model will direct the children to construct high quality sentences themselves.
5. Success drives motivation and working in sentences with clear goals sets an achievable target. Building writing over time in a directed way provides the support needed to deliver independent writing at a later date.
6. The structure of the lessons into chunks prevents the working memory being overloaded and therefore offers a higher chance of success, building self-esteem and motivation.
7. Relationships are developed through the approach; talking partners, kind calling out and sentence selection and appreciation all provide a positive respectful learning relationship to evolve between pupils and adults.
8. All children including our most vulnerable have a voice within the approach. The expectation to CHOT and Kind calling out mean everyone’s contribution can be valued.
9. Feedback through sentence stacking wall appreciation and editing stations promote independence and a sense of ownership. The feedback is more likely to be well received due to the positive relationships and the sense of success and ownership.
How do we ensure the approach is as effective as possible?