At Abbey Meadows we are aiming to create an inspiring and enriched cross-curricular curriculum. In years 1-6 teachers are planning 3-4 units of work each term, providing children with real-life, hands on experiences to stem our writing from; which then transfers to different parts of the curriculum. To begin the writing cycle, we launch our writing with a ‘big bang’, providing children an experience to base their writing on.
Our writing curriculum is focused around 5 keys skills: Grammar, Punctuation, Sequencing, Techniques and Detail. These 5 skills are embedded into the children’s writing and used to show progression. Following the ‘Big Bang’ our writing commences in stages across the week. First, the children will read and unpick 1 or 2 good examples of texts and use a given success criteria to see how well the text incorporates these skills. The teacher then models how to plan and write their own piece of writing following the same steps of including the success criteria. Once children are completed their writing they self-edit and peer edit (higher KS2) their work using a set of non-negotiables. To finish off children will then assess their own work against the success criteria.
Early Years are currently using English Hub, for more information about this take a look in the Early Years section.
As a school we use the Accelerated Reader (AR) program. AR is a computer program that helps teachers monitor children’s independent reading practice. Children read a book, take an online quiz, and get immediate feedback. Pupils develop reading skills most effectively when they read appropriately challenging books-difficult enough to keep them engaged but not difficult enough that they become frustrated. This is their ‘Zone of Proximal Development’ (ZPD).
At Abbey Meadows we believe children progress in their reading from not only reading at school but receiving daily reading support at home as well. All pupils are provided with a ‘Reading Record’ where they record their home and school reading. We expect that children are reading at home every night and once on the weekend and that they record this in their reading record with a parent/carer signature.
In children’s reading records you will also find:
Teachers are aware that reading at home can at times be difficult. Please come and speak to a member of staff to request support with this if needed.
We will be awarding children for their reading during assemblies after Christmas. Keep an eye out for more information about this!
Within our classrooms we use a reading strategy called Reciprocal Reading. Reciprocal Reading is a structured method of guided reading where children are gradually taught to take on group roles to explore and find meaning in texts. It emphasises teamwork and supports independent comprehension skills. We use five roles within our Reciprocal Reading. These are:
The children take part in a Reciprocal Reading session every day for 30 minutes.
We use a phonics scheme called Optima Phonics. The programme is taught in two sections allowing the children to learn skills and then apply them. During the first part, the children spend ten minutes focusing on phonics skills such as synthesis, segmentation, letter sounds and combinations and sight vocabulary. After this, the children then spend seven minutes as a whole class sharing a book with their teacher which gives them a chance to apply the skills they have been learning. The programme is fast paced, engaging and the children have shown that they have really enjoyed learning phonics this way.
To help our children continuously improve their grammar, Abbey Meadows has introduced a daily grammar (Grammar Hammer) session every morning for 10 minutes. Year 2 & 6 are completing an extra session of Grammar Hammer in the afternoon. Grammar Hammer provides children with the skills needed to improve their writing and knowing the technical terms and language of words and phrases used in their writing.
At Abbey Meadows, spelling is taught in 15 minute daily slots through years 1-6. We believe that learning spelling leads to confident writers and readers. During these daily sessions children are taught words with different prefixes/suffixes, silent letters and words with different letter combinations. Once taught and practiced, children are encouraged to use the rules and patterns when writing.