At Poplars Primary School we use the Jane Considine approach to teaching and learning in our English lessons. The approach engages children and broadens their thinking through experiences; these may include drama, texts, visual media, expert visitors or excursions. Daily sessions involve time for thinking and time for writing; teachers ensure children are continuously reminded of the three zones of writing (ideas, grammar and techniques) through the writing rainbow. To ensure understanding, these lessons allow time for explanation, clear modelling, scaffolding and independent writing, eventually building to a learner written, structured and cohesive text. In following this approach, children learn to ‘sentence stack’ from excellent examples modelled to exemplify particular features. We celebrate children’s ‘sentence stacking’ daily by creating a whole class example through which every child contributes. English lessons are enriched with vocabulary, giving children the tools to become better conversationalists therefore creating descriptive, thought-provoking writers.
At Poplars Primary School pupils will develop a handwriting style which is clear, joined and fluid, eventually developing their own individual style by Upper Key Stage 2. Formal handwriting skills are taught regularly and systematically through the use of the PENPALS Handwriting scheme (Cambridge University Press).
Five stages are identified and these form the basic organisation of the scheme:
1. Readiness for writing: gross and fine motor skills leading to letter formation (Foundation)
2. Beginning to join (Lower KS1)
3. Securing joins (Upper KS1/Lower KS2)
4. Practising speed and fluency (Lower KS2)
5. Presentation skills (Upper KS2)
As well as specific handwriting lessons, pupils have frequent opportunities to practise their handwriting across the curriculum.