At Diamond Wood Community Academy, we follow a consistent, sequenced approach in writing to immerse children in language. Our future authors craft their writing based on core texts and aspirational models. Progress is driven by high expectations and a passion for always producing high quality creative outcomes. Children are provided with plenty of opportunities to read and perform their work aloud aiding their oracy and proof reading skills.
We follow a three week writing sequence. Children take part in three writing lessons each week following this sequence:
Spelling is taught through the Letters and Sounds phonics programme throughout school. Children learn spelling rules and patterns in their phonics lessons each day as well as within different lessons when the opportunity presents.
Handwriting & Presentation
We encourage children to always strive for excellence with their presentation and writing outcomes. We have specific sayings which are used when teaching letter and number formation. This is to ensure consistency across the school.
Children also aim towards receiving ‘presentation certificates’ to award progress within their work in terms of their presentation.
Children are given an opportunity to publish their final draft of their written work at the end of each three week sequence. These pieces of writing are displayed around school to demonstrate fantastic work and our high expectations.
The Teaching of Handwriting at Diamond Wood Community Academy
At Diamond Wood Community Academy we value the importance of providing children with the time to practice and develop their Handwriting.
Handwriting is an essential skill for both children and adults. For younger children, Handwriting activates the brain because it involves more complex motor and cognitive skills. Handwriting contributes to reading fluency because it activates visual perception of letters.
All members of staff have high expectations in the presentation of work in all areas of the curriculum. They are also committed to modelling these high expectations at all times.
Firm Foundations: Nursery
In Nursery, children access a fine-motor challenge each day during their register time. They develop their fine and gross motor skills daily throughout activities within their indoor and outdoor provision.
Our children are provided with many opportunities to mark make. This is both through guided sessions and independent opportunities.
Weekly ‘Big Write’ sessions allow teachers to demonstrate the following patterns and then practice them, shown here to the right:
Children’s pencil control development is carefully monitored throughout the year using the five stages outlined above in the Pen Control and Grip Posters.
As children progress through the nursery year they may be encouraged to start forming some letters and practising their name. This will be dependent on their own abilities and learning needs.
All letters have been grouped into ‘families’ to support children’s memory and understanding of them. These are;
- Long ladder family – l, I,t, u, j, y
- One-armed robot family – r, b, n, h, m, k, p
- Curly caterpillar family – c, a, d, o, s, g, q, e, f
- Zig zag monster family - z, v, w, x
The main focus of handwriting lessons in Reception is lowercase letter formation. This is mainly from the Spring term onward.
During the Autumn term children focus mainly on name writing. We aim for all children to be able to form the letters in their first and surnames by Christmas.
As the year progresses children are also introduced to capital letters. Reception children have a specific 15-20 minute handwriting lesson daily. This is usually at 2:30pm.
The main focuses of handwriting lessons in Year One is recapping and practising lowercase letter formation, continuing to practice capital letters and beginning to practice some joins. We aim to begin looking at joins from the Spring term but this will be dependent on children’s own learning abilities.
Year One children have a specific 20 minute handwriting session at least twice a week. This is usually at 2:30pm. Children also have time to practice their handwriting independently when they come into school in a morning.
Children have their own handwriting books which have both the blue and red lines in them. Their English books do not contain the red lines but children are encouraged to ‘imagine’ the lines if needed.
The main focusses of handwriting lessons in Year Two working on the different types of joins. However, again this is dependent on children’s own learning abilities. If children are not yet ready to join they will continue with letter formation.
Like in Year One, Year Two children have a specific 20 minute handwriting session at least twice a week. This is usually at 2:30pm. Children also have time to practice their handwriting independently when they come into school in a morning.
Children have their own handwriting books which have both the blue and red lines in them. As the year progresses in Year Two, children’s English books change to include narrower lines. This is to support their transition into the Junior School. Our children are always very excited to receive their ‘Junior School books’.
Additional Support for all Children
Any children needing extra support in any year group will receive it. Interventions run throughout the year to enable this. Some examples of interventions in place are Big Write sessions, fine-motor activities and name writing practice.
Children are also able to access a fine-motor lunchtime club. Activities such as balance-ability and P.E lessons all support children’s gross-motor development which in turn supports writing.
In some cases children may need access to specialist writing equipment. For example, pencil grips and paper stands. These are always available to children who require them.
In order to promote presentation across school we have introduced special pen and pencil licences in all year groups. This also helps to promote the consistency of writing within all areas of the curriculum.
All year groups have been provided with a success criteria to display in their classrooms. If children achieve the success criteria they are awarded with a special pen or pencil to use in school when working.
Children are celebrated in assembly if they are awarded with their pen or pencil licence. They also receive a certificate to take home.
Please note that these are end of year expectations.
Children will be taught these objectives in their writing lessons throughout the year.
Home Support - Writing Phases
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Children use handwriting lines and aim to receive a pencil/ pen licence meaning that they have met the expectations.
Our Chosen Handwriting Scheme
At present staff refer to the handwriting scheme ‘Pen Pals’ when planning their handwriting sessions. They have been provided with appropriate training to deliver lessons using this scheme.
Teachers produce a written year group plan each week to show which letters they will be focusing on during the handwriting lessons and what activities will take place.
Our handwriting lessons always begin with a physical warm up task before focusing on correct letter formations. These are a mix of fine and gross motor activities. Once a week each class will partake in dough disco as one of these warm ups. Our accredited dough disco teacher has trained all staff in this.
As a staff team at Diamond Wood we have created our own letter formation sayings to support children when learning how to form the letters. We have also adopted the communication for all number formation riddles.
Using these sayings and riddles across school helps to ensure consistency within handwriting teaching.
Parents have also been provided with these so that they can continue the learning at home.
Penpals Handwriting Progression - Reception
Penpals Handwriting Progression - Year 1
Penpals Handwriting Progression - Year 2
Nursery Success Criteria
I can form the letters in my name correctly
Reception Success Criteria
I can form the letters in my full name correctly
Year 1 Success Criteria
I can form all letters correctly and sit them on the line. I can form capital letters correctly.
Year 2 Success Criteria
I can demonstrate clear diagonal and horizontal letter joins. I can write like this all the time