The new winter/spring #WritingRocks schedule is out now

The Writing For Pleasure Centre is developing its forums online, through which teachers can collaborate and share ideas about how they implement a Writing For Pleasure pedagogy. For example, we host our #WritingRocks monthly chats on Twitter @WritingRocks_17 and this year have launched our Facebook group.

Twitter

On the first Wednesday of each month, at 8pm, one of our teacher developers Nicola Izibili hosts an hour long Twitter chat session, about various topics, to help teachers discuss how to implement a Writing For Pleasure pedagogy.

How It Works: 

  • Our chats run for around an hour – starting at 8pm.
  • Across the hour, we post four questions from @WritingRocks_17 using the hashtag #WritingRocks.
  • To discuss the question – simply reply or use the #WritingRocks hashtag.
  • Any questions that you want to ask will also be retweeted out.
  • If you want to show off some good practice or anything you’ve written simply send it to us by using our handle @WritingRocks_17
  • You can submit a question for discussion here.
  • If you’d like to be a quest author or curator, please email us at literacyforpleasure@gmail.com

Here is our Winter & Spring Twitter chat schedule:

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To look back at previous sessions, you can go to Nicola Izibili’s blog summaries here.


Facebook

We now have our Writing For Pleasure Facebook group where we and teachers can ask questions, give comments, share resources, advice, insights, ideas and supper each other.


Piers Torday confirmed for our Writing For Pleasure conference

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Following our highly successful 2018 conference, our 2020 National Conference hosted at Canterbury Christ Church University promises to be even better!

We are delighted that we can now announce that Piers Torday will be a keynote speaker alongside David Almond for the event.

Award-winning author, Piers Torday, will deliver an animated and thought-provoking session, in which he will discuss the value of sharing stories and the power of childhood reading and writing for pleasure.

There will also be a wide selection of workshops led by professionals from across the writing community which we are looking forward to announcing shortly.

Our Writing For Pleasure conferences seek to explore:

  • How writing is taught effectively.
  • How we can attend to children’s affective needs.
  • How we create communities of writers.
  • Children’s enjoyment in the craft of writing.
  • The role of publishing and performing in creating a sense of satisfaction.


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Our three day Spring institute in London is now open for registration too. However, places are limited.

This institute’s theme is ‘Writing Across The Curriculum’ Interested? You can find more details and register your place here:

The WfP Helpline: How do I get children to include features from the writing framework without killing their writing?

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Welcome to another post in our WfP Helpline series. This is where we try to answer your most pressing questions and help solve those most difficult teaching problems.

If you’ve got a question or problem you’d like help with, please leave a comment at the bottom of this post or drop us an email.

Today we are answering the question: How do I get children to include features from the writing framework without killing their writing?


1. Identify the product goals for your class writing project.

When considered carefully, these product goals will naturally include aspects of the writing framework. Make sure the product goals are on display throughout the writing project and are identified by you and your class collaboratively.

2. Let children draft freely and quickly.

If children know what they are writing about, why they are writing it, and who they are writing for, they will naturally include aspects of the writing framework as they draft. Drafting is complex so don’t set specific linguistic or grammar features that you want included. Finally, drafting shouldn’t feel like a long and laborious process.

3. Give ample time to revision.

The majority of children’s time should be spent revising. This is where we see the majority of children’s writing gains. Once children have a completed first draft, they can compare their writing to the product goals you set at the beginning of the project.

4. Create revision checklists.

Successful revision involves children knowing what to do and importantly – how to do it. Create revision checklists which attend to the product goals set for the project. During daily mini-lessons, model how you revise your own writing to attend to the aspects of the revision checklist.

5. Give children a ‘trying things out’ page.

Probably our most useful advice. If you want children to evidence that they can attend to aspects of the writing framework without killing their writing, then ‘trying things out’ pages are the best.

This is a page in their book (ideally opposite their draft) where you can invite children to try things out that are on the revision checklist. This way children show that they can apply aspects of the framework but more importantly they are showing that they can be discerning and make decisions about whether these aspects of the framework will enhance their writing or not.

Children should decide whether to include the things they’ve tried out into their revised draft or not. This type of text crafting is in keeping with the greater depth standard too.


If you have any ideas of your own, please add them to the comment box below.


To make sure you don’t miss out on our other posts in the series, be sure to click our subscribe button at the side of your screen (or at the bottom on tablets and phones).

The WfP Helpline: How do I create independent writers?

Welcome to another post in our WfP Helpline series. This is where we try to answer your most pressing questions and help solve those most difficult teaching problems.

If you’ve got a question or problem you’d like help with, please leave a comment at the bottom of this post or drop us an email.

Today we are answering the question: How do I create independent writers?

Not including for motivational or behavioural reasons, there are only two reasons why a child can’t write independently. Both have to do with the instructional decisions of the teacher and the classroom environment in which they ask children to write. A child won’t write independently if they don’t know what to do or they don’t know how to do it. They are lacking in what is termed self-regulation.

Our research last year, which looked to understand what it is the best teachers of writing do that makes the difference, showed that they focus on using teaching practices which increase children’s self-regulation.


Here is a quick list of the things these teachers did that made the difference:

  • At the beginning of class writing projects, these teachers took time to discuss exemplars texts with their class. This meant children had an idea of what their writing should be looking to achieve.
  • As a class, alongside the teacher, they would generate the product goals for their writing. These are the things they felt they needed to do to make sure their writing was successful and meaningful.
  • Throughout the class writing projects, in negotiation with their class, these teachers would set loose writing deadlines or process goals that the children were expected to achieve within a certain time – all on the road towards publication or performance.
  • Independence came from letting the children write from a position of strength. This was achieved by having the children write on self-chosen topics.
  • Through daily mini-lessons, these teachers demonstrated writing processes, and shared craft knowledge that would help the children achieve the set product goals. This meant children knew what to do but importantly how to do it.
  • Children were always invited to use what they had learnt in the daily-mini lesson during that day’s writing time.
  • These teachers had the expectation that children should write independently during daily writing time. Their classrooms were orderly and productive places to be.
  • When drafting, children were encouraged to use ‘invented’ or ‘temporary’ spellings, put a line under any parts they felt didn’t make sense, and to read their developing composition quietly to a partner in moments of writer’s block.
  • Once they had finished their class writing for the day, they knew that they were to continue working on any personal writing projects they were crafting.
  • Teachers provided additional instruction through daily pupil-conferencing.
  • One teacher allowed their least experienced writer, to write and talk alongside two experienced peers.
  • These teachers taught responsively. They were always aware of the things their class didn’t know how to do and taught them quickly.

If you have any ideas of your own, please add them to the comment box below.


To make sure you don’t miss out on our other posts in the series, be sure to click our subscribe button at the side of your screen (or at the bottom on tablets and phones).

The WfP Helpline: What do I do when my class hates writing?

Welcome to the first post in our WfP Helpline series. This is where we try to answer your most pressing questions and help solve those most difficult teaching problems.

If you’ve got a question or problem you’d like help with, please leave a comment at the bottom of this post or drop us an email.

This week we are answering the question: What do I do when my class hates writing?

There are lots of reasons why children can ‘hate’ writing. It can be due to negative past experiences, a lack of success, or low levels of self-belief. It can be because writing feels utterly unnatural, alien and confusing. They don’t know what they are meant to do or how to do it. They may also think writing is boring and pointless.

Writer-teacher Donald Graves, famously said ‘children want to write’ and I agree. I’ve yet to meet a child who actually hates writing. I’ve only met children who hate how they are taught to write.

To help combat these feelings, teachers can focus on using teaching practices which combat these common issues. Our research last year, which looked to understand what it is the best teachers of writing do that makes the difference, showed that they focus on teaching practices which increase children’s motivation, self-efficacy, self-regulation and levels of agency.


Here is a quick list of the things these teachers do that makes the difference:

  • Ensure children are writing, publishing and performing for reasons beyond just teacher evaluation.
  • Take time to explain why children are undertaking the class writing project and where their writing is going to go, be seen, or read at its end.
  • Take time to discuss the audience who is going to receive their writing.
  • Convince the class that they are going to learn something valuable about writing by participating in the class project.
  • Ask the children for their thoughts, ideas and reactions to the writing project.
  • As a whole class, the teacher and children together set the goals that need to be achieved if they are going to produce excellent writing products.
  • Children know what to consider and to include if their writing is to be successful and meaningful. Importantly, they also know how to include it. This happens through daily writing-study and functional-grammar mini-lessons.
  • They talk regularly about how things they have done in previous writing projects will help them in this one.
  • Children are regularly told that they are achieving writing goals and hitting mile-stones on the road towards publication and performance.
  • Through daily mini-lessons, children know how to undertake the different writing processes.
  • Children are given time to choose what they want to write about within the class writing project.
  • They are able to write at a pace that suits them – within a framework of loose writing deadlines.
  • Children are able to use writing processes that suits them best.

If you have any ideas of your own, please add them to the comment box below.


To make sure you don’t miss out on our other posts in the series, be sure to click our subscribe button at the side of your screen (or at the bottom on tablets and phones).

Our second Writing For Pleasure conference announced! 28th March

David Almond at the seaside

Following our highly successful 2018 conference, our 2020 National Conference hosted at Canterbury Christ Church University promises to be even better!

We are delighted that we can now announce that David Almond will be one of our keynote speakers for the event.

There is going to be wide selection of workshops led by professionals from across the writing community which we are looking forward to announcing shortly.

Our Writing For Pleasure conferences seek to explore:

  • How writing is taught effectively.
  • How we can attend to children’s affective needs.
  • How we create communities of writers.
  • Children’s enjoyment in the craft of writing.
  • The role of publishing and performing in creating a sense of satisfaction.


Image result for spring

Our three day Spring institute in London is now open for registration too. However, places are limited.

This institute’s theme is ‘Writing Across The Curriculum’ Interested? You can find more details and register your place here:

Join us for the free 'Engaging Pupils In Reading And Writing' teach meet at the University Of Sussex

We are delighted to announce that we will be taking part in the first ever joint UKLA/NATE Teach Meet at the University Of Sussex on 16th January 4:30- 7pm.

UKLA president Cathy Burnett will be popping down to do a key note and there are already some amazing workshops being offered.

There will be presentations from:

  • Poetry by Heart
  • Shakespeare In Schools
  • Jo Tregenza on how to select quality books for primary
  • Us! Talking about ‘Writing For Pleasure’ !

The organisers would love to hear from you if you’d like to run a session at the event or simply attend and enjoy the wonderful teaching of English.

Sign up here:


Look forward to seeing you all!