Mrs T's English Blog

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How we ‘do’ writing targets at Riders

May28

One of the things we have been working  on this year is our writing targets and how we help children to know what they have to improve on to make progress in their writing.

More now than ever in the age of social media, we need to learn to be clever with our words: we communicate with the world with our worlds; we appeal to politicians and companies using vocabulary and persuasive sentences; we write notes of love of appreciation to our BFFS and loved ones which are heartfelt and designed to bring a tear to the eye. We need to be able to teach the children at Riders how to best use language and writing to get what you want.

So this is what we have done:

We have created target cards that start at year one and track a child’s learning journey through from when they first starting writing (at a level 1c) to the point that they are beginning to master their language and thus their reader (we call this a 5a). Each child is given a target card which is appropriate for their point at their learning journey. The target card is aimed at the sub-level above where they are currently. This means that if a child is currently at a 3c level, they are given an ‘I am working towards a 3b’ target card. This helps children know where they are and what they need to do to improve.

The target card looks like this by the time children reach year six:

WP_20140528_002 WP_20140528_003 WP_20140528_005

At year one, they begin as smaller targets cards which are more focused on a particular writing skill i.e. punctuation, letter formation, phonics or adding detail to sentences. These same targets are then carried through years 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6. In years 3 and 4, children have a pop out card that goes at the back of their writing book, but the targets are still the same.

So, how do children meet their targets? 

Every now and then, children do a ‘Big Write’: an independent piece of writing where they get time just to write. During this time, the children will focus particularly on their writing targets and what they need to do to improve. Teachers will choose one (or sometimes two) targets from the list that they need to most. In Holly’s case (above), she is particularly working on improving precise descriptions of place, characters or events and her teacher has added that she needs to use ‘amazing vocabulary’ to do this. On the right side, you will see that there is an opportunity for Holly’s teacher to tick off what writing skills she has shown in a piece of work. Holly has obviously been successful in her last two ‘Big Writes’ as she has ticked off a lot of her targets!

 

Here are some other examples from earlier on in the year:

ellie zane

When children complete their target card, it is stapled in their book and they are given the next card. Sometimes, there are a few targets that are holding children back. Rather than hold a child back, they are moved on to the next card but their old target is transferred on to the new card, using the spare spaces at the bottom – easy 🙂

So… has it helped?

The simple answer: yes.

Children have been very positive about their target cards as they help to know what to ‘do’ next and how to improve. We can personalise them too so that they make sense to the children they are meant for.

As teachers, we are having lots of discussions about the target cards: do some of the targets need changing? Shall we remove the levels? How do we use the target cards when it comes to assessment? Lots of questions on how to improve the cards but they have definitely helped this year.

 

I will come back and give some more information on how we set targets for Key Stage One at a later date 🙂

 

 

 

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About Me

 I am Mrs Tunnicliffe and I am a teacher at Riders Junior School. I trained to be a teacher for four years at the University of Brighton and  have been teaching at Riders since September 2007. During the six years I have been at Riders, I have taught in year 3, year 5 and year 6 so I’ve been teaching/training to teach for 10 years now!

I work across Riders Infant and Junior School as an English leader (among other things). This means that I work hard to improve the reading, writing, speaking and listening of children at Riders Infant and Junior School. I work with the children, teachers and support staff in both schools to make sure that children are getting better at English every day.

Feel free to leave a comment or ask a question and I will be more than happy to help!

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