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Our New Writing Journals

You might have heard about our new Writing Journals which we keep in our drawers in the classroom. If not ask your child about theirs and have a look in their drawer. Now we’re into the Summer term and starting to get ready for Year One we are practicing our writing more. Every week we have to write in our book at least once, although we can write in it every day if we want to. We can choose to write about anything we want. Every time we write in our book we get a special ‘writing journal’ ticket and it goes in the special box. On Friday we pull out a winner and they get a prize to take home. The more times you’ve written the better your chances of winning!

As you can see we have lots of things to help us when we write. Miss Parker and the other teachers don’t just expect us to have everything saved in our heads just yet!

  • We use a phoneme strip to help us remember our letters and sounds, especially the digraphs we have learnt. Digraphs are sounds with 2 letters such as ai, ee, ow, ar and or. We also learn trigraphs with 3 letters such as igh, ear and air.
  • We use tricky word books marks to help us remember the tricky words we have been practising in our reading such as I, go, no, the, into, she, be, me and my. If we’ve learnt to read them already then our reading can help us to write.
  • We use a sentence hand to help us remember fingers spaces and full stops. These can be hard to remember at first so the hand means we can use it make the space for us, this can be particularly helpful if you are left handed.
  • Finally, we use a sound button which means we can record our sentence before we try and write it. There is so much to remember when were trying to write out ideas down that it helps if the sound button can read our sentence back to us.

If you would like copies of any of these please ask in school and we’ll be able to get you copies of them all apart from the sound button. You could use the voice record function on your smart phone instead though.

At first the writing you see from your child might not look as you expect. This does not mean it is not ‘good’ writing. At first your child may just write letters they know and tell you the words they have written. To you they might not seem to have any links at all. Encourage them to read their writing back to you and praise them for mark making with meaning.

As writing skills develop, children will start to listen to the sounds in words and write the corresponding letters they know. They may miss a lot out to begin with but again this is developing their skills  in the correct direction. They may copy some words they know, such as their friends names.

As the children’s writing skills develop further you will be able to see how they are using some of the tricky words they know and beginning to use finger spaces in their writing. They will still be relying on their phonics skills to sound out (segment) and spell. They may know some other words which they are able to use.

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By the end of the year the age related expectation (ARE) is that FS2 children are writing sentences which can be read back by others. They will still be reliant on phonics to spell but will be showing a better use of tricky words and using more digraphs/trigraphs more accurately. Children will be using finger spaces more and in the correct place. Their sentences will relate to the same subject and continue the story or information. Every child is different though and although these are examples of what children might be writing they are not the only way of doing it. 

If you would like to know more please ask the teachers in school and we can show you more examples and also some of the statements we use to asses writing in Foundation Stage.

What have we been learning? 

  • To write with more independence. 
  • To use our phonics skills to write. 
  • To use the other resources we have in the classroom to write. 

How can you help at home? 

  • Encourage your child to write. If your child is a reluctant writer try to make it relevant, such as them helping you to write the shopping list or writing a letter to the Tooth Fairy or other favourite character. 
  • Allow your child to write independently and then ask them what it says instead of asking them to copy write what you have written. 
  • Use the different resources there are available to help your child write. There is a lot to remember when writing, especially when you’re first starting out! 
  • Bring any writing your child does at home to school and display it on a WOW moment. We’d love to see how well they’re doing. 
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Super Sticker Stories

Miss Parker noticed that the children all loved stickers. When she asked them what they wanted to learn about they gave all sorts of answers so we decided to learn about lots of different things while linking the learning through our love of stickers. Look at the pages in our Floor book to see what we learning we did….

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One of the other great things that we did was become authors using the stickers to help us. We learnt that stories have a beginning, a middle and an end. We also learnt if we were going to be story authors our story would need a problem in the middle which was then solved at the end.

First we made up some stories orally and recorded them on a special video. Click on the link to see the three stories we made up.

Our Sticker Stories by Onyx class

The following week it was our turn to write the stories we made up. We wrote one as a whole class and then we all had a go at doing some writing of our own. Some children concentrated on writing the initial sounds they could hear in words, some children wrote the beginning sentence of their story and some children were challenged to write the whole of their story!

To help them the children had a sentence hand, a phoneme strip and some tricky word bookmarks. The sound button makes it easier to remember what we are trying to write. This made it much easier to remember all the different things you need to when you’re writing.

Look at some of our amazing work…..

We hope you like our stories. We’d love you to comment and tell us what you think.

What have we been learning? 

  • About the structure of a simple story.
  • About the characters in a story.
  • To make up stories we can tell out loud.  
  • To write the sounds we know to write a sentence. 

How can you continue the learning at home? 

  • Talk about the beginning, the middle and the end of stories which you read together at home. 
  • See if you can find the problem in a story and say how it was solved. 
  • See if you can make up some stories of your own using stickers if you have them or by drawing three pictures. 
  • Encourage your children to write as independently as possible by listening for the sounds in word and writing the ones they can hear. Don’t expect them to be able to write everything correctly. Look at the examples above for ideas of what your child should be achieving at this stage in FS2. 

Don’t forget if you do any of these activities at home to let us know either on an email or a wow moment which we’ll display in the classroom. 

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Writing Instructions

This week we’ve been busy writing instructions for the Nursery children.

We read a non-fiction book called Pirates and it told us how to make treasure maps. We had to read the instructions carefully using all of our reading skills then we knew what to do. Once we knew what good instructions looked like we had a go at writing some instructions of our own. We decided the Nursery children would like to make pirate flags so this is what we wrote instructions for.

First we had to work out how to make a flag so we knew what to tell the Nursery children. We didn’t want them to get it wrong! So we could remember what to do, we took photos of each step.image

We used the sound buttons to remember the instructions we thought of. This helped us know what to write. When we write we like to THINK IT- SAY IT- WRITE IT-READ IT. This helps us to think what we want to say then say it out loud before we have to think about writing it.

After that, it was time to start writing our instructions. First, we looked at them as a whole class and Miss Parker helped us to remember everything. We even learnt about commas in a list! We wrote the first sentence together using all the skills we have from Letters & Sounds and using our sentence hand to remember the finger spaces and full stops.

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So then it was time for some children to try and write the instructions themselves. They had a lot to remember but did a fantastic job. The children used the phoneme strips, sentence hands and tricky word bookmarks to help them if they needed them. Look at the amazing writing that was done…

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The children did an amazing job of using the sounds they know to spell the words. This might not be the correct spelling as we would know it but is what we would expect at the end of Reception. You can also see where these children are able to spell the tricky words such as ‘the’ correctly. These are the words we learn by sight in our reading.

Now, we need to send the instructions that have been written to Nursery and see if the children can follow them to make flags of their own.

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