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Has anyone been on the course and does Big Writing in Reception. Some staff in my school (KS1) have been on the course and I really fancy having a go with Reception.

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We use the VCOP initially as a speaking and listening activity and gradually introduce the idea into the children's writing. There is a training video but the school is an English school in Hong Kong (I think ) and wasnt terribly inspiring.

Our children love the idea of wow words in their writing and being able to level their work.

We have a writer of the week award.

Have you seen the Ros Wilson pyramids?

Samuel started to make some wow words as a free resource on Sparklebox if you are interested.

We use the Ros Wilson criterion for tracking too Ive attached my sheets





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We do BIG writing at moment.


We do it the same afternoon every week. We begin by doing lots of sound activities and talking to the children about phonics/ spelling/ finger spaces- etc. lots of playing with sounds activiites.


we then tell them what the focus is.


they have play time


then when they return they have huge A3 sheets of paper to write on. mozart playing, candles for focal points.

and they write, the children love it!!


Ros recommends telling children the focal the day before so they have thinking time. i would recommend doing this and doing it before giving them a break.

good thinking time.

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Hi Blossom,


It does sound really interesting.


What do you mean by focus- is it like 'Today we are going to write about pirates so think of some sentences about pirates' or something more specific?


Do you have the whole class doing this at the same time and on different pieces of paper or do they share?


Do you walk round and support or is it independent?


Would love to try it x

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Hi we currently do big writing in my reception class every thursday morning. The children have their own big write books in school, they can bring in a special pen of any sort to write with, we light a candle and play classical music. The children love it.

We have a display board divided into 4 sections VCOP. During the week during whole class shared reading if they children spot any Wow words (words they'd like to use in their own writing) they can write them down and stick them under the V section. For example when we read Goldilocks and the 3 bears they were sticking up words like 'Golidlocks' 'suddenly' 'broken' 'afraid'. I tell them the writing focus at the beginning of the week and we develop this during the week during shared writing. Under the C part we put up any connectives the children suggest e.g. and but, then, because. In the O section we have good openings e.g. 'I am sorry...'. We have different forms of punctuation under the P section (and the children are free to add more when they discover them in their reading books).

They have a focus each week, for example writing a letter to baby bear from Goldilocks to apologise. Before we start writing we sing a song we made up to the tune of YMCA -

"Children hold your pen up high

I said children hold it up to the sky,

show your ready for our big write,

but there's things we must remember (clap 5 times)

we must remember VCOP (body into letters as in YMCA)

we must remember VCOP,

we will do our big write,

we'll get every thing right and we'll try our very best,

we must remember VCOP!"

I didn't think it would work in reception but the progress we have seen in just 3 weeks is brilliant and the children are actually saying things like "I used 'and' last week ive thought of a better connective this week" I would definately recommend the kung fu punctuation - adding a kung fu 'High ya' in the shape of the different forms of punctuation. OUr children are now using ? . ! " & ... in their writing independently. We just made sure that the children didn't feel under pressure and they are to just have a go, we walk around and support if any children are really struggling. We just treat it as a fun session and all pieces of work are celebrated.

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Thanks Kat, that gives me more inspiration to try it with Reception.


Kat, under the P section do you do a pyramid or just a . for a fullstop etc...


Just trying to put something together now.

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Hi Kat,


That sounds fab, I think you must have some real superstars in your class for them to be that far on.


Could I be really cheeky and ask you to attach a weekly plan for your CLL so i can see how your week develops?


Also how long do your sessions last for?


Thanks a lot,


C x

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I only have a small class so Im very lucky that we have more time to spend with individual children. We do still have some children who are still emergent writing who participate in the big write and dictate what they have written. I have attached a literacy plan but its a two week plan incase you think we do all that in one week! Hope you understand it I ramble a bit!


in answer to question about pyramid, we just let the children write the punctuation that they know and come across to put on display. We have other puncutation staff made up on display, but I didn't go on course so don't have copy of punctuation pyramid. The punctuation we have up is ! ? " " . , ' ...


Edited by Kat
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This is really interesting as it's another of those things that's been suggested at staff meetings and I've thought 'but we couldn't possibly do that in reception' :o so it's nice to see that some of you are using this and finding it works ... or maybe it just makes me feel inadequate again xD .


PS - Love the planning kat. Bet your children have a great time!

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I have the Ros Wilson pyramids that I made for school but for some reason they wont attach. Our head sent them to a graphic artist who made them up huge and they hang in every classroom. It is surprising how far down the pyramid some of the children care working.

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Its not fair - I want to do Big Writing!!


We are having some inset I think in the next couple of weeks. Our year six teacher has been along to a course with Ros Wilson and is feeding back to us at all.

It sounds really interesting and after now after reading all the posts I am really excited about it.

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I have lots of questions! I know that I definitely need to 'do' something about my writing. We did writing today and it was like pulling teeth! I like the idea of having designated writing time as it would reduce the thing of children wanting to 'get away' in order to do their own thing!


* Is it a disaster during the first week and does it get better?

* Do you get children sitting there saying, 'I can't write'? If so, what do you do about it?

* What, exactly, is the adult role?

* How long would a session last?

* What if some children are finished before others? What do they do? Does it put the others off?

* How does the kung-fu punctuation work?

* If you have the 'interesting words' up don't children just want to copy those rather than have a go at sounding out? If it's okay for them to copy how do you make sure that everyone can see the words?

* How do you explain about connectives? It's all I can get a lot of mine to do to write a sentence never mind linking ideas! I feel like a really crap teacher now - nothing new there!

*What about those children who can't even form a letter? Am I the only one who's got those?!

* How do you introduce the idea of it all i.e. what would you say? It seems like a lot to introduce all in one go but I can't think how else to do it.


Hmm. Think that's all for now...eagerly awaiting answers!

Edited by Guest
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Ooh - another question. How do you get your body into a 'p' shape (see Kat's post). Try as I might, and I have really been trying :o I cannot make a 'p'. The dogs are looking at me as if I've gone mad as I try and contort myself into various shapes. It's not a pretty sight xD.

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I was looking at your CLL planning which is fab. But what is Kung Fu punctuation?

Mel C

:o it's Monday tomorrow!!!!!!



Kung Fu punctuation is making big 'Kung Fu' style actions to show where you are putting punctuation such as a punch for a full stop. (accompanied by suitable sounds )


Do you put them up in Reception too Marion?


Yes we display them in reception.

We also have display boards for every Key stage in the corridors just for 'best writing' with the VCOP triangles displayed to show the criteria and progression throughout the school. The children can see instantly how they can improve their writing to get to the next level.


I also got some connectives (kindly made by Sparklebox) with connectives in coloured jigsaw shapes to emphasis their role in the sentence which we display.

Edited by Marion
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Big thanks to Marion for the pyramids, they're fab!


Moose I will try to answer all your questions hope I don't miss any out so I apologise if I do. We introduced the big write by firstly introducing the kung fu punctuation. After the children were confident at naming the different forms of punctuation we then moved on to introducing the VCOP and explaining what each stood for. For the P shape i just make a circle with my arms by holding my right arm above my head, curling it round over my head and lifting my left arm up to join it making the cirlce of the p and my body is long and straight like the line - do you get what i mean? :o hope so. In the first week it wasn't a disater but it does get easier as the children get used to it. For the children who say "I can't write" we have a policy in our class that we are a can do class so we try to foster the attitude to have a go and most of them will have a go. It usually only lasts approx 15 mins, could be longer, could be shorter depending on the children. The role of the teacher: well i walk around and prompt, e.g. for the more able pupils I may say count how many different forms of punctuation you have used or Have you remembered to use any wow words. For the children who finish first they just check their work, put their lid on their pen and sit quietly, sometimes they read a book, but they know not to disturb their friends. We display the words where everyone can see if they cant the children do get up and look at the words on our display quietly. Most children have a go at sounding out words when they can. We discribed connectives as joinging together two sentences or adding an extra part to our sentence to make it more interesting. It is mainly the higher ability that are using them. We do have children who are not forming letters and they still write and then tell us what they have written. Hope this answers your questions. Im sure you'd be fab at it if you tried it, I am lucky I have a small class so it is easier to manage. I'd say start with the kung fu punctuation as its so much fun!

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We work a little differently in that we often use the children's own writing as a starting point for introducing ambitious vocabulary. (for most of my class to be discussing ambitious vocabulary is a big step) As the teacher I would ask a child to share a sentence/story they have written with the other children and write it on the whiteboard. Always praise the child for a good piece of work then ask them how they could make it even better. The answer is usually WOW words. The children then produce lists of words they could use in their writing to make it more interesting so lots of good adjectives to describe characters in their story or more interesting verbs. This is followed by rewriting the story/sentence. We then come together to share the new 'improved' version and I usually ask 'I wonder what Mrs C (the deputy head) will say about that?' and the children come up with more wow words to describe what her reaction might be. There reward is to go and show her their work which she responds to with over the top praise.


We also purchased some CD roms from I think its 20 20 vision which has starting points and music for inspiration.

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Thanks ever so much, Kat, for answering all my questions - I think you covered everything perfectly! It's certainly given me lots of stuff to think about.


The 'p' thing makes perfect sense now. I can't believe I couldn't work that out for myself - I must be even more dense than I think!


Thanks also, Marion, for the pyramids.


I think it all sounds really good fun but I do feel nervous about doing it and falling flat on my face. Writing seems so hard - there's so much to think about: What's my idea? What sounds can I hear in that word? What letters do I need to show those sounds? How do I form that letter? Have I left a space between each word? It's a lot for little people of 4 and 5 who'd rather be building a den or digging in the sand.

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Thanks everbody for sharing - a member of KS2 went on the inset before christmas and briefly fed back but I didn't see how I could apply it in Reception. Well thanks to you all you've made me take the plunge and I am going to begin next week by introducing kung fu punctuation and taking it from there. Thanks again!

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Well, I did my 'big writing' today and it was cr...not very good. I need SERIOUS help.


These are the problems I had:

* A lot of the children said, 'I can't write'

* They tended to just copy the words we'd put up for vocabulary

* A lot of the phonics, which they're really good at if they're just writing individual words, just disappeared

* All their enthusiasm which they'd had earlier in the week just disappeared

* The end result was pants - a LOT worse than when we sit down and write with them in small groups


Feel really miserable and shelf-filling is looking like a viable alternative career :o.


I ALWAYS worry about my teaching of writing. I liked teaching writing when I taught in Y2 and felt that I was quite good at it. I don't feel like that in Reception. There just seems to be so much to focus on and most of the children don't seem to be ready for it but then you look on here and other people are managing it so what's wrong with me?


I know you know all of this so it's really a run through for me but to be able to write children need to:

* know that letters represent sounds

* be able to hear sounds within words

* know which letters they need to represent the sounds they can hear

* know that writing runs from left to right

* be able to form letters correctly

* remember to leave spaces between words


all of that AND think of an idea of what to write and keep it in your head for the duration of your writing.



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