Students are composing short texts using familiar words to explore, record and report one or two ideas. At the Foundation stage in particular, students are supported by immediate or concrete stimulus to generate ideas for writing.
Teachers can encourage students to compose texts related to aspects of shared texts, school, home, personal and local community life.
Provide engaging stimulus and teach students that writing can be used to explore a range of ideas as well as for recording and reporting. Students need to learn as early as possible that writing is a process of self-expression. It is not only to compose a finished product. This understanding will facilitate more in-depth and complex planning strategies at a later stage in students’ writing development.
Supporting students at the Foundation stage to express their ideas fluently in writing will form the basis for learning to use different language features for different text purposes in Stage 1.
Opportunities to role-play and dramatise/embody, draw and discuss responses prior to composing texts will enhance students’ confident self-expression and readiness to write their ideas.
Activities to support the strategy
Activity 1: what could it be?
This activity is an imaginative warm-up activity for students to build and strengthen confidence in expressing their thoughts and ideas. The playful approach to self-expression also supports risk-taking with learning activities.
- Select an inanimate object that is flexible and neutral (avoid toys), e.g. a scarf, cloth, cushion, paper cup or beanbag.
- Students sit silently in a circle.
- Explain that you have something special and although it looks like a scarf/cloth/cushion etc. it is actually something else.
- Say: “I am not going to tell you what it is. I am going to show you. Raise your hand when you think you know what it might be.”
- Silently perform an action that demonstrates the object is something else, e.g. Walk along the scarf like it is a tight-rope.
- Continue to perform the action until some students are ready to guess.
- Pass the object around the circle for each student to imagine and act out what they think it could be.
This activity can form the basis for writing or you can move on to a different writing task related to another learning area.
Activity 2: word banks using think/pair/share
This strategy allows students to verbalise and rehearse ideas prior to writing and supports their developing writing vocabulary, particularly if they are writing on less familiar topics.
Following a shared experience such as a shared text, excursion, workshop or class game:
- think: ask students a focus question and provide wait time e.g. How would you describe the dragon in that story?
- pair: students pair up to tell a partner their ideas (this allows rehearsal, generates more ideas and student to student modelling).
- share: ask students to touch their nose until it is their turn to share a descriptive word, this reassures students that they will get a turn, can assist with recall and ensures you hear from every student.
- write all contributions for display even if you do not agree with them, the focus of this activity is to generate ideas and vocabulary.
- encourage and praise original contributions rather than repetitions but if a student can’t think of a new word acknowledge their contribution by ticking the repeated word.
- after hearing from everybody read all the vocabulary on the word bank together.
- explain the writing task – should be the same or similar to the focus question, e.g. You are going to write a description of a dragon using at least three words from our word bank.
- do some verbal examples together (avoid written modelling here unless your lesson focus is shared composition as temptation to copy an exemplar will overcome self-expression).
- ask students if they know what they are going to write and send off the first few students who are able to tell you theirs.
ACELY1651: Creating texts: Create short texts to explore, record and report ideas and events using familiar words and beginning writing knowledge.
ENe-2A: Outcome 2: composes simple texts to convey an idea or message (ENe-2A) - Develop and apply contextual knowledge: drawing on their experience of language and texts, begin to understand that writing and representing can be used to convey an idea or message.
- Video exploring teaching strategies to lay the foundations for developing communication and language through play, storytelling and visual support:
- An engaging format for students to express a simple response, idea or concept. Students could use magnetic alphabet letters in class or use the digital resource below: