Playing with words and ideas by Pie Corbett Download a PDF of this text here . Several years ago, we ran this little unit of creative work. Here is what happened. The poem ‘The Cave of Curiosity’ is based on the simple idea of creating a place (cave) and linking it to an abstract idea (curiosity). To begin, we played an abstract noun game. Divide the children into pairs and sort them into ‘A’s and ‘B’s. On their mini whiteboards, ‘A’s write a list of common nouns that are places, such as park, pavement, castle, cave, etc. ‘B’s write a list of abstract nouns. It can be helpful for the children if you explain that these are things you cannot touch and with some classes brainstorm a list, e.g. happiness, jealousy, greed, kindness, etc. Some children came up with what we called ‘magical’ nouns such as stars, clouds, moon and we added those to the list of abstract nouns. Collect as many of their ideas as you can on the flipchart and show the children how they can combine their ‘A’s and ‘B’s in a variety of ways. Help the children put their ideas together. They might have a mountain summit of majesty or a tower of air or they might prefer a mountain of imagination or a tower of taste. Encourage them to say their ideas out loud and listen to the effect. We wanted them to surprise the reader with new and startling combinations and amazing juxtapositions, avoiding cliches. Having done this, we read ‘The Cave of Curiosity’ and ‘In the City of Silences’. We read the first poem several times, with the children joining in on the second [...]
Digging deeper into picture books - Voices in the Park Anthony Browne is a former Children's Laureate and one of the foremost makers of picture books. He is known for his surreal and playful illustrations. The books are part of a game he plays with the readers. In his illustrations he draws on famous works of art but he also hides surprising images so that a tree takes on the shape of a hat or footprints become leaves. However, Voices in the Park is more than surreal entertainment. It is rich in many layers of meaning, and I have known children avidly discuss the story for over an hour. Activity one: In the beginning The children’s first meeting with the book… Begin by showing the cover and reading the title. What do the children think the book is going to be about? Many children suggest that it is to do with friendship because the dogs and the two children are together in pairs. Draw their attention to the title. What does it suggest to them? Make a list of ideas. These can be revisited after reading the book. Activity two: What do they think? Discuss pupils’ initial thoughts… Gather the children close on the carpet so that they can see the illustrations, or use multiple copies. Show each page and read the book straight through without stopping. I would then take children’s first reactions. In his wonderful book Tell Me (Thimble Press), Aidan Chambers suggests that a useful starting point for ‘Book Talk’ is to ask the children to list and discuss what they have liked, did not like as well as sharing any particular puzzles or patterns. These starting points will lead into fruitful [...]
"My precious..." Describing Gollum Talk for Writing trainer, Dean Thompson, has created a free downloadable PowerPoint for descriptive writing based on Gollum. As Dean explains, "The Describing Gollum resource was designed for a Year 6 class focusing on using quality texts to develop children's writing tools. The aim was to try and capture some of the style and tools of Tolkien to develop children's description of character. First, we used film and images of Gollum to bank ideas and vocabulary. The teacher and the children then had a go at describing Gollum using the vocabulary generated and the writing tools they had already internalised in previous teaching. The passage from the Hobbit was then used for shared reading. The class discussed the vocabulary and comprehension before the text was closely analysed line-by-line, pulling out the tools that Tolkien used to create his character. The children then returned to their writing and edited and redrafted, using some of the toolkit that the teacher and children had co-constructed. The PowerPoint presentation is meant as a teacher resource with some notes to support the analysis of the text and tools. There are examples of children's writing before and after the close reading to see the impact. The comprehension and toolkit should however be co-constructed with the class rather than just shared.' Download a PDF of the PowerPoint document below. Download PDF here
Document: Suspense Toolkit This free two-page PDF, written by Pie Corbett and Julia Strong, shows how the tools to create suspense in writing progress from the Early Years through Y1&2, 3&4 and 5&6. It also includes useful ideas for teachers to support the teaching of these features. Download the PDF document here . A full set of progression toolkits for the six key features underpinning narrative writing (settings, suspense, characterisation, dialogue, description and openings& endings) will be available later this year in our new publication Talk for Writing: creating effective fiction writers.
Independent writing The aim of Talk for Writing is to grow independent writers. Here are some suggestions for how this can be achieved first in relation to narrative and then non-fiction. I then look at how such independence can be prepared for through the innovation stage of the imitation, innovation, independent application process. Independent narrative writing As the children build up experience of writing stories, there should also be opportunities to write freely, drawing on everything that they have been taught. At the end of units, many schools have developed short ‘really independent’ units where the teacher provides a motivating starting point and the children write whatever they wish. Children never become independent readers until they choose what to read, developing their own taste for different authors and styles; in the same way, children are not writers until they make their own choices about what to write. Here are a few examples of KS2 units that provide time for children to write entirely independently drawing on the taught units. Start from a great stimulus and then list the possibilities with the class. They can then choose what to write. Provide a number of days for them to plan, draft, edit and publish their own writing: Example 1: ‘Stranded’ The children have been shipwrecked on a desert island. The children could: • draw maps of the island; write diary entries and stories about the storm, logging the first few days of survival and even the rescue; • find images of desert islands and write an advert for an island holiday; • Invent their own island – draw the map and write a leaflet about its flora and fauna; • Write a monologue revealing the stranded sailor’s [...]
If you're teaching grammar, as with any teaching, it's important to establish what the children already know and what needs to be taught. Use the never-heard-the-word grid with your class in order to establish which of the key grammar terms need teaching, or which the children have understood from previous grammar lessons. Download a PDF version of the resource here.
Short Story Competition - Winners' Stories In the summer 2016 newsletter we ran a competition looking for stories of no more than 400 words that could be used as model texts for Talk for Writing. We received a number of entries, four of which stood out as prize winners. Each of these stories are downloadable below for you to use in class. Congratulations to Chris Farnen, Richard Johnson, Jackie Livermore and Heidi Simpson on their winning entries! Morgan and his Magical Maths Underpants by Chris Farnen. Suitable for a Year 2 class. Morgan and his Magical Maths Underpants PDF The Legend of Bowerman’s Nose by Richard Johnson. Suitable for a Year 2 class. The Legend of Bowerman’s Nose PDF The Unusual House by Jackie Livermore. Suitable for a Year 4 class. The Unusual House PDF Through the Forest by Heidi Simpson. Suitable for a Year 2 class. Through the Forest PDF
Talk for Maths Training Trainer: Nick Hart Date: Wednesday 8th June Address: Penn Wood School, Penn Road, Slough, Berkshire SL2 1PH Cost: £150 for full day with lunch For all enquiries and to book, email: firstname.lastname@example.org or phone Penn Wood School on: 01753 521811 Full agenda for the day The importance of culture, vision and beliefs about learning Watching and discussing lessons (KS2) to see, for example: - Modelling the mathematical thinking - Concrete and pictorial representations to structure mathematical thinking and talk - Innovation by minimally different examples - Invention by varied contexts and representing in different ways - Co-constructing success criteria / using toolkits Tours of KS1 and EYFS Classrooms What makes great maths teaching: - Concrete, pictorial and abstract representations - Big ideas that are developed across year groups - Scaffolding to support all children to achieve age related expectations - Depth of tasks for children who grasp concepts quickly - Modelling / explanation - Intelligent practice - Success criteria / toolkits Sequencing a unit of work Bringing Talking for Writing and maths together – opportunities and problems
Talk for Writing Short Story Competition An eagle in the Atlay mountains, Mongolia We are looking for entertaining stories of no more than 400 words that could be used as model texts for Talk for Writing. The writers of the three best stories will each receive a free place at a Talk for Writing conference of their choice and the overall winner will receive a free conference place and free copies of both the Talk for Writing Across the Curriculum and Talk for Writing in the Early Years books. Send your stories to Julia.email@example.com, stating the age group for which the text is intended and try to include common words that children in that age group need to spell. The deadline for entering the competition is 31st May, 2016. To give an idea of the sort of thing we're looking for, Julia Strong has written her story below as an example of one type of story you could write. Last summer, Julia was walking in the Altay Mountains in Mongolia, a land rich with stories about eagles and wolves. This story is called 'The swallow and the wasp' or 'Why wasps can only whine'. Its underpinning storyline lends itself to creative innovation. Read the full story below, or download a PDF of this story to use in class here: Download a PDF of the Swallow and wasp story here The swallow and the wasp A long, long time ago, Khan Garid, King of the Feathered World, sent for a swallow and a wasp. “I command the two of you fly around the world and seek out the animal with the tastiest meat. In future, I will eat only that animal. Come back by nightfall with [...]
Click on the buttons below to download PDF files containing guidance on teaching the three stages of the Talk for Writing process (Imitation, Innovation and Invention) at the Foundation Stage. Each download is one-side of A4 that takes you through the key processes and key points at each stage. Imitation PDF Innovation PDF Invention PDF
Click below to download a PDF of an apostrophe sorting game created by Julia Strong and referenced in the Jumpstart! Grammar book. Download the file below, cut it up and then ask the children to sort the different uses of the apostrophe into their different categories. Download a PDF version of the game here.
How to innovate on non-fiction How to innovate on a model text most effectively is a frequently asked question. In this short downloadable article, Pie outlines the various stages to consider. Download the PDF document here
Noughts and crosses – subordinating conjunction style This is a great game to play once the children understand subordinating conjunctions and it will really build their confidence while being an entertaining challenge. It’s also a good game to play at a staff meeting to help build staff confidence with the rather obscure need in the 2016 grammar test in England for children to be able to spot the difference between a word like before when it functions as a subordinating conjunction, as opposed to when it functions as a preposition. Find an entertaining picture. Just Google “Mouse in a helmet” and grand images of a mouse in a crash hat approaching a mouse trap loaded with cheese appear. Provide the class with a noughts-and-crosses grid of subordinating conjunctions. If you want to provide more help, you could highlight the words that could also function as prepositions, as illustrated below: The ultimate challenge is to see if they can use all three words as subordinating conjunctions in one coherent sentence. Warm up with the easy version of the game. The children should work in pairs. Each child in turn selects a conjunction and creates a complex sentence using that subordinating conjunction to describe the picture in some way. (The child who starts the game, if wise, will pick as for their starter word.) The first child to achieve a diagonal, horizontal or vertical row of correctly structured sentences wins. Now the real game begins. Challenge the whole class to see if they can come up with one multi-clause sentence that contains all the three words in any of the rows. Their sentence has to make complete sense and describe the picture in some way. They have [...]
Rehana and Rashida from Yew Tree Community School in Birmingham, one of the Talk for Writing Training Schools, have kindly shared their toolkit showing how sentence structure progresses across the years. Download the PDF document here
Those of you who have looked at the 2016 sample test paper will know that, unfortunately, the naming of parts (and some of them very obscure) is gaining ground and additional terminology has been added. To help teachers confidently rise to this challenge while integrating the grammar into model texts and engaging the children, we have provided a free training PowerPoint plus related resources. This PowerPoint supplements Jumpstart! Grammar which, if you haven’t purchased already, we suggest you buy here. Before using this resource for training all staff, we suggest that you try out the ideas with a small group of staff so you can build up your confidence and understanding of some of the trickier aspects. Please be aware that this is large PowerPoint file containing 57 slides. It may therefore take some time to download. Download the PDF document here
Please find below grammar resources including all the sorting activities that weren't included in Jumpstart Grammar for lack of space. Looking at the exemplar grammar tests for 2016, it is obvious that they are going to become increasingly difficult with more emphasis on the naming of obscure parts, for example the past progressive. Pie and Julia will keep an eye out and add additional resources to this page to provide fun activities for any of the additional terms if they haven’t already been well covered by Jumpstart! Grammar. 1. This document is a downloadable printable sheet of punctuation sorting cards. It is referenced in the Jumpstart! Grammar book. 1. Download the Word version of the document here . . 2. The Text Ingredients Game is a great game for building older pupils’ confidence in understanding the typical key ingredients of the different text types. It can be adapted to reflect the terminology that your class should be familiar with. 2. Download the Word version of the document here . . 3. Matching activities are much more fun and more effective than grammar exercises because they involve the pupils in discussing the best fit. This document contains examples of matching grammar activities to embed understanding once classes have been taught the features referred to. 3. Download the Word version of the document here . . 4. Word dominoes can be an excellent way of consolidating the pupils’ confidence with using the key vocabulary of any unit and is great for grammatical terms. The aim of this game is to be able to link all the dominoes in a line. 4. Download the Word version of the document here
Below are two downloadable Word documents containing teaching resources on formative assessment. The first document looks at the importance of building formative assessment into planning. The second document is an overview of formative assessment and how it links to Talk for Writing. 1. Building formative assessment into planning Download Word version of the document here . . 2. Formative Assessment and Talk for Writing Download Word version of the document here
Teaching Grammar through Talk for Writing The 'Teaching Grammar through Talk for Writing' DVD costs £25 (+ VAT and P&P) and can be purchased from Roving Books over the phone. Payment can be made either via credit/debit card or invoice to the school. Please contact Roving Books directly on 01455 822192 to place an order. DVD contents Disc 1 Part 1: Imitating text – establishing grammatical patterns Part 2: Grammatical knowledge Part 3: Setting up a whole-school approach Part 4: Grammar games Disc 2 Part 4: Grammar games (continued) Part 5: Games to improve writing Part 6: Teaching grammar through Talk for Writing Part 7: Co-constructing toolkits Part 8: Building a systematic approach Part 9: Moving your approach forward
Please find below a link to the downloadable PDF 'Story reading into writing' document. In this document Pie explains the concept of reading as a writer and the processes involved in teaching children to understand and use different styles of writing. The document also includes toolkits for use in class. Download the PDF document here
Get ‘Appy’ with Talk for Writing When Apple first introduced the iPad, it was as a consumer tablet for the masses - not as an educational tool. However, its versatility, functionality and ease of use has meant that it has very quickly developed into a essential tool for the classroom practitioner. Served with a multitude of apps, the iPad supports learning in every curriculum area and Talk for Writing is no exception. There is, indeed, an app for everything. At the last count there were over a million apps available in the App Store, with around half of those specifically designed for the iPad. There are over 65,000 apps directly marketed as educational, with countless others being used for educational purposes, even though they are non-educational apps. And herein lies an issue. For every app you discover, you can bet that there are at least 10 more out there that do the same, or a similar thing. It is very hard to keep up with the constantly increasing number of apps available and so the whole process can become overwhelming.Therefore, you need to find your favourites, use them well and then slowly add to your armoury. So with that in mind, this article will explore a number of apps that lend themselves to the Talk-for-Writing process and ethos. Focusing on the Top 5 (as decided by me) in a number of categories, these apps will hopefully get you started on your iPad and Talk-forWriting journey! Top 5 apps for inventing stories Puppet Pals https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/puppet-pals-hd/id342076546?mt=8 Create your own unique stories with animation and audio. Pick your actors and backdrops and make a story! Story Wheel https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/story-wheel/id437068725?mt=8 Let your imagination run wild - create your own unique [...]
Not a linguist? Not a problem! Get off to a flying start with languages in September 2014 Compulsory languages at KS2 is just around the corner and it’s presenting a new challenge for primary schools. What cannot be ignored is the fact that Ofsted will be inspecting foreign language provision across the whole of KS2 from September 2014. It is vital that you have plans in place to ensure all children make at least good progress across KS2. As a new programme of study for KS2 for languages has now been published, primary schools cannot simply rely on previous schemes in the hope that learners will make the progress required. The new programme of study is far more demanding and provision needs to ensure that learners need to be ‘independent and effective communicators’. iLanguages has taken up the baton to meet the challenge of the forthcoming compulsory primary language curriculum by providing teachers with a highly innovative and engaging scheme which has been designed to ensure that teachers with little knowledge or confidence of French and Spanish are able to effectively deliver language lessons. And it seems to be working extremely well, based on the results from five primary schools across the country, which have trialled the scheme. Authors of the scheme, Juliet Park and Wendy Adeniji emphasise the importance of primary and secondary schools joining up their thinking if transition between schools is going to be smooth and progressive. The iLanguages scheme includes a detailed KS2 overview which shows progression across the four years as well as editable lesson plans which can be used on a daily basis and which will stand up to Ofsted’s scrutiny. Schools using the scheme can start with the Y3 [...]
This document is a downloadable connectives phrase bank for children to use in a variety of different contexts. This is the document referenced in the 'Year-on-year progression' document. Download a Word version of the document here.
In this two-page document written by Pie Corbett, Pie explains how it can be useful for children to use writing toolkits when constructing a narrative. Pie focuses on using writing toolkits in these areas: 1. Characterisation and dialogue 2. Description – people, places, objects, creatures 3. Dilemma - suspense and action and 4. Crafting the opening and ending Download as a PDF document
In this article, Talk4Writing expert Maria Richards explains how Pinterest can be a useful tool for managing and sharing resources. What do you do when you find a really good resource? File it? Bookmark it? Favourite it? Lose it? Forget you have it? That's the trouble with resources, ideas, websites and teaching tips and tricks, there are so many out there that sometimes it can be overwhelming and hard to keep up with the mass of information that bombards us. It can be even harder to keep track of where you saw something, put something or when you used something. The same is true of ideas and resources for teaching Talk for Writing. There are so many brilliant texts, stories, ideas and activities that support the teaching of it, that even the best filing system can be challenged. But I have found a solution that is not only practical but also inspiring, interesting, absorbing and the best thing that I've discovered on the web since Twitter! I am referring to Pinterest and if you are yet to discover it, you are in for a treat! Pinterest is a virtual pin board that allows you to 'pin' useful resources, activities, ideas and sites from the web. The beauty of Pinterest, compared to any other way to file and manage online resources, is the ability to categorise your finds and file them in a simple, visual way, using an image and a short description. You can also find resources for just about anything due to its brilliant search facility. On top of that, you can ‘Follow’ your favourite 'Pinners', share resources, ‘Like’ resources and send yourself and others links straight from the site. Further to this, because [...]
In the downloadable PDF document below, Talk4Writing expert Carol Satterthwaite provides a few recommendations of stories to use with Nursery and KS1 groups along with her reasons for selection and some ideas for how these texts could be used in class. Download PDF document here
In the short video below four delegates at Pie Corbett's 'Grammar through Talk4Writing' conference explain what they will take away from the day.
Alison Cooper Talk4Writing consultant Alison Cooper provides a few useful suggestions on how to lead an effective Talk for Writing project: So, the day’s over and everyone is buzzing about Talk for Writing and eager to get started but, if Talk for Writing is going to have a real impact on children’s writing outcomes then it needs strong and committed leadership and the following suggestions may help you to plan for this. Getting ready: before the training day You may have attended one of Pie’s Conferences and like everyone else, you’ve left inspired and keen to share the approach with your staff and pupils so you have arranged an INSET day with a TfW Consultant. Before the INSET, have you got all the staff (teachers and TAs) together and given them an overview of TfW? If you’ve been using the approach with your class, share the outcomes. If staff can see the value of a new approach before the event, they’ll be raring to find out more! Are all the SLT on board? Will everyone on the staff be attending the training day – Headteacher, Senior Leaders, teachers, TAs and maybe your Governor with responsibility for Literacy? It’s crucial that everyone understands the Talk for Writing process and has shared responsibility for implementing TfW and raising standards in writing. Have you written an action plan for achieving your vision? How will you get there? What are the intended outcomes? What does achieving your vision actually look like? You may decide to revise this after the training day but it’s a good idea to know where you want to be heading right from the start. If you’re a big school, who’s going to work [...]
Kate Kelly, a deputy head in Sheffield, has begun a writing research project in her school using Talk for Writing methodology. She recently sent us this feedback telling us how things were developing and how she has used the example of an alien invasion to inspire writing in her Year 6 class. Kate has also generously made available her planning documents and the resources that she has used (downloads are available below). Kate explains: "Some of our staff were familiar with Talk for Writing but weren't really using it. Now, however, the whole of KS2 are totally fired up with it and the consistency it has brought to our teaching is great! On top of that, and most importantly of all (for me) the children are loving it and are having loads of fun. If Ofsted were to come in now they would see text maps throughout KS2 and boxed up texts all over the place! Its been uplifting, for me, to see the way staff have embraced it. I began by writing an overview of three text types we were all going to cover from September to December. Our school has developed an excellent Creative Curriculum so I planned the work around our whole-school theme: My Place in Space. From here, I planned in detail the UKS2 Literacy covering Explanations, Journalistic writing and Instructions. We plan in what we call 'modules' so have gone away from the Mon-Fri plan as so many teachers would worry if they hadn't covered everything they'd written down in that week! Planning in a modular way has allowed staff more freedom to take the time needed with different aspects of the children's learning, which is obviously far better for [...]
Many schools now use the Imitate, Innovate and Invent process to teach writing using the Talk for Writing approach. However, out of the three stages, it seems to be the Invent stage that can prove to be the most challenging. So how do you successfully invent a brand new story that is of a similar quality to an innovated one? In this downloadable PDF document Talk4Writing expert Maria Richards gives her advice. Download document as a PDF Maria has also adapted Pie Corbett's generic story plots and created a document which should help provide guidance to pupils on how to structure a story. You can download this free resource below. Download document as a PDF
Carmen Malpas, a Year 4 teacher, has generously provided some downloadable key resources and planning for a Year 4 Persuasion unit based on the Talk for Writing across the curriculum approach and looking at the topic of poverty in India. The imitation text is on India, the related innovation is on Florida and the independent application is a persuasive letter seeking sponsorship for the Sport Relief mile. All the resources are downloadable and editable though some of the related Smart Board resources are not available. 1. Week 1 planning Download as a Word document 2. Week 2 planning Download as a Word document 3. Week 3 planning Download as a Word document 4. Exemplar imitation text, persuasive passage on India Download as a Word document 5. Exemplar India text colour coded Download as a Word document 6. Child poverty in India text Download as a Word document 7. Guided reading planning on child poverty Download as a Word document 8. Child povery images - think, feel, say Download as a Word document 9. Persuasive text Download as a Word document 10. Guided reading Download as a Word document 11. Clumping activity for child poverty Download as a Word document 12. Sequencing text activity - Florida innovation Download as a Word document
Below are 15 editable resources which have been shared with Talk4Writing by Carmen Malpas. They are documents that Carmen put together for a Year 4 news recount unit she did with her class on King Tut. Carmen followed this by doing an instruction unit on the same topic. All documents are available for you to download and adapt for use with your class. 1. Week 1 planning for news recount Download as Word document 2. Week 2 planning for news recount Download as Word document 3. Week 3 planning for news recount Download as Word document 4. Boxing up King Tut's kidnap Download as Word document 5. Boxing up King Tut's murder Download as Word document 6. Action bank for imitating King Tut text Download as Word document 7. Boxing up King Tut tomb discovery Download as Word document 8. Exemplar news text for Tut's murder Download as Word document 9. Planning for instruction unit Download as Word document 10. Planning for How to build a pyramid Download as Word document. 11. Picture stimulus Download as Word document 12. Mummification sequence pics Download as Word document 13. Verb, adverb, connective game Download as Word document 14. Pyramid instructions exemplar text Download as Word document 15. Mummification instructions exemplar text Download as Word document 16. King Tut news paper article Download as Word document
'Shared writing phrases' is a two-page document for use by teachers. It provides a range of phrases that it might be useful for teachers to use in order to get the most out of their class when doing a shared writing activity. Download as a Word document
'Teaching English Creatively' is a 25-page document written by Pie Corbett. It is a key Talk4Writing resource in which Pie explains what is important when teaching English and also suggests a range of activities for teachers to use in the classroom. Download as a Word document.
'Varying sentence types' is a worksheet containing a range of different sentence types which then need to be matched with the correct description of that type of sentence. The aim is to help pupils understand different types of sentence and when they might be used. Download as a Word document.
The Tree Giant is a one-page story written by Pie Corbett to demonstrate an example of a 'recount' or 'information report'. This resource could be used as a starting point for non-fiction report writing when combined with the Talk for Writing approach. Download 'The Tree Giant' as a Word document.
On July 3 2012, Pie Corbett held a shared writing session at Plymouth University with the audience. Pie used an image that was chosen by the physical and virtual audience which was then used for shared writing. You can do the same thing by visiting the blog and then getting your pupils to finish the story. Your pupils can then add their own story as a comment. Good luck! http://mydigitalstory.creativeblogs.net/
The link below will take you to the blog from the Improving Reading and Writing through ICT conference. Here you can watch Pie model shared writing and provide an online writing tutorial for pupils in Bolton. http://deputymitchell.com/nlt-mitchell-and-pie-look-conference/
Pie performing the story of Mr Zigger and Mr Zagger (aka Mr Wiggle and Mr Waggle).
'How to plan grammar progression year-on-year' is a teaching guide looking at which types of words and what level of grammar should be introduced at each year of the primary curriculum. This document has been updated in line with the 2016 grammar test requirements in England. Download a PDF version of document here.