Write that Essay
Write That Essay (WTE) is a writing programme based on the Hunter Writing System. It is a whole-school method for teaching writing and has several key principles. Firstly, that writing is a teachable skill, and that the teacher is the agent of change in the classroom. It is a writing system that enables the measurable and effective teaching of writing skills across our entire school. This writing programme has seen noticeable improvement rates in writing in primary and secondary environments, and we are excited to be officially starting off our WTE journey. We have already seen some improvements in attitude and achievement in writing since Term 1 2020 and Term 1 2021.
Staff are regularly attending Professional Development sessions through WTE and have so far focused on Sentence Types – there are 12 WTE sentence types that help add fluency and variation to writing, as well as support with correct punctuation use. Our Teacher Only Day on 4 June 2021 was spent doing WTE Sentence Workshops. Our facilitator was unable to make it in person so we did the sessions via Zoom. Structuring writing effectively through a variety of paragraph types is another upcoming focus.
Our student voice is very positive in regards to their learning in Write that Essay. “I really like it. It’s probably one of my most favourite subjects. I like reading people’s writing.” (Year 6 student) “I like it. I think I’m good at it.” (Year 3 Student.) “I like writing because it makes me reflect on my weekend. When I do free writing it makes me think about other things. It helps with my imagination” (Year 3). We have noticed an increase in student opinion regarding their own writing, that they enjoy writing more and feel like they are making progress and achieving their success criteria.
Write That Essay is helping our teachers become even better at teaching writing and is helping our students become better and more confident writers. It provides a clear framework and pathway to help ensure success in literacy for all students and staff.
If you are interested in finding out more, here is a link to the Write That Essay website: https://www.writethatessay.org/
Literacy is a focus at our school, with a large vision wall on display in the staffroom, and a notice board where teachers can celebrate success and share resources and news relating to Literacy.
Early Years of Literacy at Whenuapai School
Heggerty – Phonemic Awareness Programme
Within this programme we focus on rhyme, initial sounds, segmenting and blending words, compound words, and final sounds. This supports our students to hear, split and combine sounds. These are vital skills to speak, read and write. This takes 10 minutes every day.
Learning to read and write:
During a reading lesson, we focus on phonics, high use words and comprehension. These support our students to read with fluency and confidence.
The books we use in the reading programme use the sounds the students are learning. This gives the students the tools to decode and make sense of unfamiliar words without the need to rely on a picture.
Students also learn to manipulate the sounds to create words and write sentences enabling them to share their own stories.
Throughout the week, we engage our students with a variety of experiences and opportunities to talk, present, read and write.
Our students and teachers are loving our new resources and using them daily.