The life of me

Writing with Alison Philipson

Teaching early writing skills for children in Year 1 has always been a topic I continued to reflect upon. I didn’t feel 100% sure whether the writing opportunities we offered them really met the potential of all of the children’s needs.

I really really wanted to make children much more independent with their writing. As the class teacher I also wanted to feel much more confident when assessing what the children can do without a heavy amount of adult support.

I just couldn’t put my finger on how I could do it.

Until Alison Philipson arrived!!!

So many questions I have been itching to know have been answered.

What does it look like for a child to be meeting in writing?

What is greater depth?

What is classed as children writing independently?

Children can have prompts during independent writing such as ‘what should go at the end of your sentence?’

To me, this simple question makes much more sense to help facilitate children’s writing without heavily telling them – you need a full stop at the end.

After the talk I was motivated and recharged with new ideas. I looked around my classroom and reflected on the session.

Do I give children opportunities to use their environment to help them independently write?

The answer was clear to me- no! Most of my displays were focused on showing off children’s end outcomes, which I still think is important. But… I realised my focus on maths was much stronger than writing.

Now it seems so obvious. I am constantly reminding children to remember capital letters, full stops, finger spaces. Let’s have it visual stuck up on the wall – around the classroom to remind them.

I’m constantly wanting them to use and spell high frequency words in their writing. Let’s cover my display in high frequency words. Let the children create a bookmark full of the words and have that in their writing books.

After looking in further detail at the National Curriculum expectations for writing with Alison Phillipson, it is clear to see that Year 1 needs that practice, practice, practice of an objective. It needs to be instilled before the greater demands of year two!

I could literally talk about this session for hours on end. I feel so passionately motivated about it now! It has always been in the back of my mind but now it all makes sense!

Here is my plan of action!!

  • Children will hand write every afternoon during registration. Not handwriting random letters but handwriting the 100 high frequency words, numbers in words, spellings based on certain phonemes that they need practice with.
  • High frequency words will be sent home to practice reading and writing every week.
  • Children will write about what they did at the weekend in new writing books every Monday afternoon. We will also use part of Monday afternoon to discuss misconceptions of writing and play a phonics / sentence structure game.
  • I will remove part of my maths display and create a working wall including the things children need to remember to include in a sentence.
  • My working wall will have a WAGOLL on and it will be broken down into simple steps of what we want the children to achieve over the half term.
  • Children will receive a special pencil if they write neatly and form letters correctly and consistently and can use this at all times.
  • Every half term children will write independently based on a taught topic. This will be used to assess where every child is at and what they can do on their own!
  • We will use Alison Philipsons writing grid to assess all children at different points of the year.

Take a look at Alison Phillipson’s website for further ideas. It is truly amazing!

I am so excited to get started with all the new writing ideas. I will blog again with lots of pictures of my changed classroom and evidence of improvements in the children’s writing!


4 thoughts on “Writing with Alison Philipson

  1. I think there are many wonderful ways to get year one children writing independently. Their writing will only develop if we give them opportunities to do so – every day. With year one children, it is also great to model the writing process and to write collaboratively with them, in addition to the independent practise.


      1. Diaries are a great way to give them independence – conversational diaries: they write to you and you write back, responding to their messages and modelling (not correcting) spellings in your response. If you walk around the class while they’re writing, you can discuss it with them to make sure you can read it later. I used to get mine to write to me every day, and I’d write back. It helped me get to know the children well, and affirmed them, as well as giving writing practice. This is really brief. Let me know if you’d like more detail and I can email you something. πŸ™‚

        Liked by 1 person

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