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!


Baking 😋😋

I love to bake so I thought I’d get my bake on in the Xmas holidays! This time I made some cute cupcakes with Oreo or terrys chocolate toppings – they didn’t last two minutes with everyone visiting over Xmas!

I think it’s great to find some time to relax a little and enjoy something different each week or day of you can!

Less of the baking this year and back to the gym for me!

Work life balance is so hard for us teachers but a key to feeling great! This year I’m going to participate in yoga Monday’s class, the gym 3 times a week, and a good girly catch up every two weeks!💕

Let’s all make sure we make time for ourselves this year!👌🏾👌🏾💕👍🏾

Teachers as researchers?

teacherIts January and I’m back to my MA in Education. Some people might think it’s a crazy thing to do, rush to University after a long day at work in tea time traffic until 8pm. But actually it’s great! It’s great to sit, reflect and have a lot of laughs from teachers of a range of backgrounds.

I will soon be on my journey to fulfilling my dissertation which I will be excited to share at some point towards the end of next year! At the moment we have discussed teachers being a researcher.

In my first year of teaching, I could not even think of an available moment to research more. I was just trying to manage the teacher workload itself.  But now three years in, I absolutely love being aware of the teaching world and how to improve my own teaching or even others.

I know that there is a great debate of teachers being part of the research – or not. What are you views? Should teachers be researchers?

I’d love to hear! ☺️


A trip to the Arctic!

After the festive season it’s time to get back into the workload! The hardest part of this half term for me is getting out of bed when it is sooo dark outside! But I do feel charged and ready to give my class the best learning experiences possible!

So what else could be done apart from flying to the Arctic?

My class made their passports on the first day back and then we were ready to board a plane in the afternoon! We were sat in the hall with the chairs set out like an aeroplane – pilot and air hostess’s at the ready as we watched a Thomas cook safety video on the hall screen and got ready to fly to the Arctic!

After getting off the aeroplane the children’s eyes lit up with joy as they entered the classroom that was full of ice and covered in fake snow and Arctic animals!

It was great to see the children making snow angels, exploring and skipping in the ice and just dancing with joy!

To warm us up we drank hot chocolate and watched a video all about the Arctic.

That day I must have had about 5 minutes for lunch and I was truly exhausted with a pretty messy classroom… but one thing that made me think it was all worth it was a child that came up to me at the end and said ‘wow Miss Pinnock, you did all this for us?’

It’s the experiences in teaching that really lights up your day!

Happy 2018! Let’s make it one full of rich learning experiences for all children!☺️☺️

Arrrg Pirates!

Last year I taught a new theme for the beginning of year one, pirates!! We turned the role play area into a pirate ship and I put lots of eye patches, stripey clothes and treasure inside. I have to say the children absolutely loved it.

The pirate theme was linked to a book called a new home for Jed. The children also made their own houses using junk materials and we linked it to their locality too.



At first I wondered how worthwhile a pirate theme would be, but I was surprised with how much we managed to get out of it.

Children were eager to read pirate stories, dress up and we also created amazing pirate face self portraits too! I changed my maths area to gold coins for number recognition too!



I recommend that you give it a try sometime!

Feel free to comment your thoughts, they are much appreciated!


Sir John Jones – The Magic Weaving Business

This book is AMAZING. It brings me back to my first year of teaching. I got a job as a teacher quite early on in my last year of University. The feeling of receiving a call back saying congratulations we would like to offer you the job was the most amazing joy yet!

My very first training day was at a Spa hotel and it was filled with cute Easter Eggs on each table with a seating plan. This day allowed me to meet all of the staff old and new. The head teacher invited everyone to the training day from catering staff to the care taker. I thought it was such a good school ethos. Anyway… there in front of us was the man himself – Sir John Jones.IMG_5793

He filled the room with laughter, tears, motivation and the love and passion of being a teacher. His stories were amazing and I was honored to be given a signed copy of his book afterwards.  He describes teaching as a magic weaving business,  I particularly like his point of how children forget what teachers make them think but always remember how they have made them feel.


If you haven’t read his book yet I really recommend that you do! There are too many great parts, I could talk about it forever.

Here are a few of his videos / links below too!

Sir John Jones

In this video he describes how children being happy increase there engagement. Its all about the emotional experience.


Please add your thoughts below!

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Christmas at MissPinnocks!

After a super busy term and the weeks flying by like always, it’s always good to sit back, reflect and relax!!! I must say today is the day that I actually feel human again! My friends from university came over (also teachers too) and we had the best catch up and lots of Xmas dinner and mulled wine!

It is an anual celebration of mine, pulling crackers and taking Xmas photo booth snaps! Who would say no?

I think having a work life balance is super important in the life of being a teacher.  I placed my folders and books in my office and dedicated my day too eating way too much and laughing like crazy!

Make sure you also have a great rest and remember to enjoy the company of friends and family.

Have a lovely Christmas!!!!




First blog post!


Hey guys,

I have created a new blog all about education and the dramas of being a Primary School Teacher in England! I am in my third year of teaching and I am on my way to completing an MA in Education too (which will certainly be an accomplishment!). I feel that I have so much different views and experiences to share and hopefully make teachers around the world keep their passion in teaching and have a giggle or too from my blog along the way!

Thank you for viewing!