Having already developed a successful Mastery for Maths scheme, staff at St Thomas of Canterbury school have begun to develop a Mastery for English scheme of work. They have taken many of the principles of the Maths Mastery and adapted them to suit; for example, the six-part lesson plan has proved really successful to deepen learning and understanding. The main point made through this approach is not to differentiate by activity, but by support; providing children with an appropriate level of scaffolding will support them in being able to all access the same learning outcomes and all achieve some depth of learning.
The six-part lesson consists of:
In addition to this lesson format, the Mastery of English also adapts the feedback and marking ideas from Mastery of Maths. Teachers give children a practise/deepen sheet stuck into their books following their learning, and highlight which task the child is to do according to their learning; if they have understood the learning outcome and achieved it, they will answer the deepen questions. If the teacher feels the child needs more practice, they will ask them to do the practise questions. Their marking is a simple tick/highlight and quick, general comments. This allows teachers and LSAs time to offer same-day interventions, which are completed in books with a quick comment on the work done by the adult leading the intervention.
With regards to topic and planning, the school chose to study just three main class texts in detail; one text per half term. The text is selected based on its quality, and if it does not fit to the class topic they felt that it wasn’t an issue; they would choose different topics to fit the book, or would move topics around the find the links. The texts always chosen first, not the topics. From there, teachers would read, study and annotate their own copy of the text. This was to ensure they were aware of the content and any possible teaching points within the text. Next, teachers made a mindmap of all the other texts children could read/write/produce alongside the class text. For example, the year six class were reading War Horse – the mindmap consisted of a newspaper stating the beginning of war, a propaganda poster for persuasive langauge, non-chronological reports for the war effort, training horses and the use of animals in the war, as well as author biographies and non-fiction texts about horses. Lessons were then planned in reverse; teachers decided on the outcome children were to acheive, selected appropriate chapters/extracts of the text and any supporting texts needed.
In all classrooms, they had a Literacy display board bearing a WAGOLL from the main class text or supplementary text. This was labelled or colour coded with a key to show the features needed to support children in achieving their learning outcome. This was changed everythime a new piece of writing was being worked on, and would show the best example and how the features being taught looked in context.
The whole class text was also used during Guided Reading. This was done as a whole class rather than in small, ability-set groups. These types of groups were only run as interventions for children who were still working towards the expected level. The class teacher would use a mix of three types of reading; independent reading, child-led reading and teacher-led reading. This was to ensure children got a good feel for all three without becoming too reliant on one particular type.
Key points we took away:
Cursive/pre-cursive font – not only modelling our own handwriting as this, but using a computer font for slides and worksheets to show the expected standard. A good font is NTPrecursive (needs to be purchased/downloaded).
Whole class text – children had given positive feedback on this way of teaching Literacy and enjoyed getting to understand and discuss a text over a longer period of time. It also produced higher quality pieces of writing.
WAGOLL writing examples from the text
Practise/deepen extension tasks – very good for evidencing whether a child has achieved greater depth!
Don’t select a text to fit to topic; only choose really high-quality texts that will enthuse your class!