Maybe you have heard of Ros Wilson. She’s something of a guru for primary school teachers, or at least those primary teachers who place an emphasis on the teaching of writing.
Although I’m a maths curriculum leader, the subject I most enjoy teaching is without doubt writing. I find that it’s a subject that can be broken down into simple skills, and I love seeing children make progress in a single lesson. I think it’s in English where the pedagogic power of modelling is as its most evident.
Anyhow, when I first heard of Ros Wilson and her schemes for improving children’s achievement in writing, I was a bit sceptical. She advocates concentrating on just four strands of the subject: vocabulary, connectives (how I detest that word for its ambiguity), sentence opening, and punctuation. She claims that there’s a simple progression of teaching within these writing elements, and that teaching according to this progression will bring about improvements rapidly.
Now, I am arrogant enough to think that the teaching of writing is my strongest subject, so when I first heard about this idea, I scoffed.
Well, I was wrong. The Ros Wilson scheme, or VCOP as it’s known in my school, is a powerful tool for improving teaching and learning in writing across a whole school in a matter of weeks. Ask any child for a checklist of ways they can make their own work better in my institution, and they chant, VCOP!
It really is worth checking out if, like us, one of your SIP focuses is writing.