First News Education -

Write for the world

Brought to you by Steven Hales, independent primary advisor and cover teacher

Do you know that, when you are writing, it is really important to ‘begin with the end in mind’?

This means that you should know who is going to read your writing – who is your audience? Is it just for you or is it for others? It might be your friends, younger children, your teacher or your family? Your task is then to consider the most suitable style of writing.

When considering your audience, you must consider whether it is local, national or international. One of the best writing projects that I have been involved with was ‘Along the A47’. This project linked children in two rural schools on the Norfolk / Cambridgeshire border – Friday Bridge Primary and Marshland St James CE Primary – with a city school in Leicester – Mayflower Primary School.

The children wrote postcards and emails to each other, produced PowerPoint presentations about their locality and created adventure stories, which they read to their new friends. The project ended when the classes actually met in both Leicester and the two villages!

This project not only benefitted children’s writing, because they were writing for a real audience, but also allowed the children to celebrate similarities and differences between the communities, their cultures and religions.

Another project, which enabled children to write for an audience was ‘The European Newsroom’, which linked schools in England, Finland and Italy through the British Council’s ‘eTwinning’ network. The children were encouraged to create, write and film monthly news bulletins, which meant that many different skills were developed. Researching the news story was the first task. Then, writing the script in the most appropriate language and of the correct length was very important. Setting up the camera and the telecast in the right position needed careful planning. Finally, reading the news clearly and at the best speed was all part of an assured news reader’s job.

Having feedback on your writing is vital, as ‘feedback is the fuel that powers performance’. There are a number of web-based platforms which encourage children to publish their writing and then receive comments to celebrate their writing and advise some improvement strategies. One of the best websites that I have used is ‘100 Word Challenge’. Each week, a stimulus is published and children write their 100 words on their own or in a class blog. These are then published and, hopefully, comments are received.

A ‘100WC’ project that I have been involved with linked a school in Cambridgeshire with a school in Kanturk, South Ireland. The children wrote their weekly 100WC stories, published them and then comments were written by both students and their teachers. The enthusiasm for writing and its quality really improved.

Hugo the cockapoo!

Here is the latest commenter for #Team100WC – he’s Hugo the cockapoo! Would you like a comment from Hugo?

In my experience, writing for a local, national and international audience and receiving feedback are so important for children. The challenge is to fit such activities into the overcrowded school day. For busy teachers, if the comments are received, then there is less marking.

About the author

Steven Hales is an independent primary school advisor.

Follow him on twitter: @SPH23