Over the past three years, we have partnered with a literacy expert and consultant, Stephen Graham. Within the Elementary School, he has supported our professional growth and development specifically in the teaching of writing. This week, we have had the privilege of another visit to extend our understanding and support student learning. Teachers have engaged by observing modeled lessons, deconstructing best practice of teaching writing to students and attending professional development sessions related to grammar and inquiry-based writing led by Stephen. During his visit this year for the first time he led a session for parents and they were active learners in a session outlining the Explicitly Teaching Writing programme.
What do we know now about the best practice about writing?
Reading more has a partial impact on becoming a better writer, however we also must explicitly teach the elements of text types for writing. It is important to know: What do good writers do? How can we emulate this ourselves as writers? What is most important model in writing to support students? What literary elements are most essential for students within various text types?
At UNIS, how does our writing programme work?
As a student moves through the Elementary school, they are exposed and taught nine different text types, or genres within three bands of writing: persuasive, informative and imaginative. Text types are taught within a meaningful and authentic context, often within units of inquiry, with grammar and writing features embedded within the explicit teaching of a text type. For example, within an information report, a student may be learning about technical vocabulary, simple and compound sentences and present tense. All text types contain clear success criteria which students and teachers use throughout the writing process.
At UNIS Hanoi we have a clear scope and sequence of which text types are taught within each year level and in all grades students write one text type from the persuasive, informative and imaginative category.
“If you want someone to be a good writer, I should be able to verbalize to you exactly what makes a good procedure, narrative, exposition….etc – not tell you to go ‘make it better’. We are able to do this now with Explicitly Teaching Writing”. -Stephen Graham
If you would like to know more about our writing programme, please don’t hesitate to be in contact with your homeroom teacher, PYP coordinator, Angela Meikle or Elementary Literacy coordinator, Angela Brienza.