Spelling, Punctuation and Grammar (SPAG)

Spelling
 
By the end of Year 1, pupils should be able to read a large number of different words containing the GPCs that they have learnt, whether or not they have seen these words before. Spelling, however, is a very different matter. Once pupils have learnt more than one way of spelling particular sounds, choosing the right letter or letters depends on their either having made a conscious effort to learn the words or having absorbed them less consciously through their reading. Younger pupils have not had enough time to learn or absorb the accurate spelling of all the words that they may want to write. For this reason or synthetic phonics programme (Little Wandle for Letters and Sounds revised) teaches segmenting for spelling and writing as part of every lesson. Children's initial writing will be phonetically plausible. However, we also spend time in every phonics lesson teaching the children to spell correctly those words that occur frequently in writing, such as 'the' and 'was'. Phonic knowledge should continue to underpin spelling after Key Stage 1; teachers should still draw pupils’ attention to GPCs that do and do not fit in with what has been taught so far.
 
The word-lists for Year 3 and Year 4 are statutory. The lists are a mixture of words pupils frequently use in their writing and those which they often misspell. 
 
At Piddle Valley we use Spelling Shed (Reception - Year 4) supplemented by No Nonsense Spelling (Year 2 - Year 4) to teach specific spelling patterns and Common Exception Words. 
Spelling Shed
 
At Piddle Valley we use Spelling Shed as our in-class resource and home learning platform to support spelling. The Spelling Shed games have been developed to be ‘dyslexia friendly’ using the ‘Open Dyslexic’ font and have three levels of difficulty to support children of all abilities through the spelling lists with appropriate degrees of challenge. As pupils practise these spelling lists teachers can view the pupils' activity. As well as playing individually, Hive Mode allows a whole group to play alongside each other with the teacher leading the group and showing leaderboard data making spelling tests far more fun.

 
 
No Nonsense Spelling
 
The No Nonsense Spelling Programme offers an accessible, clear progression in the teaching of spelling. The focus of the programme is on the comprehensive teaching of spelling, which embraces knowledge of spelling conventions, patterns and rules. Integral to the teaching is the opportunity to promote the learning of spellings, including statutory words, common exceptions and personal spellings. At Piddle Valley, No Nonsense Spelling is used in Years 2, 3 and 4 to support the teaching of spelling.
Punctuation and Grammar
 
At Piddle Valley we teach punctuation and grammar through our Talk for Writing approach. 
 
The teaching begins with a creative ‘hook’ which engages the children, often with a sense of enjoyment, audience and purpose. Writing challenges, such as informing Dr Who about how the Tardis works or producing leaflets for younger children about healthy eating, provide a sense of purpose. The model text is pitched well above the children's level and has built into it the underlying, transferable structures and language patterns that children will need when they are writing. This is learned using a ‘text map’ and actions to strengthen memory and help children internalise the text. Activities such as drama and role play, puppets and small world are used to deepen understanding of the text. The text is also used in our Reading Skills (VIPERS) lessons.

Once children can ‘talk like the text’, the model, and other examples, are then read for vocabulary and comprehension, before being analysed for the basic text (boxing up) and language patterns, as well as writing techniques or toolkits. All of this first phase is underpinned by rehearsing key spellings and grammatical patterns. Short-burst writing is used to practise key focuses such as description, persuasion or scientific explanation. Lessons may start with a vocabulary, punctuation or grammar game to 'warm' the children up and pre-teach specific skills. As children move through the Talk for Writing process, specific grammar and punctuation (from the National Curriculum) will be taught. To structure this for specific genre types, we use 'Pie Corbett’s teaching guide for progression in writing year by year'.