The WfP Helpline: How do I find time for modelling & independent writing?

Welcome to another post in our WfP Helpline series. This is where we try to answer your most pressing questions and help solve those most difficult teaching problems.

If you’ve got a question or problem you’d like help with, please leave a comment at the bottom of this post or drop us an email.

Today we are answering the question: How do I find time for modelling and independent writing?


1. Start class writing projects off with a ‘genre week’.

When you introduce a new class writing project, spend the first week discussing the project and look at plenty of exemplars. Take time to share a piece of writing you have written or one that you’re working on. Let children read your piece and discuss it together. You should sit in the author’s chair and take questions from your class about how you went about crafting your piece. Have your writer’s notebook with you so you can show the processes you went through – children will ask because they want to see, copy and learn from you!

This need not take a whole lesson by the way and it’s important that children get daily time in which to write themselves. Therefore, during genre-weeks, we suggest that if children have personal writing project books, they continue working in those when your discussions are over for the day.

2. Get into a daily routine of mini-lesson, writing time and class sharing.

The most effective teachers of writing have reassuringly consistent routines. They make sure they give high-quality instruction each day and that children have daily time in which to write. We therefore suggest a daily routine of:

  • Mini-Lesson (10-15 minutes) of instruction.
  • Writing Time (30-40 minutes)
  • Class Sharing (15-20 minutes) of peer review and author’s chair.

3. Share your craft during mini-lessons.

Modelling is high-quality instruction. During daily mini-lessons, share your craft knowledge with your class. This can happen either through writing study or functional grammar lessons. For example, writing-study is about how you or other writers generate ideas, plan, draft, revise, proof-read, publish and perform your texts. Functional grammar lessons are an opportunity to showcase how you use literary, linguistic and grammatical features in your writing before inviting children to give it a try during that day’s writing time.

4. Take part in the class writing project yourself.

At the beginning of daily writing time, spend the first 5 minutes writing yourself. This is good role-modelling. It not only shows children how they should conduct themselves during writing time but it also shows them that you value writing yourself. After five minutes, you can begin doing your rounds and conduct your pupil-conferences.

As a writer-teacher, take the opportunity to craft your own piece of writing as part of the class writing project. You might have to do some of this writing outside of lesson time but it’s worth it! You can then publish or perform at the end of the class project alongside with the rest of your class. Your class will appreciate it!

4. Make sure your texts are in the class library.

By being a writer-teacher, you can ensure you’re modelling the writer’s life by placing your own published texts into the class library for children to read and learn from. You can be their very own mentor author who creates mentor texts they can learn from.


If you have any ideas of your own, please add them to the comment box below.


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The WfP Helpline: How do I get children to include features from the writing framework without killing their writing?

Image result for bored child writer

Welcome to another post in our WfP Helpline series. This is where we try to answer your most pressing questions and help solve those most difficult teaching problems.

If you’ve got a question or problem you’d like help with, please leave a comment at the bottom of this post or drop us an email.

Today we are answering the question: How do I get children to include features from the writing framework without killing their writing?


1. Identify the product goals for your class writing project.

When considered carefully, these product goals will naturally include aspects of the writing framework. Make sure the product goals are on display throughout the writing project and are identified by you and your class collaboratively.

2. Let children draft freely and quickly.

If children know what they are writing about, why they are writing it, and who they are writing for, they will naturally include aspects of the writing framework as they draft. Drafting is complex so don’t set specific linguistic or grammar features that you want included. Finally, drafting shouldn’t feel like a long and laborious process.

3. Give ample time to revision.

The majority of children’s time should be spent revising. This is where we see the majority of children’s writing gains. Once children have a completed first draft, they can compare their writing to the product goals you set at the beginning of the project.

4. Create revision checklists.

Successful revision involves children knowing what to do and importantly – how to do it. Create revision checklists which attend to the product goals set for the project. During daily mini-lessons, model how you revise your own writing to attend to the aspects of the revision checklist.

5. Give children a ‘trying things out’ page.

Probably our most useful advice. If you want children to evidence that they can attend to aspects of the writing framework without killing their writing, then ‘trying things out’ pages are the best.

This is a page in their book (ideally opposite their draft) where you can invite children to try things out that are on the revision checklist. This way children show that they can apply aspects of the framework but more importantly they are showing that they can be discerning and make decisions about whether these aspects of the framework will enhance their writing or not.

Children should decide whether to include the things they’ve tried out into their revised draft or not. This type of text crafting is in keeping with the greater depth standard too.


If you have any ideas of your own, please add them to the comment box below.


To make sure you don’t miss out on our other posts in the series, subscribe below.

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