As a Federation, we teach children to read and write using a scheme called Read Write Inc. The programme promotes five core principles to teaching and learning and we believe that these principles apply to all subjects, not just Read Write Inc. The routines and signals associated with these principles are relevant to all aspects of school life. Therefore, we have adopted these consistently throughout the school, for all lessons and for all staff including teachers, teaching assistants, students, lunch time staff and out of hours provision staff.
All staff should embrace the five core principles and must:
We can only pay attention to one new thing at a time. If we are asked to learn too much at once, we give up. Each teaching activity presented to children has one clear purpose which is set at the beginning of the activity so that children know what they are learning and why.
Emotional engagement is necessary for children to learn something new. The greater their engagement the more they learn. Children mirror the teacher’s mood. When teachers are enthusiastic, children are too.
We need children’s minds to be free to learn. This means practising routines until they become second nature to both staff and children. Everyone in our school uses the same routines and this has had a tremendous impact upon behaviour and attitudes to learning. Children are in no doubt of the expectations when they move between groups and classes and teachers don’t waste any time in establishing a new set of routines. New staff are able to slip into the same routines quickly.
We have a range of silent signals that are key to these routines and children are praised for routines they do quickly and quietly:
Team Stop Signal
This helps us stop children in a calm manner, ready for what comes next. The stop signal is used at all times of the school day: during lessons, on the playground, in assemblies, during transitions, in the dining room, on trips and in staff meetings and professional development.
Turn To Your Partner Signal (TTYP)
Partner work is used consistently in all lessons and this is the signal that tells pupils to turn to their partner to discuss something or answer a question.
My Turn, Your Turn Signal (MTYT)
This silent signal is used when staff want the children to repeat something after them to reinforce their learning.
1, 2, 3 Signal
This silent signal moves the children silently from the carpet to their tables in under 15 seconds. In reverse, it moves the children from their tables to the carpet in under 15 seconds. It speeds up movement around the classroom and ensures that it is done quietly with no disruption to learning.
We want children to be motivated to work together, teach each other, practise together, talk together and give feedback to each other. Teamwork is key.
Articulating a thought forces children to engage. It makes children organise what they know and what they don’t. We want all children to practise what they have been taught with a partner regularly in lessons and in all Read Write Inc. lessons where they should practise every activity and answer every question together. No hands up, thumbs up, chests up or stick pulling!
These strategies should not be used as a strategy for answering questions. In classrooms where these strategies are used, only a few children ever respond to questions. Those who don’t respond to questions are unlikely to be paying attention. We gain and keep children’s attention throughout lessons by using the following three techniques:
Choral work: My Turn Your Turn (MTYT)
We use choral work when we want children to copy what we’ve just said.
Children are asked to recall what we have just taught them by teaching their partners: teachers are then able to check if their teaching has been successful or not.
Children pay attention because they know they will be expected to answer every question with their partner and could be called upon to share their response with the rest of the group.
We praise the effort that our pupils put into their learning. Children always feel good when they are working hard and succeeding so we acknowledge this and tell them exactly what they are doing that deserves praise. Creating an ethos of encouragement and praise has a dramatic effect on a child's success and morale.
A knowledge organiser is a document, usually no more than two sides of A4, that contains key facts and information that children need to have a basic knowledge and understanding of a topic.
Knowledge organisers include the essential facts about the topic, laid out in easy-to-digest chunks; key vocabulary or technical terms and their meanings; images such as maps or diagrams; and famous quotations, if relevant.
What a knowledge organiser includes will depend on the subject. For example, a ‘World War Two’ knowledge organiser and a ‘Rivers’ knowledge organiser would both include maps, but the former would also include a timeline, and the latter would need diagrams.
The Leitner System
In order to help children to remember the information presented in the Knowledge Organisers, we teach them to create flashcards containing the information and then to use the Leitner System to recall it.
The Leitner system is a well-known and very effective method of using flashcards. It's a form of spaced repetition that help you study the cards you don't know more often than the cards you already know well.
Watch the video below to find out how it works: