English at St. Catherines
At St Catherine's, we base our teaching of English around text-type teaching that is often linked to our other curricular topics. These change every few weeks so that a range of text- types are covered over the course of the year. So, in Year 2 children might be writing texts based on a traditional tale; in Year 4 they might be writing an advert for a dating website for Henry VIII and in Year 5 they might be writing a newspaper report about UFOs. There are lots of exciting writing opportunities at St Catherine's and the teachers work hard to give the children innovative and creative starting points for their work.
Our marking policy is based on the use of 'tickled pink' and 'growing green' and teachers highlight parts of a child's work they are particularly impressed with or that needs improving. Children then use 'blue for better' pens to respond to and correct any green found. Each class also has a unique 'ALF' character who is 'Always Looking For' key things in their work, such as: spelling, handwriting, capital letters and full stops etc.
We also use the interactive strategy: 'Talk For Writing' for some of our units, which involves children orally rehearsing a whole text of the type they will be writing, along with actions and picture prompts to guide them. The purpose of this is to enable children of all abilities and learning styles, to become 'experts' in the style of a particular text before they write. We find they use the sentence and text structures much more fluently in their writing after this experience and it gives them a good understanding of the whole text too.
When you arrive at St Catherine's you can hardly miss our Grammar Gang: the key members are all around the school. We are very proud of our Grammar Gang, who are a crazy bunch of characters designed to help children secure their understanding of the parts of speech and identify and use them in their writing. Each member has a name and character (for example: Abby Adverb is a painter who brings colour to sentences by answering the questions: Where? When? How? and can move fluidly around the sentence) along with a colour and shape. They were created by Mrs Foster and are displayed in every class. The children respond well to them and have enjoyed our whole school Grammar Gang Days where everyone dresses up as a member of the Grammar Gang - including the teachers!
In Key Stage 1 Phonics are taught through the LCP Phonics programme, using Jolly Phonics to assist teaching. In Key stage 2 spelling is taught through the Babcock scheme.
Reading is taught both at an individual, guided group and whole class level. We use a range of different reading resources, but the main skeleton scheme is Big Cat for individual readers.