Our students at Kingdown do not want to be like Ralph. Ralph represents everything we do not want our students to be like when they leave our school. The students are used to the phrase ‘don’t be like Ralph.’ Therefore, we reinforce key Literacy ideas: sentences, simple and complex punctuation and spelling. Reading and extending vocabulary is a massive focus for us. We know in modern life teenagers do not read and we want to instil a reading culture at Kingdown and beyond.
We have two core ideas:
We want to address the fact that some students don’t read. The students read in their Literacy lessons.
Our students complete bronze, silver and gold reading passports in lessons- reading and completing activities.
Our students are also involved in The Library Cup. We want them to become enthusiastic about a book and create a project based on it.
We tell our students that their punctuation does not stay in the Literacy classrooms. It has to go with them to all lessons, otherwise what is the point of them learning it? For us, punctuation is like arithmetic; practise it regularly and you’ll be good. Fail to practise and you’ll forget how to use it.
So, students get 2 whole terms of punctuation teaching on a spiral curriculum every year (7 – 11) in their Literacy lessons. We teach simple sentences, building to compound, and then complex sentences. We unashamedly go over these basics again and again until students have mastered them. We aim to get our students to the point where they can use punctuation functionally and also for effect – i.e. they are in charge of the punctuation rather than it being in charge of them.
We have developed a really simple idea based around ‘The Hand’. A sentence needs five key things:
Our students are able to articulate these things and apply them to their writing. ‘The Hand’ is visible in all classrooms (in poster form) and students are asked to refer to it when writing.
Literacy teachers teach the nuts and bolts punctuation to our students. Other teachers around the school help reinforce this. We all know about ‘The Hand’ and we all use it as a checklist to make sure our punctuation is correct.
One key example of the straight forward way we teach Literacy is the apostrophe. We have developed a box method.
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