“All the words I use in my stories cab be found in the dictionary – it’s just a matter of arranging them into the right sentences.”
Somerset Maugham

rainbow writing

3 hours

Rainbow Writing is a powerful strategy which applies Rainbow Grammar sentence patterns to short pieces of writing using a structured approach, which supports the application of their grammatical understanding.

Employing a simple Rainbow Writing frame that outlines the sentence patterns children are to use in their Rainbow Write, children are supported to apply their Rainbow Grammar sentence patterns to short pieces of writing – writing which will include a broad range of well-crafted, technically accurate sentences.

You will learn how to adapt, create and use Rainbow Writing frames with children of all ages in both pieces of narrative and non-narrative writing. And you will be guided you through each phase of the Rainbow Writing process:

  • creating and adapting frames
  • analysing Rainbow Writing
  • modelling Rainbow Writing
  • differentiating Rainbow Writing frames
  • revising writing Rainbow Writing

Below is a short piece of writing from a Year 5 child at Chetywnd Primary Academy, Toton, Notts. The Rainbow Grammar colours have been added for demonstration purposes.

Faint sunlight crept into the ancient ruins as the dusty rubble was strewn across the floor like storm clouds in an angry sky. In the long lost hall, Alex wandered like a ghost through the forgotten archways. As she stared longingly at the dust covered staircase she knew she could go up there but knew she shouldn’t.

But curiosity prevailed.

Edging towards the abandoned stairway, feeling her heart racing, she had to know what was up there. She tiptoed one foot on a step, which creaked under the unwanted weight. She pressed her trembling palm onto the handrail, stepped onto the second step and made her way upwards. Quietly, as she turned the corner, a petrified scream echoed around the now dark hallways.

text detectives: reading as a writer

3 hours

Text Detectives shows you how to search a text for hidden clues to solve how the writer crafted the writing.  It uses a structured ‘zooming-in’ technique, where a text is carefully examined in increasing detail, starting with text level features before honing in on smaller sentence and word level details.

The training will guide you through the four stages of the zooming-in process to hunt for clues by focusing in turn upon how to:

  • investigate the purpose of writing more effectively which goes beyond the often generic statements such as ‘to build suspense’ or ‘to persuade the reader’ which offer too little guidance to support children’s own writing
  • scrutinise the structure of a text and use it to create a blueprint for children’s writing
  • examine the writerly sentence level techniques and explore their effects upon the reader
  • inspect the vocabulary to better understand how and why words are chosen and the cumulative effect that these choices have upon the reader

Each step is fully explained with both narrative and non-narrative examples, with plenty of opportunity to try out the strategies.

And you will be shown how to create a Text Detective Toolkit that encapsulates the Text Detectives process, presenting it to children in a manner that is easy to understand and supports their own planning and writing.

the seven -ects toolkit: modelling writing

3 hours

If you are not modelling writing often, then it is unlikely you are teaching writing as well as you might. Often teachers find this core strategy for improving children’s writing a daunting challenge. Perhaps they feel that they are not writers themselves, that they have don’t have a toolkit of strategies to draw upon to ensure that modeled writing is as effective as it might be, or that they simply lack the confidence to produce good-quality writing live in front of their students.

And perhaps as a result, the use pre-written extracts (which do have their place) rather than model the process of writing.

The Seven –ects Toolkit provides you with a simple framework to help you model writing effectively with confidence, focusing on seven key techniques that demystify the writing process and help children to see into the mind of the writer.

You will learn to effectively model writing, using the seven –ects to:

  • collect a wealth of words and ideas to use within the writing
  • reject those words and ideas that are not effective in communicating the purpose, mood or tone of the writing
  • select only the best words and ideas to take forward into the writing
  • correct technical mistakes of grammar, punctuation and spelling
  • direct the reader through the content of the writing
  • connect ideas through the use of cohesive devices
  • create particular effects through writerly technique

You will learn how to combine these techniques into a straightforward modeled writing process that provides the support and guidance to help you model writing effectively across key stages 1 and 2.

perfect paragraphs

5 hours

Perfect Paragraphs aims to do for composing effective paragraphs what Rainbow Grammar has done in many schools for writing effective sentences. As the paragraph is the bridge between great sentences and great texts, understanding how great paragraphs are structured and composed leads to writing that has clarity, and is well-structured and organised. The child who masters the paragraph is sure to produce stronger writing.

Perfect Paragraphs demystifies the paragraph, showing you how to plan, compose and revise effective paragraphs through:

  • creating Perfect Paragraphs Plans (PPPs) using a structured approach which starts with generating ideas through to organising and sequencing content and creating a simple PPP to aid the writing process
  • writing well-crafted, purposeful opening sentences that clearly define the content, grab the attention and lead the reader into the content
  • composing effective concluding sentences that neatly wrap-up and summarise paragraph content
  • revising paragraphs to improve readability, and ensure cohesion and fluidity between sentences using a range of simple techniques including the use of sentence variation, subordination, linking adverbs

You will also learn to create well-sequenced multi-paragraph compositions using structure strips: a powerful tool for turning planning into effective, well structured writing. And you will discover how to compose texts that include well-constructed opening and concluding paragraphs using the ‘zoom-in’ (for introductions) and ‘zoom-out’ (for conclusions) techniques.

Focusing largely on non-fiction writing – which demands greater clarity and structure from it’s paragraphs than narrative – but drawing on examples from fiction too, the training provides practical advice and tips through a systematic approach that leads to writing that is carefully structured and artfully sequenced.

seeds ‘n’ weeds: revising & editing writing

2 hours

Let’s face it, most children would rather do almost anything than revise and edit their writing. Seeds ‘n’ Weeds is a unique approach to revision and editing that both engages children and motivates them to improve the quality of writing, but also supports them with a simple framework to do so.

Based on a simple gardening analogy, children sow seeds (the revision element) to improve writing quality and make their writing bloom, and weed out their mistakes (the editing element). Children make their writing blossom using a  supportive Seeds ‘n’ Weeds revision frame divided sections which might include:

  • content beds: Have they included key content? Have they shown how their character feels? Or provided evidence for that opening statement?
  • sentence beds: Have they included key sentence patterns? A rhetorical question? A relative clause? A fronted adverbial?
  • word beds: Have the they used great vocabulary? Amazing adjectives? Powerful verbs? A range of determiners?
  • creative beds: Have children included special fx to make their writing sparkle? Alliteration? Personification? A simile?

Each section is made to bloom before tending the to next. And once blooming, the writing is weeded to correct grammar, punctuation and spelling. And each section utilises a cleverly designed system that offers varying layers of challenge to support struggling writers and stretch able ones.

Seeds ‘n’ Weeds is child-friendly approach to revising and editing, flexible enough to improve writing of all types for writers of varying abilities, and structured enough to provide support children as they improve their written work.