On Tuesday, the parents of Year Six students at Tu Xuong Primary School descended on the campus for an interactive workshop on ‘Big Talk’ homework.
An important part of the English curriculum for our primary students at BIS HCMC is ‘The Big Write.’ It has proven to be an exciting and effective way of encouraging children to think about four key areas for developing both their spoken and written language: Vocabulary, Connectives, Openers and Punctuation (represented by the four VCOP super heroes).
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Violet Vocabulary, Captain Connective, The Fantastic Opener, and Dr. Punctuation[/caption]
‘The Big Write’ is the brainchild of Ros Wilson, an educator with over 45 years’ experience in education, including 27 years in schools, 10 years in senior management positions and 14 years in advisory and inspection work. Ms. Wilson remains committed to raising standards in writing and education. Her concepts have helped many schools to raise standards around the world.
As part of this work, children in all classes throughout our primary campuses regularly complete a piece of extended writing, and then assess their own work as well as that of their peers. Research shows that children need to develop confidence in using language verbally before they can use it in their writing. In order for children to produce their best writing they need to discuss the topic in advance. Discussion work always forms a key part of our ‘Big Write’ sessions. This is where help from parents becomes essential.
The premise of Big Writing is: “If the kids can’t say it, the kids can’t write it.” (Ros Wilson)
Talk Homework is an approach developed through Big Writing that promotes the development of language and oracy. It encourages parents to have a detailed conversation with their child for approximately 30 minutes the night before the child has a Big Write at school. During this time, children are able to discuss, plan, and sometimes make notes on how they will tackle their Big Write assessment. We advise children to talk about the topic in their home language so that they can share their ideas with their family, whilst continuing to develop their skills in their first language.
During the self and peer assessment stage that follows a Big Write exercise, children then have the opportunity to ‘uplevel’ their writing by editing it. An example of this would be adding adjectives and powerful verbs to a boring sentence, or turning a simple sentence into a complex sentence.
Khoa, from Year 6, demonstrated this at the workshop by turning “Mr Ian ate the cake” into “Not having had anything to eat all day long, Mr Ian devoured the old, stale cake.”
There was a great turnout at the workshop, so we would like to extend our thanks to the parents who were able to come along. Miss Jessica, our English Leader at Tu Xuong, explained that “The writing standards have clearly improved since the introduction of Big Writing. The discussion about, reflection on and editing of the work allows the children to be in charge of their own learning, and therefore their own progress.” We’re sure that between our dedicated staff, enthusiastic children and committed parents, our writing standards will continue to soar.