Tried and Tested - Write on

3rd July 2009 at 01:00

Subject: History, although it can be used in any subject.

Lesson: Research and quality writing

Ages: 11-14 or older

Supplied by: Tony Fuller, curriculum team leader, humanities, Wadham School in Crewkerne, Somerset.

1. What is it?

A method that can be used in any subject where there is a need to develop quality writing after a period of independent research - web or book based.

2. Who is it aimed at?

Smaller teaching groups in all secondary years - it is especially successful with pupils with special educational needs. It can easily be adapted for larger groups. Works well with small groups of pupils who have problems with literacy, particularly those who lack confidence to produce extended quality writing.

3. What happens in the lesson?

In the first lesson, pupils find out between five and 10 things about three different areas of a topic, such as: "What was it like to grow up in the 1960s?" In the next lesson, they stick their results on a big piece of paper. In another class, give pupils one minute to write down one note about one point, then write a sentence about it, also in one minute. Repeat 10 times over 25 minutes. Finally, set a word and time target, such as writing 200 words in 20 minutes.

4. What do you want to achieve?

To give the pupils confidence in their ability to produce quality written outcomes in a fixed time period and also to show them how easy it is when they have planned it and are focused.

5. How do you know it has been successful?

Firstly, all pupils have produced a well-written piece of work. Second, the enthusiasm with which they approach the writing and, above all, the look on their faces when they can see what they have achieved in 20 minutes - the look of success.

6. Why would you recommend this to other teachers?

It is fun and it improves the literacy skills of the pupils - it engages them in the process of writing. Importantly, it works particularly well with less able pupils.

7. Give us three top tips

- Be aware of any health and safety issues during the one minute run-a-round.

- Alter the word targets to suit the ability of the pupils but keep them challenging.

- Ensure you provide a space in subsequent lessons so that the pupils can read out their response either in full or as a section.

8. Useful resources

- A web countdown clock such as BlingClock Timer (

- Access to a computer suite.

- A large area to lay out the paper - sports hall, dining hall or assembly hall.


Title Research task

Ages 11-14 Subject ICT What is it? An open-ended research task that can be used for end of term assessment or for revision purposes before exams. The one-page handout guides pupils through the research process, and asks them to prepare a presentation to communicate their findings to the class. Find it

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