I first heard about Slow Writing at a #researched session delivered by David Didau, @learningspy when he talked about asking children to slow down when writing, cut the waffle and focus on every single word or sentence that they construct. I went away and read all he had written about Slow Writing on his blog where he has now helpfully grouped all the slow writing blogs.
I have used Slow Writing successfully over and over again. I have recommended it to many schools who also feedback that it has 'transformed' writing for some children.
New to slow writing?
Just start with 6 - 8 prompts. Allow no choice. This makes it a constrained piece and children have to really think about each and every sentence in the paragraph.
An example may be:
1. Your sentence must start with a verb.
2. Your sentence must contain a simile
3. Your sentence must use a relative clause.
4. Your sentence must be 3 words only.
5. Your sentence must use start with a time phrase.
6. Your sentence must use a modal verb.
Don't just copy and paste this one but think about what you want your pupils to achieve in that single paragraph. With slow writing it is about quality and not quantity. Get the children to work double spaced and then go back and edit these six sentences until 'perfect' (or as close as they can get). Once they are familiar with this concept they can choose the order or you can increase the number of prompts and allow them to choose from the list.
You can see an example of it in action here: Chaperon Rouge Blog
"But this isn't independent!" "Moderators won't like it..". You may say. However, this is not for moderators, it isn't for teacher assessment. This is to allow children to practise their skills, which hopefully they will then use in their independent writing.
Slow writing can be differentiated. You could make a number of lists dependent on ability or once children are familiar with the concept you could give them a choice of options. See diagram below.
Green: Y3 objectives.
Yellow Y4 objectives.
Orange Y5 objectives.
Purple Y6 objectives.
The children in this mixed-age/mixed-ability class were allowed to start where they wanted although the class teacher did guide some pupils as required.
As always I look forward to receiving comments.
Rob from Literacy Shed