Making Writing Special

Hello! I'm Pixie Anne from Growing Little Learners and I am delighted to be writing my first post as part of the Adventures in Literacy Land team today! 

Today, I wanted to share with you some of the things I do in my classroom to try and motivate reluctant writers to put pen to paper and get writing! I have many boys (and some girls) who struggle to focus in writing sessions and simply do not enjoy it or get much done despite my best efforts. This makes it hard for me to gather enough evidence to show that they are making progress and to level their work each half term when our data is due in. I also WANT them to love writing and too see the purpose and benefits of being able to communicate in this way.

I heard about Big Writing and when I did some online reading about it, decided that some of those ideas would work really well in my classroom to make writing that little bit more exciting and special for all my class. Big Writing was designed by Ros Wilson to raise standards in writing. You can find out more about it by clicking here.

However, my post today is not all about Big Writing and how to do it but rather the elements I took from my reading about it and lots of other lovely ideas about motivating writers from pinterest and the like to create that special writing atmosphere and to encourage children to reflect on and take pride in their work.

We have an extended writing session each week on a Friday (Big Writing). The writing task we choose is sometimes linked to our current work in literacy, to topic work or something we have covered in the past (or that the children are really interested in at that time). Earlier in the week the children are told what we will be writing about so that they can talk about it at home, following the wise words of Ros Wilson who believes that "If a child can't say it, a child can't write it". 

Following lots of fast paced grammar and vocabulary building activities, I usually create an anchor chart which my children can refer to during their writing. This is almost entirely their ideas and words and provides some support for those who were unable to talk to family at home and get ideas for their writing.

Other prompts we have in the classroom to support their writing are word walls and VCOP displays. Here are some I have had or currently have in my classroom:

Now to the actual writing part!

I try to create a special writing atmosphere in the classroom and, as I have said, got many of my ideas from reading about Big Writing, especially on the Andrell Education Ltd Forums

After the fast paced word work to warm up their brains, during a short playtime outside, I create a calm atmosphere in the classroom.

While they are out at play I set up the room - candles flickering on the board, table cloths, soothing music and twinkly lights!

Since discovering Go Noodle, Maximo is the perfect way to compose ourselves and take some deep breaths when we come in from our run around!

I know lots of people use quiet critters successfully in the classroom. I only get mine out during writing sessions and found these sweet finger puppets on amazon which are perfect for the job! (Quite a few have one or both eyes missing but we know we just have to take extra good care of those ones!)
As they only come out once or twice a week, they are pretty special!

My class all have individual writing targets too - ones that I have identified will move them more quickly to the next level on their learning journeys. They have really started to use these well now and get them out whenever they are writing.

For the actual writing part we have special pencils and paper themed to the task (thank you Twinkl!).

At then end of each writing session we take the time to reflect on our own writing. I hand out sticky notes and have them do 2 ticks for the things they think they did well (referring to their targets where possible) and one arrow for something they think they could have done better or a target for next time. Self assessment is an important part of the process.


Writing goes either straight into their special writing folders:

OR onto our good work display if they are particularly proud of it:

They choose to change the work on here themselves (a low maintenance display!) and can bring their parents through to see it whenever they put something new up.

We finish our session by celebrating and sharing good work (I hand out stickers and praise postcards where deserved) and with a more lively Go Noodle to energise ourselves and get those wiggles out!

My new favourite!

I hope there were some ideas I shared today that you might like to try in your classroom to create a more special writing atmosphere to motivate your class, to build in self assessment and celebrate writing. I'm always on the lookout for ways to improve my own practice so please leave a comment below and let me know what works well in your classroom!

It's been a pleasure sharing with you today... until next time!


  1. Wow. I learned so much from reading your post. I've definitely found some new ideas to incorporate. Thank you!
    Laughter and Consistency

  2. I would love to hear more about your individual writing goals. I like the way they are on small bookmarks! And the candles for atmosphere...LOVE!!!
    Curious Firsties