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Conquer colons, vanquish verbs and dominate determiners with new Grammar and Punctuation

15 January 2017

Conquer colons, vanquish verbs and dominate determiners with new Grammar and Punctuation

This January sees the publication of Schofield & Sims Grammar and Punctuation, a structured scheme for teaching grammar and punctuation while also building on vocabulary, reading and writing skills.

Two years in the making, Grammar and Punctuation has been written especially for the new programmes of study for English and supports a mastery approach to the teaching and learning of grammar and punctuation. The focus from the outset is on explicit teaching, rich practice, deep understanding and fluency in application. Teaching is aimed at the whole class and lessons build on prior learning, linking to other areas of the curriculum wherever possible. All pupils are encouraged to move at the same pace through the lessons and are given the same opportunity to fully understand the concept being taught.

Like Schofield & Sims Spelling, the scheme is based on the model ‘teach, practise, apply and assess’ and provides teachers with everything they need to help children master the complexities of grammar and punctuation. Through structured lessons, stimulating focus texts and engaging practice activities, pupils not only learn the correct 'language about language' but also build up the skills, knowledge and confidence to apply them successfully in their own writing.

Comprising six pupil books – one for each primary school year – and six supporting teacher's guides, as well as a range of free online resources, a key aim of the programme is to provide teachers with a carefully designed set of resources that allows them to teach grammar and punctuation systematically and in context, without the need to research their own examples and create their own practice materials from scratch, thereby freeing up time to focus on planning lessons on other, more creative areas of the curriculum. 

Each lesson plan includes detailed guidance on how to explain, model and discuss the learning point using the Focus text provided. The Focus texts cover a range of genres and help to provide a context for the learning that allows the pupils to appreciate the purpose or effect of the target grammar or punctuation feature and gain a broad, rich experience of the subject. Sessions often involve some oral composition or shared writing, with the pupils involved in suggesting ideas and correcting mistakes. The main teaching session covers the objectives that are required for the pupils to work at the expected standard, but there is also a suggestion for how you can extend the focus for pupils who have grasped the main concept and are ready to delve deeper.

Following a teaching session, pupils are ready to practise the grammar or punctuation feature that has been introduced, and clear page references are provided to the corresponding lesson in the pupil book. Each page in the pupil book features a short summary of the learning point followed by two sets of tailored practice questions to consolidate learning. Each session then ends with a short written task that requires pupils to compose their own sentence or sentences using the concept that has been taught in the lesson. Regular Revision pages help you to monitor progress while a Glossary at the back of each pupil book supports the confident use of grammatical terminology.

A challenge when teaching grammar and punctuation is ensuring that pupils transfer learning from grammar lessons into their own writing. This is why the teaching notes always provide a list of suggestions for activities where the pupils might apply their new learning in written, or sometimes oral, composition. These opportunities may be in English lessons or across the curriculum. Writing tasks in the pupil books also help to make explicit the link between the grammar and punctuation lessons and the pupils’ own writing by providing an opportunity for pupils to apply, or ‘show off’, what they have learnt about grammar and punctuation.

Grammar and Punctuation includes extensive opportunities for ongoing, periodic and summative assessment. 

  • Ongoing assessment – each lesson ends with a short dictation task that allows you to ascertain quickly whether pupils have a clear understanding of the learning point. Pupils are required to write and punctuate a dictated sentence or sentences and are often then asked to change or annotate the sentences in some way, following verbal prompts.
  • Periodic assessment – the Writing task at the end of each section in the pupil book allows for a more formal assessment of how children are applying their cumulative knowledge of sentence structure, grammar and punctuation in their own writing. An Analysis sheet for each Writing task allows you to record evidence from pupils’ own writing, while a Pupil checklist encourages self-assessment and facilitates teacher feedback.
  • Summative assessment – a Final test is provided as a photocopiable resource at the back of each teacher’s guide for use as an end-of-year assessment when all or most of the sections of the pupil book are complete. It is similar in style to the short answer tests in the national tests and covers all the content introduced in the programme so far. A separate Mark scheme reflecting national test criteria allows you to assess whether pupils are meeting the expected standard.

Additional support for teachers is provided in the teacher’s guides, including answers to all the pupil book questions, with guidance on what to look out for and how to tackle potential problems for each lesson, and a special Glossary giving clear explanations and examples for all the terminology relevant to each year group. A selection of free downloads is also available from the Schofield & Sims website, comprising: a Curriculum coverage chart, enlarged Focus texts for each lesson, a Dictation assessment sheet, a Pupil target reminder, a Learning pathways class chart and a Final test analysis class chart.

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