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Talk for Writing – Cold Task

The Talk 4 Writing approach moves from oral to written language and is highly engaging. The cold task helps you to set your key goals for grammar & writing.

A few weeks ago I shared with you a new approach that I’ll be using to teach writing. The Talk 4 Writing approach moves from oral language to written language and is suitable to use with both fiction and non fiction texts. Have a look at my article to find out more about each of the stages:

How To Teach Children To Write

I’ve started using Talk 4 Writing (T4W) with a group of 2 girls in year 7. Our sessions go for 45 minutes, so the first 30 minutes will be our phonics time. Then I will spend 15 minutes weekly working on our writing. Using T4W this way it will take approximately 6 months to get through all the stages.

Before beginning with T4W it is important to set a pre-unit assessment, which is called a ‘cold task’.

The cold task helps to inform your planning, and allows you to set your key goals for grammar and writing. There is no teacher input into the cold task, you just get your students to write.

Pre-assessment: cold task

The girls have been learning about report writing at school, so I thought I’d start with a non-fiction text. I decided to use a familiar topic for the girls when setting the cold task. I had a picture of a kitten glued to a piece of paper and asked the girls to write for me information about cats as I would like to know more about cats. That was the only input I gave and then set 15 minutes for them to write.

Below are pictures of what each girl wrote during the 15 minutes.

The Talk 4 Writing approach moves from oral to written language and is highly engaging. The cold task helps you to set your key goals for grammar & writing.

The Talk 4 Writing approach moves from oral to written language and is highly engaging. The cold task helps you to set your key goals for grammar & writing.

Grammar & writing goals

As I’m using T4W in a modified way, I don’t have time to set too many writing goals. However, there are a few things that jumped out at me when analysing each sample.

1. Sentence and paragraph structure
It was fantastic to see both girls include paragraphs and attempt to structure their writing. However, they do need assistance with constructing simple, compound and complex sentences. They also require help with the overall structure of a report and what information is included in the opening sentence / paragraph, body and concluding paragraph.

2. Vocabulary development / descriptive writing
Both students have made an effort to incorporate descriptive writing, however their use of vocabulary is quite limited. For example, “super cuddly”; “super cute”; “super, sharp claws”; “megga awesome”; “very playful”; “so cute”; “so loveable”. They require assistance with selecting precise words as well as using adjectives & adverbs effectively.

6 month overview template

I’ve also put together a document that tracks exactly what I’ll be doing each week for the duration of the program. I’ll share parts of this as I go along. Below is a screen shot of the information I have for week 1 – the cold task (click on the picture to enlarge it).

The Talk 4 Writing approach moves from oral to written language and is highly engaging. The cold task helps you to set your key goals for grammar & writing.

Stay tuned for the next post which will share with you my ‘hook’ and introducing the text map to the students.

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