BMG 2022 Grammarian Issue 1

10 THE WRITING REVOLUTION At Bacchus Marsh Grammar, we are committed to ensuring strong literacy outcomes for all students, from our youngest Prep students through to our graduating Year 12s. We are steadfast in our view that accomplished literacy skills are the key to success – not just in the classroom, but in all facets of life. Studies have indicated that writing skills of Australian students nationwide have declined over the past decade. Whilst our NAPLAN results clearly indicate that students at Bacchus Marsh Grammar achieve above the national standard for writing, we are consistently working to improve and ensure our students achieve high growth in this area each year. Research clearly shows that students need explicit instruction in writing in order to yield best results. Our Teaching and Learning Framework identifies explicit teaching as the core instructional practice at Bacchus Marsh Grammar. In line with this, we are beginning to implement the Hochman Method, perhaps better known as The Writing Revolution, into our writing instruction. Our immediate focus is the English curriculum; however, we are intending to expand into other curriculum domains in the near future. The Writing Revolution model is used in a broad range of schools worldwide and spans all grade levels. It is essentially a carefully sequenced set of strategies that focus initially on writing structure at the sentence level. Some of the strategies involve: expanding sentences with more detail, adding appositives to further explain the noun, unscrambling sentences, varying the position of the dependent clause through the use of subordinating conjunctions and identifying and repairing fragments and run-on sentences. Of course, students must learn to write at length as well, which is an essential part of The Writing Revolution. Once students have acquired basic sentence level skills, there is structured support for sustaining these skills across paragraphs and compositions. Because the sentence level work is embedded in curriculum content, the benefit of The Writing Revolution is that the strategies remain the same, regardless of the age of the student - it is the content that drives the rigour. For example, one of the strategies utilises the conjunctions ‘because, but and so’ to stimulate students to think critically and then write about a topic or a text by completing a sentence stem utilising each conjunction in turn.