WAGOLL: A teacher's guide

Paul Main

How can classrooms enhance their writing curriculum using WAGOLL?

What is Wagoll?

The acronym WAGOLL' means ‘What a Good One Looks Like.’ These are ‘good’ and detailed model texts or examples of effective writing teachers may use to help their students create an exemplary piece of writing. They are an excellent tool for developing literacy texts and help pupils understand how to move their learning forward. Primarily used as a writing tool, they help children develop a deeper understanding of different types of non-fiction writing including explanation texts and non-chronological reports. Developing effective writing skills requires children to understand what exemplary looks like. Incorporating these examples into lesson activities gives children opportunities to unpick the skills and knowledge they need to master writing.

WAGOLL is used to establish a certain standard that students must be aiming to achieve for meeting the lesson goals. They can be seen as a central pillar in literacy teaching providing ample opportunities to dig deeper into the lesson objectives and time for comprehension questions.

How do you use Wagoll in teaching?

Teachers may use WAGOLL as a visual aid to bring creativity in class at any time during lessons. Following are some of the ways teachers can use WAGOLL in their day to day teaching:

Success Criteria: WAGOLL can be used to give students aSuccess Criteriaor to show them what worked well in creating a piece of writing. By doing so, teachers would help their students understand the steps they must take for effective writing.

Self-assessment: WAGOLL resources can be used to help students perform peer and self-assessment. This would help students to mark their work and they would be able to identify what exactly is needed to create a WAGOLL.

Motivation: Teachers may use WAGOLL to help motivate their students to improve their work. Teachers may use their highest-quality model texts, what they have composed as a WAGOLL example, to show that their students are doing great.

Creativity: If their students show a lack of inspiration, teachers may show WAGOLL resources to the students. By doing so, they would help students to adapt ideas and bring creativity to their writing skills.

Better Understanding: Teachers may use WAGOLL resources while introducing their students to a new style of writing. By showing it to the students, teachers would help their students to visualise and understand it better.

What a good one looks like wall display
What a good one looks like wall display

What are the implications of Wagoll for literacy?

An abundance of aspiration, powerful success criteria and detailed model texts, will help children create the best of their work.

  • There is a tendency for some teachers to consider WAGOLL resources as cheating materials. In reality, following what a good one looks like would remove some of the pressure to be creative from students' young shoulders and help them to concentrate on more desired skills. If pupils' work resembles the example they were provided with at the beginning, it would also give them a sense of satisfaction.
  • Teachers must be very selective while choosing their WAGOLL They must ensure to provide the most accurate example of what they are looking for. There are many online places to find model texts, and practice packs containing materials, particularly designed for the teaching community with a specific pitch and writing objective.
  • Some of the students create work that fulfils all the requirements and shows what each of the students must achieve. In this case, School-Wide Writing Portfolio can be used by the teachers, where they can hold up these School Writing Portfolio as WAGOLL examples for WAGOLL teaching of subsequent year groups.
  • It is not right to expect a learner to get it right in the first attempt. Teachers may use simple teaching ideas and modelling writing while writing WAGOLLs to remind their students that even the most famous writers have editors to modify their written work into the best versions it can be. There are several aspects of a piece of writing that can be improved, This has supported the creation of editing stations. As students go from station to station, they check their successful writing for any specific aspect emphasized at each stop.
  • Every person tends to get self-conscious about how others may perceive him before offering his work for public scrutiny. But, it is a process that does not only benefit the writer but also the reviewer, so it is recommended to perform at least a single time peer assessment soon after creating a piece of writing. This may involve an individual, peer-assessment column or a brief written commentary on a checklist of success criteria. Even engaging in the process of finding numerous details in a classmate’s work may help them to improve different features of writing. During WAGOLL teaching, the teacher may ask students to give more subjective feedback, in two lines, stating what they liked and what do they think could be improved in the text.

In short, WAGOLL resources act as the most effective approaches to classroom innovation that help students to find positive approaches to success. The ability to mark their work, wouldn't only save teachers' time but may also create independence in students. Children may develop a better understanding of text structure and improve their reading skills at the same time.

WAGOLL in Maths
WAGOLL in Maths

What does Wagoll non-chronological writing look like?

Non-chronological writing for pupils may help to boost a story’s tension by providing details without following the regular cause-and-effect order. One may only furnish the information about the “effect” of a particular problem when a story demands it.

Although the story wouldn't follow a conventional linear narrative, it can still have a clear start, middle, and endings to lessons. This is the kind of structure readers anticipate, so the story must contain these characteristics to keep the readers curious and motivated to continue reading.

A non-chronological report is not created in time order and contains non-fiction texts. Its main focus remains on a single issue and includes various details about writing outcomes. Students may be asked to write or/ and read non-chronological reports about any sport, religion, country, planet or animal.

In primary schools, teachers may start by showing primary students a range of Non-Chronological Reports free model texts or a resource pack then ask them to see the features. Following are some of the main features of Non-Chronological Reports:

  • An attractive heading with capital font;
  • A paragraph with the introduction;
  • Text divided into paragraphs, each paragraph contains a different explanation for the subject;
  • Each paragraph contains a Sub-heading;
  • Pictures related to the subject;
  • Mostly written in the present tense;
  • Labels for each diagram;
  • Each picture with a caption under it to explain what is shown in the picture;
  • Bullet points and lists of facts;
  • Charts or graphs to show information about the subject;
  • Text box with individual facts about the topic to increase the interest of the reader;
  • Technical words with bold fonts, mostly with a complete list of glossary at the end.

Students will spend some time seeing some reports. Then they will select or be given simple questions to research.

The teacher may give students a spider diagram, to make their notes:

Then the students will draft each paragraph of the report. The students will be encouraged by their teachers to edit and improve their written texts. The children may sit in pairs to edit each other's work or the teacher can write suggestions and mark their work. Children would be provided with the learning opportunities to create a plan of how do they wish their report to look. Then the children would develop their reports in 'neat', improve their paragraphs and include attractive pictures and eye-catching headings.