Year 1 English - The VCOP Journey

This term in English, our Year 1 students have continued to engage in The Big Talk process while consolidating their understanding of each of the four VCOP characters. The term ‘VCOP’ stands for Vocabulary, Connectives, Openers and Punctuation and one component of VCOP is to develop students’ writing skills through talk. In Year 1, the children have been enthusiastically engaging in The Big Talk process in their daily English lessons, which is sparkling rich oral discussions and laughter!

At the beginning of this term, Year 1 revised each of the four VCOP characters and the ‘power’ they bring to students’ writing when used appropriately. We discussed Vinny Vocabulary who is a word wizard and the leader of the VCOP gang. Vinny is the knight in shining armour who helps make one’s writing amazing by encouraging writers to use WOW words and really interesting language. With his pencil sword and protective helmet, he can fight off boring words and capture brave and exciting words that make writing sparkle and shine!

We then moved on to explore Connie Connective. Connie is an inventor and her job is to fix things and help students with their writing to connect sentences together. She helps writers to use some cool connectives in their writing to make it great. Connie knows that too many connectives will make a writing piece weaker, so she encourages writers to join their sentences together powerfully!

Next, we moved on to Ollie Opener who is a show-off and an attention seeker, always leading the way. Ollie understands that a great opener will grab the reader’s attention. He will help writers use some interesting words and phrases to start their sentences.

Finally, we revised Penny Punctuation who makes sure students’ writing is organised and has a structure. As Penny takes each writer on an adventure, she teaches students how to use different forms of punctuation to create fabulous pieces of writing. 

As the Year 1 students have been studying ‘Mini Beasts’ in science, one exciting writing activity the children engaged in was when they were given an interesting image of an insect to use as a stimulus. The students then spoke with their peers, describing their ‘Mini Beast’ using adjectives and many features of VCOP as possible. It was wonderful to see all students so engaged with this task as they welcomed their peers’ different thoughts. The purpose of this is to allow all students to verbally share as many ideas and words as possible; with the view to explore new and exciting vocabulary along the way whilst engaging in rich language stimulation.

A few of these oral language discussions have been recorded below.

Did you know that a tiny, miniature stick insect is brown, green or grey in colour? Elise Langerak, 1D

I think a mini stick insect looks like a tree branch or a thin twig! Luke Williamson, 1D

I’ve seen a green grasshopper living all around our previous world! Audrey Helsen, 1D

A grubby caterpillar likes to eat green plants and lush green leaves – mmmmm…. yummy! Jackson Wheeler, 1D 

Our next step is to translate these spoken oral discussions into our written work. Overall, it has been wonderful to see all children so engaged with The Big Talk this term and the Year 1 staff are excited to see what Term 4 brings!

Trent Davis – Year 1 Teacher