What A Good One Looks Like

A collection of free and premium resources for teachers and home educators by Helen-Teach

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Example texts used to model effective writing to pupils in a range of fiction and non-fiction genres.

Holiday Maths

Fun holiday-themed maths resources to teach co-ordinates, fractions and algebra.

Units of Work

Schemes of work with everything needed to teach, including lesson plans, presentations and handouts.

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What is a WAGOLL and how can it be used?

WAGOLL, an acronym standing for ‘What A Good One Looks Like’, is an example text that can be used to demonstrate effective writing.

WAGOLLs can be used in the classroom to help pupils to create their own piece of writing based on the model text.

Often WAGOLLs are used by the teacher modelling the writing process, thinking aloud their choices as they write, with the WAGOLL as a guide.

Pupils can then be given a copy of the WAGOLL to examine the text for features of the particular writing genre being demonstrated, and other relevant language, grammar and punctuation features.

How to create a WAGOLL

Different writers have different writing processes. Here is one way, but by no means not the only way, to create effective exemplar texts to use with your class.

  1. Choose a writing genre and topic for your WAGOLL.
  2. Decide what genre-specific features to include in your writing: your success criteria.
  3. Create first draft including as many features as you can.
  4. Check through the draft, editing any grammar and spelling errors.
  5. Check for features that have not been demonstrated enough or at all, and edit appropriately.

Once you have your WAGOLL, you can use it in the classroom to help teach writing.

Different ways to use a WAGOLL in the classroom

WAGOLLs can be used in different ways in the classroom, or at home, to help pupils to create their own effective writing. Here are some ideas to get you started:

  1. Using a visualiser, whiteboard or large sheet of paper, demonstrate the writing process by thinking your choices out loud as you write.
  2. Display some of the text, leaving spaces for missing words. Ask your pupils to decide what vocabulary to use to complete the sentences.
  3. Using your pre-prepared WAGOLL as a guide, create a text in front of the class, asking your pupils to contribute ideas as you go write.
  4. Show the text, replacing some of the phrases with poorer vocabulary choices. Then ask for suggestions to improve these parts of the writing.
  5. Give pupils copies of the example text. Ask them to identify and highlight relevant features from the model. This can be done independently or in pairs.
  6. Cut up the model text into paragraphs. Ask pupils to rearrange the paragraphs into the correct sequence. This is useful for looking at the flow and structure of the writing.
  7. Give pupils individual sentences form the example text. Ask them to group the sentences into paragraphs or sections. This is another activity to help pupils to examine the structure of the writing.
The Iron Man

The Iron Man

Writing, comprehension and grammar resources to support the teaching of this popular children’s novel by Ted Hughes.

Stig of the Dump

Stig of the Dump

Writing resources to support the teaching of Clive King’s Stig of the Dump, a children’s classic.

How to Train Your Dragon

How to Train Your Dragon

Writing and grammar resources based on the story by Cressida Cowell.



Writing resources based on Aaron Becker’s beautiful picture book Journey.


Writing resources to support the teaching of the novel by Louis Sachar.

Harry Potter

Writing resources to support the teaching of J. K. Rowling’s book Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone.


Writing resources based on the first book in Anthony Horowitz’s Alex Rider spy series.

Oranges in No Man’s Land

Writing resources based on Elizabeth Laird’s refugee novel.

Stone Age Boy

Writing resources to support the teaching of the picture book by Satoshi Kitamura.

Street Child

Writing resources to support the teaching of the historical novel by Berlie Doherty.

The Boy Who Grew Dragons

Writing resources based on Andy Shepherd’s fantasy book.

The Boy at the Back of the Class

Writing resources based on Onjali Q. Raúf’s refugee novel.

The Butterfly Lion

Writing resources to support the teaching of the book by Michael Morpurgo.

The Twits

Writing resources to support the teaching of Roald Dahl’s popular story.

The Firework-Maker’s Daughter

Writing resources based on the novel by Philip Pullman.

The Hodgeheg

Writing resources based on Dick King-Smith’s novel.