Talking & Writing About - Shoes & Celebrities
If you want your pupils to get a kick-start to writing, you could follow the principles of Marie Clay (1993), New Zealand, on reading recovery. She suggest that if writing follows immediately after reading or oral activity; the pupils can establish cognitive abilities and strategies on how to use the language - and write more easily.
TOPIC: Talking as a way into writing texts
- using everyday and subject specific vocabulary to talk about the topic (f.ex. shoes or celebrities)
- writing a text about a given topic
- writing a short story or an article
- writing a structured text
- using idiomatic language and vocabulary
Step 1: Activating prior knowledge
SELLING: The pupils are asked to try to sell something to the teacher or a peer. It could be a piece of paper for £10, a shoe that has no sole, or something similar. This is silly really, and might create an atmosphere of "risk free" communication. The pupils activate their prior knowledge about vocabulary about selling and buying someting and about the topic at hand (i.e. shoes).
CELEBRITIES: Alternatively, each pupil writes the name of a celebrity on a post-it. Some that the pupils would easily recognize and be able to describe. You place one post-it on each pupil's forehead. They walk around asking each other "Who am I?" The other pupils cannot give the name, but instead describe the celebrity. This goes on until all the pupils have guessed correctly which celebrity they are.
Step 2: Hand-in folder
Create a hand-in folder on Fronter. Give an end date to show the opening hours when the pupils can submit their texts. Ask the pupils to write a text about the oral activity they participated in. It could be a short atory about someone trying to sell a piece of paper for £10, a shoe that has no sole, etc. It could also be an article about the topic of buying and sellingitems we don't need. It could be a fictional text or a biographical text about a celebrity. Include learning aims and assessment criteria in the task. The pupils upload their text in the folder before the end date (and time). Ask them to write the type of text (genre) and the text heading as the title when they upload the text.
Step 3: Assessment & Planning
Assess the texts in the folder according to the learning aims and assessment criteria. Tick off "approved" when you have assessed the text, and add comments - both feedback and feed forward. You might focus the feedback on two things the pupil has mastered well (two stars) and the feed forward might focus on one thing the pupil would profit from improving in a future text (one wish).
About the author
What inspires you?
Engaging pupils in activities that create enthusiasm and help them to improve.
Kastellet school, Oslo, Norway