Teaching writing essays
The concept of essays as a scholarly piece of writing, giving the author's own argument. Theoretical aspects of teaching writing essays. Teaching creative writing techniques. Principles of Writing Narrative Essays. Definition of persuasive writing.
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THE MINISTRY OF EDUCATION AND SCIENCE OF THE REPUBLIC OF KAZAKHSTAN
TarazState Pedagogical Institute
Foreign Language Department
Theme: “Teaching writing essays”
Subject: Special oriented methodology
Group: AK 11-2
Student: Kadirkul S.
Supervisor: Molchanova R.R.
Essays are generally scholarly pieces of writing giving the author's own argument, but the definition is vague, overlapping with those of anarticle, a pamphlet and a short story.
Essays can consist of a number of elements, including: literary criticism, political manifestos, learned arguments, observations of daily life, recollections, and reflections of the author. Almost all modern essays are written in prose, but works in verse have been dubbed essays (e.g. Alexander Pope's An Essay on Criticism and An Essay on Man). While brevity usually defines an essay, voluminous works like John Locke's An Essay Concerning Human Understanding and Thomas Malthus's An Essay on the Principle of Population are counterexamples. In some countries (e.g., the United States and Canada), essays have become a major part of formal education. Secondary students are taught structured essay formats to improve their writing skills, and admission essays are often used by universities in selecting applicants and, in the humanities and social sciences, as a way of assessing the performance of students during final exams.
An essay has been defined in a variety of ways. One definition is a "prose composition with a focused subject of discussion" or a "long, systematic discourse". It is difficult to define the genre into which essays fall. Aldous Huxley, a leading essayist, gives guidance on the subject. He notes that "the essay is a literary device for saying almost everything about almost anything", and adds that "by tradition, almost by definition, the essay is a short piece". Furthermore, Huxley argues that "essays belong to a literary species whose extreme variability can be studied most effectively within a three-poled frame of reference". These three poles (or worlds in which the essay may exist) are:
-The personal and the autobiographical: The essayists that feel most comfortable in this pole "write fragments of reflective autobiography and look at the world through the keyhole of anecdote and description".
-The objective, the factual, and the concrete-particular: The essayists that write from this pole "do not speak directly of themselves, but turn their attention outward to some literary or scientific or political theme. Their art consists on setting forth, passing judgement upon, and drawing general conclusions from the relevant data".
-The abstract-universal: In this pole "we find those essayists who do their work in the world of high abstractions", who are never personal and who seldom mention the particular facts of experience.
The theme of our course paper is “Teaching writing essays”.
Theaim of our course paper is to describe writing process of essay.
The object of our research is essay.
The subject of our research is peculiarities of writing essay.
1. To describe essence of essay and process of writing essay;
2. To find out creative techniques for teaching writing essay;
3. To find activities for writing essay;
Hypothesis: Writing essays involves critical thinking -a purposeful and reflective analysis used to reach conclusions. Critical thinking challenges students to scrutinize arguments and positions they may have taken for granted, getting them to develop their points more thoroughly and it could also help for language teaching.
The theoretical value of this work is following:
The given work can be used for lectures Methodics of teaching English.
The practical value of the given work is following:
Material and the results of research can be used in the practice of teaching English language at schools and universities.
In this paper we used such methods as:
1. Descriptive method;
2. Contrastive method.
Thestructure of our course paper: introduction, the theoretical part, the practical part, conclusion and bibliography. In the introduction there is a general characteristic of the work, which shows the actually of the work, setting the aim, objectives.
The theoretical part includes: description essence of essay and types of essay, teaching means.
The practical part includes: activities for writing essay.
In theconclusion, the main conclusion of the research is written, it summarizing the results of the studied theme, and gives ideas of how to use the studied material in the teaching and learning process.
The bibliography consists of 20 sources, which we used in our work.
1. Theoretical aspects of teaching writing essays
An essay is a piece of writing that methodically analyses and evaluates a topic or issue. Fundamentally, an essay is designed to get your academic opinion on a particular matter.
The word essay derives from the French infinitive essayer, "to try" or "to attempt". In English essay first meant "a trial" or "an attempt", and this is still an alternative meaning. The Frenchman Michel de Montaigne (1533-1592) was the first author to describe his work as essays; he used the term to characterize these as "attempts" to put his thoughts into writing, and his essays grew out of his commonplacing.
Below are brief summaries of each of the ten steps to writing an essay. Select the links for more info on any particular step, or use the blue navigation bar on the left to proceed through the writing steps. How To Write an Essay can be viewed sequentially, as if going through ten sequential steps in an essay writing process, or can be explored by individual topic.
1. Research: Begin the essay writing process by researching your topic, making yourself an expert. Utilize the internet, the academic databases, and the library. Take notes and immerse yourself in the words of great thinkers.
2. Analysis: Now that you have a good knowledge base, start analyzing the arguments of the essays you're reading. Clearly define the claims, write out the reasons, the evidence. Look for weaknesses of logic, and also strengths. Learning how to write an essay begins by learning how to analyze essays written by others.
3. Brainstorming: Your essay will require insight of your own, genuine essay-writing brilliance. Ask yourself a dozen questions and answer them. Meditate with a pen in your hand. Take walks and think and think until you come up with original insights to write about.
4. Thesis: Pick your best idea and pin it down in a clear assertion that you can write your entire essay around. Your thesis is your main point, summed up in a concise sentence that lets the reader know where you're going, and why. It's practically impossible to write a good essay without a clear thesis.
5. Outline: Sketch out your essay before straightway writing it out. Use one-line sentences to describe paragraphs, and bullet points to describe what each paragraph will contain. Play with the essay's order. Map out the structure of your argument, and make sure each paragraph is unified.
6. Introduction: Now sit down and write the essay. The introduction should grab the reader's attention, set up the issue, and lead in to your thesis. Your intro is merely a buildup of the issue, a stage of bringing your reader into the essay's argument.
(Note: The title and first paragraph are probably the most important elements in your essay. This is an essay-writing point that doesn't always sink in within the context of the classroom. In the first paragraph you either hook the reader's interest or lose it. Of course your teacher, who's getting paid to teach you how to write an essay, will read the essay you've written regardless, but in the real world, readers make up their minds about whether or not to read your essay by glancing at the title alone.)
7. Paragraphs: Each individual paragraph should be focused on a single idea that supports your thesis. Begin paragraphs with topic sentences, support assertions with evidence, and expound your ideas in the clearest, most sensible way you can. Speak to your reader as if he or she were sitting in front of you. In other words, instead of writing the essay, try talking the essay.http://www.aucegypt.edu/intlspecial/study_abroad.htm
8. Conclusion: Gracefully exit your essay by making a quick wrap-up sentence, and then end on some memorable thought, perhaps a quotation, or an interesting twist of logic, or some call to action. Is there something you want the reader to walk away and do? Let him or her know exactly what.
9. MLA Style: Format your essay according to the correct guidelines for citation. All borrowed ideas and quotations should be correctly cited in the body of your text, followed up with a Works Cited (references) page listing the details of your sources.
10. Language: You're not done writing your essay until you've polished your language by correcting the grammar, making sentences flow, incoporating rhythm, emphasis, adjusting the formality, giving it a level-headed tone, and making other intuitive edits. Proofread until it reads just how you want it to sound. Writing an essay can be tedious, but you don't want to bungle the hours of conceptual work you've put into writing your essay by leaving a few slippy misppallings and pourly wordedd phrazies..
1.2 Types of essay
1) Narrative Essay tells a story. It has character, setting, and action. The characters, the setting, and the problem of the narrative are usually introduced in the beginning. The problem reaches its high point in the middle. The ending resolves the problem. The purpose of this type of writing is to recount a personal or fictional experience or to tell a story based on a real or imagined event. In well-written narration, a writer uses insight, creativity, drama, suspense, humor, or fantasy to create a central theme or impression. The details all work together to develop an identifiable story line that is easy to follow and paraphrase.
Example of a Narrative Prompt
In the prompt below, the topic is an unforgettable experience. The second component of the prompt suggests that the student think about various experiences and then write about one that was unforgettable. Writing Situation: veryone has done something that he or she will remember.
Directions for Writing: Before you begin writing, think about something you have done that you will always remember.
Now tell the story about a time you did something that you will always remember.
The narrative approach, more than any other, offers writers a chance to think and write about themselves. We all have experiences lodged in our memories which are worthy of sharing with readers. Yet sometimes they are so fused with other memories that a lot of the time spent in writing narrative is in the prewriting stage.
In this stage, writers first need to select an incident worthy of writing about and, second, to find relevance in that incident. To do this, writers might ask themselves what about the incident provided new insights or awareness. Finally, writers must dredge up details which will make the incident real for readers.
Principles of Writing Narrative Essays
Once an incident is chosen, the writer should keep three principles in mind.
1) Remember to involve readers in the story. It is much more interesting to actually recreate an incident for readers than to simply tell about it.
2) Find a generalization which the story supports. This is the only way the writer's personal experience will take on meaning for readers. This generalization does not have to encompass humanity as a whole; it can concern the writer, men, women, or children of various ages and backgrounds.
3) Remember that although the main component of a narrative is the story, details must be carefully selected to support, explain, and enhance the story.
2) Descriptive Essay is used to create a vivid image of a person, place, or thing. It draws on all of the senses, not merely the visual. Its purpose is to enable the reader to share the writer's sensory experience of the subject.
Descriptive writing portrays people, places, things, moments and theories with enough vivid detail to help the reader create a mental picture of what is being written about.
Things to Consider as You Write Your Descriptive Essay
Think of an instance that you want to describe.
Why is this particular instance important?
What were you doing?
What other things were happening around you? Is there anything specific that stands out in your mind?
Where were objects located in relation to where you were?
How did the surroundings remind you of other places you have been?
What sights, smells, sounds, and tastes were in the air?
Did the sights, smells, sounds, and tastes remind you of anything?
What were you feeling at that time?
Has there been an instance in which you have felt this way before?
What do you want the reader to feel after reading the paper?
What types of words and images can convey this feeling?
Can you think of another situation that was similar to the one you are writing about? How can it help explain what you are writing about?
Is there enough detail in your essay to create a mental image for the reader?
3) Expository Essay can take a variety of forms. It may tell how to make or do something, report on an experience, or explore an idea. Expository writing conveys information to the reader in such a way as to bring about understanding, whether it be of a process or procedure, or of the writer's ideas about a concept.
The purpose of this type of writing is to inform, clarify, explain, define, or instruct by giving information, explaining why or how, clarifying a process, or defining a concept. Well-written exposition has a clear, central presentation of ideas, examples or definitions that enhance the focus developed through a carefully crafted reader's understanding. These facts, examples, and definitions are objective and not dependent on emotion, although the writing may be lively, engaging, and reflective of the writer's underlying commitment to the topic.
Example of an Expository Prompt
Below is an example of an expository prompt. The first component orients the student to the topic: jobs or chores. The second component suggests that the student think about various jobs or chores and then explain why a particular job or chore is done.
Everyone has jobs or chores.
Directions for Writing:
Before you begin writing, think about one of your jobs or chores.
Now explain why you do your job or chore.
What to consider when writing an expository essay:
What process are you trying to explain? Why is it important?
Who or what does the process affect?
Are there different ways of doing the process? If so, what are they?
Who are the readers? What knowledge do they need to understand this process?
What skills/equipment are needed for this?
How long does the process take? Is the outcome always the same?
How many steps are there in the process?
Why is each step important?
What difficulties are involved in each step? How can they be overcome?
Do any cautions need to be given?
Does the process have definitions that need to be clarified?
Are there other processes that are similar and could help illustrate the process that you are writing about?
If needed, tell what should not be done or why something should be done.
Expository papers are often written in the second person (you), but some teachers prefer that you avoid this. Check with your teacher.
Your responses to these questions and statements should enable you to write an effective expository essay.
Suggested transition words to lead readers through your essay
Expository essays are generally organized according to time: that is, they begin with the first step in the process and proceed in time until the last step in the process. It's natural, then, that transition words indicate that one step has been completed and a new one will begin. Some common transitional words used in these essays are listed below.
essays teaching writing
After a few hours,
In the end,
At the same time,
In the future,
In the meantime,
In the meanwhile,
Last, Last but not least, Lastly,
Next, Soon after,
First, Second, Third, etc.
First of all,
4) Persuasive Essay states an opinion and supports it convincingly. It considers the nature of the audience and marshals evidence accordingly. It is neither completely objective nor wholly emotional. Instead, it uses the controlled feelings of the writing to persuade the audience.
Persuasive writing moves the reader to take an action or to form or change an opinion. This type of writing is assessed for three reasons:
1) it requires thinking skills such as analysis, synthesis and evaluation;
2) it requires writers to choose from a variety of situations and to take a stand; and
3) it is a skill frequently used in school and the workplace.
Persuasive writing has several functions: to state and support a position, opinion or issue; to defend, refute or argue.
Definition of persuasive writing
The purpose of this type of writing is to convince the reader to accept a particular point of view or to take a specific action. If it is important to present other sides of an issue, the writer does so, but in a way that makes his or her position clear. The unmistakable purpose of this type of writing is to convince the reader of something. In well-written persuasion, the topic or issue is clearly stated and elaborated as necessary to indicate understanding and conviction on the part of the writer.
Example of Persuasive Prompt
In the prompt below, the topic is the effects of watching television. The second component suggests that the student think about how watching television affects grades and then write to convince the school principal to accept the student's point of view.
The principal of your school has been asked to discuss with a parent group the effect watching TV has on students' grades.
Directions for Writing:
Think about the effect watching TV has on your grades and your friends' grades.
Now write to convince your principal to accept your point of view on the effect watching TV has on grades.
1.3 Teaching creative writing techiques
There are a lot of techniques to teach writing. On of them is using mind maps. Using mind maps is effective to develop writing. Mind maps can be used for a multitude of purposes. They can effectively be used to help support and develop students' writing skills. A mind map1, or spidergram, is a strategy for making notes on a topic, prior to writing. It is a structured strategy, which shows the (hierarchical) relationship of ideas, as opposed to an unstructured strategy, such as brainstorming, in which students produce notes at random on paper.Having an organised display of information from the outset of the writing process may help some students, as it is more easily converted into a draft, whereas in brainstorming, the random recording of ideas might lead to problems with the structure of students' texts.Making a mind map should be a spontaneous pre-writing activity. Students start with a topic at the centre and then generate a web of ideas from that, developing and relating these ideas as their mind makes associations.Mind maps work well as their visual design enables students to see the relationship between ideas, and encourages them to group certain ideas together as they proceed. Mind maps work especially well when created in groups, since the discussion this engenders aids the production of ideas, and makes the task livelier and more enjoyable. The procedure for organizing mind map is the following:
1. Choosing a topic.Traditionally, students are given a topic to write on by the teacher. However, with certain classes, students may prefer to nominate the topic themselves. This can lead to greater interest in the task on the part of the student, as well as, perhaps, greater knowledge of the topic under study.The mind map strategy can be used to explore almost any topic, though discursive essays and narrative work particularly well as they front students' ideas and lend themselves to discussing ideas in groups. For instance, choose a discursive essay with the title "Why do people start smoking?" In this genre the language is used to give reasons and explanations. The discursive text is useful in highlighting this feature of English, and in raising awareness of the noun phrase, a particularly tricky area for intermediate students.
2) Making a note. Ask your student to close their eyes and think about it for a minute or two, in silence. They then have two minutes in which to note down their ideas. If they do not know a word in English, they can write it in L1 at this stage, as dictionaries or too much teacher intervention tend to halt and inhibit the creative flow.Then, working in groups, they can compare and discuss their ideas, perhaps adding to their mind maps as they go. This stage also provides the opportunity for peer teaching, as other students may be available to provide the English word for the idea that was noted down in L1.
3. Feedback.The next stage, in which the teacher makes a collective mind map on the board, is optional, but is useful for students who are new to the idea of mind maps, or for weak classes. It is also in this feedback stage that any remaining language problems can be ironed out. As the teacher elicits students' ideas, and reformulates expressions or corrects, students will learn how to express their ideas in English. Such personalisation is said to aid vocabulary learning.The map is fluid and changeable, and new connections or subgroups can be made, or branches added, as the students make suggestions. The end result should be an organised display of information, showing the central topic, and a number of subtopics and further points that stem from it.
4. Organising mind maps.In the next stage the students organise their mind maps into a linear format to decide the best way in which to present their points. They should first think about the overall structure, i.e. the order in which to relay the information, and then focus on the precise function each paragraph will have in their final text, as this helps to clarify their writing. This can be done in groups, or as a class with the teacher leading the discussion.However it is carried out, it is important to provide a context and audience. I told my class, who were writing about drugs, that they were writing for their college magazine. Having an audience in mind helps students to decide which ideas are most important, and also helps students to choose the appropriate style.
5. Writing.Students should then begin to write their compositions, working in pairs if they wish.
After two paragraphs, they should exchange their compositions, so they become readers of each other's work. This allows for feedback, and possible re-writing. Once they have finished, they should again exchange their texts. This gives their texts a communicative purpose, as well as developing an awareness of the fact that a writer is always producing something to be read by someone else, rather than for the display of writing alone.
5. Continuation. Once students are familiar with the idea of making mind maps, they can be encouraged to use this skill for further writing activities. It is a useful technique and often improves the clarity and organisation of student texts.
Example of mind map
2. Practical approach to writing essays
2.1 Activities for writing an essay.
The following game are called "journalist" questions and provide a starting point for exploring an event. These questions are especially useful in the autobiographical essay or the reflection essay. These questions should not be answered in a necessarily direct way. Obviously, telling what happened will be direct, but exploring why an event happened can become the focus for you paper.
1-Who is involved?: Who are the participants? Who is affected? Who are the primary actors? Who are the secondary actors?
2-What?: What is the topic? What is the significance of the topic? What is the basic problem? What are the issues? What happened and what were the results?
3-Where?: Where does the activity take place? Where does the problem or issue have its source? At what place is the cause or effect of the problem most visible?
4-When?: When is the issue most apparent? (past? present? future?) When did the issue or problem develop? What historical forces helped shape the problem or issue and at what point in time will the problem or issue culminate in a crisis? When is action needed to address the issue or problem?
5-Why?: Why did the issue or problem arise? Why is it (your topic) an issue or problem at all? Why did the issue or problem develop in the way that it did?
6-How?: How did it happen? How is the issue or problem significant? How can it be addressed? How does it affect the participants? How can the issue or problem be resolved?
Pass around topics:
Use your classmates!!! Write your topic on the top of a blank piece of paper. Pass this paper around to your classmates, asking them to respond to your topic with questions they would expect to be answered by a paper on that particular topic, their feedback on the viability of the topic, comments they might have on the subject you want to discuss, etc. This exercise should provide you with two things: new angles and perspectives from which to consider your topic, and feedback from your audience about what they know/don't know about your topic (and thus what information you may need to provide.)
This is another exercise for which you need others' help. In your group, have everyone write down their topics on a slip of paper. Fold these slips of paper and shake them. Choose one of the topics. Once the topic is chosen, have each person start with a blank piece of paper and do a 5-minute freewrite on the topic--whatever comes to mind (questions, comments, suggestions, personal opinion). When the 5 minutes are up, have each person read their freewrite aloud. Now, do another 5 minute freewrite on the same topic; this time, feel free to comment on what you heard the others in your group write about the topic, even if you disagree. Follow this procedure for each topic (there shouldn't be more than 3 people in your group, which means you will have six 5-minute freewrites total for each person.) When all of the topics have been written on and read out loud, each person should return their writings to the person whose topic it was on. This is a lot of writing, but in the end, you have 30 minutes worth of freewriting on your topic and abundant material!
In this invention exercise, you will be freewriting to find an angle on your topic. Write your topic on the top of a blank sheet of paper (or a blank computer screen). Freewrite for 10 minutes about whatever comes to mind about your topic (directions you might want to take this paper in, questions you want to answer, points you want to make, etc.) After you have done this first freewrite, go back and read what you wrote. Find a "hot spot" ( a particular line, word, comment, etc. that interests you). Write that line on the top of another blank piece of paper or blank screen. Write for 10 more minutes. Repeat this 3 times total. At the end, you should have discovered several angles from which to approach your topic.
Looping is a freewriting technique that allows you to increasingly focus your ideas in trying to discover a writing topic. You loop one 5-10 minute freewriting after another, so you have a sequence of freewritings, each more specific than the other. The same rules that apply to freewriting apply to looping: write quickly, do not edit, and do not stop.
Freewrite on an assignment for 5-10 minutes. Then, read through your freewriting, looking for interesting topics, ideas, phrases, or sentences. Circle those you find interesting. A variation on looping is to have a classmate circle ideas in your freewriting that interests him or her.
Then freewrite again for 5-10 minutes on one of the circled topics. You should end up with a more specific freewriting about a particular topic.
Loop your freewriting again, circling another interesting topic, idea, phrase, or sentence.
When you have finished four or five rounds of looping, you will begin to have specific information that indicates what you are thinking about a particular topic. You may even have the basis for a tentative thesis or an improved idea for an approach to your assignment when you have finished.
Students may be assigned or may choose different positions on an issue and argue those positions. Debating requires that they think about their position, gather evidence, and organize their argument--all good ways to generate ideas and plan for writing a text.
Later rereading of an electronic discussion can help students think about their ideas in new ways as well as recall the ideas they've expressed. This kind of interaction always helps students think about the audience for their ideas because they are writing for specific, real people whom they know.
Activity: With a group of other students, select a short literary text to read or reread. Assign roles based on characters in the text to each participant. In an electronic environment, assume the role of your character to discuss an issue or event central to the text.
2.2 Activities for teaching writing techniques
You write as though you were talking out loud to yourself. If you bog down and need an idea booster, simply become the second voice--ask a question and resume the conversation. Use short, quick answers to keep the ideas flowing.
This approach can be fun, and it can lead to some discoveries fast. Writing dialogue is often a good preliminary creating technique. It gives you ideas that you can then use in another prewriting technique: cubing, for example
Thank You Mr. Restaurant
Duration: 45 minutes
Description: Letter writing is an important task for students to learn to master. This lesson helps students begin this process.
Goals:To write a letter to a local restaurant.
1. Students will learn the letter writing process.
2. Students will write letters to their favorite restaurant.
Materials:Paper, pens, addresses
Stage 1 Students brainstorm their favorite restaurants and record those restaurants on the board.
Stage 2Show the students how to write a letter including Dear... and Sincerely,
Stage 3After students have decided on their favorite restaurants, they write down why they like to eat at the restaurant, and what they like to eat.
Stage 4 Using this information they write the letter and thank the manager for their service.
Stage 5 Teacher checks these for errors and have the students edit and rewrite them. Send them off to the restaurants.
Assessment: Check for spelling, grammar, and complete sentence structure.
Another activity is also used to teach creative writing. In order to make students interested in writing a teacher should make the tasks more creative. The following tasks are examples and can be used in teaching writing. We applied them in secondary school English classes and found them very effective. In the book writing task is given in a form of writing suggestions. As we analyzed this textbook, most writing tasks are based on writing suggestions. That's why to change such tasks and be more creative, we chose this task. Students like to speak from different point of view imagining themselves like birds, animals and etc. They like to imagine unreal things which can be very handy for learning too.
Unit 9. Travelling “Fly High” 7. pp72 Lesson 1. Planning a trip.
Activity 1. Birds of a Feather
1) Have the students imagine that they are birds.
2) Tell them to write about a trip that they recently took, but from a bird's perspective. For example, if they went to another state, ask them to tell what it looked like from up in the sky and they can describe the places that they "landed" such as on a statue or on someone's head!
3) Another option is to plan their trip to different countries from a bird's perspective.
This activity can also be used in this unit but here students imagine that during their trip there happened some funny or interesting stories and write imaginative story. The following scheme will help them to organize the events of the story. For younger learners such activities may seem complicated and that's why it is better to use easier tasks for creative writing. To make writing more fun it is better to use writing templates. These templates will help students to give ideas how to write and make writing task more exciting. Moreover, using such writing templates help them to a certain idea where to start and how to write. For this case we chose “Fly High” 5.
This is my family
Using family tree template students write about their families. The template already has a sample of writing so that students could use it as an example. After they fill in the template using the information they write a short story about their family.
In the second table students learn to speak about their daily life. Writing task is given but it is only writing sentences. Combining those sentences and using Activity Timetable Worksheet they can easily a short story about their daily routine. As we mentioned above writing should be taught not in separate sentences but in a context where students can understand what they are writing about. After they finish, they can do peer checking. ( the sample is enclosed)
My favorite season.
The main aim of this game to teach students about seasons and weather in England. Writing task is given in the form of writing poems which is also a type of creative writing, but before writing the poem it is better if students work on writing a short story about weather. Using the template, in their stories they can write about the weather and also types of clothing they can wear in those seasons. Before doing this activity, students should be introduced some vocabulary such clothing and weather types.
Writing poem is also very effective activity for students to develop their writing skills. During our research work, we applied an activity for composing poems which is called “Diamond poetry”.
Diamond poetry provides a creative language arts writing center activity that usesalternative assessment to test student knowledge of nouns, verbs, and adjectives. The theme season is the perfect topic to combine writing with revising grammar.Diamond poems are a great way to combine parts of speech, love of language, and anappreciation of nature. Diamond poems also encourage an understanding of relationshipssince the top and the bottom lines of the poem are dissimilar but related in some way.
Materials: White board, white board markers, a worksheet or poster with diamond poemguidelines, computer with word processing software, printer, scissors, glue, constructionpaper.
Group Activity (Modeling):
1) First brainstorm with students possible poetry topics. Write the topics on theboard without commenting. (Possible topics: winter, spring, summer, autumn, flowers, sun, colors,etc.)
2) Encourage students to explain how seemingly different topics are related. Forinstance, students might notice that in spring the weather is very sunny, in winter it is cold, etc.)
3) Next, model the crafting of a seven-line diamond poem .
4) In the first line, students will write a one word concrete noun based on one of thebrainstormed topics. For instance, a student might write the word “flower” at thetop of his or her page
5) In line two, students should write two adjectives to describe the noun in the firstline (Ex: beautiful, nice)
6) In line three, students should think of three verbs that tell what the noun in lineone does (Ex: grow, bloom, bend)
7) Now students should skip down to line seven and write a noun that is seeminglydifferent but related in some way to the first noun. (Ex: tree ) This seventh lineof poetry will end the poem.
8) Now going back to line four, students should write four nouns that are common toor that somehow connect the nouns in lines one and seven (Ex: Water, Mud, Sky, Sun)
9) In line five, students should write three verbs that tell what the bottom word does(Ex: grow, move, break)
10) Finally, in line six, students should write two adjectives to describe the noun in line seven. ( Ex. Tall, strong)
If centered, the resulting poem will make the shape of a diamond.
1) At the writing center, provide a worksheet to guide students through the line-by line requirements of the assignment.
2) Students should now be able to write a diamond poem of their own.
3) Have students publish their final draft using word processing software such as Microsoft Word. If students use the Center Justify function, the printed poem will be the shape of a diamond. Students should use a moderately large font (such as 14) in a style of their choice.
4) Have students cut out their printed diamond poem.
5) Glue the printed diamond poems to bright construction paper for display.
Assessment: Be sure to provide students with assessment guidelines atthe beginning of the activity.
a) Did the student use specific concrete nouns for the first, fourth, and seventh lines?
b) Did the student use vivid adjectives in the second and sixth lines?
c) Did the student use interesting verbs in the third and fifth lines?
d) Does the poem show a clear relationship between two seemingly unrelated nouns?
e) Is the final draft free of spelling errors?
f) Did the student use the center justify function in order to create a diamond shaped poem?
g) Did the student neatly cut out the diamond poem?
h) Is the finished poem glued to a bright piece of construction paper?
This type of composing a poem is real fun for students but teachers should take into account their level of knowledge. To compose such poems, students should have enough vocabulary and know parts of speech. When we used this activity with younger students (5th Grade), it was a little bit difficult. For older students (7th Grade) it was real fun. (Samples of students Diamond poems are enclosed).
"Poems as Motivators to Write"
In this activity the teacher picks a poem that tells a story or that he/she knows would be of interest to the student population who are being taught. After reading the poem, the students are asked what the poem makes them think about. Teacher encourages different lines of thought and perspective by asking probing questions that are designed to help the children elaborate on their thoughts. Then he/she encourages the students to write some of their thoughts evoked by the poem. Teacher should explain to them that many poems expressive feelings and that poems can stimulate thoughts and emotions in others.
A good way to reinforce writing is to require that students write in journals. We also did this with all students especially after lessons that require reflections on the topics we covered. It gets students to think about what we talked about and it gets them to unleash their ideas about the topic in a non-threatening way. We checked the journals because we wanted to know how students are approaching the topics we learn about in class. It also gives us insight into how much they have processed and to what extent. Journal writing is a good way to get students to write what they are truly thinking.
Another writing activity is giving students a certain situation where they can create their own ideas according to the given situation. Again, ready made templates are given to students in order to give them an idea to get started. Templates are enclosed. The topics can be changed in accordance with the themes in their textbooks.
This type of activity is good in the stage of proofreading. Peer checking gives more opportunity for students to check each other and learn from each other. At the end of each writing activity students can do proof reading activity and it can be done in the following way.
Description: This activity gives students an opportunity to move around as they proofread and edit their essays.
Goals: To help students learn the editing process.
Objectives: a) Students will learn the 5 steps of the editing process.
b) Students will learn how to peer edit.
Materials: Construction Paper (6 sheets,) one for each station, pens
Activities: 1. Use each sheet of paper to write the following words for each station. One should be labeled Punctuation Station, the 2nd should say Intro, the 3rd should say Organization, the 4th should be labeled details, and the 5th should be labeled details. The 6th should be labeled rough draft. This is where students who don't ring there rough draft with them will write their rough draft.
2. Give each student a set of five random numbers. Tell students these are the order of the stations they will visit.
3. Have students go to each station for 10-15 minutes examining each other's papers for each of the stations edits. Tell the students it is important to give explain why they have chosen to edit what they have edited.
Assessment: Examine each paper to make sure the complete editing process was understood.
“Creating Photo Essays”
Photo essays are a special type of writing; they tell stories with a group of photographs that are connected to a theme. One activity using photo essays as a type of writing includes having students pick a topic (in any content area) that they would like to "write" about. Tell them that they have to collect photographs or pictures that represent the topic. Once they have their collections and you gave them a chance to discuss the relevance of the photos to the topic, ask them to arrange the photos in such a way (sequentially, etc.) that tell a story or relay the message related to the topic they chose. Students love to express their thoughts about topics using this medium. If you have technology to complete this activity, you can have students cut and paste their story using photos or images that they find on the Internet. This is a great activity for group work. This type of activity can be applied in any unit but the topic should be combined with the unit topic.
Script Writing.(Integrating reading, writing and speaking skills)
This activity is very good for students as most of them like soap operas. In “Fly High” 7 there is a lesson about TV programs and this activity can be used to talk about students' favorite soap operas.
Main part. Brainstorming.
What is soap opera?Do you like soap operas?How often do you watch them?
How many soaps can you name? (Write down as many as you can)
There are 12 questions and 12 short texts for students to read and match.It's time to create their own soap opera now. In small groups they read five steps that explain how to create their soap.
Stepl. Location.Think of a name for the location of the soap you are going to write.
Step2. Characters.Imagine that you are a member of one of the families on the soap opera. Decided what type of character you have and what crisis you're presently living through.
Step3. Script.Look again at the ingredients of a successful soap and write a scene for anepisode, making sure you include lots of drama, an educational message, and acliffhanger.
Step 4. Catchphrase.
Your scene must use three of the catchphrases. A catchphrase is a phrase that a particular character often says. (How about a nice cup of black coffee? You fool! You stupid idiot! It's the truth, I promise. I've got one of my headaches. You never listen when I'm talking to you. I'm going to say this once and once only. Don't you ever talk to me like that again! What exactly are you trying to say? All I want is for you to be happy. Now, what were you saying?)
Step 5. Performance
When your scene is ready, perform it.
Teaching students to produce a successful written text is a complex task which requires simultaneous control over a number of language systems as well as an ability to factor in considerations of the ways the discourse must be shaped for a particular audience and a particular purpose. Teaching students to become successful writers is no less a complex task. But it can be a tremendously rewarding one as well.
In this research work we have presented some of the issues involved in applying writing activities in teaching thewriting class. As the ability to write well in English language is no doubt even more difficult to achieve than the ability to read, speak, or understand the language, it is not surprising that many students take several years to achieve even a modicum of success. What must be emphasized to teachers in training is the importance of designing activities and shaping classes with a clear understanding of how the acquisition of written skills can be fostered. Our real goal is to gradually wean our students away from us, providing them with strategies and tools for their continued growth as writers and for the successful fulfillment of future writing tasks they might face once they have completed their last writing course with us. Earlier hopes to find the best method "were based on the faulty assumptions that there was a best method and one just had to find it, that teaching writing was a matter of prescribing a logically ordered set of written tasks and exercises, and that good writing conformed to a predetermined and ideal model" (Zamel, 1987, p. 697). There can be no "best" method when students' learning styles are so different; our hope now is rather to find methodologies which empower students rather than restrict them, and to create courses which arise from principled decisions derived from thorough research investigations.
The growth of composition studies as a discipline with its own independent body of research (apart from, say, literary studies or linguistic studies) has enormously influenced the formal training of English. For EFL teachers to be able to provide courses which assist their students in learning to produce academic prose, their training should be no less than other skills.
It has been the major aim of our research work to emphasize the fact that teaching writing skills is particularly important at the initial stage of language learning since it helps students establish a good basis in learning other skills such as reading, speaking and listening. We worked out a series of activities for improving students' writing skills and combined them with the tasks given in the textbooks. When we analyzed the textbook activities, we found that most of them teach writing in phrases or sentences. The activities which we applied teach students mostly creative writing and make them be more motivated in writing.
We tried to vary writing tasks, make them more creative and we came to a conclusion that students love writing because of interesting tasks . We both benefit : students because learning to write is enjoyable for them , teachers benefit because they feel the need to improvise , to make writing more attractive to students and think of and look for more creative tasks. In order to be able to select and use appropriate procedures and materials, as well as assess theirlearners needs and progress, teachers need to be clear regarding the desirable outcomes of a writingprogramme and the processes involved in good writing.
In order to help EFL learners become more effective writers, we need to make a crucial distinctionbetween language accuracy and writing skills. That is, a learner may be able to write sentences whichare satisfactory for his/her level in terms of grammar, syntax and vocabulary and still be unable toproduce an effective text. Of course, in most cases learners will have problems in both areas(language and writing skills). Therefore, it is crucial for us to be able to look beneath the layer oflanguage problems to discover writing problems.This leads us to another important distinction, the one between grammar/vocabulary development andwriting skills development. We need to remember that language input/practice alone cannot result inthe development of writing skills. Special activities in writing lessons are necessary, in which learners are guidedto become aware of all the elements of good writing, supported with information and examples, providedwith opportunities for practice, and given focused feedback on their performance. We canalso plan lessons which integrate work on language with work on writing skills. In such cases, it isimportant for us to be clear about the aims/focus of different stages in the lesson.In order to be able to select and use appropriate procedures and materials, as well as assess theirlearners needs and progress, teachers need to be clear regarding the desirable outcomes of a writingprogramme and the processes involved in good writing.
In conclusion, if teachers are eager to be more creative and innovative, they can find various activities to improve writing skills but they should take into consideration the following facts:
1) to create tasks in accordance with students level of English and interest
2) to teach writing starting from skill building exercises to process based
3) to get started form pre-writing techniques to proof reading
4) to let students do peer checking
5) to use techniques mentioned above
1) Arnold, Jane.Affect in Language Learning. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1999
2) Boden, Margaret.The Creative Mind. London: Abacus. 1998
3) Carter, Ronald. Language and Creativity: the art of common talk. London: Routledge. 2004
4) Cook, Guy. Language Play: Language Learning. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 2000
5) Day, Richard and Julian Bamford.Extensive reading in the Second Language Classroom. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press 1998
6) Dornyei,ZoltanMotivational Strategies in the Language Classroom. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 2001...
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