Monday, 7 February 2011

Improving writing across the curriculum...

Steps into good writing;

1. Use data to decide on the objectives-content and language  
2. Talk first to generate content and to practice ‘academic’ language                                                                              
3. Use good models and analyse the features                           
4. Taught not caught: teacher models the thought processes in writing                                                                            
5. Paired writing                                                         
6. Individual writing            

Starter activity- As a kinesthetic activity students can sort out the words from informal to formal...
Give them the flash cards which have words like;
Sling yer'ook.
Get lost!
Leave now.
Go away!
Take a long walk off a short pier.
Sod off!
Naff off.
Exit, pursued by a bear.
Members of the public are kindly requested to leave the building forthwith.
In case of fire exit the building via the rear staircase.
Please vacate the premises.
Please leave the building.
Get out of here.
Get thee hence!

And ask them to form a line which shows the transition of the most informal phrase to the most formal phrase.

The aim is to bring the students writing from 'spoken like' to the more 'written like' or to more formal writing.

Step 1-The graph is going down. The hotter the water, the faster the salt dissolves.

Step 2- The graph line shows a gradual decrease as the temperature increases; the higher the temperature, the faster the salt dissolves.  

Step 3-   The cooler the temperature, the longer it takes for the salt to dissolve as revealed by the steadily declining pattern of the graph line from my results. The higher the temperature the shorter amount of time taken.
Step 4-   The graph shows a proportional increase in the rate of dissolving with each of the different solutes investigated. Particles of solute move around faster as the temperature of the solvent increases. The temperature of the solvent affects the rate of dissolving.
In the first one, the pair is talking in between and they can understand each other because they are both in the same place. They can point to the graph and say things like "the graph is going down".

Talking like a scientist takes time and appropriate vocabulary. Teachers should model in their speaking and give the suitable vocabulary to the students to use in their writing. 

Another good exercise would be to give the students an image like this and in groups they share the roles of being a scientist, an artist, a historian, a mathematician and a writer to discuss about the image.       
It will activate their previous knowledge about the vocabulary to talk like a historian, a scientist etc. Teachers can give them extra support by providing them keywords in these jobs.        


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