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Getting Writing Right

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Keynote for Education Scotland's National Literacy Network

Keynote for Education Scotland's National Literacy Network

Published in: Education, Business
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  • 1. Do we value writing? •  Why do we ask students to write? •  Do we actually value the writing? •  If we don’t value it, why will students?
  • 2. •  We can only write what we can say. •  We can only say what we can think. •  But, if you can say it, you can write it. •  What does this tell us about speech?
  • 3. Spoken language “forms a constraint, a ceiling not only on the ability to comprehend but also on the ability to write, beyond which literacy cannot progress” Myhill and Fisher
  • 4. Robin Alexander “One of the reasons why talk is undervalued is that there is a tendency to see its function as primarily social… but... talk in classrooms is cognitive and cultural as well as social.”
  • 5. Conclusion: to improve writing we need to improve speaking. How do we do that?  
  • 6. Why aren’t we supposed to talk?
  • 7. What not to do  
  • 8. Independent learning vs. independence
  • 9. Teaching sequence for developing independence 3. Joint construction 2. Modelling & deconstruction 1. Setting the context & building the field 4. Independent construction
  • 10. EXPLAIN •  Clear – As simple as possible but not simpler – Abstract to concrete •  Relevant – ‘Anchored’ in prior knowledge – Knowledge gaps •  Memorable – Unexpected - “Huh?” – Construct narratives  
  • 11. Functional Grammar •  Concerned with meaning: – Participants – Processes – Circumstances •  The old man enjoyed riding his new bike up and down the corridors of the old people’s home.
  • 12. Functional Grammar •  Concerned with meaning: – Participants – Processes – Circumstances •  The old man enjoyed riding his new bike up and down the corridors of the old people’s home.
  • 13. Explicitly teach processes •  Explicitly teach processes: – Doing, saying (show) – Sensing, being (tell) •  George’s parents gave him an axe and told him to be careful. He absolutely loved it and decided to test his strength by chopping down a tree.
  • 14. Explicitly teach processes •  Explicitly teach processes: – Doing, saying (show) – Sensing, being (tell) •  George’s parents gave him an axe and told him to be careful. He absolutely loved it and decided to test his strength by chopping down a tree.
  • 15. •  Deconstruction – High quality, subject specific texts/ examples – Make language visible – talk about what it’s doing •  Modelling – Teacher shares ‘expert’ thought processes: “I’m doing this because…” – Show how to use knowledge    
  • 16. •  Writing frames can both constrain and give choice •  Never put up scaffolding unless you have a plan for taking it down •  How can we get students to move away from ‘everyday speech’ to ‘academic register’?
  • 17. Lexical density & black space
  • 18. Lexical density & black space
  • 19. Lexical density & black space
  • 20. •  Turning up & turning down High Moderate Low Is Are Will Likely probably Might Could Can Unlikely - = + hate don’t like like love
  • 21. The  writer  has   used  the  phrase  _   _  _  _  _  _  to   imply…   This  might   mean  …   because…   This  could  also   suggest…   because…   The  word  _  _  _  _   is  effec9ve   because…   The  writer’s   inten9on  is…   Thought stems for English
  • 22. Nominalisation •  Turning verbs (actions) into nouns (concepts/ideas) makes you sound more confident and authoritative
  • 23. Spot the difference Crime  was  increasing   rapidly  and  the  police   were  becoming   concerned.   The  rapid  increase  in   crime  was  causing   concern  among  the   police.   Germany  invaded   Poland  in  1939.    This   immediately  caused   World  War  Two  to   break  out.   Germany’s  invasion  of   Poland  in  1939  was  the   immediate  cause  of  the   outbreak  World  War   Two.   hFp://theplenary.wordpress.com/2013/04/12/34/  
  • 24. •  Practice does not make perfect, practice makes permanent •  Don’t allow mistakes to be embedded •  The problem with feedback
  • 25. Proofreading •  Don’t write, draft •  Use a simple proofreading code •  Don’t mark work that’s not proofread •  If it’s not perfect, it’s not finished
  • 26. The Proofreading Code “If  it’s  not  proofread,  it’s  not  finished!”     C  –  Capital  le*ers   S  –  Spelling   P  –  Punctua3on   //  -­‐  Paragraphs   ?  –  doesn’t  make  sense  
  • 27. Teaching sequence for developing independence 3. Joint construction 2. Modelling & deconstruction 1. Setting the context & building the field 4. Independent construction
  • 28. Focus on how not what •  Use a mix short & long sentences •  Avoid ‘and’ & ‘but’ (except at the beginning of sentences!) •  Vary your discourse markers: as, although, while, despite
  • 29.   Adding: and, also, as well as, moreover, too Cause & effect: because, so, therefore, thus, consequently Sequencing: next, then, first, finally, meanwhile, before, after Qualifying: however, although, unless, except, if, as long as, apart from, yet Emphasising: above all, in particular, especially, significantly, indeed, notably Illustrating: for example, such as, for instance, as revealed by, in the case of Comparing: equally, in the same way, similarly, likewise, as with, like Contrasting: whereas, instead of, alternatively, otherwise, unlike, on the other hand Know your discourse markers   @RealGeoffBarton  
  • 30. Slow Writing
  • 31. Slow Writing Write an account of your day so far... 1.  Your first sentence must be a question 2.  Your second sentence must be 3 words exactly 3.  Your third sentence must being with “Although…” 4.  Your fourth sentence must be 22 words exactly 5.  Your final sentence must begin with an adverb (__ly)
  • 32. Crafting beautiful sentences •  Write a sentence in which above is the introductory word. •  Write a sentence in which above the house is the introductory phrase. •  Make it a sentence describing the weather. •  Now make it the first sentence of a ghost story. •  Now redraft the sentence so that the phrase above the house comes at the end. •  Challenge: re-draft the sentence so that the phrase above the house comes in the middle, the sentence describes the weather and comes from a ghost story.
  • 33. Slow Writing Crafting analytical sentences: Despite _______________, ____________ ____________________________________ Explain something positive about George & Lennie’s relationship Explain the consequences of Lennie’s actions
  • 34. Crafting beautiful sentences •  Farm animals give off large amounts of methane. Explain the effects of adding large amounts of methane to the atmosphere. ‘Considering that _______________, ____ _____________________________________
  • 35. Write a sentence describing the picture Landscape with the Fall of Icarus, Pieter Bruegel
  • 36. Now, start the sentence with the phrase, “At first glance…” Landscape with the Fall of Icarus, Pieter Bruegel @Doug_Lemov  
  • 37. Writing Essentials •  Focus on how not what •  Proofreading & redrafting is important •  Teach students to move away from ‘everyday speech’ to ‘academic register’
  • 38. David Didau @LearningSpy learningspy.co.uk ddidau@gmail.com There’s nothing good or bad but thinking makes it so

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