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Writing part 2: The agony of choice!

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During a stressful exam a bit of certainty can be a true comfort. In part 1 of their First writing paper our students know they will be confronted with an essay. Part 2, however, requires our students to select from three of four possible task types. Will they choose wisely? Indeed, how should students make this choice? Should they develop a favourite genre? Does it all depend on how comfortable they are with the topic in question or how much vocabulary they think they know related to it? This session will look at what we teachers can do to make sure our students are as prepared as possible to tackle Part 2 successfully.

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Writing part 2: The agony of choice!

  1. 1. Brian Engquist May 2017 #PearsonMorning Writing part 2: the agony of choice!
  2. 2. Have a chocolate! 2
  3. 3. Have a cake! 3
  4. 4. Choice: that’s a good thing, right?! 4
  5. 5. Or is it? 5 You’re spoilt for choice! The agony of choice! Wer die Wahl hat hat die Qual (who has choice, has agony) Avoir l’embarras du choix (to have the embarrassment/ difficulty of choice)
  6. 6. 6 SPOILT AGONY EMBARRASSMENT difficulty
  7. 7. Wilkin & Sons jams – study on choice (Sheena Ivengar – Columbia University) 7
  8. 8. Try a jam 8 6 jams to try 40% of people stop 24 jams to try 60% of people stop ($1 off coupon if you stop) BUT… 6 jams to try 30% later buy 24 jams to try 3% later buy
  9. 9. CONCLUSION: Choice can be debilitating! 9
  10. 10. 10 But, in part 2 of the writing exam we don’t have 24 options. We have… …how many options do we have?
  11. 11. 11 Part 2 writing: How many questions are there? …how many question types are there?
  12. 12. 12 1) How many questions are there?
  13. 13. 2) How many question types are there? 13
  14. 14. Question types… 14
  15. 15. 15 A) Divide it into sections You may include bullet points and headings. E) Use direct or indirect questions to add colour and involve the reader. Give it a catchy title to grab the reader’s attention. B) Include specific details and give your opinion . Use vivid language to add interest. D) Open with an informal greeting. Use contractions. Short sentences are acceptable. C) Avoid contractions, colloquial language, direct questions and informal punctuation such as exclamation marks. A) Report B) Review C) (semi) Formal letter/ email D) Informal letter / email E) Article
  16. 16. We know what the question types are… …can we predict the topics? 16 A) Report B) Review C) (semi) Formal letter/ email D) Informal letter / email E) Article
  17. 17. Let’s have a look at some questions Sources: Past exams Practice tests plus 17 GOLD First Expert First
  18. 18. Informal letter / email • Letter from friend, wants to plan your visit to see them, wants to know what you think of possibilities and if you have questions. • Friend visiting you in summer, likes music, wants to know about popular music, concerts and tickets. • Friend going to visit you, wants to know what there is to do and how to get around – bus, train etc. • Friend going to visit you. What is there to do? Transport? Museums? • Letter to friend telling him about your new school. • Letter introducing yourself to penfriend – talk about yourself, your family and how you can meet. 18
  19. 19. Informal letter / email • Letter from friend, wants to plan your visit to see them, wants to know what you think of possibilities and if you have questions. • Friend visiting you in summer, likes music, wants to know about popular music, concerts and tickets. • Friend going to visit you, wants to know what there is to do and how to get around – bus, train etc. • Friend going to visit you. What is there to do? Transport? Museums? • Letter to friend telling him about your new school. • Letter introducing yourself to penfriend – talk about yourself, your family and how you can meet. 19
  20. 20. (Semi) formal letter • Covering letter applying for a job in summer camp *2 • You have won a prize – which option would you prefer • Apply for a place on a free drama course • Letter applying for place on volunteer course and asking about accommodation, food transport • Letter to travel agent telling them about yourself so they can find the right holiday for you • Letter applying for job organizing music festivals • Letter applying for job as a lifeguard • Responding to a letter of complaint 20
  21. 21. (Semi) formal letter • Covering letter applying for a job in summer camp *2 • You have won a prize – which option would you prefer • Apply for a place on a free drama course • Letter applying for place on volunteer course and asking about accommodation, food transport • Letter to travel agent telling them about yourself so they can find the right holiday for you • Letter applying for job organizing music festivals • Letter applying for job as a lifeguard • Responding to a letter of complaint 21
  22. 22. Review • Film review *2 • Book review – character that did something surprising • Website review • Review of TV series • Review of a music festival • Review of a concert • Review of a musical • Review of a campsite • Restaurant review 22
  23. 23. Review • Film review *2 • Book review – character that did something surprising • Website review • Review of a TV series • Review of a music festival • Review of a concert • Review of a musical • Review of a campsite • Restaurant review 23
  24. 24. Report • School has money to spend on improving facilities. Different options, talk about pros and cons. • School principal wants to make changes to classrooms – report on what to do • Report about what your peers think about your new school magazine (articles, sports page, news section) and how it could be improved • Report about family life in your country – activities for families, are grandparents involved, how family life has changed • Report on a film • Report about an amusement park • Report about places to eat out in your area: views of visitors/locals, trends, dissatisfaction, make recommendation 24
  25. 25. Report • School has money to spend on improving facilities. Different options, talk about pros and cons. • School principal wants to make changes to classrooms – report on what to do • Report about what your peers think about your new school magazine (articles, sports page, news section) and how it could be improved • Report about family life in your country – activities for families, are grandparents involved, how family life has changed • Report on a film • Report about an amusement park • Report about places to eat out in your area: views of visitors/locals, trends, dissatisfaction, make recommendation 25
  26. 26. Article • Talk about an important celebration in your country • Write an article about something you would like to have and why • Talk abut the most useful thing you’ve learned • Favourite computer game • How to keep fit • How people of your age in your country feel about the future: job, study opportunities. • Talk about the music you like, like music you see and recommend music from your country • Article recommending a tourist destination in your country • Article about how you’ve raised money for charity • What would you do with lots of money? 26
  27. 27. Article • Talk about an important celebration in your country • Write an article about something you would like to have and why • Talk about the most useful thing you’ve learned • Favourite computer game • How to keep fit • How people of your age in your country feel about the future: job, study opportunities. • Talk about the music you like, like music you see and recommend music from your country • Article recommending a tourist destination in your country • Article about how you’ve raised money for charity • What would you do with lots of money? 27
  28. 28. Conclusions 28 There are some topic areas that often appear and it is worth having some vocabulary up your sleeve for them (also, as teachers be aware of this language and how it can feed into the writing) This is a section of the exam we can ‘revise’ for
  29. 29. Before we start…how are we assessed? 29 CONTENT COMMUNICATIVE ACHIEVEMENT ORGANISATION LANGUAGE Have you done what the task asked? Have you covered all the points? Is your answer appropriate and have you used the right register? Is your answer logical and ordered? Have you used a wide range of vocabulary and grammar? Is your writing accurate? ? ? ? ?
  30. 30. 30 Can we mark according to the rubric?
  31. 31. 31 Provide marked sample answers to help students (and teachers!) get a ‘feel’ for the marking
  32. 32. Teaching tips 32
  33. 33. Articles 33
  34. 34. What do you think your students might get wrong/miss points on? 34
  35. 35. 35 Who am I writing to / for? What style to I need? What info do I need to include / how many points do I need to make?
  36. 36. Have you done what the task asked? Have you covered all the points? 36 Analyse the question Make a plan Check your work
  37. 37. Make a plan 37 How long is the writing exam? 1 hr 20 mins = 80 mins = 40 mins per question Question 1 or 2 first? Possible time management: 10 plan 25 write 5 check Please, don’t write the whole thing twice!
  38. 38. Show them what success looks like 38 Appropriate style? Varied language? Is it engaging?
  39. 39. Show them what success looks like! 39 4º ESO students
  40. 40. What task is this from? 40
  41. 41. Reviews 41
  42. 42. A restaurant review like this one… 42
  43. 43. Let’s go back to that Word cloud 43
  44. 44. What point am I trying to make? 44 Have you used a wide range of vocabulary and grammar?
  45. 45. 45 The restaurant is in a good place, in the centre of Seville. The service is good, the waiters are friendly, but the food is very bad. When I got my steak, it was cold, which was very bad. However, the wine was very good and I drank two glasses.
  46. 46. 46 The restaurant has a great location, in the centre of Seville. The service is excellent; the waiters are very friendly indeed, but the food is nothing special. When I got my steak, it was cold, which was rather disappointing. However, the wine was exquisite and I drank two glasses.
  47. 47. Telescopictext.org 47
  48. 48. Let’s improve our work! 48
  49. 49. Reacting to and improving on students’ written work: other ideas Sentence level improvements on whiteboard, IWB or with projector. Full text writing conferences. Recorded feedback/writing conferences. 49
  50. 50. Writing reference 50
  51. 51. 51
  52. 52. 52
  53. 53. Making our own writing reference Collaborative For use in class and at home (take photos) Created by students and added to by students. What can we include? 53
  54. 54. 54
  55. 55. 55 Sample answer: key structures highlighted
  56. 56. 56 Useful functional language
  57. 57. 57 Common errors
  58. 58. 58 Key vocab: music, concert, festival
  59. 59. 59 Key vocab: food restaurant
  60. 60. 60 Key vocab: film / TV series
  61. 61. Go digital! 61
  62. 62. 62
  63. 63. Formal and informal letters / emails 63
  64. 64. Formal and informal email / letter 64
  65. 65. Formality 65 Is your answer appropriate and have you used the right register?
  66. 66. Formal Informal  Words of Latin/French origin residence  Words of Anglo-Saxon origin home  Single-word verbs to arise, to mount / to board  Phrasal verbs, idioms with get to get up, to get on  Formal Connecting words In addition, furthermore, However, on the other hand, Therefore, consequently  Informal connecting words And, But, So  Impersonal constructions it is said that the price has been increased one never knows, it can be argued  Active constructions They say that they’ve put the price up you never know, you can argue  Abstract nouns Is happiness possible during unemployment? After clarification of the problem areas..  Modal verbs, adjectives, clauses etc Can people be happy when they haven’t got a job? When the bits everyone was getting wrong had been explained…  Not ending with prepositions; use of whom (To whom were you speaking?)  Ending with prepositions (Who were you speaking to?)  Complex sentences The student, who was late for class, sprinted across the ground.  Simple sentences The student was late for class. He sprinted across the ground.  Use of inversions for conditionals and emphasis Should you require further information, please contact …  Inversion sometimes used for emphasis Only then did I realise …  No contractions in writing (I will)  Contractions is writing (I’ll, we’d) 66
  67. 67. 67 Choose the correct alternative
  68. 68. 68 ‘Correct’ the language to make it more / less formal with varying levels of support
  69. 69. Juxtaposition: practice them in close proximity? 69
  70. 70. Fork in the road 70
  71. 71. 71 London Birmingham Manchester Liverpool Leeds Glasgow Sheffield Bradford Edinburgh Bristol Cardiff Coventry Nottingham Leiceter Sunderland Belfast 1 2 3 4
  72. 72. Provide the sentences afterwards: 1) categorise 2) what are they for? 72 1)It would be a pleasure to become aquainted with you. 2)Well, that’s all for now. Do write back soon. 3)I should like to take this opportunity to inform you about… 4)Must dash now – I need to finish my homework. 5)I ‘d better stop now and get on with my studying. 6)I would appreciate being given the opportunity to… 7)I would be grateful if you would send me further details. 8)I look forward to hearing from you at your earliest convenience.
  73. 73. 73 Use this with anything binary: What prefix does the Word take? IN or UN? Minimal pairs for pronunciation Word stress verb/noun (contrast, upgrade…) Does it take the gerund of the infinitive?
  74. 74. Reports 74
  75. 75. 75
  76. 76. 76
  77. 77. 77 Thisreportwillexposetheviewsof thestudents Isuggesttoreducepollution The60%ofthestudentsbelieve… Irecommendpeopletolifetheirlive Irecommendconscientiaitingpeople Irecommendyoutointroduce Can you correct these mistakes? Iadviseyouimprovethefacilities
  78. 78. So, which one to choose? 78 1) Choice isn’t so bad, as long as our choice is informed! 2) Consider all three topics: what ideas and vocabulary spring to mind? 3) Prepare for ALL the task types. 4) PREPARE for all the task types
  79. 79. 79 Mail: brian.engquist@pearson.com Twitter: @BrianEngquist1 Blog: http://eltlearningjourneys.com/ Web: www.pearsonelt.es Any questions?
  80. 80. Elena’s feedback Slide 3: is it really necessary? Slide 2 and 3 are very similar. Slide 5: love your comments. Indeed, in Spanish, it’d just be the opposite …something like…. “para gustos los colores”?. I do remember a saying in French, though, very similar, something about nature, choix, will check that out. Slide 15: I’m sure you’ve taken those strategies from our books, however, I am not sure whether the difference btw review and article is that clear. I totally think e) could also apply to reviews and the other way around. Maybe find other strategies for those two in which the difference is clearer? Slide 16: I think I’d do this with the whole audience, since you’ve already had them working in pairs in previous slide (but up to you, of course!) Slide 25: revise notes (unfinished :) Slide 37: personally, I spend more time checking my work than planning it (so 5 min planning, 10 min checkin). Might not be the most appropriate way (as you say, planning is essential), but is it realistic that the students will spend 10 min planning during the exam task? (again, this is my personal opinion :) Slide 44: ohhhhh, very nice fresh way of using Word clouds! Love it! (and will probably copy it for other talks hahaha). Slide 67: not sure it’s necessary. Slide 69: hahahahaha Add a last slide promoting our blog and webinars? I’ve started to do it in all my talks and I see people are interested. The rest is great: I love the intro with the jam study. Also, nice analytic work you did trying to come up with common topics for each type of writing. I like the telescopictext thing but I’d love to see how it works (I know it’s pretty simple but can’t get to understand the mechanics hahahaha). I think that the handout with all that info for the teachers will come in pretty handy. Finally, the only problem I see, as with most of our presentations, is TIME! 81

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