posted by jane on .
hello:)i have to give my class a writng exercise which has to involve all children.they all have to work on writing out one and the same text?any ideas?
I'm not sure I understand your question, but I'd photocopy the pages from the text so that each child has his/her own copy.
i have to devise a writing exercise which has to involve all children working on writing one text.so i need some ideas
I have an idea you can use or adapt. Hold on while I find it and get it posted.
From a Jane Schaffer unit:
"Of all the skills students must learn in writing, commentary is the most difficult. Writing commentary means giving your opinion and interpretation about something, and many students do not have much experience doing this. We believe in requiring commentary, though, because it is the higher level of thinking that goes into any essay and makes it interesting to read ...
[The words "you" and "your" in the following = the student.]
"Commentary means your personal opinion, response, reaction, or reflection about a specific detail you are making in an essay. When you write commentary, you are 'commenting on' a point you have made. Synonyms for commentary include 'analysis,' 'interpretation,' 'insight,' 'evaluation,' 'explication,' and 'discussion.' Commentary echoes the focus in your thesis and topic sentences in your essay.
"Commentary is a difficult skill to master because all the opinions and interpretations must come from you. Your techer will not supply the information you will need to write commentary. It is up to you to think of some original, individual statemsnts to make about your details and examples.
"To show you what commentary sounds like, read the following paragraph that describes an experience. It does not have commentary in it.
"Driving in the fog to Sacramento was a frightening experience. No signs were visible from the freeway, so I couldn't see if there were any gas stations nearby to fill my near-empty tank. In addition, it was 12:00 noon, and the fog was so thick that I couldn't read the exit signs until I started passing them. To make matters worse, a police car suddenly appeared ahead and drove at forty miles per hour for the next thirty minutes, and none of us were allowed to pass him. When I finally reached Sacramento that day, a great sense of relief permeated my body and mind.
"This paragraph has a thesis, three sentences of specific detail, and a concluding sentence. It does not have any commentary in the middle."
Now ... if you are interested in the rest of this lesson, please email me:
One exercise my students had fun with was group skits. After we had read one of Shakespeares plays and studied the play form, I divided the class into five groups. We talked as a class about the basic play plot and decided on a basic group of characters. Then each group took one of the Acts and wrote a script for that act. It was written in modern language NOT Shakespearean and the characters were relevant to teens. The class would decide whether the focus was drama or comedy. But the result was always funny.
If you want to order your own copy of any of her units, go here:
Jane Schaffer and her colleagues at one of the large high schools in San Diego have been very successful in training students, starting in grade 9, to do very, very well on AP exams.
The Commentary Packet is included in the Teaching the Multiparagraph Essay unit, and her units are terrific to use with high school freshmen, especially those who eventually plan to take AP classes in any subject.
You can either arrange for an inservice or you can order her curriculum guides (top left of the website).
My experience was this: I used this with both inexperienced writers and students who had not been well taught before they got to me. The commentary packet in the multiparagraph unit is the best part of it all. Kids resist it because they don't like "formula writing," but when they have few to no writing skills at all, this is an excellent place to start. Then once they have these concepts under control and can write paragraphs like these almost without thought, the teacher can start to teach variation and personal voice. But without the basic skills, there is very little chance for students to succeed in writing true essays.