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Writing activities

writing activities

We were both of the opinion that we needed to provide something radically different to try to get learners writing better essays as soon as possible.

Writing a very short essay of 200 + words does not come easy to young people who in the first instance tend a) not to know how to answer the question b) not to have many ideas to put in the written piece c) how to avoid being repetitive

We have created a sequence of activities consisting of :- the phrase level (listothèque), the sentence level, the sentence builder, the reasoning level, the lessivator the paragraph based essay planning tool We hope this logical progression wil enable learners to arrive at the challenging goal over the eight months preparation time for AS.

The listothèque puts related concepts together with a view to encouraging learners to generate ideas in a controlled brain storming when it comes to planning.

The sentence builder takes a short sentence and shows it a good time smile We adapt that sentence for differing contexts, showing how to set it in a time perspective, to say where it comes from, to discuss cause and effect, to avoid over generalizing and finally to build complex sentences with ce qui/ce que.

The lessivator takes a wide range of differing reasoning contexts and gives appropriate "starters" which learners can draw on. We don't, like most "lists of expressions" leave the learner in the lurch. In the essay planning tool we try to show the thought processes of addressing a piece of examination writing, going from the controlled brainstorming to producing full paragraphs where we show the lessivator starters in context. We finally create two contrasting essays which take the paragraphs off in two different directions in order to show the learner that there is no right or wrong answer and that they are in "creative control".

Leaving no stone unturned we ask learners to find 10 accuracy mistakes in the final essay!

Gluttons for punishment, we also provide three sample pieces of writing based on the same title to show the widely differing approaches which can lead to equally impressive outcomes. These are marked up with the reasoning expressions from the lessivator.

We recommend that teachers use these sample essays as translation pieces for practising French-English and also that learners practise manipulating the language using the Taskmagic based activities.

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