Explanation Writing

It’s funny how sometimes you spend ages planning an activity and it simply doesn’t take off. For what ever reason, the children don’t get what you wanted out of it. Then another time you can do something off the cuff and it just works. This morning was an example of that.

We started our morning by doing a cloze procedure exercise from Pie Corbett’s Talk for Writing Across the Curriculum. It was a great activity to do during registration, difficult enough to keep them focussed but not so hard that they needed help. Then we moved into the English lesson proper and looked at how we could use the same language to improve some work we did yesterday on Stars. That was only about 5 minutes, the main lesson was looking at Until I met Dudley and the two types of explanations. I had planned to use 2 pages from the book but very quickly realised that there was not enough in that to occupy the whole lesson and I had forgotten to plan any independent work. Aaaaaagh

Thinking very quickly, I decided to use the words from the cloze procedure and see if the children could use them to ‘uplevel’ the paragraphs from the text. They had to take each step in turn and see if they could improve the causal language by using words such as ‘therefore’etc. It was brilliant. It was such a simple idea but the children loved it. There was lots of discussion as to whether consequently worked better than therefore etc. By discussing and trying out the different words and phrases, they were developing a really good understanding of the vocabulary.

One of my less confident writers said to me at the end of the lesson that he was really looking forward to writing his own explanation as he wanted to show off all the new words he had learned.

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