Archive for ‘Books’

March 21, 2014

Formulas and frames

by limebirdster

I was teaching a unit on legend writing recently and, in order to ensure that the children included all the features of a legend, we used writing frames. For those of you that have never encountered them, a writing frame has each section of the story listed with a space for notes or ideas. It’s basically a very detailed plan, ours was paragraph by paragraph. First paragraph – setting. Second paragraph – introduce good character. Third paragraph – introduce bad character and problem. Fourth paragraph – solution to problem. Fifth paragraph – ending.

(If you’re wondering why the stories were so short, the children were nine and half of them were writing in their second language.)

We used another writing frame for persuasive letter writing: Introduction; first argument and evidence; second argument and evidence; third argument and evidence; conclusion.

And the frames worked well. The higher attaining children wrote very long paragraphs with ambitious language (everyone was obsessed with the word iridescent for some reason – iridescent jewels, iridescent sword, iridescent castle) and the lower attaining children wrote well-structured stories that they most likely wouldn’t have got anywhere near if we had just told them to write a legend.

But the very prescriptive plans got me thinking about similar stories that are written by the same writers. Because while their stories were not identical, there were obviously very alike, they had all followed a pattern or formula because that was how they were told a legend should be written.

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