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Example of descriptive writing

Discussion in 'English' started by GloriaSunshine, Apr 11, 2011.

  1. GloriaSunshine

    GloriaSunshine New commenter

    I tend to do my own on the board, as if I'm in an exam. Then stand back and say, "Ooh, that's not very good - I haven't used any language for effect - what could I change?" I get them to do a redraft and mark it. I'm glad it's gone from the exam. Some of the Describe exam tasks were appalling.
  2. RaymondSoltysek

    RaymondSoltysek New commenter

    Nice idea, and agreed about the exam.
  3. sweetie1

    sweetie1 New commenter

    A similar idea is to choose a student or get a volunteer, write an extract of their work on the board and then ask the students to discuss ideas for improvement. The student can choose which they wish to use and the discussion leads to other students improving their own work.

  4. thequillguy

    thequillguy New commenter

    As said so far, I would definitely be looking to write my own. I used to feel hamstrung by trying to find exam board examples.

    I would begin by asking the students to describe the room they are sitting in for one minute. I would then ask them if the first word is a determiner (the). I would then ask if the second word is a noun (such as room). Finally I would ask if the third word is a verb (is). Experienced one of the roadshow examiners doing this in an inset and it was effective in showing how most people write.

    I would concentrate on giving them some tangible things to concentrate on, the big three being: a) varying sentence length; b) varying sentence starters; c) varying paragraph length.

    I would write on the board 4-5 very basic sentences, all with one clause and hence all beginning with nouns or determiners. We would then model ways to vary sentences. If they want to break this down further, give them prepositions (ing words) and prepositional phrases (under the bed...) to start their sentences.

    I would repeat this over several lessons. For extension I would see if the students can both detect and write inference into what they write, and see if they can personify the room with verb choices. For example:

    The room is big. There is a board. My teacher is at the front. I sit at a table. The wall is white.

    'grim' inference: Standing like a gaping mouth on the wall of the room is a board. In front of it stands my teacher. He is leaning on a table covered in scribbled pen marks.

    'bright' inference: Magnificent white walls surround our eager class. The board waits to be decorated with our ideas. Dressed in a sleek grey suit, our teacher stands in front of us.

    Finally, if you are apprehensive about modelling creative writing in front of the class, I would consider using something like a download from Camstudio.org to record yourself modelling writing prior to the lesson, so you can then talk through your choices.

    Very interested in hearing any other ideas of people in teaching descriptive writing.
  5. RaymondSoltysek

    RaymondSoltysek New commenter

    Yes, do write your own - but isn't it depressing that we have to write with a "checklist" in mind? A piece of writing that is written for the sole purpose of consciously using similes, onomatopoeia, etc., usually ends up absolutely terrible.

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