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Helping weak Yr10 students

Discussion in 'English' started by jorb, Feb 3, 2011.

  1. jorb

    jorb New commenter

    I have a very weak Yr10 class who don't seem to understand how to structure an essay in which they compare two pems. I have gone through it with them as best I can but some of them still aren't getting it! Does anyone have an 'idiot's guide' to planning a lit essay?Simple, step by step instructions. I would be eternally grateful for any suggestions.
  2. regentsreject

    regentsreject Occasional commenter

    Are they struggling to make connections between poems or just to write about them including the comparisons?.
    If they are struggling to find connections, photocpy the poems and cut them out then stick them on sugar paper with plenty of space in between. Then get them to draw lines to connect up various aspects, highlight/colour code etc. Let them compare anything - theme, device, structure, rhyming, rhythm, content etc.
    Another technique is for you to create lots of statements about two or three poems and put them onto small cards. Then have some receptacles labelled with the words above. They need to sort the cards into the receptacles then look at each themed container in turn to see connections.
    When they start writing, get them to make a quick plan focusing on the sims/diffs such as
    <u>Mid-Term Break</u> <u> On my First Sonne</u>
    7 years 4 years
    killed by car not told how he died
    brother's pov father's pov
    several stanzas one stanza
    both boys
    both died too young

    Then get them to write an opening paragraph just based on this plan. After that, they can write all about one poem then all about the other and try linking this second poem back to the first as ideas occur to them. (This bit might be more difficult). At least this way, they will have done some comparison and cannot be penalised in the exam for not doing any. If they are doing Literature, gradually introduce the third and fourth poems but remind them that there is no need to write as much about these latter two poems as about the first two. Some questions allow them to do it in two parts with just two poems at a time anyway.
    Hope this helps.
  3. jorb

    jorb New commenter

    Thanks - very helpful. They do have a sense of the comparisons but it's the structuring of a response that they don't get. I've talked about topic sentences etc, but they just don't follow it!
  4. regentsreject

    regentsreject Occasional commenter

    You know, there are very few marks for grammar, construction, spelling, accuracy etc so it might be best to just let them loose on expressing their responses rather than worry too much about the form of their writing on poetry. If they feel less constrained by the way they are expected to write and just encouraged to say how they feel about the poems they may surprise you!


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