23 March 2014

Term 1 / Week 6 - 9 Turn your ideas into a readable story

We have only a few weeks of term left, and much of our class time will be spent on doing assessment tasks. That's because the teachers need to see how your work has improved during the term.

It feels like the term has gone incredibly quickly. In particular, the unit called Write Narrative is quite demanding. You will complete two narratives over these weeks.

Is this diagram of the narrative structure better than the table in our first post?

Think about these tips for successfully completing your narrative story:

  • is your story interesting to the readers? - try to relive it and paint a picture of every detail that gives the reader a sense of place and time - the setting. Who was there? What are the relationships between the people and how were they feeling before and during the Complication (key event or incident)? 
  • your plan might be just a list of words in the order of the events in the story - this will help you decide if your idea is BIG enough (even if the event is little, eg. losing a ring and then finding it two months later - important, lost before, nearly got stuck in an accident, missing it every day, about to buy another one, then finding it just before vacuuming it away accidentally)
  • can you tell your story to someone before writing it? What is that person's feedback? Did they suggest any changes?
  • use dictionary and any other resources to help broaden your vocabulary - classmates, teacher, bilingual dictionary, etc
  • look at the correction codes that your teacher provides on your draft and if you don't know how to improve some of your sentences, ask others for ideas.
Idiom of the Day
put flesh on (the bones of) something
to add more detail to something in order to make it more interesting or easier to understand 

Which of the above dot points is asking you to put flesh on the bones (of your writing)?

Ingredients of a good story: some meat left on the bones to engage the reader!

Here is an example from Kingsley's story about Gordo:
It was a cold day on 28th August, 2003. There were big white waves at the sea and the wind was strong. We were walking along the beach at Warrnambool when I saw something lying on the beach. Then I ran quickly to have a look at it.
Some of your writing lacks meat:

Did he give you any details? - No, he just gave me the bare bones of the story....

The other unit: Read narratives

By now, I hope you practice some strategies for reading texts - other than just trying to understand every word. Sometimes this just doesn't work! This simple method won't help you with idioms and sometimes you just don't have the time to understand and learn the meaning of every word.

It's much quicker and more efficient to try to understand the word from its context in the whole sentence and the other sentences before and after it.

Here are some reading strategies from the ESL3 Class Record Slide 21 that should help you with the reading tasks.

  1. Scan heading/ title, photo, photo caption, 1st paragraph, last paragraph for main ideas;
  2. Underline new words as you read through the first time (try to get main idea of each sentence without stopping to look in dictionary);
  3. Work out meaning of a new word from its context in the sentence (what is the subject? what is the verb? who is doing what?); and
  4. Look up only those new words that you really need to understand for the whole story.

Learning and Independent learning unit

Hopefully you can show that you are filing your work in an organised way in your folder (or equivalent system) so you'll need to bring this to class so I can see it.

Independent learning tasks are recorded in our Independent Learning Record so make sure to hand your Journal to me for checking. Have your independent tasks been noted in the Learning Record? Please check that too and let me know if I've missed any of your efforts there.

All this extra learning work outside class should pay off! The more you practice, the more you learn!

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