This is a follow-up post on my recent efforts to improve student essay writing. Previous posts include:
I have noted a dramatic improvement in essay writing in my Year 11 Business class. Specifically, there is evidence of improvement in their paragraph structure and in-line referencing technique. I also have evidence of grade increases in analysis and writing skills. I attribute these improvements (over 1 semester) to the explicit literacy focus that I have implemented in the Business Management subject. Some good techniques that I will continue to use:
Paragraph structure template:
This template is simple and follows the PEEL/TEEL structure. Topic (or purpose) sentence, Explain/Elaborate, Evidence, Linking (or concluding) sentence. This template handout only takes up half-page and so limits the amount of writing a student can do in the template. This is especially good when students have a tendency to write long-winded paragraphs. I explicitly teach to this template twice and then subsequent lessons don’t require instruction.
Modelling synthesised paragraph writing with referencing:
I found this to be very helpful and effective for improving student writing. I removed the need for researching (scaffolding) and gave the students the article references and basic notes from each article. Students were given the paragraph structure template and in class we wrote paragraphs and shared student referenced sentences. The trick is to do this a few times and always show good examples on the whiteboard.