Elthorne Literacy and Learning

Finding the words...

Write Talking: it's better together!

In my last post I wrote about the importance of questioning to allow students to generate and consolidate ideas that will in turn will support their writing. As well as questioning there are other ways in which we can use group work and talk to support our students with their writing because the basis of good writing is good talk. Below are some activities that I have tried in various contexts- magpied from various colleagues, training sessions, blogs etc

  • Reward students for using effective vocabulary, academic vocabulary and key vocabulary, as well as articulating themselves eloquently.
  • Asking students to talk about what would make a rubbish opening sentence. By doing this, it allows them to discuss what not to write and conversely, they are able to come up with criteria for making an effective opening and using those to improve the ‘rubbish’ one that they have come up with!
  • Getting students to talk about where they want their piece of work to go. What would they want their final destination/ sentence of their essay or response to be? This helps students to plan their argument more effectively if they know where they are heading.
  • Grouping students for separate discussion or research tasks and giving individuals the responsibility to feedback to the rest of the class.
  • Using one student to record what is said in group discussions between students and then feeding back what they have learnt.
  • Paired or group writing on a particular topic. This is my favourite activity for student enjoyment, engagement and achievement. The quality of what the students can produce is quite inspiring!
  • A group of students taking responsibility for writing a paragraph of an essay collaboratively. The groups' paragraphs can be put together to create a whole essay.
  • Using the plenary for students to discuss what is the most interesting/significant thing that they have heard from another student. These can be verbalised or written on a post-it and used as an exit card.

I hope you find some of these group activities useful in helping your students find the words! Please let me know how you get on!