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English Online. Every child literate - a shared responsibility.
Ministry of Education.

Level 6 – Speaking, writing, presenting

Processes and strategies

Students will:

  • integrate sources of information, processes, and strategies purposefully and confidently to identify, form, and express increasingly sophisticated ideas.

Indicators

Uses increasing understanding of connections between oral, written, and visual language

Uses an increasing understanding of the connections between oral, written, and visual language when creating texts

What do I need to know?

Connections between written, oral, and visual language

Learning written language cannot be separated from learning oral and visual language.

It is well established, through studies and theories of language learning, that oral language underpins written language: the two are closely interrelated. Through discussion involving both listening and speaking, students focus on specific ideas that arise in their reading and writing, decide how the ideas can best be expressed, and extend their vocabulary and their thinking. These conversations provide students with essential experiences to build on when engaging with texts and delighting in them. Effective teachers plan oral language programmes to promote effective listening and speaking alongside their reading and writing programmes.

Visual language is inherent in reading and writing because print is a visual medium - we see the words and the pictures - and some text forms offer specific kinds of visual support to the reader. In order to find or create maximum meaning in written language, students need to be able to access, process, and present ideas and information by understanding and using many visual features and conventions. For example, when reading a transactional text for information, they may need to interpret subheadings, maps, and diagrams.
Effective Literacy Practice in Years 5-8, NZ Ministry of Education, 2006. p.18.

What does it look like?

Example 1

In their static image based on Patricia Grace’s short story The Geranium, the student uses an increasing understanding of the connections between written, and visual language by representing a central idea through the use of various of symbols. The quotation “His grip tightened even more on her arm” is placed around central image of Marney in the form of a lock and a chain to represent how his aggressive domination prevented her from being free. The quotation was selected to emphasise Bob’s domination over Marney. The ideas of control and threat are also reinforced by the selection of a skeletal style shaded font for this quotation.

Student static image based on The Geranium by Patricia Grace – Exemplar G

Creates increasingly varied texts by integrating information and processing strategies

Creates a range of increasingly varied and complex texts by integrating sources of information and processing strategies

What do I need to know?

Knowledge of what readers and writers do

In order to progress as readers and writers, students need to know exactly what proficient readers and writers do when they read and write. This means knowing about how to use sources of information in texts (along with the knowledge and experience that they themselves bring to the task) as they encode and decode written English, make meaning, and think critically.
Effective Literacy Practice in Years 5-8, NZ Ministry of Education, 2006. p.30.

Developing strategies for reading

Readers use and integrate information from various sources as they read a written text. To construct meaning from a text, strategic readers consciously integrate their existing knowledge and strategies with the sources of information in the text. A reader’s existing or prior knowledge includes their background knowledge and their literacy-related knowledge. Sources of information in texts include semantic sources of information, syntactic sources of information, and visual and grapho-phonic sources of information.
Effective Literacy Practice in Years 9-13, NZ Ministry of Education, 2004. p.52.

Using the sources of information in text

Sources of information in the written text include:

  • meaning: (semantics) – the meanings of the written words and of any diagrams or pictures in the text
  • structure (syntax) – the structure or syntax and grammar of the language that is used (at word, phrase, and whole-text level)
  • visual and grapho-phonic sources of information – the visual features of the printed letters, words, sentences, and paragraphs, including print conventions such as punctuation, spaces between words, and the use of capital or lower-case letters and italics or bold print.

Students can use these sources of information only if they can make links between:

  • their existing understandings and the concepts in the text
  • their existing knowledge of the structure of language and the structures used in the text
  • their existing understanding of phonics (how sounds relate to print) or of print conventions and the words or conventions used in the text.
    Effective Literacy Practice in Years 9-13, NZ Ministry of Education, 2004. p.54.

The Writing Processes

Writers usually move between a number of processes as they create texts. The processes are:

  • forming intentions for writing
  • crafting or composing a text (by translating ideas into written form)
  • reflecting on, recrafting, and presenting (often by publishing) the text.

 As they move between these processes, most writers use a range of writing strategies that relate to some of the reading processing and comprehension strategies.

Forming intentions for writing:

Forming intentions means planning carefully in order to create an effective text that has clarity and impact. Teachers need to provide focused instruction on how to identify purposes and audiences for writing, how to choose a text form that aligns to the purpose for writing, and how to gather, select, and organise ideas and information for writing. Teachers can engage their students in forming intentions for writing by, for example, sharing personal stories with them, reading to or with them, researching a topic with them, or discussing a topic in depth with them.

When students know what writing that achieves its purpose looks like, they can develop personal learning goals for improving their writing in specific ways.

Crafting or composing a text:

Crafting or composing a text means recording ideas and information, usually on paper or in electronic form. The student creates a text to meet the writing purpose and engage the intended audience by writing down the best possible words in the best possible order, using and extending their knowledge of English vocabulary and syntax.

Students can develop their expertise in many aspects of crafting a text by watching and listening as the teacher or another writer demonstrates or explains a relevant part of the process. They also learn about crafting texts by thinking and talking about the texts that they read and by discussing frequently, with their teacher and with other students, what they are doing as they write.

Reflecting on, recrafting, and presenting the text:

Proficient writers continually reflect on what they write. They reread their text again and again, both as they write and after writing. This often leads to recrafting (making changes to their text) if the writer thinks of a way to meet their purpose more effectively, clarify their meaning, or give their writing more impact. This process of reflecting on the text and recrafting it is sometimes called revising and editing. Often, but not always, writers decide to present their text to others, for example, by publishing it in written form. (Every text is written for an audience, but sometimes that audience is the writer alone, or the writer and the teacher.) The writer may make further changes to their text to enhance the way it will look or sound to the intended audience. Students often find it useful to ask their teacher or peers for feedback on their recrafting or their preparation for publishing or presenting. Writers become better writers when they reflect and act on informative, thoughtful, and constructive feedback. 
Effective Literacy Practice in Years 5-8, NZ Ministry of Education, 2006. p.153-159.  

Teaching the Writing Processes and Strategies

Student writers need direct instruction from their teacher as they learn to use the writing processes and strategies. Across the curriculum and throughout the day, teachers can model writing and enable students to develop their writing in various forms. For example, students can reflect on their day by writing, they can take notes when researching in social studies, they can write a report on a science experiment, or they can write a letter to persuade their principal to change a school rule. As they move between the writing processes, most writers use a range of strategies that include cross-checking, self-correcting, making connections, asking questions, visualising, implying, analysing and synthesising, and evaluating. Many of the writing strategies are essentially the same as the comprehension strategies that readers use. Teachers need to help their students become aware that:

  • readers identify the writer’s purpose in a text, and writers have a purpose for writing, which they make clear to their readers
  • readers need to make connections between the text they read and what they already know, and writers need to consider how they can connect their text with what their intended audience knows
  • readers sometimes need to be able to infer meaning from a text, and writers sometimes need to intrigue their readers and arouse their curiosity in order to engage them further by suggesting something rather than stating it directly
  • readers often need to be able to create mental images from the text, and writers need to know how to select and use words and imagery that enable their readers to get a clear picture of what the text means.

Effective teachers encourage their students to notice and use these links independently. Too much emphasis on explicit strategy instruction can have a negative effect on student learning. The challenge for teachers is to ensure that students, as they write, develop metacognition. Students need to learn to identify and articulate the writing processes they move between and the writing strategies they use. As they consider and discuss how and why they use these strategies and processes, they become increasingly aware of how to apply them to other writing tasks.
Effective Literacy Practice in Years 5-8, NZ Ministry of Education, 2006. p.160.

What does it look like?

Example 1

Student creates a static image by integrating sources of information (written/visual) and processing stategies (selecting ideas, presenting a collage of various media, interpreting, evaluating) so as to reflect key ideas about the experiences and situation of the central character. The student has effectively integrated newspaper clippings, coloured paper, word processed text, their own drawings, and a black and white photogaph to symbolise various complex ideas about Bob’s domination and restrictiveness on Marney’s life.

Student static image based on ‘ The Geranium’ by Patricia Grace – Exemplar G 

Example 2

Student develops a monologue by integrating sources of information (various aspects linked to an important character taken from a text studied) and processing stategies (completing a character overview; developing a range of dramatic techniques including point of view, costume, set, voice; developing a table to analyse dramatic techniques and their effects; annotating a script identifying where techniques will be used in the performance) in order to present key ideas about their selected character. Extract from Techniques Table:

Key idea / intended effect Technique 1 Technique 2 Technique 3
 History teacher  costume – wear a tie    set – write notes about history on whiteboard. Stand in front of it during performance   voice – speak in a loud, deep, authoritative voice
Believes that discipline is the answer to all his students’ problems  upright posture  prop – a cane  voice – well spoken, formal voice
 He’s a lot like Hitler  facial expressions -fixed, staring eyes – like a madman   gives Wave salute in crisp, military style  voice – dramatic changes in volume – from quiet to shouting 

Seeks feedback and makes changes to texts to improve clarity, meaning, and effect

Seeks feedback and makes changes to texts to improve clarity, meaning, and effect

What do I need to know?

Giving feedback

The impact of effective feedback on student outcomes has been established through a number of studies (for example, Hattie, 1999, and Crooks, 1988). Hattie, on the basis of extensive research, describes feedback as the most powerful single factor that enhances achievement. Like modelling, feedback pervades the school day: most interactions between teachers and students involve some element of feedback.

The purposes of feedback are:

  • to affirm
  • to inform
  • to guide future learning

Like all the teaching strategies, feedback is most effective when it relates to specific learning goals that students recognise and understand and to the ultimate aim of enabling students to monitor and regulate their own learning. Feedback should always be honest and specific so that students know how they are doing and what they have achieved.

Effective feedback motivates students to learn. The way that students feel about and perceive themselves affects their expectations and consequently their performance. A simple comment can have a major impact - positive or negative - on a student's motivation and confidence. It is important to consider cultural and social appropriateness when giving feedback (as when using any teaching strategy). Students approaching adolescence often respond more positively when feedback is given privately rather than in public. Feedback may be thought of as either descriptive or evaluative.

Descriptive feedback means describing or explaining what has or has not been achieved and why. It also involves giving information on how to learn further or what to do in order to succeed.

Evaluative feedback involves making a judgment about what the learner is doing or has done and carries the idea of approval or disapproval. Interactions involving feedback can yield valuable knowledge of learners as well as enabling them to move forward.

The primary use of feedback is not to indicate whether learners are right or wrong but to enable them to reflect on their use of strategies and on their learning. Feedback involves giving learners information about when to use what they know and what they can do. Feedback can provide a model of what proficient readers and writers do and how they think. An important message for teachers to convey, in their feedback to students, is that using effective strategies in their reading and writing is what causes their success; this is crucial to building students' metacognition. It's especially useful to encourage students themselves to suggest what they could do to solve the problems they identify. This is a great way to build their awareness of how they can increase their control of their own learning.

Feedback may be verbal or non-verbal, spoken or written. The quality of the teacher's written feedback on a student's writing is especially important, both for providing further guidance and for the student's confidence. …The teacher should not allow their feedback to take over the ownership of the learning task. For example, a teacher may be tempted to "improve" a student's piece of writing, with the result that the student's voice or sense of ownership may be lost (even though the teacher may feel that the work is better crafted).

Criteria developed from shared learning goals give valuable focus to teachers' conversations with students and to the feedback that they provide. It is essential to ensure that the students understand the information conveyed through feedback and to provide time and opportunity for them to act on it.

These are examples of feedback.:

  • "You went back and cross-checked with what you'd read earlier to clarify your understanding. Making connections with other parts of the text is what expert readers do."
  • "I notice you've checked the punctuation of your piece. But there is something else you need to attend to. Remember that one of your personal writing goals is to check your use of spelling conventions for the plural words in your writing."
  • "That's an interesting opinion - but remember our discussion in guided reading this morning about finding evidence in the text. What evidence can you give to justify your opinion that the wolf was afraid?"
  • "I like your choice of language in the second paragraph. I get a clear mental image of what it was like for Josh when he first stepped inside the space station. There's one part, just here, that I don't understand - I think it needs elaboration. You may need to go back to the website you've been using to get more information to ensure it's clear to the reader." 
    Effective Literacy Practice in Years 5-8, NZ Ministry of Education, 2006. p.86-88.

Giving feedback: Formative assessment

Often referred to as assessment for learning, formative assessment refers to all those activities undertaken by teachers, and by the students in assessing themselves, which provide information to be used as feedback to modify the teaching and learning activities in which they are engaged. Such assessments become formative when the evidence is actually used to adapt the teaching to meet the needs. 
Black and Wiliam, (1998)

Key elements of formative assessment include:

  • the identification by teachers and learners of learning goals, intentions or outcomes and criteria for achieving these
  • rich conversations between teachers and students that continually build and go deeper
  • the provision of effective, timely feedback to enable students to advance their learning
  • the active involvement of students in their own learning
  • teachers responding to identified learning needs and strengths by modifying their teaching approach(es).

Formative Assessment: Online workshops and presentations

The following formative assessment resources include online presentations from a range of experts.

An Introduction to Formative Assessment For Secondary School Teachers (PPT)
Use this presentation as a focus for professional development in formative assessment.

Exploring Formative Assessment: Assessment for Learning (PPT)
The tutorial introduces formative assessment, and can be used to support AtoL professional learning in schools.

What does it look like?

Example 1

A checklist encourages students to seek feedback and make changes to written text to improve clarity, meaning and effect.

 The following check list will assist you to revise your opinion piece:

  • Is your style of writing is appropriate for a newspaper and those who are likely to read it?
  • Does your opening sentence grab the reader?
  • Is your opinion backed up with well-chosen facts/evidence/explanation?
  • Are there some original ideas and arguments?
  • Does the piece flow from one idea to the next?
  • Is every word useful and carefully chosen?
  • Are your sentences structured in different ways to make it interesting to read?
  • Have you considered using metaphors and/or similes to make points more clearly and effectively?

Example 2

The peer editing process encourages students to improve technical accuracy, crafting and ideas. Extract from Teacher Guidelines: Collect students' first draft of the essay. Pair the students to work as editors, and assign drafts to be edited. Model the day's editing task on an OHP. Students edit the assigned work marking the draft as modeled. Students should return drafts with a verbal positive comment and one suggestion for improvement. Students may then start to rewrite their paragraph.

Example 3

Task and checklist of website elements encourages students to make changes to web designs to improve effect. Extract from Task 3: If you are completing this activity on paper, do not paste any material until you have used the Elements Chart on page 4 as a checklist. Be prepared to remove and alter elements that are not contributing to the effectiveness of your web page. When all the elements are completed and arranged effectively, paste up your page[s].

Example 4

Teacher feedback on a film review guides a student to improve clarity and meaning.

Extract: Giving guidance in a writing programme

"Let's talk about the first paragraph in your review. You're then going to work on the rest of your writing on your own…. You need to work on several casual expressions like 'got', 'go with the flow,' 'together.' Can you suggest appropriate replacements that are more formal? Some of your sentences need re-working. Does this sentence sound OK?: 'Four people making up the main cast, Jane Campion expresses people's different views and thoughts through more than just a voice.”

Is reflective: monitors and self-evaluates progress, articulating learning with confidence.

Is reflective about the production of own texts: monitors and self-evaluates progress, articulating learning with confidence.

What do I need to know?

Monitors, self-evaluates and describes progress: Metacognition

Metacognition is often used to describe the processes that learners use to think and talk about their learning and about how they can adapt what they have learned to new contexts. Articulating what they know and can do as readers and writers enables literacy learners to set themselves new goals and meet new challenges. A metacognitive awareness also helps students to understand the reciprocal relationship between reading and writing. When we read, we construct meaning by making connections between the text we read and what we already know and can do. The reader integrates prior knowledge with sources of information in the text to decode and gain meaning. The writer starts with a communicative intent and integrates prior knowledge with an understanding of how language works to encode and create meaning for a purpose that relates to an intended audience.

Students need to be able to use their knowledge and their metacognitive awareness to decide which strategies will help them solve particular kinds of problems. An effective teacher finds out which strategies their students need to acquire or apply and helps them to select and use appropriate strategies as they read and write.
Effective Literacy Practice in Years 5-8, NZ Ministry of Education, 2006. p.27-28.

Learning logs

A learning log or journal is a student’s own ongoing record of their learning. Students can use them in a number of ways, for example, by recording any difficulties they have and how they deal with them. But they can use learning logs for more than this. They can use them to understand and reflect on their learning processes and on the learning-to-learn strategies that they use. They can use them to:

  • identify what and how they’re learning
  • identify the types of thinking they’re using to learn
  • process the information they’ve gathered
  • develop learning strategies that are effective for them
  • monitor and evaluate their own learning
  • become increasingly independent as learners.

Teachers need to explain the purposes and uses of learning logs to their students, making it clear that the logs will not be assessed because they are a private dialogue between each student and the teacher. At times, teachers may suggest that each student shares their log with a partner if they are happy to do so. In planning for students to use the learning-log process, teachers can:

  • build the writing of the log into a regular routine over several weeks
  • give students a set, limited time in which to write in their logs – probably at the end of the lesson
  • focus on a specific task, activity, key concept, or learning strategy in each lesson
  • use a variety of approaches, such as free writing, questions, or sentence starters
  • model reflections by writing on the board as students write in their books
  • check logs regularly and write short feedback comments to each student.

Logs may be kept in separate books, but they can also be part of students’ everyday work. For example, students could rule a broad margin on the side of their page and use that space to reflect, ask questions, jot notes, and so on. Students may simply write what they wish, or they may be given open-ended questions or sentence starters. Sometimes teachers may want the learning-log entries to focus on specific areas. Some suggested cues are listed in the following table.
Effective Literacy Practice in Years 9-13, appendix p. 52-54

Self and peer assessment
This TKI page offers advice and exemplars to support students as they monitor their own learning.

Learning to Learn (Word 128KB)

Informed Strategy Training makes use of the learning to learn approach to education and it makes students aware of what they need to do, and why, in order to become proficient readers. It provides students with scaffolding and insight into the higher order thinking skills that they need to develop in order to make sense of a piece of text. 

What does it look like?

Example 1: Learning logs

Learning logs can encourage reflection such as:

  • What did I do in class today?
  • What did I learn?
  • What did I find interesting?
  • What questions do I have about what I learned?
  • What was the point of today's lesson?
  • What connections did I make to previous ideas of lessons?

Example 2

Web designer (Word 990KB)

Students are reflective about the production of own web site designs: monitoring and self-evaluating their progress, articulating learning with confidence. Extract from Task 4:How effective is your web design? Choose TWO or more of the elements listed in the Elements Chart on page 4. Include at least ONE visual technique and ONE verbal technique. For each of these elements, describe in specific detail the techniques you used and explain:

  • the effect you set out to achieve
  • how effective your web design is in promoting your book.

Example from evaluation for Exemplar A:

The suggestion throughout the novel between the mockingbird and Tom Robinson is also conveyed with a highly successful effect. While the main page of the website is connected with the ideas of the mockingbird (for example green writing boxes to promote the mockingbird’s naturalistic spirit) the margin is used in contrast. The black background is used to describe black men in general. A particular connection is made, however, with the picture of Tom Robinson which illustrates the connection, relating it to the book. However the similar use of colour proposes that both sides (Tom Robinson and the mockingbird) should be observed and commented upon in the same lightIn this sense my website is actually creating racial harmony in its effective suggestion that Tom Robinson can be the same as a mockingbird. While this is what the novel suggests, it is my website that displays and highlights this aspect.

Purposes and audiences

By using these processes and strategies when speaking, writing, or presenting, students will:

  • Show a developed understanding of how to shape texts for different audiences and purposes.

Indicators

Constructs a range of texts that demonstrate an understanding of purpose and audience

Constructs a range of texts that demonstrate an understanding of purpose and audience through deliberate choice of content, language, and text form

What do I need to know?

Features of text forms
Teaching about text forms can help students understand how text is structured and why. We need to be careful, however, to be flexible about the features in a text form. Authentic text forms are often mixed. Text forms evolve and change.

Knowing about purposes for writing and text forms.

Secondary school students are expected to write for a variety of purposes and to use different text forms in different subjects. Both teacher and students need to be aware of the conventions and structures of the different text forms.

Writers learn about the conventions and characteristics of the various text forms through reading and writing and through discussion of and explicit instruction in reading and writing.

Studies of effective teachers have shown that they continually make explicit the connections between reading and writing. Teachers who have a grasp of this reciprocal relationship recognise that writing is neither secondary to reading nor something to be taught separately from reading.
Ministry of Education, 2003a, p.11 

The 2002 NEMP writing assessment results (Flockton and Crooks, 2002) showed a small reduction in expressive writing achievement and no significant difference in functional writing for year 8 students since 1998. Students at year 8 thought that in order to be good writers, people needed to use their imagination, enjoy writing and learning, and know how to use punctuation. Year 8 students were not as positive as year 4 students about writing at school, did not believe themselves to be as good at writing, and had less positive feelings about how their parents and teachers viewed their writing ability.

Other research studies demonstrate that teachers can improve their students’ academic writing if they explicitly teach them how different text forms are structured and how to use the strategies associated with the writing process. Research on the use of writing frames (Lewis and Wray, 2000; Wray and Lewis, 1997), for example, shows that once students have a structure, they are more able to generate ideas and to organise those ideas coherently and‑logically. Another recent New Zealand research study (Nicholls, 2001) confirms that low-achieving secondary students who are given explicit teaching in the genre of written argument can improve their performance. In this study, students received targeted training to help them understand the structure of an argument by analysing the language features of this text form and using writing frames to practise their own writing. The writing frames helped the students to organise their arguments logically and gave them the structural vocabulary (for example, connectives such as “for this reason” and “finally”) to link their ideas.

Teachers need to build on their students’ knowledge and awareness of the writing process and teach them literacy strategies and thinking strategies that will enable them to use the process to complete their writing tasks
Effective Literacy Strategies in Years 9-13, Ministry of Education, 2006. p.130-131

Knowing the students: gathering information on students’ writing

Teachers can gather information on students’ writing by observing them as they write and by evaluating their writing and discussing it with them. The New Zealand Curriculum Exemplars (Ministry of Education, 2003c) provide details about the kinds of information that can be gathered from a student’s writing.

Teachers could ask the following questions about students’ writing.

  • Is there a clear purpose and audience for the writing, and does the writing meet that purpose for that audience?
  • Is the information conveyed of the quality required?
  • Are the ideas clearly expressed? Is the language appropriate to the text form? Are there coherent sentences with a variety of structures?
  • Are the structures appropriate for the text form? Is the writing logically organised? Are the main and supporting ideas well linked? Are all the sentences linked in meaningful ways?
  • Has the writer attended to surface features, such as spelling, punctuation, and grammar?
  • Does the vocabulary include appropriate subject-specific words?

Forming intentions

  • Do the students use strategies to plan what they will write?
  • Do the students use strategies for organising and analysing the information they find (for example, do they use brainstorms, spider diagrams, listings, the KWLH strategy, structured overviews, and timelines, as appropriate to the text form)?
  • Do the students use feedback and feed-forward from peers and teacher at this stage?

Composing a text

  • Do the students use and experiment with language to clarify their ideas?
  • Do the students use appropriate writing frames for structuring and sequencing content?
  • Do the students use quickwriting to monitor their understanding as they draft their text?
  • Do the students use feedback and feed-forward from peers and teacher at this stage?

Revising

  • Do the students focus on purpose and audience?
  • Do the students use feedback and feed-forward from peers and teacher at this stage?

Publishing

  • Do the students present their writing in ways that are appropriate to their purpose and audience?
  • Do the students use feedback and feed-forward from peers and teacher at this stage?
    Effective Literacy Strategies in Years 9-13, Ministry of Education, 2006. p.132-133. 

What does it look like?

Example 1

English Online: Out of their comfort zones

The student constructs a transactional text that demonstrates an understanding of purpose and audience (i.e. to identify and explain ideas) through deliberate choice of content (reference to character, theme, setting, supported by quotations) language (formal), and text form (conforms to essay structure with introduction, body and conclusion).

Extract from Exemplar A: Willie Davis's Ka Kite Bro and Witi Ihimaera's My First Ball both feature Maori characters who feel 'out of their comfort zones.' Both the main characters, Tama and Tuta, find different ways through the situations they face. In 'Ka Kite Bro', Tama has to find his way of saying farewell to his friend who has been killed. Tama feels out of his comfort zone, because the people around him do not understand that he needs to say goodbye to Darryl in his own way. When Tama tries to explain about the hongi to a teacher at his school, she tells him that it's "disgusting" and that "you should keep your culture and your nose to yourself." At the funeral Tama has the courage to farewell Darryl in his way. As Tama leans over his friend in the coffin he whispers, "all I wanted was to see you and say goodbye the only way I knew how." Finally he can bow and hongi his mate.

Example 2

The student constructs a visual text that demonstrates an understanding of purpose and audience (i.e. to present and inform audience about the novel) through deliberate choice of content (reference to character, theme, setting, symbol with ideas developed) language (visual and verbal elements), and text form (website) Student website based on To Kill a Mockingbird – Exemplar A.

Example 3

English Online:Yes…But

The student constructs a transactional text that demonstrates an understanding of purpose and audience (i.e. to present and discuss various points of view about an issue) through deliberate choice of content (reference to arguments for and against, supported by examples) language (formal), and text form.

Extract from Task 1 b:

  • an introduction to engage the reader [in this case, with a brief scenario exploring what the issue might mean for a fictional individual]: eg: "As you drift off to sleep, the silence is shattered by roaring exhausts, screeching tyres, and booming car stereos."
  • a 'Yes' paragraph supporting the topic: e.g: "Boy racers should be banned because they are irresponsible and dangerous."
  • a 'But' paragraph presenting another viewpoint on the topic: e.g: "On the other hand, an interest in cars does not necessarily go hand in hand with irresponsible behaviour on the road."a paragraph presenting ways of tackling the issue: e.g: "One way of approaching the boy racer issue could be to take a positive approach."
  • a conclusion that makes a final comment on the topic: e.g "The majority of young people in cars do not deserve that description and therefore should be treated as responsible road users."

Example 4

ESOL Online: Writing frames

Through using a writing frame which provides a language scaffold, the student constructs a transactional text that demonstrates an understanding of purpose and audience (i.e. to present and discuss various points about bowel cancer) through deliberate choice of content (supported by examples) language (formal), and text form.  

Conveys and sustains personal voice where appropriate

Conveys and sustains personal voice where appropriate

What do I need to know?

Crafting or composing a text

Crafting or composing a text means recording ideas and information, usually on paper or in electronic form. The student creates a text to meet the writing purpose and engage the intended audience by writing down the best possible words in the best possible order, using and extending their knowledge of English vocabulary and syntax.

Students can develop their expertise in many aspects of crafting a text by watching and listening as the teacher or another writer demonstrates or explains a relevant part of the process. They also learn about crafting texts by thinking and talking about the texts that they read and by discussing frequently, with their teacher and with other students, what they are doing as they write.

What writers do:

• order selected ideas and information in a way that makes the meaning of the text clear to the reader

• shape their text to create links between the main information and supporting details or between the introduction and conclusion

• synthesise and use ideas from their previous learning about texts, for example, ideas about using appropriate vocabulary, text structure, and language features

• ask questions of themselves (and sometimes others) about the content and impact of their writing, considering especially the deeper features of their writing, such as author’s voice, structure, vocabulary usage, imagery, and language features

• attend to these deeper features of their writing and also to surface features, such as grammar, spelling, and punctuation (where this does not interrupt the flow of composition at this stage)

• seek and act on feedback from their peers.
Effective Literacy Strategies in Years 5-8, Ministry of Education, 2006, p. 156

What does it look like?

Example 1

NZATE NCEA English externals exemplars Level 1: Exemplar 4 AS 90053 (Order from  NZATE)

The student conveys and sustains personal voice where appropriate; in this transactional text, the student expresses their viewpoint clearly and emphatically throughout the piece and the sustained personal voice is a persuasive feature of the essay.

Extract from Exemplar 4: Having friends is more important than having money.

Having friends, in my opinion, is so much better than having money. Think about it, in the next few years, you may have spent all your money, gone bankrupt, even gone broke, but with no doubt you will still have your friends.   Friends are my most important priority. My family are my friends and my friends are my family. Sure, there may be sometimes when I am irritated by what they say or do, and I may think exams are most important at a certain time, but overall, my friends are still important. I personally, do not have much money, I am not rich, but I am rich in friends and people who I care about, so I am completely and utterly satisfied. My family and friends mean more to me than money ever could…

Example 2

The student conveys and sustains personal voice where appropriate; in this visual text, the static image’s ideas are enhanced by the striking use of an individual style, characterised by layering and collage. Student static image based on ‘ ‘The Geranium’ by Patricia Grace – Exemplar G

Ideas

  • Select, develop, and communicate connected ideas on a range of topics.

Indicators

Develops and communicates comprehensive ideas, information, and understandings

Develops and communicates comprehensive ideas, information, and understandings

What do I need to know?

Forming intentions for writing: Gathering ideas and information

What writers do:

  • gather, select, and organise ideas and information, either in their minds (to be drawn upon when required) or by recording them using graphic organisers such as word lists, flow charts, and mind maps
  • make connections between the ideas and information, ask questions about them, visualise them, analyse them, synthesise them, and evaluate them, in order to decide which ideas and information to include
    Effective Literacy Practice in Years 5-8, NZ Ministry of Education 2006, p. 155. 

Crafting or composing a text: Communicating ideas and information

What writers do:

  • order selected ideas and information in a way that makes the meaning of the text clear to the reader
  • shape their text to create links between the main information and supporting details or between the introduction and conclusion
  • synthesise and use ideas from their previous learning about texts, for example, ideas about using appropriate vocabulary, text structure, and language features
    Effective Literacy Practice in Years 5-8, NZ Ministry of Education 2006, p. 156.

What does it look like?

Example 1

The student develops and communicates comprehensive ideas and understandings about charcters and the wider social and cultural situation and setting.

Extract from Exemplar: …In 'Ka Kite Bro', Tama has to find his way of saying farewell to his friend who has been killedTama feels out of his comfort zone, because the people around him do not understand that he needs to say goodbye to Darryl in his own way. When Tama tries to explain about the hongi to a teacher at his school, she tells him that it's "disgusting" and that "you should keep your culture and your nose to yourself." At the funeral Tama has the courage to farewell Darryl in his way. As Tama leans over his friend in the coffin he whispers, "all I wanted was to see you and say goodbye the only way I knew how." Finally he can bow and hongi his mate…

Example 2

The student develops and communicates comprehensive ideas and understandings about conflict between Maori and pakeha ways through the use of symbols, colour and layout in their static image. The crack down the middle of the wharenui is black, symbolising the unknown pakeha ways that are breaking through. It symbolises the unknown ways that are corrupting the Maori, destroying the Maori traditions. The spears lying on the grass at the kaumatua’s feet represent the immensity of this situation. 
Student static image based on ‘The Whale’ by Witi Ihimaera

Works towards creating coherent, planned texts by adding details, or making links

Works towards creating coherent, planned whole texts by adding details to ideas, or making links to other ideas and details

What do I need to know?

Reflecting on recrafting and presenting the text: Making changes

What writers do:

  • reread and evaluate the ideas and information that they record, seeking and acting on feedback from others to ensure that their writing is clear and meets its purpose
  • reread their writing to evaluate its impact (especially the effect of the vocabulary, structure, and language features), seeking and acting on feedback about how their choices may affect the intended audience
  • make changes to their text after rereading, evaluating, and seeking feedback, usually to clarify the meaning or add to the impact, for example, by: 
    • adding words or ideas
    • changing the way words and ideas are organized in the text
    • replacing words with better ones or deleting redundant words
  • adding language features or improving them
    Effective Literacy Practice in Years 5-8, NZ Ministry of Education 2006, p.158.

What does it look like?

Example 1

English Online: Out of their comfort zones 

The student creates a coherent, planned whole essay by adding their own inferences about the characters’ situations and making links to ideas across more than one text. 

Extract from Exemplar: Willie Davis's Ka Kite Bro and Witi Ihimaera's My First Ball both feature Maori characters who feel 'out of their comfort zones.' Both the main characters, Tama and Tuta, find different ways through the situations they face…. I think that both Tama and Tuta are similar because they are prepared to do something about the situations they face. They both show strength of character to find a way through their problems.   

Example 2

The student creates a coherent, planned whole static image by adding their own inferences about Miss Brill’s internal ‘life’ and making links to ideas in the text that contrast her isolation and her wider social situation. The black background in the static image represents the dark, confining cupboard-like room she returned to after visiting the park. The white silhouette with a bun low on the nape of the neck shows that Miss Brill was an old lady. It dominates the page because the story is mostly about what goes on inside her head. Inside the silhouette is a bright collage of all the people, objects and events from the park. They are in colour because to her they are the most real and vibrant part of her life. They are put into the shape of a brain to show that in her mind they are a very real part of her life. 
Student static image based on Miss Brill by Katherine Mansfield – Exemplar F 

Example 3

(originally from Barb Wired : Financial Trouble in your Teens)

By adding and linking details about the writer’s expenditure for the week, the writer helps create a coherent, planned feature about balancing spending and saving.

Extract from article: After a boring day at school on Monday, a Starbucks trim Vanilla Latte picks me up for $4.95. On Tuesday morning a quick visit to the dairy with my school mates results in me buying a 'few' lollies - $3. On Wednesday I buy a Bumper muesli bar after throwing away my grotty homemade lunch ($2) plus a $10 phone top up card because my texting got away on me after I got that cute guy's number... Thursday practically says, "Buy magazine. Buy magazine." So I do, spending $7.95. Friday night calls for sushi on the run ($6.95) before a gig ($10 entry) and a drink at the venue ($3). Saturday out shopping with the girls starts with breakfast at our favourite café - $12 - plus Starbucks (trim Vanilla Latte of course) - $4.95 plus 60c for marshmallows. I spend $29.95 on a hot T-shirt, $6.95 on sushi for lunch, $29.95 on a CD that a friend really wanted for her birthday plus $3 for a card and finally $2.60 for my bus fares. Sunday just involves doing my homework and getting out the modern version of Romeo and Juliet on DVD ($8). My week just cost me $144.50. *GASP* And that is pretty much $144.50 I can't afford to waste. 

Ideas show an understanding and awareness of a range of dimensions or viewpoints.

Ideas show an understanding and awareness of a range of dimensions or viewpoints.

What do I need to know?

Identifying writer’s purpose/point of view

It is important for readers to recognise that behind every text is a writer, and that the writer has a purpose or reason for writing and a particular point of view.

For example, the purpose of the writer may be to:

  • provide or obtain information;
  • share the excitement of an event;
  • persuade or influence the reader or provoke debate;
  • create or enter a personal world;
  • stimulate the imagination;
  • convey important cultural stories or myths;
  • entertain or delight the reader.

By supporting students in identifying and reflecting on an author’s purpose and point of view, teachers can help their students to recognise that writers bring their own experiences and insights to their writing. Such activities contribute richly to students’ awareness of the functions of texts and of how authors position readers. They also help students to build the habit of responding thoughtfully to what they read. Students then carry their awareness and thoughtfulness into their writing and use it to help them plan and articulate their own purpose and point of view when writing a text.
Effective Literacy Practice in Years 5-8, NZ Ministry of Education, 2006. p. 47.

What does it look like?

Example 1

Student’s ideas show and understanding and awareness of there being two dimensions or viewpoints in a short story.

Extract from exemplar: The man in the taxi in the story 'The Red Sari' is stuck in a traffic jam in the middle of New Delhi. He feels 'out of his comfort zone' because he does not know what to do. He is faced with beggars like Fatima asking for money. He cannot get away from the situation as the traffic is completely grid locked. The man tries to ignore Fatima and others like her around him. He thinks to himself, "Look straight ahead. Close your eyes? That's like admitting something's bothering you." He wishes he couldn't hear her calling to him or see her unmistakable sign language for eating. He tries to reason his way through the problem by thinking that the poverty is so big that there is nothing that he can do about it. As soon as the traffic starts to move, the man can drive away from the beggars and pretend the problem that made him feel uncomfortable no longer exists…

Example 2

Student’s ideas show an understanding and awareness of there being multiple dimensions or viewpoints on injustice in this novel, Atticus, Scout and Tom Robinson.

Student website based on To Kill a Mockingbird – Exemplar A.

Example 3

Extract from exemplar: “The two main characters, Mandy and Tracey, are affected by violence in different ways. It is through the letters they write to each other that they reveal the problems they face. For Mandy the violence happens at home. Her brother Steve is a weapons freak. He is also abusive and violent towards Mandy and attacks her when no-one is home. Mandy has no-one to turn to. Her parents are too busy working and they suggest it is "only a phase" Steve is going through. I didn't find out from the story, but it seems likely that Steve killed the whole family on Christmas Eve. That might be the reason that Mandy stops writing to Tracey. How can the 'Steves' of this world be allowed to remain unchecked and ignored? In her letters to Tracey, Mandy says that "the most frightening thing in my life is Steve" - but no-one does anything about it.

Tracey faces her own serious problems because of the violence in her life. She had witnessed her mother being beaten and then killed by her father. Violence is a 'normal' part of her life. The reason that Tracey is writing 'letters from the inside' is because she is in Garrett, a maximum security detention centre. She has committed a serious crime, possibly even murder.

I think that John Marsden wants people to realise that unless we rethink our attitudes, innocent people like Mandy will keep being killed and Tracey will be faced with violence everyday. We have rethought our attitudes to things like smoking and drinking and driving so that they are now seen as unacceptable. We also need to rethink our attitudes to violence in the family.”

Language features

  • Select and use a range of language features appropriately for a variety of effects.

Indicators

Uses a wide range of language features to create meaning and effect, and to sustain interest

Uses a wide range of oral, written, and visual language features with control to create meaning and effect, and to sustain interest

What do I need to know?

Knowledge of texts and of how they impact on readers and writers

Readers and writers need to know that all texts have meaning and purpose, and they need to be able to distinguish between different text purposes. They need to know, for example, that some texts are intended primarily to raise reader or writer self-awareness, some to entertain, and some to communicate ideas or information.

A major purpose of most texts is to affect the target audience in a particular way, often by conveying the writer’s point of view effectively. Students need to know that many texts have several purposes. Students should understand that all texts are intended for an audience (the audience is sometimes the writer) and that effective texts have an impact on their readers. They also need to know about the text features that writers use to achieve the desired impact. The deeper features of a text generally relate to the writer’s purpose and voice and include the structure and language features of the text. Its surface features include grammar, spelling, and punctuation.

Young readers and writers will also learn that accurate or inaccurate use of surface features affects readers’ ability to make meaning of texts. Readers and writers need to know that there are different text forms and that these are generally characterised by a particular structure and certain other features. Forms such as stories, recounts, reports, procedures, arguments, explanations, varieties of poetry, and plays all have characteristic structures and features that are linked to their different purposes.

The characteristic features of any text form (which can be used to identify the form of a text) are likely to include specific structural and language features and may include specific kinds of content, vocabulary, and/or surface features. 
Effective Literacy Strategies for Years 5-8, Ministry of Education, 2004. p.34. 

Using language features with control: Developing independent learners

Students need to know not only what they are doing but also how to do it and why they are doing it. With this knowledge, they are more able to monitor their own writing and to evaluate their finished product. Students should be encouraged to ask themselves the following questions about their writing.

Forming intentions

  • What is the purpose of the writing task?
  • What do I know about the topic or ideas?
  • Who is the audience, and what do I want them to know about the topic and the ideas?
  • What do I need to find out?
  • How can I put my information into the appropriate form?

Composing a text

  • What are the main ideas I want to include?
  • What supporting examples, evidence, details, or data will I need to include?
  • How should I structure my ideas?
  • How can I make my writing clear and effective?
  • What language or subject-specific vocabulary will I need to include?

Revising

  • After writing the first draft, can I see how to improve it?
  • Does my text make sense at word, sentence, and whole-text level?
  • Are my ideas appropriate and supported?
  • Do I need to reorganise my sentences or paragraphs?
  • Are the language and vocabulary appropriate for the purpose?
  • Are the spelling, grammar, and punctuation correct?

Publishing

  • What is the most effective way to publish or present my material?
  • How will I check that it is complete, accurate, and ready for sharing?

Throughout the writing process, the students should be thinking about what they can do by themselves and what they need support with. They may want to use their learning log to help with this thinking. 
Effective Literacy Strategies for Years 9-13, Ministry of Education, 2004. p.135.

What does it look like?

Example 1

English Online: Out of their comfort zones

This activity supports students in using a wide range of written language features, such as quotations, appropriate tense and sentence variety with control, to create meaning and effect in transactional writing.

Refer to Task 2: Focusing on structure and style

Example 2

The student uses a wide range of visual language features, such as background, shape, layout, colour and symbol with control, to create meaning and effect, and sustain interest in the static image.

The black background is used to represents the dark, confining cupboard-like room Miss Brill returned to after visiting the park. The white silhouette with a bun low on the nape of the neck shows that Miss Brill was an old lady. It dominates the page because the story is mostly about what goes on inside her head.

Inside the silhouette there is a bright collage of all the people, objects and events from the park. They are in colour because to her they are the most real and vibrant part of her life. They are put into the shape of a brain to show that in her mind they are a very real part of her life.

Example 3

Extract from exemplar: On the other hand, an interest in cars does not necessarily go hand in hand with irresponsible behaviour on the road. This was illustrated in an article in The Press about young people who work hard and enjoy spending their money on developing their cars to a high standard rather than wrecking them. They drive responsibly and sensibly because they are keen to look after their cars. There is no reason that young people cannot have an interest in cars.

Example 4

English Online: Yes….But

In Exemplar A, the student uses a wide range of written features with control [including a variety of connectives to introduce or explain another point of view; to present an additional point or show a connection; to emphasise a point; to introduce examples]

  1. Tama ['Ka Kite Bro'] and Tuta ['My First Ball'] are the characters who face these challenging situations. Read exemplar A which describes the situations Tama and Tuta face.
  2. Talk about how the writer has written in an appropriate style:
  • incorporating quotations and other details into sentences to support points [often integrating the quotation into a sentence]: eg: "...she tells him that it's "disgusting" and that "you should keep your culture and your nose to yourself."
  • writing in the present tense throughout: eg: "feature;" "feels;" "finds" "think."
  • varying sentence lengths and structures eg using compound / complex structures to show linking between ideas in one sentence: "Tuta finds a way of dealing with this situation when he meets Joyce who also feels out of place."

Uses an increasing vocabulary to communicate precise meaning

Uses an increasing vocabulary to communicate precise meaning

What do I need to know?

Expanding students' vocabulary

All texts are made up of words and phrases. It's important to expand students' awareness and appreciation of language and to help them build up their personal vocabularies. Developing an extensive vocabulary enables students to improve both their reading comprehension and their writing.

As part of the instructional programme, teachers need to plan to expand their students' vocabularies. Students need a substantial and ever-increasing bank of sight words, and they also need to be taught about how words work.

By exploring language with students and giving them opportunities to practise their new learning, teachers can develop their students' sense of enquiry and adventure and help to build a vibrant community that thrives on discussion of language and how it works. This is invaluable support for new learners of English and also for those who are experiencing difficulties in their literacy learning. Teachers can help their rapid-progress students to extend their vocabulary development by giving them experiences with texts that make demands on the reader, for example, in terms of the complex abstract ideas they present or the issues they offer for debate. These students need to be challenged to add depth to their writing by choosing language that has fine shades of meaning.

Every classroom needs a thesaurus, a comprehensive dictionary, and multiple copies of student dictionaries. Bilingual dictionaries in students' first languages should also be available where possible. Instructional reading and writing sessions, cross-curricular work, and discussions of current events can be used as springboards to launch students into the study of words - investigating synonyms and antonyms, collecting and discussing examples of homophones and homonyms, or sharing the discovery of a new and unusual word or figure of speech.

"People need to know words and terms in order to develop language and in-depth thinking. Research ... indicates that students who have a wide vocabulary generally show greater proficiency in learning than those with more limited vocabularies. A learner's vocabulary knowledge strongly influences their ability to comprehend what they read and to write effectively."
Ministry of Education, 2004a, p.27

It's part of a teacher's planning to think carefully about the vocabulary in any text that they are planning to use in their literacy programme (for example, in guided reading).Teachers also need to consider the vocabulary that students will need for a writing task. Published lists with information about vocabulary frequency can be useful in helping teachers to monitor and extend their students' vocabulary.
Effective Literacy Practice in Years 5-8, NZ Ministry of Education, 2006. p.126-127. 

Vocabulary: Research and challenges: What the research tells us

Knowing about learners' vocabulary needs

Students usually need direct teaching to acquire the specialised vocabulary that is vital for academic success. Many students whose oral vocabulary is quite adequate for everyday communication have not yet acquired a rich store of words to use for reading and writing. In particular, they may lack knowledge of the academic vocabulary that's important for success at secondary school.

All students need planned opportunities to learn, use, and practise, in authentic contexts, the vocabulary that they need in order to communicate about the subjects they are studying.

There is more than one level of knowing a word or term. We can understand many words when hearing them spoken or reading them in a text, even though we do not use these words in speaking or writing ourselves. This is known as our "receptive vocabulary". Our "productive vocabulary" consists of those words that we can actually use accurately, either in speech or in writing. Students need to be able to use the specialised words that they learn.

Students learning English as a new language have an urgent need to acquire more vocabulary.Not surprisingly, new learners of English have considerably less knowledge of English vocabulary items than first-language English speakers of the same age (Nation, 1990, 2001). Cummins (1989) estimates that it takes two years for new learners of English to be able to communicate effectively at a conversational level. It can take five to seven years for these students to learn to use academic language proficiently.All students need many exposures to the vocabulary that is new to them. Effective teachers help their students to link new words to their existing knowledge and give them opportunities to reinforce their learning during meaningful communication.
Effective Literacy Strategies in Years 9-13, NZ Ministry of Education, 2006. p.27-31.

Knowing about different categories of vocabulary

The following vocabulary categories may be useful for teachers to consider.

  • High-frequency words
High-frequency words are the words most often used in a language and make up over eighty percent of most written text. There are about two thousand high-frequency word families in the English language. These include all the basic words needed for communicating in English. A teacher who is aware that some students may not know the high-frequency words in the language they are using at school can plan to teach them these words first, along with a few other words that they need to know, such as the teacher's name.
  • Specialised academic vocabulary
Students need to learn new, subject-specific terms for every subject that they study at secondary school. For example, in the resources and economic activities strand of social studies, they need to be able to use the terms "supply and demand", "productivity", and "access to goods and services". Many students know only the everyday meanings of words that also have different, specialised meanings. One reason for students finding certain academic words difficult to learn is that many words have a general, everyday meaning as well as a subject-specific meaning. For example, "volume", "range", and "function" all have both everyday and specialised meanings. Nicholson (1988) found that many students had very strongly established understandings of the everyday meanings of certain words and so they found it hard to grasp that these words also had specialised academic meanings. When discussing subject content with their students, teachers can explore this issue and model using the words correctly in different-contexts.
  • General academic vocabulary
General academic vocabulary includes terms used across the curriculum. Some of these terms, such as "define" and "assess", are often used when giving instructions to students, and others, such as "method" and "survey", are used to describe concepts, processes, and strategies common to many subject areas. General academic words are often used in tests and examinations, and students need to be confident about using such words to "show what they know".Coxhead compiled her academic word list (a list of general academic terms) by analysing which words were most often found throughout twenty-eight subject areas in university texts in New Zealand and around the world (Coxhead, 1998).
    Effective Literacy Strategies in Years 9-13, NZ Ministry of Education, 2006. p.27-31.

The challenges for teachers

Are the students aware of the context-specific meanings of the words they need to use?To understand subject content and achieve their learning goals, students need to know the relevant vocabulary, including specialised words and terms. The challenges for teachers are:

  • to establish what vocabulary expertise the students bring with them (that is, to know their students);
  • to establish ways of building on the students' expertise and teaching them the vocabulary they need (that is, to know what teachers can do);
  • to help the students develop strategies to identify and solve unknown vocabulary (that is, to enable them to become independent vocabulary learners).
    Effective Literacy Strategies in Years 9-13, NZ Ministry of Education, 2006. p.27-31.

Knowing the students’ vocabulary knowledge

Students need to know the vocabulary of specific subjects.Teachers can collect useful information about their students' vocabulary knowledge in their subject area by devising a simple test using the key words of the subject. Monitoring the students' work as they use new words will also provide valuable evidence to use when planning future vocabulary teaching.Teachers can provide an environment that is rich in subject-specific words. This raises the students' consciousness of words and their awareness of the power and fascination of words. For example, a class could develop a display of "words of the week" or a "word wall", where the students write up new words that they have learned (see Ruddell and Shearer, 2002).

This activity need not be limited to newly learned or subject-specific words – it can include any interesting words. As well as giving the message that words are fun, such a display can provide the teacher with useful evidence of their students' developing vocabulary knowledge. One student (quoted in Ruddell and Shearer, page 352) said, "I used to only think about vocabulary in school. The whole world is vocabulary."All students benefit from thinking and talking about new vocabulary. For students from non-English-speaking backgrounds, it may be best for them to use their first language for this, or to find first language equivalents for new English vocabulary.
Effective Literacy Strategies in Years 9-13, NZ Ministry of Education, 2006. p.27-31.

Knowing what teachers can do

Introducing students to new vocabulary
Teachers can identify the key terms needed for understanding and communicating about some specific subject content. This is the vocabulary that the students need to know in order to understand, discuss, and write about the subject content appropriately.. When deciding which key terms to teach, consider:

  • how often the terms are used;
  • how important they are for relevant subject-specific learning;
  • how important they are for general academic use.

For some words, a simple explanation from the teacher may be all that is needed. For many other words, the teacher will need to plan how to integrate the vocabulary learning into their teaching of the subject content. Simply giving a word's definition or presenting it in a glossary may not be effective.

Students need to link new words with the words they already know and with related words and terms.It is important to remember that there is a limit to the number of vocabulary items that students can take in at one time. Within one learning session, students should not be expected to learn more than six or seven words.Helping students to solve unknown vocabulary.

Encourage students to actively monitor their own understanding of text. When students get "stuck" in their reading, they should be aware that they can decide to try one or more appropriate strategies. Teachers can help them to adopt and use effective literacy strategies when they come across unfamiliar words and terms.Giving students opportunities to use new words and termsStudents need many exposures to new words in meaningful contexts.

Plan to provide many opportunities for students to integrate their new words into their spoken and written vocabularies. When students practise using new vocabulary soon after learning it, they are more likely to remember it and to use it appropriately and with increasing confidence.

Teachers can promote vocabulary learning by exposing their students to new words in a range of meaningful contexts and by setting purposeful tasks that require the students to use the words many times. Vocabulary learning should occur in oral language contexts as well as written language contexts. Speaking and listening provide the platform for learning new vocabulary, which can then be used in reading and writing. Discussion and other oral-language activities that are part of the classroom culture help to establish students' newly learned vocabulary as part of their "usable memory".

Developing independent learners

Students need to be aware of the strategies that they can use to help them decode and understand unfamiliar words and terms. They will be more successful in learning new words when they consciously take an active part in the learning process. By teaching them strategies that they can use to develop their knowledge of words, teachers empower students to become independent vocabulary learners.Teachers should encourage all students to try to identify the meaning of unfamiliar words by themselves, first by using context clues and other strategies to work out the meaning and then by checking in their dictionaries. Teachers model strategies for learning unknown vocabulary, and students practise using these strategies.Teachers could suggest that students use the following questions, at appropriate stages as they learn new vocabulary, to help them think about their understanding.

  • What key words do I know already?
  • What related words do I know?
  • What new vocabulary can I now use confidently to explain my understanding of the subject content?
  • What new understandings have I gained?
  • What are some examples of context clues that may help me to understand new-vocabulary?

These questions could be included in students' learning logs or put on wallcharts for students to refer to when appropriate.
Effective Literacy Strategies in Years 9-13, NZ Ministry of Education, 2006. p.27-31. 

Developing knowledge of English amongst students from language backgrounds other than English

Teachers should not delay literacy instruction for students who do not yet speak English fluently, nor should they limit their teaching to low-level skills that focus on the surface features of texts. Rather, teachers should act on their awareness that reading in English improves the reader's knowledge of English – reading is one of the best ways to learn a language, particularly in the later primary and secondary years. Like all literacy learners, new learners of English need many rich experiences with texts that interest and challenge them, right from the start. However, teachers do need to choose texts carefully for these students. Only texts that are at the right levels will enable new learners of English to develop their strategy use as they learn more about their new language.

The two most important variables (affecting success in reading English texts) that distinguish new learners of English from their English-speaking peers are differences in prior knowledge (including cultural knowledge) and differences in English language proficiency.

It's very important for teachers to demonstrate that all the students' cultures are an important part of the classroom culture. It's also important for teachers to scaffold their students into the classroom ways of doing things and into unfamiliar cultural aspects of the texts they read. Effective teachers encourage their students to query what they don't understand and are ready to explain and clarify.

New learners of English need support to develop their English language proficiency, especially their knowledge and understanding of English grammatical structures and vocabulary and their ability to use them. Some learners with limited English language knowledge resort to reading slowly out loud, sounding each word out carefully. The disadvantage of this is that they are often not able to carry the meaning across the length of the sentence or paragraph.Students are better able to learn oral and written English through literacy activities when:

  • they are exposed to substantial spoken or written English that is within their zone of proximal development – not too hard and not too easy;
  • their teacher helps them to notice language items and language patterns in the English that they hear and read (for example, when reading a story to students, the teacher can select words for attention in passing and write them on the whiteboard without interrupting the flow of the story);
  • the literacy activities are carefully sequenced and linked to students' needs, for example, when new learners of English are given opportunities to rehearse spoken language with their peers. It's very important that they have opportunities to take the risk of trying out language by speaking and that they receive constructive and supportive feedback from their peers or from the teacher.
    Effective Literacy Practice in Years 5-8, NZ Ministry of Education, 2006. p.129

Teachers should:

  • develop a class community of people who are curious and enthusiastic about language and keen to experiment with new vocabulary and language structures;
  • encourage students to notice, savour, and share interesting words at every opportunity, for example, when reading literary and transactional texts and during class or group conversations;
  • introduce, explain, and model the use of new words, including the academic and specialised words that the students need for their ongoing learning;
  • explicitly teach aspects of English language, such as morphology, including the meanings of common prefixes and suffixes and interesting morphemes derived from other languages;
  • explicitly teach strategies that readers can use to work out unknown words and terms in texts (for example, by using information in the words themselves, by making links to known words, and by using context clues);
  • give students opportunities to use their new words and terms in authentic oral and written language contexts and encourage them by constructive feedback.

What does it look like?

Example 1

The student uses an increasing visual vocabulary appropriate to a static image, such as background, shape, layout, colour and symbolism to communicate precise meaning about Miss Brill’s isolation and inner thoughts. The black background in the image represents the dark, confining cupboard-like room Miss Brill returned to after visiting the park. The white silhouette with a bun low on the nape of the neck shows that Miss Brill was an old lady. It dominates the page because the story is mostly about what goes on inside her head. Inside the silhouette there is a bright collage of all the people, objects and events from the park. They are in colour because to her they are the most real and vibrant part of her life. They are put into the shape of a brain to show that in her mind they are a very real part of her life. 

Student static image based on The Geranium by Patricia Grace – Exemplar G

Example 2

Barb Wired : Definition Perfect

The student uses an increasing vocabulary appropriate to feature writing, such as:· connotative adjectives to effectively develop the notion of ‘extremes’;

  • “plump juicy…. incredibly shrunken”
  • combined with a wide ranging vocabulary listing parts of the body where cosmetic surgery often occurs to communicate precise meaning about body image and happiness.

Extract from article:

Then of course there is the other extremes of looks, for example the plump juicy collagen lips, the incredibly shrunken liposuction stomaches, the shapely butts, the enlarged breasts and the age defying botox faces. All in the name of plastic surgery. Look at just how far the plastic fantastic abilities have come. It's gone from basics and being not very well-known or common to being capable of doing work on your head, hands, skin, chest, abdomen, legs and butt and taken for a test drive on many well-known celebrities.

Uses a wide range of text conventions appropriately, effectively, and with accuracy.

Uses a wide range of text conventions, including grammatical and spelling conventions, appropriately, effectively, and with accuracy.

What do I need to know?

Knowledge of texts and how they impact on readers and writers

Readers and writers need to know that all texts have meaning and purpose, and they need to be able to distinguish between different text purposes. They need to know, for example, that some texts are intended primarily to raise reader or writer self-awareness, some to entertain, and some to communicate ideas or information. A major purpose of most texts is to affect the target audience in a particular way, often by conveying the writer’s point of view effectively. Students need to know that many texts have several purposes.

Students should understand that all texts are intended for an audience (the audience is sometimes the writer) and that effective texts have an impact on their readers. They also need to know about the text features that writers use to achieve the desired impact. The deeper features of a text generally relate to the writer’s purpose and voice and include the structure and language features of the text. Its surface features include grammar, spelling, and punctuation. Young readers and writers will also learn that accurate or inaccurate use of surface features affects readers’ ability to make meaning of texts.

Readers and writers need to know that there are different text forms and that these are generally characterised by a particular structure and certain other features. Forms such as stories, recounts, reports, procedures, arguments, explanations, varieties of poetry, and plays all have characteristic structures and features that are linked to their different purposes. Students need to know about the structures and features associated with each of these text forms.
Effective Literacy Practice in Years 5-8, NZ Ministry of Education, 2006. p.34-35

Reflecting on recrafting and presenting the text: Making changes - what writers do

Reread and evaluate the ideas and information that they record, seeking and acting on feedback from others to ensure that their writing is clear and meets its purpose.
Effective Literacy Practice in Years 5-8, NZ Ministry of Education, 2006. p.158.

Using language features with control: Developing independent learners

Students need to know not only what they are doing but also how to do it and why they are doing it. With this knowledge, they are more able to monitor their own writing and to evaluate their finished product. Students should be encouraged to ask themselves the following questions about their writing.

Forming intentions

  • What is the purpose of the writing task?
  • What do I know about the topic or ideas?
  • Who is the audience, and what do I want them to know about the topic and the ideas?
  • What do I need to find out?
  • How can I put my information into the appropriate form?

Composing a text

  • What are the main ideas I want to include?
  • What supporting examples, evidence, details, or data will I need to include?·
  • How should I structure my ideas?
  • How can I make my writing clear and effective?
  • What language or subject-specific vocabulary will I need to include?

Revising

  • After writing the first draft, can I see how to improve it?
  • Does my text make sense at word, sentence, and whole-text level?
  • Are my ideas appropriate and supported?
  • Do I need to reorganise my sentences or paragraphs?
  • Are the language and vocabulary appropriate for the purpose?
  • Are the spelling, grammar, and punctuation correct?

Publishing

  • What is the most effective way to publish or present my material?
  • How will I check that it is complete, accurate, and ready for sharing?
    Effective Literacy Strategies for Years 9-13, Ministry of Education, 2004. p.135

Further reading:  Text Conventions – AsTTle (Level 6 Basic, Proficient, Advanced)

What does it look like?

Example 1

NZATE NCEA English Externals Exemplars Level 1:

The student uses a wide range of written text conventions

Extract from Exemplar 1:

In “Latitudes”, a poem by Mario Petrucci, the author uses several examples of effective imagery to add to our overall view and picture of the poem in our head, as well as enhancing and helping us understand the idea that there is so much unfairness in our world.

“Latitudes” is a poem in which we are presented with six vignettes of life, each telling the story of a different child around the world. The first five stanzas present us with tragic and even heart breaking stories of children’s misfortune and bad luck, but it is the sixth stanza that really awakens our social conscience. It depicts a soon to be mother in a “New York apartment”, playing “music through a stethoscope to her unborn child.…

Example 2

The student uses a wide range of visual text conventions:

  • symbolic use of colour throughout
  • an appropriate and significant quotation on the home page
  • skilfully selected images and text on other pages
  • an effective and original background image to unify the design on all pages appropriately, effectively and with accuracy in a web page. Student website based on ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’– Exemplar A.

Example 3

English Online: Yes…But

Examining exemplars highlights for students the importance of using a range of text conventions, including grammatical and spelling conventions, with accuracy.

Annotations linked to Exemplar C: Intrusive level of errors:

  • Several spelling mistakes.
  • Subject/verb agreement errors.
  • Syntax not controlled. Some run on sentences.
  • Inconsistent pronoun use: 'we’; ‘you’.

Structure

  • Organise texts, using a range of appropriate, effective structures.

Indicators

Achieves a sense of coherence and wholeness when constructing texts

Achieves a sense of coherence and wholeness when constructing texts

What do I need to know?

Forming intentions for writing – organisation

Forming intentions means planning carefully in order to create an effective text that has clarity and impact. Teachers need to provide focused instruction on how to identify purposes and audiences for writing, how to choose a text form that aligns to the purpose for writing, and how to gather, select, and organise ideas and information for writing.

Teachers can engage their students in forming intentions for writing by, for example, sharing personal stories with them, reading to or with them, researching a topic with them, or discussing a topic in depth with them. When students know what writing that achieves its purpose looks like, they can develop personal learning goals for improving their writing in specific ways. 
Effective Literacy Strategies in Years 5-8, Ministry of Education, 2004. p.154.

 What writers do

  • identify the purpose and audience for their writing
  • think carefully about the possible content of their writing
  • gather, select, and organise ideas and information, either in their minds (to be drawn upon when required) or by recording them using graphic organisers such as word lists, flow charts, and mind maps
  • make connections between the ideas and information, ask questions about them, visualise them, analyse them, synthesise them, and evaluate them, in order to decide which ideas and information to include
  • visualise a structure or sequence that conveys their intended meaning
  • decide on the text form that best meets their purpose
  • discuss their planning with other writers and get feedback about it.

 How teachers can support learners

  • The goal of our shared writing session is to identify and articulate a writing purpose and describe the audience before beginning to write. Knowing why you are writing and who you are writing for affects the text forms that you consider using.
  • I will demonstrate how I record my planning for explanation writing as a flow chart. I want you to think about the best way to sequence the text and whether I could improve my planning.
  • What is the purpose of your writing? How will your reader work this out? Will it be stated or implied? Why?
  • Who is your intended audience? How do you think this will affect your writing?
  • What do you want your readers to think about as they read your text? What will you include or exclude to ensure that your readers consider these points?
  • What will you need to do to gather and organise your ideas for writing this text? What difficulties do you think you will have in doing this?
  • Remember your personal learning goal as you plan for writing this text. What are you trying to improve in your writing? What was that recent feedback on your writing that you wanted to act on?
  • The mind map that you have developed indicates the key ideas that you want to communicate. I suggest that you sequence these ideas before you write – this might help you to clarify your thinking.
  • You will need to analyse this section of the text you’re referring to if you want to get information for your writing. This means that you will need to skim-read it and identify the key points. Think about how we did this in shared reading.
  • Read this article closely, because it contains examples of the criteria you are working to meet. Let’s see if we can identify them.
    Effective Literacy Strategies in Years 5-8, Ministry of Education, 2004. p.154.

What does it look like?

Example 1

Shaping up (Word 229KB)

The student achieves a sense of coherence and wholeness using the placement of the quotation [“Where lies the blame?”] that helps to unify the image and the combination of symbols related to it. [The crack down the middle of the wharenui is black, symbolising the unknown pakeha ways that are breaking through. It symbolises the unknown ways that are corrupting the Maori, destroying the Maori traditions. The spears lying on the grass at the kaumatua’s feet represent the immensity of this situation.]

Student static image based on ‘The Whale’ by Witi Ihimaera – Exemplar E  

Extract from article:

(Introduction) Shiny bouncy hair, big sparkling eyes, full lips, beautiful even all-year-round tan ... and the figure of a stick insect. Is this the new definition of "perfect". It seems that that's all we are being fed in today's world of beauty. We are bloated with images of this so called "perfect" body image. But just how true is this world wide obsession of being stick thin? Extract (conclusion)The effect on image has done so much for us. So much that it's driven people to depression, eating disorders like bulimia and anorexia, self harm and suicide. And what for? For not being "perfect". That is sad.

Organises and develops ideas and information for a particular purpose or effect

Organises and develops ideas and information for a particular purpose or effect, using the characteristics and conventions of a range of text forms.

What do I need to know?

Forming intentions for writing - organisation

What writers do:

  • identify the purpose and audience for their writing
  • think carefully about the possible content of their writing
  • gather, select, and organise ideas and information, either in their minds (to be drawn upon when required) or by recording them using graphic organisers such as word lists, flow charts, and mind maps
  • make connections between the ideas and information, ask questions about them, visualise them, analyse them, synthesise them, and evaluate them, in order to decide which ideas and information to include
  • visualise a structure or sequence that conveys their intended meaning
  • decide on the text form that best meets their purpose
  • discuss their planning with other writers and get feedback about it.

How teachers can support learners

  • The goal of our shared writing session is to identify and articulate a writing purpose and describe the audience before beginning to write. Knowing why you are writing and who you are writing for affects the text forms that you consider using.
  • I will demonstrate how I record my planning for explanation writing as a flow chart. I want you to think about the best way to sequence the text and whether I could improve my planning.
  • What is the purpose of your writing? How will your reader work this out? Will it be stated or implied? Why?
  • Who is your intended audience? How do you think this will affect your writing?
  • What do you want your readers to think about as they read your text? What will you include or exclude to ensure that your readers consider these points?
  • What will you need to do to gather and organise your ideas for writing this text? What difficulties do you think you will have in doing this?
  • Remember your personal learning goal as you plan for writing this text. What are you trying to improve in your writing? What was that recent feedback on your writing that you wanted to act on?
  • The mind map that you have developed indicates the key ideas that you want to communicate. I suggest that you sequence these ideas before you write – this might help you to clarify your thinking.
  • You will need to analyse this section of the text you’re referring to if you want to get information for your writing. This means that you will need to skim-read it and identify the key points. Think about how we did this in shared reading.
  • Read this article closely, because it contains examples of the criteria you are working to meet. Let’s see if we can identify them.
    Effective Literacy Strategies in Years 5-8, Ministry of Education. 2004, p.154.

Knowledge of texts and of how they impact on readers and writers

Readers and writers need to know that all texts have meaning and purpose, and they need to be able to distinguish between different text purposes. They need to know, for example, that some texts are intended primarily to raise reader or writer self-awareness, some to entertain, and some to communicate ideas or information.

A major purpose of most texts is to affect the target audience in a particular way, often by conveying the writer’s point of view effectively. Students need to know that many texts have several purposes. Students should understand that all texts are intended for an audience (the audience is sometimes the writer) and that effective texts have an impact on their readers. They also need to know about the text features that writers use to achieve the desired impact.

The deeper features of a text generally relate to the writer’s purpose and voice and include the structure and language features of the text. Its surface features include grammar, spelling, and punctuation. Young readers and writers will also learn that accurate or inaccurate use of surface features affects readers’ ability to make meaning of texts. Readers and writers need to know that there are different text forms and that these are generally characterised by a particular structure and certain other features.

Forms such as stories, recounts, reports, procedures, arguments, explanations, varieties of poetry, and plays all have characteristic structures and features that are linked to their different purposes. Students in years 5 to 8 need to know about the structures and features associated with each of these text forms. The characteristic features of any text form (which can be used to identify the form of a text) are likely to include specific structural and language features and may include specific kinds of content, vocabulary, and/or surface features. 
Effective Literacy Strategies in Years 5-8, Ministry of Education, 2004. p.34. 

Features of text forms
Teaching about text forms can help students understand how text is structured and why. We need to be careful, however, to be flexible about the features in a text form. Authentic text forms are often mixed and text forms evolve and change.

What does it look like?

Example 1

English Online: Out of their Comfort Zones 

The particular purpose is to write about the situations facing characters in two short stories and how they deal with the challenges or issues they face, using the conventions of transactional written text form. Extract from activity: The characteristics and conventions of this text form are: 

  • a short introduction linking the two stories
  • two paragraphs each focusing on one short story. Note how each paragraph links to the topic by referring to the 'out of their comfort zones' topic
  • a short conclusion making a summary point linking the stories to the topic

Example 2

Hot Issues Research Report - Street Kids (RTF 98KB) – student work

Extract from activity:

The particular purpose is to organise and develop information and conclusions from research in a report format.   The characteristics and conventions of this text form are:

  • an introduction stating why this topic was selected and introducing the research questions
  • three sections, each dealing with one research question
  • a conclusion
  • each section includes:
  • an opening statement giving an overview or making a summary point
  • details and examples relevant to the research question addressed.

Example 3

The particular purpose is to organise and develop a web page designed to promote a text, using the design principles specific to a web page. The characteristics and conventions of this text form are:

  • a brief page title explaining the page’s contents
  • top-of-page graphics/images
  • page backgrounds which relate to subject matter and do not intrude on text
  • headline text which indicates content briefly, clearly and in an interesting way
  • body text which communicates the key ideas and information
  • menu buttons to navigate to different locations
  • links to related information on this page and/or in the Internet
  • URL address/ author information for further contact and information on ownership

Published on: 03 Jun 2014




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