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Ministry of Education.

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Students read self selected [and teacher approved] extended texts, then plan and write about responses to ideas, issues or themes within their texts.

Learning Outcomes | Teaching and Learning | Assessment and Evaluation | Printing Version

Writer: Mike Fowler
Year level 11
Who are my learners and what do they already know? See  Planning using Inquiry
School curriculum outcomes How your school’s principles, values, or priorities will be developed through this unit

Learning Outcomes

 (What do my students need to learn)

Curriculum achievement objectives (AOs) for:  

Processes and strategies

Integrate sources of information, processes, and strategies purposefully and confidently to identify, form, and express increasingly sophisticated ideas:

  • selects and reads texts for enjoyment and personal fulfilment
  • thinks critically about texts with understanding and confidence
  • creates a range of increasingly varied and complex texts by integrating sources of information and processing strategies


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

  • develops and communicates comprehensive ideas, information, and understandings

Language features

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

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


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

  • achieves a sense of coherence and wholeness when constructing texts
Achievement Standard(s) aligned to AO(s)

1.5 Produce formal writing

1.1 Show understanding of specified aspect(s) of studied written text(s), using supporting evidence

Teaching and Learning

 (What do I need to know and do?)

1-2 related professional readings or links to relevant research

Effective Practices in Teaching Writing in NZ Secondary Schools [available from February 2011]

Planning using Inquiry

English Teaching and Learning Guide [available from February 2011]

Assessment and Examination Rules and Procedures

Learning task 1

Learning intention(s)

Building understandings of how topics are structured

KCs/ Principles/Values focus


Thinking – examining topic structure

Learning task 1

Considering possible topics

  1. In a piece of formal writing, you are developing your responses to ideas, themes or issues in a text you have selected yourself and that has been approved by your teacher. Your writing can be developed and assessed against Achievement Standard 1.5 Produce formal writing. At the end of the year, this work will also become part of preparing for the externally assessed AS 1.1 Show understanding of specified aspect(s) of studied written text(s), using supporting evidence. AS 1.1 requires you to show an understanding of one or more texts and support the points you make with relevant examples and details..
  2. In selecting a topic, it is vital that you select one suited to your text and to your understandings about it. As a first step in choosing, reading then responding to a text you have selected, consider the sample topics set in the draft external assessment resources for AS 1.1. Note the highlighted sections: there are two parts to each topic that should be addressed. After describing a key text aspect [like character, setting, language features, or an event], you are asked to comment on why that aspect helped you understand an important idea in the text. After reading your text, you will select one of these topics and craft a piece of formal writing which will be assessed as a piece of formal writing for AS 1.5.

Learning task 2

Learning intention(s)

 Exploring and selecting texts

KCs/ Principles/Values focus

KCs: Thinking – explore texts

Relate to others – peer discussion

Learning task 2

Selecting an extended text

  1. 'Extended texts' include a number of text types. For this activity, you could select either fiction or non fiction. Your teacher may also guide you about the texts you can select. Your teacher might suggest:
    • a selection of extended texts that share a common theme
    • a choice from several short sets of titles
    • texts from a particular genre
    • an open text choice.
  2. It is important that you select an appropriate Level 6 extended text that interests you, that you can understand, and that raises ideas you are interested in responding to and writing about.

Deciding on your text

  1. Make a decision on the text you will read and study after some preliminary reading. You should also gain teachers’ approval for your text at this stage.
  2. After reading the blurb, read the opening chapter and make some notes. Use resource A to write your responses.
  3. Talk with other students about your impressions of the first chapter of your text. Refer to the notes you made using your checklist in resource A.
  4. If you are reading the same text as one or more students in the class, you could discuss your shared title together. You should also talk with students who are reading other texts, as their comments about the opening chapters in their texts might interest you in reading their texts too.

Learning task 3

Learning intention(s)

 Reading between and beyond the lines

KCs/ Principles/Values focus


Thinking – think critically; apply diverse thinking strategies

Learning task 3

'Bookmarking' as you read your text

  1. At several points as you read your text, stop and consider different ideas and issues. It might be that a particular event or character, or some distinctive aspect about the language used or the setting] highlighted this idea for you.
  2. Use resource B to note down your responses. You will use the ideas and comments from your 'bookmarking' template as the basis for a three level guide you will develop.

Developing a three level guide based on your text

  1. After you have finished reading your text and completing your 'bookmarking' template, design a short three level guide to help you think in more depth about important ideas and issues. Use resource C. Look at the structure which outlines how three level guides are structured.
  2. Read the short story Beans , then in pairs talk about the statements at each level resource C.
  3. Use the template at the end of resource C to develop a three level guide for your extended text. Base the statements you develop on the responses from the 'bookmarking' template. Include at least two statements at each level. You should give the most attention to developing level three statements.
  4. After developing your three level guide, discuss your guide with your teacher to check statements made at each level. If you are reading the same text as other students, you could discuss each others' guides. You could also discuss and explain your guides to students who have read different texts. Your teacher should also retain copies of the guides developed for various texts so that other students reading these texts at a later date can also respond to the guides.
  5. To prepare to write about ideas, your teacher or other students might ask you to justify selected Level 3 statements and to find evidence in the text to support your ideas.

Writing 'beyond the text'

  1. Read Exemplar A (Word 844KB) .The topic for this exemplar is: Describe at least ONE idea that you thought was important in the text. Explain how the writer made you think the idea was important. This is an exemplar for AS 1.3 Read, study and show understanding of extended written text(s). This Achievement Standard expires at the end of 2010. Note that the 2011 AS 1.1 is very similar to AS 1.3, the achievement standard it replaces. Consequently, the exemplar material you are considering can be used as a guide to the type of response required for the new Achievement Standard 1.1.
  2. The annotations indicate:
    • where the writer has focused on an issue in their text and how this was highlighted by particular characters and events.
    • how this writing could be measured against the AS 1.1 achievement criteria.
    • To help you to prepare to write about your own text, work through externals Exemplar A (Word 844KB) highlighting statements focusing on what the text has taught or shown the reader. Look for expressions like “This shows…; or this helped me understand…” in the exemplars.
  3. Exemplar A was written under exam conditions. Some polishing of the language features [style, syntax, spelling and punctuation] is needed before this piece were submitted for assessment for AS 1.5 Produce formal writing. Working with a partner, work on improving the technical accuracy of these two exemplars.

Learning task 4

Learning intention(s)

 Drafting and polishing writing.

KCs/ Principles/ Values focus


 Use language, symbols and texts – structure and express understandings about texts

Learning task 4

Building a case: developing a piece of formal writing

  1. Writing perceptively means that you build a case about what the text has taught or shown you throughout your answer. Supported by specific details from your text, your aim is to convince the reader that your text does highlight important ideas. Exemplar A (Word 844KB) builds an effective case. In particular the answer is enhanced by commenting on wider issues which move beyond the text. Taking this approach will help you demonstrate your engagement with the topic and your text. Some of the statements you developed at the third level in your three level guide are the sorts of ideas you should plan to incorporate and discuss in your writing.
  2. Choose or adapt one of these topics from the sample topics as a starting point to write about what your text has taught or shown you.
  3. Use ideas from the three level guide you developed in task 5 as the basis for your writing. Use resource D.
  4. Write at least 350 words. Support your ideas with specific details from your text. You may not include material from the exemplars in your own writing.
  5. Prior to writing the final draft, you should return to exemplar A to help reflect on whether any changes or additions are needed in your own final draft. Remember that this exemplar was written under exam conditions. This piece requires polishing of text conventions before it would meet the excellence criteria for AS 1.1 Produce formal writing.
  6. After completing a first draft, read your piece aloud to help identify parts of the writing that require reworking. Before writing a final version of your piece, proof-read it to improve on technical accuracy. This piece of writing can now be considered for assessment for AS 1.5 Produce formal writing.

Preparing for the external standard 1.1

  1. Look back at the formal writing piece you developed earlier in the year and use it to help prepare for AS 1.1 Show understanding of specified aspect(s) of studied written text(s), using supporting evidence. Don’t rote learn this essay then attempt to somehow adapt a learnt essay to a topic in the exam. You will be much better prepared if you familiarise yourself again with the text as well as its ideas and supporting evidence, then adapt your understandings and supporting evidence to fit the requirements of the topics set.

Assessment and Evaluation

 (What is the impact of my teaching and learning?)

Formative and/or Summative assessment task(s), including how will feedback be provided 1.5 Produce formal writing. Refer to the assessment schedule.

Provision for identifying next learning steps for students who need:

  • further learning opportunities
  • increased challenge

This piece of writing should be an integrated part of the year’s writing programme. Refer to

English Teaching and Learning Guide 

Conditions of Assessment Guidelines for formal writing

Effective Practices in Teaching Writing in NZ Secondary Schools

Tools or ideas which, for example might be used to evaluate:

  • progress of the class and groups within it
  • student engagement

leading to :

  • changes to the sequence
  • addressing teacher learning needs
See  Planning Using Inquiry

Printing this unit:

If you are not able to access the zipped files, please download the following individual files.

Published on: 25 Nov 2010