Since the new Craft of Writing area of study in VCE English encourages students to experiment with a range of writing types – such as reflective pieces, blogs, journal entries, feature articles, explainers and biographical writing to name a few – schools are now looking at how to teach a greater range of text types in the junior year levels. Many schools are stuck in a model of teaching a narrow range of writing forms at Years 7-10 – usually just short stories, persuasive pieces and perhaps recounts. We now want students to be familiar with at least 6-8 forms of writing from their junior years, so they can draw upon some previous experience when making writing choices at Years 11&12. But where to find time to teach more text forms? The answer is to look for opportunities to connect the teaching of different but related text forms in any writing unit we do at Years 7-10. Whenever we teach one text form – such as short stories – it will always use creative techniques to be found in another form – such as feature articles:
|Feature article||Both||Short story|
|*Reports on real people or events |
*Provides and explains factual information
*Paragraphs based on grouping information together
|*Begin by setting scene or describing person |
*Describes people, places or actions throughout
*Uses dialogue, reporting verbs
*Based on a protagonist
*Paragraphs bases on developing an overall story
This means that in a writing unit we can first explicitly teach students over 2-3 weeks how to write in one form – like a short story – and then over the next two weeks teach them how to use skills from the first term form, to write in another form – such as feature articles. In this way, our writing units are not only more efficient, but we are teaching students to see the links between writing forms. If you’d like more ideas about how to teach multiple text forms throughout a writing unit, see the recording of our presentation on Using The Student Guide 2 To Teach The Craft of Writing at Years 9&10 here.
Our new edition of The Student Guide To Writing Better Sentences 2 also includes step by step scaffolding for students to write in a whole range of creative forms. See a full preview of the textbook here.