29 May 2012

Exploring Language Features

This morning was very intensive with time spent getting to know about the language features connected to 'Writing to Describe' in greater depth. Our first session was spent exploring signal words that are used to classify, compare and contrast. We then analysed a piece of descriptive text checking the style of writing was impersonal and factual, as well as identifying the following features:

Nouns (general)
e.g. lions, computers
Timeless present tense
e.g. are, have, exists, grows
Action verbs (behaviours), e.g. runs, hunts, erupts
Adjectives that are factual and precise e.g. 5.6 megabytes, sandy coloured
Technical vocabulary, e.g. marsupials, monotremes
Signal words for classifying, defining, comparing and contrasting, e.g. are called, belong to, are similar to, are more powerful than

Then it was time to start writing our own descriptive texts using all the notes we have collected about our selected zoo animals. We started off writing a factual and precise classification paragraph, then we moved onto our first description paragraph about the animal's appearance. Each paragraph needs to begin with a 'topic sentence' so we know what the paragraph is about. We will write the next description paragraphs tomorrow and end with a summarising statement by the end of the week. This really is a focussed and challenging way of writing that demands that the students put together everything they have learned about this purpose for writing.

For a little more relaxing pace we painted our clay models! This was incredibly delicate work. Students had to hold their models carefully and apply the acrylic paint with care. Just a little bit of glue for some models and the varnish coating and we're finished!

We will be having our pre-authorisation visit from the International Baccalaureate on Thursday and Friday. I will be asking some students to guide our visitor and be part of a student meeting to share their enthusiasm for learning. There will also be informal visits to classrooms around the school, as well as teacher meetings to share our school curriculum documentation and our school action plan.