I personally feel there is too much of an emphasis on writing in GCSEs. In spite of this it is a good means of checking understanding, encouraging creativity and developing literacy.
This is a short summary of 5 things that you can try and apply next week. You can judge my maths abilities at the end!
Give students a grid of phrases with various points for various things. It is similar to a writing frame but encourage them to use the more complicated material by giving it a higher points score:
5 10 20
me gusta reason with porque es double reason with porque
me encanta reason with porque son use of “en mi opinion”
no me gusta creo que use of connecting word not y/también/pero
odio pienso que use of negative in reasons given
This works really well with year 8-9 boys and a set time limit. It also gets numeracy into your lesson. It is really easy to differentiate by ability. If you have a top set, stretch them, maybe 20 points should be for another tense. The example above is for year 7s and links in with last week’s post.
Same as above but the mission is to use everything in the grid whilst still making sense. Winner is first one to use them all.
These can be effective however they need to be tailored to the relationship you have with your group and material you have covered. I have seen a number of excellent ones on the TES website but sometimes they need altering, correcting or rewriting for another topic as the layout is good but the material doesn’t help you! If you know of particular interests within the group then consider playing to those. For a more able group, the key to a good one is how much it forces adaptation and develops creativity. For a lower ability group the question should be how it helps them to sequence their work and does it help to prevent the phrases such as “me lamo” “me prefiero” or “me juego” and the ubiquitous “me odio”?
This works, my old German teacher used to practise grammatical concepts by increasing the difficulty of what we were expected to produce. Emily’s horse said that it did not want to be eaten (passive, modal verbs and konjunktiv I – she had high expectations).
Pupils love it but it is about practising structure and aiming at automaticity with the structures. Can students manipulate the language successfully?
Scenes we’d like to see
Borrowed from the popular jocular television show Mock the Week. This is excellent for future tense or present tense writing. “Things … will not do at Christmas” (insert name of celebrity or royalty). “How Katniss Everdeen will spend her weekend.” It really helps if you use mini-whiteboards as you can check that pupils have grasped the structures. I made the mistake of allowing the kids to use me for the first one. The results were interesting to say the least…
Students are used to these in other subjects such as technology. So use them to your advantage in structuring an argument. Say for example you want the pupils to debate the environment, work experience etc. Start with a variety of opinion phrases so that students make a point, explain it, add a contrasting view with “einige Leute denken, dass” and then add a further opinion and reason. The exam boards say “express and explain a range of ideas and points of view.” This is ideal for that very aim.