Thursday, 3 December 2020

Support for selective school and scholarship writing

 03 Dec

Year 5 students are now near the last 12 weeks from the selective test (and scholarship tests). It's now important to make sure that one can write a narrative well because it's easier to get writing marks than reading comprehension marks. For those hoping for a scholarship, writing is vital as it sits alone as one area in the test and is highly valued by private schools.

Selective and scholarship writing

In the Selective School test and all scholarship tests, it is safe to assume that students are only asked to write narrative texts. The narrative format is used by 99% of all selective and scholarship tests. Even when they give a persuasive prompt, they often also allow students to write a narrative with that prompt. Only ACER scholarship tests occasionally give a persuasive writing prompt. It can be easily converted into a narrative prompt for story writing by just treating the persuasive prompt as a theme.

Why is creative writing so difficult?

Creative writing is difficult as it requires so many different areas of skills and knowledge: grammar, spelling, English vocab, punctuation, knowledge of narrative structure, literary techniques and, more importantly, creative thinking. This is why students are encouraged to work on these skills, read a lot and watch TV shows and movies and copy down the good ideas. 

Support for writing on Mathemafix website

Mathemafix provides a lot of writing resources. There are online writing modules. The Selective Writing module is a portal that includes all the other writing modules and samples of writing works from past students.

The Mathemafix's Online Writing Resources serves as the introduction and road map available writing resources on Mathemafix. Parents should read this document to get a complete overview.

The following resources are at the basic level and suitable for year 3-4 but also applicable to year 5+.

  • Familiarisation with Creative Writing Workbook: This is a gentle introduction to narrative (story) writing that asks students to read a story, identify the elements of narrative text and then rewrite it.
  • Writing Workshop: This online module is aimed at year 5-8. However, there are some great videos suitable for kids at year 3-4 to watch and learn about English sentence structure and narrative text structure. Kids at year 3-4 can learn to identify the elements of narrative texts so they can analyse stories and then write with the correct structure.
  • Writing Tools Kit : This is the most basic set of templates, guides and scaffolds to help students write a variety of text types.


Steps to learn how to write narrative texts (stories)

Some students have done the Mathemafix's Selective and Scholarship Writing workshop. They would know about the following resources. Others who have not done this course, should make use of the following resources.

Step 1: [For beginners and those wishing to revise ] Watch the videos in the Writing Workshop (inside More ...)

The following videos should be watched:

Grammar and English skills: Adjectives | Adverbs | Participles as verbs and adjectives | Phrases | Adjectival and adverbial clauses | Conjunctions | Use conjunctions to make flowing sentences | Sentence improvement | Sentence construction | Common errors in writing

Text composition skills:  Settings | Character | Theme and More Theme | Create a Plot | Writing with the senses | Show NOT Tell

Step 2: [For beginners only] Use the workbook  Familiarisation with Creative Writing Workbook and the knowledge about narrative text from step 1 to analyse and see the elements of a narrative text in each of the stories. Then rewrite each story to become familiar with how to write stories.

Step 3: [For beginners only] Use the story planning worksheets in the Writing Tools Kit to plan and write small stories under 300 words and within 30 minutes.

Students should also the module punctuation in More ... to improve their punctuation skills. There is also a guide on punctuation for dialogues. These should be used frequently to support correct punctuation.

Step 4: Access the page QUICK LINKS to see many documents about writing. Use them as required. Pay special attention to the  document Guide for Scholarship and Selective Test Writing.

Step 5:  Refer to the document Mathemafix's Online Writing Resources to make use of the writing modules.

Step 6: Use the Selective Writing module to write weekly and get help from parents to mark using the marking form. Parents have the option to pay for on-demand marking service if they are not confident about marking for their own kids.

Students should actively read the works from past students and the comments from markers (available in the module Selective Writing) to learn from common mistakes. The module Read Summarise Write provides a lot of sample works written by adults from 200 words to 600 words in length. This should be used to practise when one is not confident of using one's own ideas.


Areas to focus for those who have mastered the basics of narrative writing

A lot of students just don't manage to go beyond the basics of narrative writing which is to produce a simple story with orientation, complication and resolution. Once the basics have been mastered, students need to try to do more fancy things.

  • Make sure the conflict of a story is right at the beginning of the story as a story written in 20 minutes is very short (only around 300 words).
  • Make sure there are 2-3 complications in the story.
  • Add a theme into the story.
  • Use more descriptive writing. There a module called Word Pictures (in More ...) where a lot of sample writings from famous English authors are presented for students to copy the style and the words.


Available writing class

For students who have not done the Mathemafix's Selective and Scholarship Writing workshop still has enough time to do the Google class for Selective and Scholarship Writing. It's an online Google class with video recordings for 10 lessons in narrative writing. This class also offers 3 lessons in persuasive writing.

On-demand marking service

As the marking of writing tasks is not a simple task, we now provide on-demand marking in the module Selective Writing. Students can write and then parents can request on-demand marking service. To activate this, parents need to load up credit for marking before a request for marking can be submitted.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Mathemafix welcomes your comments