This term in the writing classes we have started our next project, which is called Personal Best. This is based on the old Year Eleven Communication Project of a by-gone VCE English Study Design, but limited to writing. The students were invited to think of a topic that they had always wanted to find out about (or find out more about). They had to submit a plan (which will be assessed) stating their topic for research, the questions they need to find out and how they will go about finding out what they need to know in order to write for an audience interested in the same topic. The writing could be informative or persuasive. I’m hoping that we will get a wide variety of topics and I think that we will, judging from what I’ve seen so far. Some students are researching the country or city they were born in but had left five or ten years ago. They can find out their information by the usual ways but they are also being encouraged to interview relatives either personally or by email or any other way. I hope to find out more about Afghanistan in this way. Other aspects that will be assessed are the research itself, as well as the writing. They are expected to keep a running list of all the ways they tried to find information and state how helpful or otherwise it was for their writing. Needless to say the students are very happy to be researching a topic of their own choice as well. So far there have been a few teachable moments when we’re talking about a suitable topic or question to research. It’s never too soon to learn about this aspect of research, I think :D.
Another interesting class has been the Year Eleven English class. They have been preparing to do their second writing folio piece which is personal or imaginative writing. As practice exercises we had fun with doing personal alphabets thanks to this site, and an exercise where I gave the students a small squares of paper each. They wrote a setting in the middle of their square (anywhere a narrative could take place.) Then the squares are taken up and randomly distributed. This time they write imagery and metaphors that match or are related in some way to the setting they received. Again they are taken up and redistributed. Then they write other words related to the setting. Finally after another redistribution, they write a story using the stimulus of the square. I took up the resulting stories and was pleasantly surprised.
And speaking of assessment this looks interesting:
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