My senior class (a mixture of Int 2 and Higher pupils) will be sitting their exams in a couple of weeks time. We are spending the few weeks between Easter and D-day revising the class texts, practising close reading techniques and improving essay writing skills. The latter of these is the trickiest, I feel. Though the pupils understand the importance of sticking to the task, of structure and of using quotations, their analysis can be a little thin sometimes.
With this in mind I have set about using AiFL techniques in order to heighten the pupils awareness of what is required of them and where their own work needs to be improved. I’ve found the following mixture of modelling and self assessment to be very successful.
After reviewing the meaning, types and importance of analysis the pupils are set an essay question to complete at home. On the due date I hand out a strong Model Essay. Pupils colour code where the essay’s author has used quotations and where they have focused on analysis. The class then do the same with their own essay and compare the results. The majority of pupils found that they ought to increase the amount of analysis in their essays. Some also realised they should be including more quotations. Using this information pupils set themselves targets for the next essay.
I have tended to do the second essay in timed conditions and set a very similar task to the initial question. The results have been very pleasing indeed. :)