QA Visit & Persuasive Writing

I’m off school today.  Sore throat, splitting headache..  Hoping it doesn’t last longer than today.  I know I shouldn’t but I tend to feel quite stressed when I’m off school.  Aside from falling behind with plans etc I worrythat my S3’s & S4’s are terrorising the cover teacher!

The QA team were in the school Monday, Tuesday.  I was observed yesterday period 4.  Overall it went very well.  My observer said he had been impressed by my teaching and my relationship with the class.  We had a discussion about the learning that had occurred and thought similar things had worked and not worked.  The main flaw with my plan (introducing persuasive writing) was the lack of a model.  I had intended on using one later in the unit but now realise that to have begun with a model would have given me something concrete to refer to from day one.  This is a technique I often use.  Not sure why I didn’t this time. 

Find teaching persuasive writing difficult.  Teaching the various techniques (rhetorical questions, hyperbole, inclusion of stats etc) is straight forward but actually pulling them together within an effective structure is tough.  And then you have research/collection of info on top of that.  My plan had been for all the pupils to write about boxing and whether or not it should be banned.  Have now decided that this will only be the starting point.  Think it would be beneficial to rigidly scaffold an initial essay on boxing then get the pupils to choose, research, plan and write a persuasive essay on their own topic.  Suspect they may internalise the learning more thoroughly through repeating the writing/research process immediately after their initial attempt. 

Time, of course, is a factor.  There is so much to fit into the standard grade course.  Folios are due in March.  Exams in May.  Easter in between.  Should manage it though.

On a different note, a visiting author gave a creative writing seminar to the pupils on Monday.  It was heavy going but I think the classes got a lot out of it.  That night, however, one of the 6th year girls discovered that the author had been convicted of murder in the 60’s.  The news spread quickly, obviously, and a few of the pupils indignantly accused the school of putting their lives at risk by exposing them to such a person.  The rest are loving the controversy.   

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