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Author Topic: Essay Class that's bomb'in  (Read 2773 times)

Offline mareena

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Essay Class that's bomb'in
« on: March 24, 2011, 02:55:01 PM »
Hey all,

So I have been asked to teach 3 classes of grade 6 students (one class being rather low level grade 6 students) how to write an essay. This is in preparation for an essay writing competition so each week they have an hour of essay writing classes for the duration of 3 months.

For my first class I did an introduction to what an essay what, essay format and structure and for my second class I had them look at essay examples and try to identify the: topic, body paragraphs, conclusion etc. and talk about what message was being conveyed through the essay etc.

So far this class is bomb'in, the high level students are getting it somewhat, but the majority of my kids are just overwhelmed by the very thought of having to write the essay. They just don't find it a fun class. Any ideas on how I can spice up a class about essays?

twitch

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Re: Essay Class that's bomb'in
« Reply #1 on: March 24, 2011, 03:01:20 PM »
low level grade 6 students?  an ESSAY?!  in ENGLISH?

i've been taking korean classes for 8months and if i had to write an essay in korean....no, that would not happen.  LOL  i can barely string two sentences together!

if low level grade 6's wrote every english word they know on a paper....it wouldn't even be enough for an essay.  how on earth will they write an essay? 

wow,....sorry bud, i don't envy you....i don't even know what to suggest....

Offline kdm04y

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Re: Essay Class that's bomb'in
« Reply #2 on: March 24, 2011, 03:02:28 PM »
Hi,
I taught a class last year about how to write a how to essay.  I teach middle school so this might be advanced for your students.  I tried to make it funny to keep their attention and inspire creative essays. It worked well for me.  I hope it helps!

Offline Yu_Bumsuk

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Re: Essay Class that's bomb'in
« Reply #3 on: March 24, 2011, 03:09:17 PM »
I'd recommend this text. At Kyobo it should be cheaper than at Amazon. It's not exactly geared towards elementary but it's very easy to follow.

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0131946358/ref=pd_lpo_k2_dp_sr_2?pf_rd_p=1278548962&pf_rd_s=lpo-top-stripe-1&pf_rd_t=201&pf_rd_i=0130484687&pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_r=1SF0035FRNHTGCHDSZQ8

Of course also include lots of entertaining things, e.g. watching a one-minute Mr Bean clip and then writing something about it.

Offline sweet_potato

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Re: Essay Class that's bomb'in
« Reply #4 on: March 24, 2011, 03:12:13 PM »
I teach this class too, but luckily all my kids are pretty high level. I see them twice a week. On Tuesday, I introduce a random topic to them, and on Thursday, I give them a question about it. Each time they write, I give them a quick guide on where to change paragraphs, etc. I haven't made them write a real essay yet, I just keep giving them topics that they think are interesting. So far, we've done an analysis of the Korean flag, and personality tests. I think next week I'm gonna do something related to travel. Small steps :)

Offline mareena

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Re: Essay Class that's bomb'in
« Reply #5 on: March 25, 2011, 08:12:56 AM »
Great suggestions, thanks everyone I'll try them out and hopefully things will go better!

Offline eggplant_tyrant

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Re: Essay Class that's bomb'in
« Reply #6 on: March 25, 2011, 09:22:26 AM »
The Finish Line Writing series is pretty good, though it's too intense for low-level students to use as-is. It's a very structured approach to writing, available in several different levels, and targeted at elementary school students.

Unfortunately, it looks like they may be discontinuing the series, but I've definitely seen it floating around in Korea, so it should be possible to find it somewhere.
http://www.continentalpress.com/pages/products/39.html

Edit: Just had a quick look, and you can order the books from here:
http://www.yes24.com/24/Goods/2547922?Acode=101

Offline elzoog

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Re: Essay Class that's bomb'in
« Reply #7 on: March 25, 2011, 09:39:04 AM »
Probably the only thing you can do is something similar to the following

"Hello, my name is ______.    Yesterday I was _____ (sad, happy, excited) because my friend _____ (got sick, got an A on the test, won some money)"

I'll leave it up to you to come up with your own way of doing this.

I know that all of their essays will end up sounding pretty much the same if you do it this way, but I can't really think of any better option given the level of your students.


Offline marv3n

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Re: Essay Class that's bomb'in
« Reply #8 on: March 25, 2011, 10:05:17 AM »
Usually, when the higher ups try to intervene with your class, it ends up bombing. But what can we do about it? My school is low level for high school and even though I already had my winter camp ready with my own lesson plans, the principal in my school asked that I teach them how to make self-introduction speeches and have them present in front of him and other teachers on the last day. I felt so bad for my students. They had to get serious and tackle something that's very difficult for their level. I mean, if I get bored teaching the class, then I can imagine how it must've been for the students. Learning how to write essays should be the last thing they learn.

With that said, I would suggest to make it really easy for them. Have the sentences very structured where they can just follow along and fill in where they need to.

Offline SpaceRook

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Re: Essay Class that's bomb'in
« Reply #9 on: March 25, 2011, 10:47:02 AM »
I think you need to teach them to think before you teach them to write.  I've done some speech-writing classes before (although it was for Korean adults).  My topics were:

- Selecting a topic
- Generating ideas
- Identifying your audience (who is your essay for?)
- Organization
- Conclusion
- Opening

I *never* had the students do a lot of writing in class.  Almost all the activities were about generating ideas and organizing your thoughts.  I used a workshop format: students write ideas, and then we discuss them.  You can also have students write essays at home, and then peer edit in class.   

My opinion is that having students sit in class and write essays is *not* a productive use of time.  Don't do things in class that people can do at home.