Topic: Composition

These resources relate to writing skills, including the composition of essays, persuasive pieces, and other types of texts.

Tense and aspect in fiction: Activity

It was after supper, and I was reading and smoking at the table. Algie was playing patience and drumming a tattoo with his fingers, and Gus was outside checking on the dogs. Suddenly he burst in. 'Chaps! Outside, quick!'

Tense in narrative

In this resource we will practise using tense consistently and think about the effect of using past tense versus present tense in a story.

Goals

  • Identify past tense and present tense forms.
  • Practise changing tense and using tense consistently.
  • Consider the effect of changing tense in a story.

Lesson Plan

Background

Tense in narrative: Activity 1

Activity 1: Tense consistency

Look at the following short passages. For each one, identify where the tense changes incorrectly, and then write a correct version which continues with the tense used at the start of the passage.

Tense in narrative: Activity 2

Activity 2: Past to present

The following extract uses past tense narration. Rewrite the extract, changing to present tense narration throughout. Take care to be consistent.

The dread came from nowhere. Without warning, my flesh began to crawl. I felt the hairs on my scalp prickle and rise. I couldn't see anything except the bear post and its cairn of stones, but my body braced itself. It knew.

Tense in narrative: Activity 3

Activity 3: Present to past

Now try reversing the process. This extract uses present tense narration, so rewrite it using past tense narration.

Panting, I fight my way out of the sleeping bag. The torch slips from my fingers and blinks out. Whimpering, I fall to my knees and grope for it. I can't find it. Can't see my hands in front of my face.

Again, compare the two versions. Does the change of tense have an effect?

Texting language

In this lesson, students explore the features of texting language, from a linguistic perspective.

Goals

  • Discuss texting language from a linguistic perspective.
  • Define some key linguistic terms relevant to texting language.

Lesson Plan

Part 1

Texting language: Activity

Text 1 Text 2

Hey Gems,how ru?How was last nite?Hope u had a gd time..;)I herd the party was rele bad…ppl had an awful time!I guess I shud b glad I didn’t go afta all…tbXx

Free Msg; Our records indicate you may be entitled to £3750 for the accident you had. To apply free reply CLAIM to this message. To opt out text STOP

Using noun phrases to build worlds

Learn how writers use language to create rich and vivid mental images

How do writers use language to create images in your mind? Read this extract and think very consciously about the kinds of images the language is conjuring up for you.

A rustle in the tunnel darkness; the knife was in his hand, and then it was no longer in his hand, and it was quivering gently almost thirty feet away. He walked over to his knife and picked it up by the hilt. There was a gray rat impaled on the blade, its mouth opening and closing impotently as the life fled. He crushed its skull between finger and thumb. (Neil Gaiman, Neverwhere)

Verbs in fiction

In this lesson, students identify verbs in fictional extracts and discuss the value of choosing verbs carefully in their own writing.

Verbs in fiction: Activity

Verbs in persuasive language

In this lesson, students will analyse persuasive language in a charity appeal, and then write their own charity appeal. There is a particular focus on the way modal auxiliary verbs can be used to persuade.

Goals

  • Identify modal auxiliary verbs.
  • Analyse persuasive language.
  • Practise writing persuasively.

Lesson Plan

Activity 1

Verbs in persuasive language: Activity 1

Activity 1

Identify the modal verbs in this extract by clicking on them, then check your score at the end.

Verbs in persuasive language: Activity 3

Activity 3

Write your own charity appeal, using the source material below. It is a statement from a charity about their aims and methods. Make use of a range of persuasive devices, including modal verbs.

The "Live Not Exist" charity has been set up with the following key aims:

Word choice

Why do writers use some words and not others? This lesson looks at word choice options, both grammatical and semantic.

Word choice: Activity 1

What word would you place in the blank slot?

Word choice: Activity 2

Read this extract from a novel and think about the ways in which the writer has chosen specific words to convey his description.

My earliest memories are a confusion of hilly fields and dark, damp stables, and rats that scampered along the beams above my head. But I remember well enough the day of the horse sale. The terror of it stayed with me all my life.

From Michael Morpurgo, Warhorse

Word clouds in action

Goals

  • Examine a poem as a corpus, like a body of linguistic data.
  • Linguistically analyse the words used in a poem.
  • Create a word list based on a poem.
  • Present linguistic findings visually using Wordle.

Lesson Plan

Wordle is a simple corpus tool which allows you to paste in text and create a ‘word cloud’ that displays the frequency of words by their relative size in a cloud.

Word frequency

What are the most frequently used words in English? And could we do without them?

Word frequency: Activity

The 10 most common English words are:

the

of

and

a

in

to

it

is/was

I

for

Can you answer the following questions without using these 10 words?

Word salads (primary)

In this lesson, students arrange words on the smart board in order to create acceptable sentences.

Goals

  • Use implicit grammatical knowledge to arrange word tiles on a smart board into sentences.

Lesson Plan

The teacher explains that today, we will arrange words to make sentences. All of the example sentences here have been drawn from our corpus.

Word salads (primary): Commands activity

Look
what
I
found
.

Enjoy
the
show
.

Word salads (primary): Questions activity

Have
you
seen
her
?

Can
you
tell
me
?

Word salads (primary): Statement activity

He
talked
to
people
.

I
saw
him
in
London
.

Writing a story with prepositions

This lesson looks at how you might use your knowledge of prepositions and preposition phrases to write a short story aimed at children.

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