In today’s blog, I will consider a technique for breaking down the writing of analytical paragraphs.
In my last couple of blogs, I have been focussing on techniques for improving my students’ ability to respond to language with the use of inference. The use of ICE (04.12.13) and creative writing have helped my students to improve their ability to engage with texts, however, it can still be a struggle for them to write cohesive analytical paragraphs. PEA (Point, Evidence, Analyse) is a great help (I find PEE rather limiting, especially as the assessment criteria for level 6 upwards demands ‘analysis’ rather than ‘explanation’) but the thought of having to write a whole paragraph on their own can be rather daunting for students.
So, here steps in an old favourite of mine: Pass It On. I have written about this before (17.09.12), with the focus on building up students’ ability to annotate and consider alternative interpretations. In this guise, I use it to apportion PEA into bite size chunks.
The method: each student is given a piece of paper. We all then write a ‘Point’ on the piece of paper. The paper is then passed on to the next student, who writes the ‘Evidence’ down. After this, the paper is passed on to a third student, who writes the ‘Analysis’. Simple but deceptively helpful.
I find it helpful to students for several reasons.
- When students write down the ‘Evidence’, they have to be careful to match their quotation to the previous point. This enables the teacher to draw the issue of relevance to students’ attention.
- The ‘Analysis’ section, again, needs to be relevant to the previous two sections. This forces students to engage with another students’ ideas and selection of evidence. A great way to stretch students’ thinking.
- The ‘Analysis’ section can be split up into further chunks, e.g. One student writes about Implicit meaning, the next about Connotations, then the next about Effect on the reader.
I have also used this process to develop students’ consideration of alternative interpretations, by making them write Add, Build or Challenge comments to the ‘Analysis’. I have found this particularly effective with KS5 students.
This is an incredibly simple idea. But I love it because it is a hassle-free process that enables all of my students from KS3 to KS5 to build up their confidence in writing about texts in a structured way.