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One of the effective methods of developing students' potential and improvement of their skills and abilities is using mentor text in instruction that focuses on comprehension and writing. In fact, mentor text provides students with a sample of good writing, which they can follow using their individual inclinations, skills and potential. As students use mentor text as a sample of good writing, they try to use their actual skills and abilities. Moreover, as they follow the example of good writing in the mentor text, they develop new skills and acquire new experiences of good writing, which they can extrapolate on further in their writing.
In actuality, teaching comprehension and writing is very important for the successful teaching and development of writing skills. At the same time, comprehension and writing are closely intertwined and students cannot succeed in writing without comprehension. This is why the development of writing skills is normally grounded on comprehension. In this regard, it is possible to refer to Cooper's (year) idea that students should learn writing thinking as readers and then write like professional writers. This idea reveals the full extent to which reading and writing skills are closely intertwined and interdependent. In fact, students can learn writing through reading mentor texts and learning positive models of writing from reputable authors. On the other hand, educators should encourage the development of comprehension in students because they should understand not only what they actually want to write about or what they actually know but, more important, they should understand how to write successfully and what elements essential for good and effective writing are as well as they should keep progressing as writers. In such a way, educators can use mentor texts to educate their students and to develop their comprehension and writing skills, while using reading and helping students to learn writing like professional writers, when they learn to perceive their writing as readers. In such a way, students can improve their actual writing skills and realize their potential as writers following mentor text as a sample of good writing.
In actuality, students face the problem of the adaptation to changing environment. In this respect, technological changes are particularly significant because new technologies set new requirements in face of educators and students. For instance, the progress of internet raises the problem of the development of a new writing style, which is quite different from conventional writing. Many students use internet abundantly but they are not always aware that writing skills will be very useful and important for them in the internet. For instance, many students use e-mails and other means of communication via internet. However, they are unaware of basic principles of good writing. Instead, they often believe that good writing and online communication are irrelevant concepts, while, in actuality, they are closely intertwined because writing is the main way of communication online.
It is against this background that the lesson topic was chosen. The lesson will focus on blogging. At the same time, the lesson will not be the mere drilling in writing a weblog. Instead, the lesson will involve reading of the mentor text to support the development of a writing skill. In fact, writing blogs is a good sample of writing because blogs help students to convey their ideas in the written form and comprehend writing as a complex process. To put it more precisely, blogging teaches students to organize their thoughts accurately and clearly and convey them in the written form. At the same time, weblogging implies the communication as students receive feedback on their writing or vice versa learning feedback on others' writing. In terms of the current lesson, students will write their weblog in response to the weblog they read in the classroom. Therefore, students will develop writing skills on the ground of reading and comprehension of the reading material. More important, students will also comprehend elements of good writing through reading and comprehension of the mentor text.
The topic of the lesson is Blog Writing.
The aim of the lesson is to develop students' reading comprehension and writing skills. Students will learn how to write blogs and create their blogs due to good writing skills on the ground of the mentor text, which they read in the classroom. In addition, students will enhance training using the past simple and adverbs of frequency, such as "always", "usually", "never" and others. Students will also learn how to make paragraphs and when to start a new paragraph in their writing. Finally, the lesson will stimulate the better reading comprehension of the mentor text through reading and analysis of the text, while students will write their own texts on the ground of the read material and its comprehension.
The current lesson is oriented on the low-intermediate level of students' academic development and the age group of students is about 10-11 years old.
Students' worksheets will include several exercises, which they will have to perform shifting from reading to writing. Students will shift from reading activities to comprehension of the read text and to the analysis of key elements of writing. In such a way, students will learn to think as readers of the writing of another person. As they identify key elements of good writing, they will be encouraged to write their own text, where they will be able to apply the learned material and to create good writing.
Read the blog and match the topics in the box to the correct paragraph:
Amy's blog - About me
1 My Name's Amy and I'm fifteen years old. I live in Melbourne, Australia with my mum, dad and my dog, Ralph.
2 What do I do every day? Well, I always get up early. I hate it, but it takes me nearly an hour to get to school. After school I usually go swimming, but on Thursday afternoons I do yoga. I often chat with my friends, either online or by phone.
3 In my free time, I go swimming - I'm in the school team. I'm also learning Chinese. I can speak it quite well, but I'm not very good in reading or writing it.
4 I never watch TV. I think it's a waste of time. I love eating healthy food and playing with my dog - he's my best friend.
What about you?
Answer the questions
1 How old is Amy?
2 Where does she live?
3 What is her best friend's name?
4 Why does she get up early?
5 When does she go swimming?
6 What language is she studying?
7 How often does she watch TV?
Language used to talk about frequency:
We use adverbs of frequency like always, usually, and never to talk about how often we do things
Cover the text. Can you remember how often Amy does these things?
1 Amy â€¦ chats with her friends.
2 Amy â€¦ watches TV.
3 She â€¦ gets up early.
4 She â€¦ goes swimming after school.
Write four sentences about yourself using the same adverbs
1 I â€¦ .
2 I â€¦ .
3 I â€¦ .
4 I â€¦ .
When we write we usually do paragraphs
Look back at Amy's blog and answer these questions:
1 How many paragraphs are there?
2 Why does she use paragraphs?
Write your own personal page for a blog
Checklist remember to
Use present simple
Use adverbs of frequency
Include information about your likes, dislikes, hobbies and daily routine
How to use the lesson
At the beginning of the lesson students make some brainstorming. They think of different forms and case of online writing. Ask students of cases, when they have ever written online. What are their impressions? How do they feel about writing online? Elicit some responses from students and make them feel writing skills are important, even when they write online.
Ask students to read the blog and match the topics in the box to the correct paragraph. Encourage students to discuss their ideas in pairs, then elicit a few answers and ask students to give reasons.
1 family 2 daily routine 3 hobbies 4 likes/doesn't like
In such a way, students will get insight into the reading and catch key points of the text. At this stage, students are skimming the text to find out key ideas mainly.
Ask students to read the blog again and answer the seven comprehension questions. Encourage students to discuss their answers in pairs before checking the answers with the class.
1 fifteen 2 Melbourne, Australia 3 Ralph (it's her dog) 4 because it takes nearly an hour to get to school 5 after school 6 Chinese 7 never
At this stage, students take a deeper look at the text to find out some important facts about the blog they read. This exercises backs up exercise one, where they got key ideas of the text and now they back up key ideas with specific facts from the text.
The comprehension stage is very important because, at this stage, students reconsider what they have just read and try to think of the writing as readers.
Ask students to look at the language box about adverbs of frequency. Give elicit some examples. Then ask them to cover the blog text and then try to complete the sentences. Encourage students to discuss their answers in pairs before reading the blog again and checking their answers.
1 often 2 never 3 always 4 usually
In such a way, students learn specific elements of writing, such as adverbs which could be used in the text to express frequency. Remarkably, students will not merely cite adverbs of frequency from the text, but they must generate their own examples which are very important to make sure that students did understand adverbs of frequency, when and how to use them in writing.
Ask students to write four sentences about themselves. Monitor and help where necessary before asking a few students to read out the sentences they have written.
In such a way, students will shape four key ideas about themselves. These ideas may be used as topic sentences for their own writing. At the same time, students will learn how to start writing through singling out key ideas of what they are going to write about. At this point, their writing correlates to reading since they began reading from singling out key ideas of the text.
Ask students to look at the blog again and answer the two questions. Encourage students to discuss their answers in pairs before checking the answers with the class.
1 There are four paragraphs. 2 We start a new paragraph when we are changing the topic, so each paragraph contains information about a similar theme or topic area.
In such a way, students learn the good organization style of their writing. They learn about paragraphs, when and how to use them. They will also become aware of the importance of writing a topic sentence at the beginning of each paragraph and backing this sentence up with some facts and supporting evidence.
Ask students to write their own personal blog page (in response to the question Amy asks at the end of her page). Encourage them to look at the blog from Amy as well as the checklist. Give students enough time to do the writing. The teacher can also set this part as homework.
Thus, students will create their own writing on the ground of the comprehension of reading and detailed analysis and discussion of good writing.
Below is a quick checklist for the teacher, to use when looking at students' blogs. There is also a quick checklist on the students' page. Ask students to look at this, read their story and tick the lines if they think they have remembered to do/use the different things.
She/he has â€¦
Used the present simple
Used adverbs of frequency
Included information about your likes and dislikes, and daily routine
Completed the task (i.e. topic focus)
In such a way, the teacher will draw the attention of students to key elements of good writing, which are presented in reading. Thus, students will develop their writing skills through reading comprehension.