Targeting Writing Across the Curriculum - Blake Education

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Lower Primary

Merryn Whitfield Integrating English with Society and Environment/Science

© 2001 Blake Education ISBN 1 86509 750 0 Targeting Writing Across the Curriculum Lower Primary Blake Education Locked Bag 2022 Glebe NSW 2037 Publisher: Sharon Dalgleish Editors: Maureen O’Keefe and Nick Szentkuti Design and illustration by Jane Cameron, Fisheye Design Printed by McPherson’s Printing Group Copying for educational purposes The Australian Copyright Act 1968 (the Act) allows a maximum of one chapter or 10% of this book, whichever is the greater, to be copied by any educational institution for its educational purposes provided that that educational institution (or the body that administers it) has given a remuneration notice to Copyright Agency Limited (CAL) under the Act. For details of the CAL licence for educational institutions contact: Copyright Agency Limited Level 19, 157 Liverpool Street Sydney NSW 2000 Telephone: (02) 9394 7600 Facsimile: (02) 9394 7601 Email: [email protected] Copying for other purposes Except as permitted under the Act (for example, any fair dealing for the purposes of study, research, criticism or review) no part of this book may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means without prior written permission. All inquiries should be made to the publisher at the address above. Copying of the blackline master pages The purchasing educational institution and its staff are permitted to make copies of the pages marked as blackline master pages, beyond their rights under the Act, provided that: 1. the number of copies does not exceed the number reasonably required by the educational institution to satisfy its teaching purposes; 2. copies are made only by reprographic means (photocopying), not by electronic, digital means, and not stored or transmitted; 3. copies are not sold or lent; 4. every copy made clearly shows the footnote (for example ‘Blake Education 2001. This sheet may be photocopied for non-commercial classroom use’). For those pages not marked as blackline master pages the normal copying limits in the Act, as described above, apply.

Contents The Principles Underlying this Book


The Structure of this Book


Teaching Text Types


Text Types in this Series


Useful Resources


Student Assessment


Record Sheets BLM 1 Term Planner


BLM 2 English Outcomes: National Level 2


BLM 3 English Outcomes: NSW Stage 1


BLM 4 Society and Environment Outcomes


BLM 5 Science Outcomes


BLM 6 English Skills Checklist


BLM 7 Society and Environment Skills Checklist


BLM 8 Science Skills Checklist


BLM 9 Cross-Curriculum Checklist


Units Linked with Society and Environment Unit 1 My Family

Description and Recount


Unit 2 Transport

Procedure and Exposition (Argument)


Unit 3 Celebrations

Response and Recount


Unit 4 Community Workers

Information Report and Discussion


Unit 5 Food

Procedure and Exposition (Persuasion)


Unit 6 Weather

Explanation and Response


Unit 7 Living Things

Description and Information Report


Unit 8 Liquids and Solids

Procedure and Explanation


Units Linked with Science

The Principles Underlying this Book Teaching time with a class is always at a premium in an increasingly crowded curriculum. To maximise student learning potential, teachers can integrate Learning Areas. Targeting Writing provides a wide variety of activities that ensure students have the opportunity to achieve outcomes in English with either Science or SOSE.

4 Social Responsibility This takes place at a variety of levels. As students journey through their school lives, they will develop an awareness of personal, local and national roles and responsibilities as well as the roles and responsibilities of global citizenship.

Certain skills are an integral part of all Learning Areas and K-12 syllabuses. By working to develop these skills, the integrity of each Learning Area is maintained while still allowing connections to be made in terms of content knowledge, values and attitudes, and life-long learning skills.

5 Creativity In all subject areas, students are required to respond to their own learning and the learning of others in a variety of ways – including through activities which can be creative or expressive.

The following nine skills have been identified as common to all curriculum areas. Not all of these skills need to be incorporated into every teaching and learning unit. However, it is important that throughout the year, students are provided with opportunities to develop and enhance them all. Targeting Writing provides opportunities throughout the program for students to develop these skills. A photocopiable record sheet (BLM 9) will assist teachers in assessing students’ development.

6 Creating solutions Students learn the skills and strategies for solving problems in different situations. The main aim is to find a mutually acceptable result that is positive rather than negative.

1 Information skills Students develop the ability to locate, select and evaluate information from people, books, pictures, computer technology and a variety of other resources for a particular purpose. 2 Communicating Students learn about how different audiences, contexts and purposes affect the way in which gathered information is presented to others. They are involved in discussing and analysing their own and others’ information so that it is meaningful and concise. 3 Working cooperatively This does not simply mean group work. It includes the ability to work independently on a particular task, as well as during whole-class experiences. Students develop interpersonal and work skills for learning in a variety of situations.


7 Applying technology Technology is an integral part of everyone’s learning. Students encounter many kinds of technology and need to learn to discriminate between a range of possibilities to choose the one which will best meet their needs for a particular task. 8 Decision making All students are thinkers and are involved in making decisions every day. Their personal judgements need to be informed and based on sound principles of learning and personal reflection. 9 Task management Students learn how to manage their time, resources and working relationships in an effective manner so as to complete a set task or to actively participate in an activity.

The Structure of this Book The Units This book consists of eight units, each with two text-type writing programs. Teachers can choose the text type most appropriate for their particular class, based on their needs as individuals and as a group, or they can choose to work through the activities for both text types. Four units are linked to Studies of Society and Environment (SOSE) topics and four are linked to Science topics. Each unit consists of Teaching Notes and photocopiable blackline masters for students’ use. The first page of each unit identifies the focus of the unit in terms of: • Topic • Text types • Cross-curriculum skills • Activities from the English syllabus and other focus learning area (SOSE or Science) together with further possible activities from other key Learning Areas. The second and third pages of each unit list the National and New South Wales syllabus outcomes and indicators for the three strands of English and either SOSE or Science, depending on the focus of the integration. The Teaching Notes The teaching notes for the unit are set out in two columns. The first column gives step-by-step instructions for teaching the unit while the second column highlights the writing modelling focus of each activity so that teachers can see the target area at a glance. Each unit contains a wide variety of stimulating and challenging activities for each focus text type. These activities aim to develop awareness of the particular text type as well as develop skills, knowledge and understandings of the integrated Learning Area. Not all activities will be completed in a single lesson. Some may take several, depending on the abilities and prior

experiences of the students. In addition to these lessons, it should be noted that students need time every week for free choice writing – both to practise writing and to enjoy the writing experience. The final activity for each text type acts as culmination of the learning that has taken place. It is an excellent opportunity for teachers to undergo some summative assessment of the students’ level of understandings of both the integrated topic and the text type.

The Blackline Masters The units in Targeting Writing contain • Two text models for the featured text types • Four text type blackline masters (BLMs), to be used during the writing component. The Teacher’s Record Sheets Pages 14-22 comprise photocopiable BLM record sheets for the following: • Student outcomes for both the National and New South Wales English syllabus (BLM 2 & 3) • Student outcomes for the Learning Areas of SOSE and Science (BLM 4 & 5) • Skills checklist for English, SOSE and Science (BLM 6-8) • Cross-curriculum skills (BLM 9) There is also a blank term planner (BLM 1).


Teaching Text Types Each unit in Targeting Writing focuses on two text types that are compatible with the topic or theme of the unit. Teachers can choose to work on one or both of these text types. Each unit takes the students through a series of stages which build on their understanding of and skills in the focus text type. Students will gain a thorough understanding of text types and develop the skills necessary for producing their own texts.

3 Joint Construction During this phase, the teacher gradually withdraws some of the direct assistance and begins to involve the students in more concrete writing experiences. Teachers guide students through the necessary methods of collecting, categorising and organising the stages of the particular text type. Again this stage is enhanced by opportunities for writing in small, teacher-led or student-led groups.

The Five Teaching Stages in the Targeting Writing Program

4 Independent Construction This phase provides students with the opportunity to experiment with the text type and to put into practice their understandings of its structure, features and purpose. To begin with, students may use a scaffold to assist their understanding of the organisational structures and features.

1 Building the Field Before attempting any form of writing, students need to know about the topic. This stage allows them time to develop their topic knowledge and vocabulary, usually through class discussion and group activities. This is where appropriate resourcing of the topic is crucial. Depending on the prior experiences of the students, this may take any number of lessons, the key being variety and relevance. 2 Deconstruction/Modelled Writing This phase relies on teacher guidance and input to assist students in examining the structure, features and purposes of a particular text type and how it can be used for a topic or context. It is best achieved in small groups to maximise student input and allow time for adequate questioning.


5 Editing and Publishing Either by themselves, with a peer, teacher or other adult, the students evaluate their text by checking the application of common writing conventions and the organisational features of the text type. They then make revisions if necessary and publish their text for a particular audience. The use of computer technology can easily be incorporated into this stage.

Text Types in this Series All texts, both spoken and written, vary according to their purpose. For this reason, they have different organisational or structural features as well as different language requirements. The two broad categories of texts are Literary and Factual.

Literary Texts These texts usually examine human experiences and involve the reader in a personal response. These texts include narratives and poetry. Targeting Writing does not include these text types.

Factual Texts These texts provide information in order to direct, inform or persuade the reader. They usually try to appear objective rather than subjective. There are typically eight different forms of factual texts taught in schools. Each one has its own specific function and organisational steps and these are summarised below. The features of different text types are dealt with in greater detail in the Targeting Text series (including a set of full-colour wall posters) also published by Blake Education.

Description Purpose Organisation

Language features

To detail the characteristics of a subject A statement to inform the reader of the topic A series of paragraphs, each describing different features of the subject Nouns and noun groups relating to the subject Adjectives are vital and varied Often written in present tense Use of adverbs and adverbial phrases Verbs which express feelings Subjective language

Response Purpose Organisation

Language features

To review or give a personal response to a text Background information on the text A description of the text and its contents An opinion or judgement Written in present tense Noun groups to describe Sequencing of events Thinking and saying verbs Use of personal pronouns


Text Type Focus: Description and Recount SPEAKING AND LISTENING






• Describe people and cartoon characters

• Text model (BLM 10)

• Describe aspects of favourite things

• Read relevant literary and factual texts

• Contribute to class discussions about nouns and adjectives

• Examine aspects of a particular character

• Jointly construct a mind map

• Focus on adjectives

• Describe a few characteristics of a person on a mind map (BLM 11)

• Listen to a descriptive passage

• Make amusing sentences by joining different words

• Use a scaffold to write a description (BLM 12)



• Read relevant literary and factual texts

• Text model (BLM 13)

Recount • Talk about personal experiences and use these in sequencing games • Discuss a topic using personal knowledge • Ask and answer questions about a recount • Sequence ideas in speech • Use simple conjunctions to link ideas in speech • Use a story picture map

• Examine past tense • Use vocabulary to sequence events in time • Retell events from a story or visual text (film)

• Stay on the topic when speaking


• Reflect on personal experiences (BLM 15)

• Discuss interpersonal relationships between family members

• Research how different families celebrate special occasions

• Find out how families interact with their local environments

• List several items of information in sequence (BLM 14)


• Look at families from different cultural backgrounds

• Talk about how families change over time

• Construct and illustrate timelines

• Make family trees

My Family

• Eat healthy food from different cultural backgrounds • Study safety in the home

THE ARTS • Make a magazine collage of family activities • Take a photo of a family member’s face, cut it in half and draw in the missing details


• Graph family members, languages spoken at home

• Look at changes in people over time

• Describe position of homes in relation to school

CROSS-CURRICULUM SKILLS Information skills Communicating


Social responsibility

Decision making

Outcomes and Indicators National Profiles English Speaking and Listening 2.1 Interacts in more confident ways in school situations • Extends the contributions of others in the group when prompted • Converses with others for a purpose • Describes real or imagined events in logical sequence • Includes key information in a short spoken recount 2.3 Experiments with different linguistic structures and features for expressing ideas • Uses similes when describing • Experiments with more complex grammatical connectives to link ideas 2.4 Speaks and listens in ways which assist communication with others • Identifies a speaker’s topic • Asks questions seeking more information • Plans spoken descriptions and recounts

Reading 2.5 Constructs and retells meaning from a variety of texts • Reads and responds to texts • Retells ideas from a text • Discusses a character’s qualities 2.7 Recognises and interprets basic linguistic structures and features of texts • Maintains nounpronoun and subjectverb links • Recognises language features used to distinguish characters

Writing 2.9 Writes brief factual and imaginative texts about familiar topics • Includes two or more relevant ideas in recounts • Lists several items of information about a topic • Writes a recount with two or more events in logical sequence 2.10 Recognises some of the purposes and advantages of writing • Discusses familiar examples of how writing provides information to people • Initiates writing for particular purposes 2.12a Uses talk to plan and review own writing • Gives purpose before writing • Outlines key ideas or events before writing • Contributes to brainstorming activities

Studies of Society and Environment 2.3 Identifies aspects of environments and family ways of life that have endured or changed • Describes aspects of their family’s life • Describes mementos or family artefacts 2.16 Selects, compares and categorises relevant information • Identifies relevant information • Designs questions to ask others • Brings in items related to the topic

2.8 Describes practices, customs and traditions of familiar groups and communities • Describes how their family celebrates special occasions • Describes significant objects 2.17 Expresses a personal point of view of the meaning of data • Recounts a shared experience • Talks about the differences between their own recounts and descriptions and those of others


Outcomes and Indicators NSW English Talking and Listening 1.1 Communicates with an increasing range of people for a variety of purposes • Asks questions • Gives a simple description of people, places or things • Gives personal recounts about familiar events • Listens for information from a variety of sources 1.4 Recognises that different types of spoken texts have different organisational patterns • Talks about the sequence of ideas in speech • Explains the importance of an orientation in a spoken recount • Talks about using describing words (adjectives) in descriptions • Plans temporal sequence in spoken recounts

Reading 1.5 Reads a wider range of texts on less familiar topics, making connections with own experience • Interprets story illustrations • Participates in group brainstorming activities • Reads a variety of literary and factual texts • Reads descriptions of familiar people, places and events 1.7 Understands that texts are constructed by people and identifies how texts differ • Describes the purpose of organisational features in familiar texts • Indicates some of the differences between text types • Selects texts related to a topic • Retells ideas from a factual text 1.8 Identifies the text structure and basic grammatical features of some text types • Identifies conjunctions • Identifies adjectives and understands that their function is to describe

Writing 1.9 Plans, reviews and produces a small range of texts • Uses a framework to make notes • Writes elementary descriptions of familiar people and things • Writes short recounts of personal experience 1.10 Produces texts using basic grammatical features and punctuation of text types • Uses adjectives to provide more information about nouns • Uses pronoun references accurately • Uses past tense relatively consistently 1.13 Identifies how own texts differ according to their purpose and audience • Examines stages of a text • Selects and refines a topic before writing

Human Society and Its Environment 1.1 Communicates the importance of past and present people, days and events in their life and the lives of their families • Identifies and talks about the lives of people in their family • Identifies special days celebrated by their family


1.3 Identifies customs, practices, symbols and traditions of their family • Describes the groups that people belong to • Gives information about their own family • Discusses characteristics which make their family similar or different to others

My Family – Description Learning Experiences

Modelling focus

Family Photos In preparation for this unit, ask students to bring in some family photos, in a variety of contexts if possible. These can be displayed in a class collage.

• List structure • Topic vocabulary

Use these photos as a resource for a general class discussion about families. Make a list of the different family relations (include cultural names for relatives).

Describing People Divide the class into small groups, with an adult or older student where possible. Provide each group with a collection of pictures of real people and perhaps even cartoon characters. Brainstorm words (adjectives) to describe them, for example a tall woman, a hairy dog.

• Use of adjectives to describe nouns • Examining characteristics and qualities of something

Share these with the class. Then guide students towards extending their descriptions, through the combination of adjectives, for example the brown hairy dog, the tall smiling woman.

Who Am I? Display a series of pictures at the front of the class which are of interest to students. Play the game, ‘Who/What am I?’ by describing features of one of the objects illustrated and have students guess which picture you are describing. Vary the features examined; include colour, size, shape, position.

• Use of adjectives to describe

Listing Adjectives (BLM 10) Read the descriptive sample text to students, then tell them you are going to read it again, and they need to listen for ways in which the author describes the subject. Initiate discussion and make a list of adjectives for future reference. Ask questions such as: ‘What is the author describing?’, ‘What words does the author use to name the object/person?’, ‘How does the author describe it/them?’.

• Deconstructing a description

Describe an Object Ask students to bring in an object from home, it could be theirs or belong to a relative. With these, ask students to construct single sentences or statements about that object, eg ‘I like my cuddly bear’, ‘My mum has a purple toothbrush’, ‘This is Dad’s electric razor’.

• Subject-verb relationships

Nouns and Adjectives Discuss with the class which words represent names of objects and names of people, as well as which words describe the object. Write these nouns and adjectives on pieces of cardboard.

• Purposes of nouns and adjectives

• Examining physical features

• Grammatical features of descriptive language

• Sentence structure


Learning Experiences

Modelling focus

Make Funny Sentences Divide the class into small groups. Provide them with some of the previously written sentences and a collection of the noun and adjective cards. Tell them their task is to manipulate the sentences and cards to make the funniest sentence, eg ‘This is my mum’s cuddly toothbrush’, ‘I like my electric bear’.

• Identifying nouns and adjectives

Make a Mind Map Using a student, or person familiar to the students, as a subject, jointly construct a mind map of words and phrases describing the characteristics and qualities of that person: what they look like, how they act, what activities they like to do, where they are.

• Using a plan for writing

Use a Description Scaffold With the class, or in small groups, model how to use a description scaffold, and how to incorporate the ideas from the previous mind map in it. Model the use of conjunctions and connectives to link ideas in a sentence (depending upon the level of students).

• Structure of a description

Describe a Member of Your Family (BLM 11) Have students choose a member of their family (some students may choose themselves or a pet). Using a mind map format, write descriptive words and phrases about them. To assist students, brainstorm headings such as height, hair colour, job, likes and dislikes, appearance.

• Using a plan to develop ideas

Write Sentences (BLM 12) Following the process modelled earlier, have students use this plan, and the scaffold provided, to write sentences describing that family member. Encourage students to add personal comments and opinions about their subject.

• Strategies for writing

Culmination Encourage students to find passages of descriptive writing in texts that they are reading. Students can then describe fictional characters from television or other media. More experienced students can further develop their writing by describing places and scenes which they enjoy.


• Sentence structure

• Use of adjectives, verbs and adverbs

• Grammatical features of a description • Using a scaffold

• Adjectives, verbs and adverbs

• Structure and features of descriptions • Addition of a personal comment

My Family – Recount Learning Experiences

Modelling focus

Sequence Game Engage students in a discussion about what they did this morning. Write event statements on cards. Use these to play sequencing games, for example students can find the event card that is out of sequence or put the cards in the correct sequence.

• Chronological order

Listen to the News Students should have the opportunity to tell, or listen to, oral recounts, such as news broadcasts, every day. Use questions to focus students’ attention on the features of a recount.

• Use of past tense

School Events Timeline Involve students in the daily routines and class timetable, so that they become increasingly aware of when special events occur and their relationship to the school day. As a whole class, or in teacher-led groups, construct a timeline of the school events for one day. Students can illustrate the timeline and display it in class.

• Sequencing

Retell a Story When reading stories to students, set aside time for students to orally retell the events of the story. Examine sequencing vocabulary, such as firstly, then, after, later, soon, finally.

• Temporal sequencing

Recount Exercise (BLM 13) Read the short recount to students. Briefly discuss the text and then explain that you are going to read it again and they need to listen for parts of the text that tell them when things are happening. List this sequencing vocabulary as well as the past tense of feeling, thinking and action verbs. This aspect of past tense, in particular ‘ed’ word endings can be extended in spelling and formal grammar lessons.

• Verbs

Story Picture Map Discuss with students something that you did on the weekend and model the use of a story picture map to show the development of events. Use these illustrations to present an oral recount to the class.

• Chronological sequencing

Oral Recount Ask students to develop their own story map of an activity they did on the weekend with their family. For example going to the movies, visiting a friend, playing with a brother or sister or watching television. These ideas could be listed on a class chart for students to use for future reference. When these have been completed, divide the class into small

• Use of action verbs

• Use of action verbs • Use of a personal comment in conclusion

• Nouns and noun groups

• Recount structure and features • Past tense; regular and irregular

• Specialised vocabulary

• Developing a plan • Chronological sequencing


Learning Experiences

Modelling focus

mixed ability groups, where they use the illustrated story map as a prop for an oral retelling. Student listeners can be encouraged to take notes of words that the speaker used that were consistent with giving a recount.

Sequencing Activity Working in pairs or small groups, provide students with a simple recount of a family event cut into sentence strips. Make sure that it has a definite structure and uses temporal vocabulary such as, first, then, after that, at the end. Ask students to sequence these sentence strips and then report back to the whole class as to what they did and what cues they used to assist them.

• Recount structure and features

Write a Recount (BLM 14) To practise the skills they have developed, ask students to write a recount of something that they have done with their family. Tell them it must have at least three events in sequence. Ask students to use a scaffold.

• Recount structure and features

Developing Recounts Conference these recounts with students and edit with a view to the further development of specific vocabulary and extending their use of cause-effect relationships in writing. Students can then publish these recounts manually or using a computer.

• Editing skills

Culmination (BLM 15) Encourage students to participate in other forms of recount writing, such as journals, diaries and even letters or postcards to relatives. This makes a great addition to any literacy program as students get the opportunity to read letters from other people, and it gives their writing an enjoyable purpose. This can also lead to the writing of literary recounts where students write a sequenced retelling of a story that they have read or listened to, including media texts such as videos.


• Temporal vocabulary • Deconstruction skills • Oral presentation skills

• Proofreading skills • Publishing skills

My Street


BLM 10

Name ____________________________________________ Date ___________________

Families can come in all shapes and sizes. Just take a look at the families that live in my street. In the first house, which has a yellow fence, there is a family with a mother, father and four kids. The father drives the kids to school every morning in his noisy, red car. Next door lives a grandmother. She is always in her garden, pruning her yellow roses. Her daughter and her three grandchildren live with her. The kids ride their silver scooters on the footpaths, blowing their shrill whistles. Across the road, there is an old caravan. In the caravan live a young couple and their tiny baby. They are going to build a brick house, but they need to clear some of the tall trees. The pink house next door has a new family. The eldest boy has brown eyes and he is very tall, just like his mum. The two girls in the family have curly, red hair and freckles. The red-headed girls are the boy’s stepsisters. A big block of flats is at the end of the street. This has just been built. Soon there will be more families living in my street.

© Blake Education Targeting Writing Across the Curriculum Lower Primary This page may be photocopied for non-commercial classroom use.


BLM 11

Name ____________________________________________ Date ___________________



Mind Map

Draw a picture of a member of your family. Around your picture write adjectives and adverbial phrases to describe them.

NAT ENG W 2.10 W 2.12a



SOSE IC&P 2.16 C 2.8

HSIE CCS 1.1 CUS 1.3

© Blake Education Targeting Writing Across the Curriculum Lower Primary This page may be photocopied for non-commercial classroom use.

BLM 12

Name ____________________________________________ Date ___________________




Family member: _____________________________________ Feature One:________________________________ ________ ___________________________________________________ Feature Two: ________________________________________ ___________________________________________________ Feature Three: _______________________________________ ___________________________________________________ Personal Comment: __________________________________ ___________________________________________________ Illustration:

NAT ENG W 2.9 W 2.12a

NSW ENG WS 1.9 WS 1.13

SOSE TC&C 2.3 C 2.8


© Blake Education Targeting Writing Across the Curriculum Lower Primary This page may be photocopied for non-commercial classroom use.


Targeting Writing Across the Curriculum In an increasingly crowded curriculum, teaching time is always at a premium. The Targeting Writing Across the Curriculum series will help you to maximise student learning potential by giving students the opportunity to achieve outcomes in English while working with the subject matter and skills of other important curriculum areas. The author has chosen popular themes in both the Science and the Society and Environment Learning Areas. Each theme is linked to a writing unit that focuses on two appropriate text types. These writing units contain a wide range of stimulating and challenging activities, and can stand alone or be expanded into a full integrated unit. Here at last is a series that addresses the language demands of the different Learning Areas. Students will improve the structure and quality of their writing in all factual text types. And they will transfer their knowledge and skills from curriculum area to curriculum area.

Also available Targeting Writing Across the Curriculum Middle Primary Targeting Writing Across the Curriculum Upper Primary

Companion series Targeting Text Targeting Society and Environment

ISBN 1-86509-750-0

9 781865 097503