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ESOL Online. Every child literate - a shared responsibility.
Ministry of Education.

Learning task 3


  1. Hand out the Questions for Journey (Word 26KB) . Divide the students into three groups and give each group a set of questions. (Give the level 1 or 2 questions to the weaker students). When the students have finished answering the questions in their home groups, they are now the experts on their particular set of questions and should have all of the answers. Next, divide the students up into new groups which contain three students - one from each expert group and get the students to help each other to find the answers to the questions. Do the same for the Questions for 'Big Brother, Little Sister' (Word 27KB) or get the students to complete them individually or in pairs for a change.
  2. Give the students the worksheet on Themes and Quotations (Word 56KB) to complete by themselves or in groups. They should try to identify which story the quotations are from, what part of the story it is from and explain which theme the quotation supports.
  3. Get the students to brainstorm a plan for the main body of an essay on analysing theme in the two short stories and then practice writing one main body paragraph.
  4. Explain the importance of thinking of a topic sentence, an example and an explanation for each main body paragraph in the planning stage.
  5. Now tell the students to try to write a main body paragraph using their ideas from the activities above.


  1. Hand out the OverviewChart (Word 35KB) for the students to complete. This will help the students to consolidate the different aspects of the short stories studied.

Scaffolding activities to prepare for the formative and summative writing tasks

  1. The students will have hopefully had some practice writing main body paragraphs for a literary essay in the activities above. However, the teacher may choose to start the unit by working through an ExemplarEssay (Word 31KB) first, analysing the way it is constructed and providing the students with an idea of what is required for the big picture. Choose the best time to present the model text for your students and follow the following steps to help scaffold the writing process for them.
  2. Give out the sheet on Planning and Writing Your Essay (Word 32KB) , which will give the students an overview of what is required to achieve this Achievement Standard.
  3. Cut up the paragraphs of an exemplar literary essay into the introduction, separate main body paragraphs and the conclusion and get the students to put them in order.
  4. If the exemplar is not on the short stories that you have studied, you may want to pre-teach some vocabulary to help them understand the exemplar. Cut up and rearrange the sentences from the introduction and get the students to put them in the order outlined in the planning and writing your essay. Copy and paste the exemplar into a Word document, beginning a new sentence on a new line so the students will not be able to guess where the sentence should be placed from the text pattern. If you do this for the main body as well, it may be helpful to write a 'T' on some sentences so that some of the topic sentences are identified. It is important to tell the students that sometimes there will be more than one example or explanation in each main body paragraph, and to expect some variations on the TEX structure. For the other paragraphs you may like to try dictogloss or running dictation activities, then get the students to put the sentences in the correct order.
  5. Using the original exemplar (paragraphed correctly), design a cloze exercise in which relevant grammatical structures or vocabulary are omitted and placed in a text box at the bottom of the essay.
  6. Display the complete original exemplar for the students to check their answers. Spend time focusing on teaching relevant grammar or vocabulary as needed.
  7. Finally, do a 'backward plan' of the essay as a class on the board. Ask the students to help you to form the plan that was probably written before the essay was written. This will hopefully help the students to see the importance of this in their own writing.

Formative writing task

  1. This task could either be completed as a whole class joint construction or done by students individually. It will depend on the level of your students. The following instructions are for the joint construction.
  2. Give out the essay topic and get the students to design a plan (in a linear or spider form) for the essay in groups. Use the groups' ideas to construct a plan on the board for the class to follow. "Demonstrate the ways in which the author has communicated their personal message to the reader in the texts you have studied". You could consider the use of character(s), setting or style.
  3. Divide the class into three groups if possible and make each group responsible for writing two paragraphs each.
  4. Jointly construct the whole essay on the board/OHT/computer for all to see. Get the groups to use the EssayWritingChecklist (Word 34KB) to assess the writing. Discuss the good points and the parts that need to be improved and make the improvements as a class. Get the students to each write the whole text themselves to help consolidate ideas, text structure and grammar and vocabulary.

    Later in the year the students could try writing an essay using the topic from 6 g or 7 g.

  5. If possible, show the videos of the short stories to the students before reading the stories. Videos of both short stories may be borrowed from the National Library.

Published on: 16 Jul 2009