English: Information and Ideas: Writing

  • Created by: daniella
  • Created on: 26-05-13 16:54

What must you consider before the exam?

  • content
  • organisation
  • accuracy
  • vocabulary
  • genre
  • audience
  • style
  • purpose of your writing
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What will the the tasks possibly be?

You will be asked to write different non-fiction texts with different purposes and audiences. They may be of specific lengths.You might be asked to:

  • Describe a person or a place.
  • Give information or instructions.
  • Persuade a person or group of people.
  • Argue a point of view.
  • Express an opinion on a topic.
  • Analyse some information.
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What might you need to think about?

  • Content: what do you want to say?
  • Organisation:how should you lay out and structure your writing?
  • Accuracy: how good is your spelling and punctuation?
  • Vocabulary: how many interesting words are you familiar with?
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TIP: 1

  • imagine why you are writing
  • why you might feel motivated to write the letter, speech or magazine article you have been asked to come up with. 
  • This is a bit like thinking of the back story to explain your motivation. 
  • Deciding on your motivation will give you more ideas about what to write.
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what is genre?

Genre means the form of your non-fiction text

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What to remember when writing a letter:

  • Your Address: put your address at the top right of the paper
  • Recipient Address: put the address of the person you are writing to at the top left of the paper
  • Start with 'Dear .... ', 
  • you should include a comment such as, "I'm writing to you because..." or "...and that's why I thought I'd sit down and write you a letter."
  • Yours sincerely and faithfully: sign "Yours sincerely," (if you know the person's name) or "Yours faithfully,"(if you don't - eg if you're addressing an organisation).
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What to remember when writing a newsletter:

  • Bold Heading
  • Presentational Devices:use all that is relavant - eg picture boxes and captions, subheadings, boxes for quotations etc
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What to remember when writing a magazine article:

  • heading: must be used
  • introductory paragraph
  • use a by-line ("by X" or "writes X")?
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What to remember when writing a speech:

If you're writing a speech, include a comment such as, 

  • "It's great to see so many of you here," 
  • and sign off, "Thanks for listening," or "Have a safe journey home.


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What to remember when writing any article:

think how a published article might open, eg with an appealing description such as 

  • "Think you know about teenagers?" 
  • Or it could start with a more personal point of view such as "Whenever I'm out with friends, there's always one topic of conversation that's bound to come up."
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How to signal the audience you are writing for:

  • using the right vocabulary in the headline of your newsletter (either chatty or formal language)
  • choosing a specific publication to write your magazine article in (eg...fashion weekly) 
  • using the right words and expressions throughout your writing
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How to signal the purpose of your article:

  • explaining why you are writing your letter in the opening sentence
  • explaining what your article is about in the introductory paragraph
  • saying what your newsletter is aiming to do in a big bold headline
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  • be clear and imaginative
  • use clear and varied sentences and paragraphs
  • use the appropriate language techniques and presentational devices
  • make sure you use correct punctuation and spelling
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LOOK AT: these bad and good examples

1.) Dear Sir,

I'm writing to complain about an article in your newspaper criticising teenagers. Teenagers are not that bad; they just don't have enough to do.

This is correct, but it is not very interesting. The writer would struggle to write for the rest of the 45 minutes they have in the exam.

A better response would be to ask yourself why you would write a letter like this. The answer is probably because you read the article in the newspaper and it made you cross. The next step would be to ask yourself why it made you feel like this (cross). BE IMAGINATIVE- THINK OF SOMETHING THAT COULD HAVE THE MOST AUTHORITY OR POWER IN THE SITUATION! The answer to this may be that you are a parent with a teenage son who doesn't have much to do, perhaps because the local playground was sold off. Suddenly you have a scenario and your ideas will come thick and fast. The letter can therefore begin something like this: (ON THE FOLLOWING CARD)

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2.) Dear Sir,

I was appalled to read the article in your newspaper last week criticising teenagers. As a parent of one myself, I feel personally insulted by the arrogant tone and ignorant attitude of your journalist.

My own son, for example, used to play in the local playground until two months ago when it was closed and bulldozed. All this was done just so some adults (who you might think are excellent role models) could get a nice view from their windows...

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What types of questions/ subjects might you be ask

Text to...

  • advise 
  • inform 
  • explain
  • discribe
  • argue
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Writing to advise: What to include

  • What is the person your adviseing aiming to do?
  • How can you achieve this
  • What to do
  • What to be prepared for
  • What might go wrong
  • How to avoid problems


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Writing to advise: some critiria

  • Using an appropriate format to match the task
  • Using an appropriate tone, to match the audience
  • Using appropriate and interesting vocabulary
  • Successful advice
  • Level of structure and fluency
  • Similar to writing to instruct.
  • Reassure and or challage (Positive and negative)
  • Imperitive verbs
  • Uses modal verbs (eg. Can, Could, May, Might, Will, Would, Shall, Must, and Should
  • Possibly sub-heading/bullet  points
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Writing to advise: A GOOD EXAMPLE

To the fundraisers in year 10.

We heard you're planning to raise money for the British Red Cross. That's a great idea! We planned a fundraiser when we were in year 10 and thought you might like some advice.

1. An event that works

You need to get as many people as possible to give money, so think about an event that includes the whole school, staff as well, and maybe even the parents.

Last year, we sold sandwiches, pizza and cakes at break time from the school canteen. Lots of people came and bought food, including parents.

You could also think about:

  • a non-uniform day
  • collections in assembly
  • a sponsored event
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Writing to advise: A GOOD EXAMPLE CONT.

2. Planning the event

It takes longer than you think to plan an event, so think about doing it next term. If you do a sponsored walk, for example, you'll need to:

  • organise and distribute sponsorship forms
  • allow students long enough to collect sponsors
  • do the walk
  • allow time for the money to be collected

3. Set a target

How many people do you want to involve? How much money do you want to raise? Probably the answer to both these questions is LOADS, but if you're too ambitious it will be harder to organise.     Try to set an amount of money that you want to raise, keep it realistic, only huge organisations such as Comic Relief can raise millions. Then think about how many people you would need to raise £10, for example, for you to reach your target. If you decide to raise £200, then you need 10 people to make £20 each. Is that too hard, or too easy?

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Writing to advise: A GOOD EXAMPLE CONT.

4. How to avoid problems

You'll need a detailed list of what needs to be organised. The easiest thing is to appoint one person to be in charge of each section. You need to make sure that you have regular meetings, so everybody knows what's going on. Setting some deadlines would be a good idea because it makes sure everyone gets on with their job. Maybe you could ask a form tutor to sit in on your meetings so that they don't get too out of control.

The main thing is to be ORGANISED.

5. How to avoid money problems

Once you have raised the money, you won't want to lose it! Last year, we asked one of the administrative staff to be in charge of collecting it. You will have to ask nicely! They will need a list of all the people who collected money so they can be crossed off once they have given it in. The school will write a cheque to your charity once all the money is collected.

Good luck with it. We had really good fun last year when we did our cake sale and raised £200!Form x, year 11.

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Why is this a good example?

  • Using an appropriate format, matching the task:
  • a good format for the task its easy to follow and makes good use of headings and bullet points
  • Using an appropriate tone, matching the audience:
  • addresses the students appropriately without being patronising the tone is light and humourous
  • Uses appropriate and interesting vocabulary:
  • the vocabulary is appropriate and varied ; the choice of words makes the advise clear
  • Successful advice
  • the advise is thoughtful and helpful
  • Level of structure and fluency
  • organised, logical and fluently written. the writing flows from one point to another
  • What grade is this essey?
  • grade A
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Writing to advise: A MEDIUM EXAMPLE

If you want some help with your fundraising, you should read this. We did fundraising last year and here's what we discovered.

You need to plan an event that people will like and be interested in. Maybe a fashion show or a sponsored walk.

It's good to plan the event very well so nothing goes wrong. You should get a committee together and give out the jobs and make sure you have lots of meetings so everyone is working on what they should be doing.

You need to have some targets. This means deciding how much money you want to raise and how many people should be helping out.

To avoid problems, you probably need to get your form tutor to hold a meeting with everyone and get him or her to decide who has what jobs.

Don't let the money you raise get lost, that's very important.

Good luck!

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Why is it a medium example?

  • Using an appropriate format, matching the task:
  • an attempt to arrange the contents helpfully but no use of headings
  • Using an appropriate tone, matching the audience:
  • some attempt to hit the right tone for advising similar aged people in a non formal, helpful way
  • Uses appropriate and interesting vocabulary:
  • the vocabulary is appropriate but not particularly varied or interesting
  • Successful advice
  • some advice but not fully explored
  • Level of structure and fluency
  • some structure and fluency but this does not fully engage the reader
  • What grade is this essey?
  • grade D/E
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Writing to advise: A POOR EXAMPLE

Dear Year 10,

I thought you would like some help with raising money for the British Red Cross. I think you should make sure you have an event that works such as a sponsored walk or selling food to the staff at break time. I would like a non-uniform day. You can charge people not to wear school uniform, also the teachers have to wear uniform. You should make sure that you set a target for how many people and how much money you want. Also you must avoid problems like people not joining in or people not helping when you have asked them to. You should get your form tutor to help you. Give all the money you raise to the school office, so it doesn't get lost or nicked.

From Form x, year 11

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Why this is a poor example:

  • Using an appropriate format, matching the task:
  • not an appropriate format as this looks more like a letter no headings or paragraphs
  • Using an appropriate tone, matching the audience:
  • no sense of how to address the audience, this could be advising anyone
  • Uses appropriate and interesting vocabulary:
  • the vacabulary is dull, repetitive and no conscious decisions to use appropriate vocabulary have been made
  • Level of structure and fluency
  • there isn't much advice present
  • What grade is this essey?
  • grade F
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Writing to advise: layout

  • Introduce the subject, eg 'The type of event that will work well', give some ideas, conclude and move on to the next point.
  • Expand on the subject:

-planning the event, eg how the event will be organised

-targets for the event, eg how many people you're expecting

-problems, eg explain what problems might come up and how you'll tackle them

  • Conclude the whole piece of writing.
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Writing to inform, explain and describe ( I. E. D)

What is informing?

Informing gives abjective factual information

What is explaining?

Explaining give reasons for how or why something happens. factual with more detail

What is describing?

Descibing trties to paint a vivid picture in the reader's head. or aobuit how something makes you feel

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Writing to I.E.D.: EXAMPLE

In a scenario where you are writing a letter demonstrate example where you are...

  • informing
  • explaining
  • describing
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Which of the following is a I/E/D

1.) My throat feels like osmething has scratched it and my head feels like someone is hitting it wit a hammer

2.) You have a cold

3.) Colds are caused by viruses that cannot be treated with antibiotics. the way you are feeling is normal when you have a cold

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Which of the following is a I/E/D: ANSWERS

1.) Describe

2.) Informing

3.) Explaining

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Writing to inform: what to remember

  • imagine that you are in the position of the person that your informing
  • remember G.A.P.S. (Genre could be  giving instructions, recipes, directions, manuals, science experiment. Audience could be anyone. Purpose  - to inform - giving unbiased information which is reliable and factual. Style - Formal)
  • make sure language is clear, factual and impersonal
  • use short and clear sentences
  • Break up writing with diagrams, illustrations, pictures and subheadings
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Writing to explain: what to remember

  • who you are writing to
  • why you're writing to them, eg "being fair is a good quality in a carer because."
  • G.A.P.S (Genre, could be explaining a set of data, a speech, or how a mechanism works. Audience, could be anyone. Purpose, to explain, to make clear and show the meaning/to account for something. Style, formal or informal)
  • Generally in the third person (your narrating it)
  • Use clear factual language
  • Give a balanced view with evidence for any points made
  • Use connectives of comparison, eg whereas, though, while, unless, equally, however.
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Writing to explain: example

Below is an account for a repair firm, explaining the nature of a fault and what needs to be done. Spot the techniques which are specific to writing to explain.

Faulty oven

There appears to be a problem with the gas supply to the recently fitted oven in the kitchen.

The gas hobs

These generally work okay when only one or two are used at once, however if you use all four hobs, they tend to spit and crackle, creating a health and safety risk. I have tried several different combinations in an effort to get the cooker to work effectively but every time I try something I end up getting burnt. This actually means that some food ends up being eaten cold, as it is impossible to cook everything simultaneously.

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Writing to explain: example

The gas oven

Another problem is the oven itself. It seems as if there isn't enough gas getting through the pipes. When it is first lit, the hissing sound of the gas is quite loud, whereas when it has been on for 15 minutes or more the hissing dies down and it sounds like it is about to go out. You can see the obvious concerns with gas leaking if the flame goes out.

The solution

I would appreciate a written report of the problem and would either like the oven fixed or a replacement oven brought in before the end of the week.

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Writing to describe: what to remember

  • your thoughts and feelings are important - how does it make you feel and why?
  • G.A.P.S - (Genre, writing a story, describing a scene, a diary entry. Audience, could be anyone. Purpose, to describe, to get a vivid picture in the readers' head so they almost feel like they are there. Style, informal.)
  • use adjectives and adverbs
  • use similies
  • use metaphors eg. That girl is a star
  • include ALL 5 senses
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Writing to discribe: example

Anxiously I tug on my thick woolly socks. The sparkling peak of Snowdon looms like an iceberg above me. My skin tingles the air is so cold. Boots next, numb fingers fumble with the laces. Other walkers are getting ready too, chattering animatedly to one another, their voices seem amplified in the breathless, chilly air. Everyone is eagerly anticipating their day, but I'm not so sure.

We set off along the Pyg track, our boots crunching through the snow, Cryb Goch looms above, an intimidating sight. A shiver of fear runs down my spine and the hair on the back of my neck prickles. Everyone else wants to go this way, but I'd rather take an easier route. Someone fell off last week!

A nerve-jangling scramble and Cryb Goch lies before me, a spiny white lizard's back stretching into the distance. Was it a trick of the light or did I see it twitch, preparing to send me tumbling? A butterfly of panic flutters in my stomach and I struggle to quell it. Slowly I set off on my crawl while my companions trip like mountain goats along the craggy ridge. How do they do it? The next hour is a blur of scraped knees, glimpses of dizzying drops and mumbled prayers.

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Writing to discribe: example

Ah! The top! Thank God! My prayers have been answered! I deserve a cup of tea. Is it just me, or does lukewarm tea poured from a flask you have lugged all the way up a mountain taste the best? I break off a big chunk of milk chocolate - the rich smell fills my nostrils. Mmmmm! Now, how do we get down?

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Writing to argure: what to remember

  • You should write a balanced and rational argument
  • less passionate or emotional than if you were writing to persuade
  • G.A.P.S. (Genre,  this could be a letter, article, formal planned speech etc. You should follow the conventions of the type of writing. Audience, this could be a certain age group, readers of a particular publication, a councillor etc. Use a vocabulary and style that suits them. Purpose, this is an argument so the purpose is to influence the readers views, to change minds. Style, this might be chatty and informal, depending on the audience, or use vocabulary in a particular way.)
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Writing to argue: useful techniques

  • Rhetorical questions are good for making the reader think eg "Do uniforms really create better citizens?" Keep these to a minimum though.
  • Emotive language appeals to the readers' emotions. It can help convince them.
  • Always counter opposing views politely.
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Writing to argue: example

Dear Mrs Andrews

I am writing because you chair a committee in charge of the compulsory wearing of school uniforms. I am a student at Brinsley High School, a friendly and successful school where uniforms are not worn.

I believe that there is good evidence that wearing school uniform is now outdated. I fully understand that uniform looks smarter than casual clothes and that this might attract parents on Open Day. However uniforms are expensive and forever need replacing as students grow. This poses a real worry to financially stressed families. This is made worse by the fact that the uniform is only available from an expensive school shop rather than from inexpensive and competitive retailers.

It's true that wearing uniform means students don't spend all morning choosing what to wear or beg parents for clothes that will impress their friends. However there is another side to this argument: uniforms breed uniformity. We are a culturally diverse nation and if we all dress the same, this encourages us to be the same. At Brinsley High, we are encouraged to express our individuality, yet this seems to be in conflict with the message enforced uniform sends to us.

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Writing to argue: example

A big argument in favour of uniform is one of safety. We are easily identifiable and this can be very useful if there is an accident. This appeals to parents who are always worried about new dangers facing us. But could it also be that wearing uniform can bring potential problems? Two friends of mine have been bullied while walking home just because their school uniform identified them as being from a "rival" school. Surely, you wouldn't want this to happen to one of your own children?

In conclusion, I can fully understand the motivation for making students wear uniform to look smart, to worry less about wearing the right clothes and also for safety. However, I hope I have shown that there is another case to be made. School uniforms can be a burden to parents with less money and to students identified as being different. They also stifle a sense of freedom and self-expression. I believe this rule is outdated and is in many ways illogical. It needs to change.

Yours sincerely,

Gary White

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What to remember when writing a report:

  • headings and subheadings
  • objective perspective
  • formal language
  • formal regerences to people (eg. students, clients, colleagures etc.)
  • facts, figures and stats
  • clear simple layout
  • recommendations and/ or conclusions at the end
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What to remember when writing to give instructions

  • clear and factual style
  • uses imperative verbs (eg. Put .... Sit .... Take ...etc.)
  • Often uses subheadings
  • impersonal tone
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Writing to review/comment:

  • Gives reasons why it is good or bad
  • gives a conclusion
  • technical language
  • gives an opinion
  • comparison
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Discussion/discursive writing:

  • balanced and objective
  • gives arguments for and against a topic
  • comes to a conclusion after considering the facts
  • uses connectives
  • often uses comparison
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Writing to entertain:

  • Lively style 
  • informal often humerous
  • often uses 'you' to address the reader
  • exaggeration
  • familiar sayings
  • slang words
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Writing to persuade:

  • Must convince reader
  • seperate persuasive reasons
  • use 'we', 'us' and 'our'
  • examples/facts/opinions
  • rhetorical questions/alliteration/repetition
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Writing to analyse:

  • Breaks something down into its key parts
  • select the key parts and examine and assess their individual meaning or qualities
  • explore how key parts contribute to the whole
  • careful step-by-step order
  • paragraphs must be arranged logically
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10 MINS :  Highlight key words in all questions read for gasps

6 MINS:  Highlight relevant material for question plan question 1

12 MINS: Answer question 1

6 MINS: Highlight relevent material for question 2 plan question 2

14 MINS: Answer question 2

6 MINS:  Highlight relevant material for question 3 plan question 3

14 MINS: Answer question 3

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