Level 2: Developing Writing Skills - Writing with Wow Words

Teacher as Researcher - Action Research Project

OVERVIEW:

The NBSS resource Writing with ‘WOW’ Words and Vocabulary Building was developed to support vocabulary and writing skills with students in NBSS partner schools, as this was an area highlighted by teachers as requiring attention. Skilled writers use different strategies to help them navigate the writing process - planning, drafting, revising and editing. The resource presents activities for developing students' writing skills as well as ways to expand students’ use of vibrant or ‘wow’ words. A Powerpoint presentation on proofreading and editing was also made available to schools to use in conjunction with the resource.

TARGET GROUP:

This is an example of how one teacher used “WOW” words as a writing intervention with six 2nd year students over two weeks. 

QUALITATIVE FINDINGS:

“They were here for behaviour…poor concentration, constantly distracting others, not working to their potential at all. I mean their reports at Christmas were that they weren’t working anywhere near to where they should be. So motivation is a huge issue for them. They are not motivated. They just do the bare minimum and that is it. And all of their teachers indicate that on their Learning Behaviour Checklist…

…So we had the story planners and then they picked two titles to come up with the why, what, where for two of those stories. Then they would fill out a more detailed plan of… start to really fill in what is happening, where is it happening, why is it happening and when is it happening. Then they were keen…computers really worked for them. So they did a first draft on the computer and initially they would have done one paragraph unfinished and so we would go back to the plan and I would say ‘You haven’t talked about this and you haven’t talked about that’. So they kept going and put a little more in it…

…And then they started to read each other’s quite early on. And I wasn’t sure because they can be quite harsh on each other. So I kind of let that go to see where they would go with it. And they were very complimentary…They would be saying that is a deadly story or that is cool. So they were interested in where each other’s stories were going to go. It was kind of an extraordinary moment for me…it kind of all gathered momentum…

…They wanted to work on it every day… It was a very, very interesting piece of work… they started using the thesaurus and were looking up synonyms on the computer… But amazing pieces of work. We didn’t over edit either so that it was all about building confidence…

…The structure came from the planning and the idea of planning. When you use a planner. Now whether that is carried on… but they certainly bought into the value of having a plan…and then what I did was to distribute the story starters and the story maps to their English teachers…”