Livening up details

24th September 2004 at 01:00
Getting pupils inspired by the finer points of writing, particularly grammar, is not easy. The complex sentence, subordinate clauses, the colon: such subjects are not always guaranteed to keep pupils fascinated.

Help is on the way. Text Generation: Writing 11 to 14 - e-Resource Bank 1 may not be the catchiest of titles, but this is an effective and lively resource to support writing in Year 7.

The framework-friendly e-Resource Bank can support a comprehensive, attractive students' book. For me, though, the real power comes from using its materials independently (it was designed with this option in mind).

Eleven self-contained units introduce text types, such as short stories, reviews, evaluations, persuasions and arguments, with clarity and imagination. Each unit follows the National Literacy Strategy-suggested writing sequence and is packed with model texts ready for analysis, resource sheets with pupil activities, teacher notes, text-type feature checklists, guided writing ideas and more.

No straitjacket exists here: there are flexible options for differentiation depending on pupil needs and texts. Ideas and resources can be dipped into to complement existing schemes of work.

Teachers will benefit from the simple and realistic planning. You don't need to spend several days bewildered by matrixes, charts and cross-reference tables. Instead, the authors offer practical and flexible ideas for the teacher, who will always remain in charge.

Best of all is the accompanying CD-Rom. This includes Word versions of all teaching notes and resource sheets, so you can customise worksheets. The real excitement comes from the interactive versions of texts, all ready for use with interactive whiteboards, projectors or printed-on acetates for whole-class work.

Interestingly chosen and well presented, these offer opportunities to discover and explore main features of text types on the big screen. Texts can be considered from different perspectives, such as "structure and layout" or "vocabulary and imagery" with excellent colour-coded annotations and notes that can be switched on and off.

Perhaps a less successful aspect of the material lies in its desire to introduce "cool" writers (a feature much more evident in the students' book than the resource bank). Multitudes of exclamation marks are used in a bid to make writers' lives seem thrilling. This is surely unnecessary: this resource makes the crafting of writing itself genuinely meaningful and exciting.

Text Generation: Writing 11 to 14

Oxford University Press, Book 1 pound;9.50; e-Resource Bank 1 pound;85 +



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