Another Sunday of marking, and editing the new school website, and I am equally pleased and perturbed by my students’ writing. More students are able to link their ideas into a line of argument. Rather than simply develop ideas in the confines of a paragraph that blocks the argument into stepping stones of reason, some are often able to flow between the final sentences to guide the reader to a final point.
Again, I think this is because the ability to write analytically with a focus aids the ability to write to argue (or persuade) with a focus.
Some inaccuracies remain. The it’s and its has reared its ugly head. However, one student has managed to eradicate it from her writing. She actually expressed in class that a possessive apostrophe on the board was incorrect thanks to the rule of asking, “does the it’s mean ‘it is’?” While she was incorrect in the semantic of the assertion, she was most definitely correct in publicly expressing her analysis of correct punctuation using a rule recently emphasised to her. I dare say she might have been a little self-conscious of making the assertion. However, I think she’d be more self-conscious is she continued to make incorrect apostrophe usage.
Many students misspelled ‘whether.’ I admire how many coordinated contrasting sentences with it, although if they don’t use the correct spelling in future, I will be less enamoured.
Many students, in their attempts to use participles to start sentences, failed to always write in full sentences. I think back to my teaching of subordinate clauses, and realise that it is something that needs to be approached regularly. Still, that students are attempting to use them without prompting, and that the use often involves the linking of ideas, I am still pleased. A starter of analysing why this is the case will be created from these sentences soon.
Some students wrote on topics of their personal choice. All but one asked me. Those that did were encouraged to have a focussed topic, and they did. Writing to argue involves making specific steps along the path of an argument to a pre-determined idea. If the topic is too vast, a 45 minute essay risks being too vague in the steps between ideas.