Thursday, January 30, 2014

Using a plan

Following on from the blog about planning and how five headings can give you the paragraphs, whilst the subsequent five bullet points can give you the content of those paragraphs, I received this short story about Psyche and Venus, in response to the final question in their comprehension homework.

Psyche's father had just left her room when suddenly, Psyche heard a blood curdling scream echoing through the corridors. She leapt out of bed, only to find her father dead on the floor. He had been murdered.
High in the sky and a long way off, the goddess Venus laughed with delight at the sight of Psyche's face. She would definitely win this time.
Two weeks later, Psyche was playing in the garden with one of her sisters. She was playing hide-and-seek. When it was her turn to 'seek', it was as soon as she turned her back, she heard another scream. She ran to her sister who was dead on the floor.
Two more weeks later, she was petting her dog, when another scream occurred in the next room. In that room, her second sister lay dead on the floor. Psyche's eyes filled with tears.
Venus' evil laugh grew louder at the sight of Psyche. She thought to herself, 'if all this doesn't work then it is me who is not beautiful.'
Venus was right. Soon after her second sister's death, Psyche's hair lost its shine, her teeth lost their sparkle and her lips lost their ruby colouring and nobody ever thought she was beautiful again.
So, what is the structure here? What are each of the main headings and where are the bullet points?
If we look at the story, Mia has used,
  1. Death of her father
  2. Venus gloating
  3. Psyche's sister dying
  4. Second sister dying
  5. Venus gloating more
  6. Loss of Psyche's beauty
So in fact, Mia used 6 boxes, creating six paragraphs and the continuity of the story can be seen in the way the boxes, or paragraphs, follow on, one after the other.
Looking at the six paragraph titles, what were her bullet points?
  •  death of father
    • father says good night
    • scream from the corridor
    • rushes out to find father dead
  • Venus gloating
    • high in sky laughing
    • knew she would win
  • Psyche's sister dying
    • playing hide and seek
    • Psyche covers eyes
    • screaming
    • death of sister
..and so on. Although this is a de-construction of the story, one can see how a plan such as the one outlined before can be used to create a very good plan of what to write. Eventually, the student will be able to do this in their heads, but to start with, give them guidance;
  1. Thinking of the story, what five major events are going to happen?
  2. For each of those events, what is going to happen in each one?
  3. What order would it be best to write these events? [give them paragraph numbers]
  4. What good words could you use to show off your skills?
  5. How are you going to introduce some speech? Where would be good? What are they going to say?
  6. Let's think of connectives, which of these could we use and where [I will give you another set as soon as I have typed out the chart]
As you can see, by asking them these sort of questions they can structure what they are going to do and then the writing of it becomes a lot more painless.  

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