Use a model text
The content of the nonfiction text you choose will probably be familiar to the pupils. However, it is important to review this information before they begin writing. A simple questionnaire is an effective way of getting pupils to reflect on their experiences with a text. For example, pupils can work in pairs to exchange information about the e-mails they write.
Pupils also need to notice and use the different patterns of organisation. One way of making these things explicit is to provide a model text. We then break this text into chunks and demonstrate how the different parts are put together. The following example shows how this can be done with an e-mail:
(Examples taken from Footprints 5 by Donna Shaw)
Write a draft
Once the children know why they are writing, who they are writing for, what information is needed and how it should be organised, they can begin to write their draft. You may ask pupils to work in pairs or small groups to do this because collaborative writing is motivating for pupils. It also encourages them to think more carefully about their work and weaker pupils can be supported if they are grouped with more confident language learners. Some groups will be able to work independently on their draft. However, other groups may need more support. You can provide these pupils with prompts, for example, a list of weekend activities to choose from when writing an e-mail to a friend.
Writing an e-mail
After completing their draft, pupils need to check and correct their work. Your feedback is very important at this stage, and it should focus on the content and layout of the text as well as linguistic accuracy.
Write final text
In the final stage of the writing process, the pupils copy out their corrected draft. You can help the children produce an attractive and polished final text by providing materials such as card and coloured pens or arranging access to a computer. Pupils can also help you display the final pieces of work in the different areas of the school.