All About English Creative Writing (Page 5)

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PostPosted: Sun Nov 02, 2008 9:42 pm 
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OrangeBelt
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ChiefKiasu wrote:
usaik wrote:
What is creative writing?...

Key goals of Primary School composition
- Grammar
- Spelling
- Sentence construction
- Organization and semantics
- Correct use of words/idioms


Dear Chief,
My girl will be in P2 next year. Can you recommended some good tution centre/enrichment cente that offer english creative writing courses near Bukit Batok/Bukit Timah /Choa chu kang area. My girl is not very good in composition writing so it does not matter whether it is creative writing so long it can help her on her writing.

I have been looking around but none seems to impress me. My girl was in Jan and Elly for P1 for half a year but I do not see much of improvement in her writing so I want to change her to other place.


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 02, 2008 11:27 pm 
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snowyqueen wrote:
...My girl is not very good in composition writing so it does not matter whether it is creative writing so long it can help her on her writing.

I have been looking around but none seems to impress me. My girl was in Jan and Elly for P1 for half a year but I do not see much of improvement in her writing so I want to change her to other place.


Hi snowyqueen, that is precisely my point with regards to how we parents do not really understand what we are signing up for and what exactly is the problem we are trying to solve. We need to spend some time with the child to assess what the real problem is first, before delving into an "enrichment solution".

There is a difference between learning-to-write (which focuses on grammar and punctuation) and writing-to-learn (which focuses on using the written language for effective communication). During the first 3 years of Primary school, almost all teachers focus on learning-to-write. A child that has unbridled imagination will likely score poorly during these years if he/she does not already have a good foundation of standard English. If this is that case, a creative writing class is unlikely to help the child do better in composition tests.

At the same time, children's writing start from:
"labelling" (ie. ability to use nouns and link them together with grammar to form sentences - preschools), to
"recounting" (ie. ability to narrate an observation - lower Primary), to
"expository" (ie. ability to explain or put forth an idea or concept - upper Primary)

As such, early Primary school English compositions are more of the narrative style, which in turn tend to be chronological in nature (eg. This happened, and then it causes another event, and then... and finally... ). If you listen to how your child describes his day in school to you, you'll get what I mean from all the "and then"s that come from him. In fact, most teachers encourage the application of the chronological style, and frown on other, possibly more interesting, writing styles.

This means that if you are looking for your child to do well in composition for Primary school, all you really need to do is to get picture composition assessment books from the bookstore, and do the following for each of the stories:
1. Get your child to verbally narrate to you the action in sequence.

2. Get your child to write down the following on a working sheet of paper.
- Players: Identify the actors/entities in the story, and their relationship
- Setting: Describe the place where the story happened
- Event: Describe the action
- Conclusion: Describe the resolution and learning (moral of the story)

3. Get your child to start writing the composition based on his notes and in the following sections:
- Introduction (Players and setting)
- Body (Event - What happened?)
- Conclusion (So what?)
Try to get the child to supply details in his description through a generous use of adjectives.

If your child do enough of these picture compositions, there is a strong likelihood that he may even get a story with a familiar theme for the exams.

In my humble opinion, I do not believe that courses that teach creative writing can actually help improve composition skills for lower Primary levels, especially if they are true to their goal of encouraging creative writing! Can you imagine all novels having the same Intro-Body-Conclusion format :roll: ?


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 05, 2008 12:53 am 
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OrangeBelt
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"3. Get your child to start writing the composition based on his notes and in the following sections:
- Introduction (Players and setting)
- Body (Event - What happened?)
- Conclusion (So what?)
Try to get the child to supply details in his description through a generous use of adjectives.

If your child do enough of these picture compositions, there is a strong likelihood that he may even get a story with a familiar theme for the exams."

Dear Chief,
Thanks for your opinion. It looks like I can actually coach on my own for my girl's English. However, I feel very uncomfortable if I do not send her to any enrichment course :? Why I say that?

My gal didn't do well for SA1 (low end of Band 2) because I never believe in stressing my child with enrichment courses and to me good results do not neceesary mean success when the child grows up next time. I also didn't prepare her for P1. After the parent review in SA1, I was very humilated by the teacher's comments and I told myself that if this is what the school wants or what the Singapore Education system is all about, nevermind I will follow and I will meet your standard. I can be very kiasu also.

I started her with tuition/enrichment courses in June and I also do a lot of personal coaching to bring up her standard. I even taught the whole Maths syllabus within the June holiday. I did a lot of counselling to make her understand that she must be serious in her study and she must also pay attention in class and hand up her homework on time. Previously I was very busy with my work and I failed to follow up closely what had been covered in school, thinking she could cope on her own.

After the "humilation", I wanted to prove to the teacher that she was wrong about my gal. I made a lot of scariface in order to spend time to coach her. Guess what? I almost dropped my Hp when she called me to inform me of her results last week. She even beats one of the top girls in her class for English and Chinese. For Maths, she made a few careless mistakes but could still score above 90 marks. She has progressed well to be one of the top girls in her class for SA2.

What I want to point out is that I am very frustrated with the eductaion system because I need to prepare her in advance for the subjects because there is not much teaching in school. They only want to access the students with worksheets. This is very true especially for English. I am the teacher who has to patiently build up her understanding of grammar and vocabulary. Though the school also covers some but she will not be able to score in exam if purely based on what the school taught.

Now, I am very kiasu already because the Singapore education system forces me to be what I am now. I still want to enrol her to a course who focus on composition writing (no need to be creative writing) but cannot make up my mind which one to choose??? That's why I am not sure how to proceed??? I also feel very pressurized now as I am worried if my gal can keep to her standard when she goes to P2.

My husband keeps challenging me if education is all about marks. I told him that at least for Singapore Education, the answer is absolutely "Yes" generally. I really wonder if a child enducation is contributed by tuition/enrichment centres or school? In fact, the reason for me to come to this forum is to hope to find an answer for this dilemna???????????


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 05, 2008 7:49 am 
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snowyqueen wrote:
...It looks like I can actually coach on my own for my girl's English. However, I feel very uncomfortable if I do not send her to any enrichment course :? Why I say that?...


Hi snowyqueen, if you ask me, I think you have already answered your own question about whether you should be sending your child for English enrichment! :D

Your child's success in her exams this year is entirely due to your personal efforts in teaching her. I don't think outsourcing the problem to enrichment programmes can achieve anything close to the level that she has gotten. Your child is fortunate to have a parent like you for guidance.

Enrichment programmes are most effective if there is active parental participation in the process. It is not just pay and hope for the best. We have to make it a point to understand what is being taught and see how we can reinforce it at home.

My concern in your case is that you might "overdose" your child with enrichment programmes that are too academic-focused in your determination to prove her teacher wrong. That may have lasting negative impact on your daughter who may be doing it primarily because mummy says she must, and not because she herself wants to prove her teacher wrong. Granted that she has already done so well, perhaps it is timely to re-strategise on her external education programme to put more emphasis on why learning is FUN.

I would encourage you to continue to send your daughter to creative writing classes because those will have long-term impact and you should see the benefits when she is in Primary 5 when compositions start to get more expository in nature. Creative writing also give your daughter the reason why she should try to improve on her composition writing skills, so that she can tell her story more effectively.

Jan and Elly is well-liked by parents in our community. Another possibility is to consider British Council programmes. If you want it to be a bit more academic, I believe The Learning Labin United Square will be suited to your needs. You may also want to try out Tony Buzan's writing programmes.


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 05, 2008 4:05 pm 
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BlackBelt
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snowyqueen
I am also pissed off with MOE on the educational system and the sch too. You may write to REACH. Perhaps they will fall on deaf ears since all feedback / complaints are not new and it takes more than a decade for them to invite public for views.


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 Post subject: Creative Writting
PostPosted: Fri Nov 07, 2008 5:26 pm 
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KiasuNewbie
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[Moderator's note: Topics merged.]

I looking for some creative writting materials (e.g worksheets) for Primary 3 from any enrichment centre in Singapore. I just want to know how they teach. Can email me at nglayseng@yahoo.com. Tks.


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 09, 2008 11:29 pm 
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OrangeBelt
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ChiefKiasu wrote:
Quote:
Jan and Elly is well-liked by parents in our community. Another possibility is to consider British Council programmes. If you want it to be a bit more academic, I believe The Learning Labin United Square will be suited to your needs. You may also want to try out Tony Buzan's writing programmes.


Dear Chief,

I think a lot during these few days and I must really thank you for spelling out the difference between composition writing and creative writing. Anyway, I called up British Council..only shocked to learn that they actually have about 14-18 students in a class. To me, it will be distracting to have so many students in a class and for the price that we need to pay...

Tony Buzan does not have a schedule suitable for me and I am reluctant to try Learning lab because of the entry test that one has to sit in order to be enrolled. Likely that even my gal can be admitted, they will not have a timing that suits me. The course fees are really high and certainly not everyone can afford. Maybe I can consider if my gal does very well for P2.

Cheers!


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 10, 2008 10:19 am 
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YellowBelt
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Hi Chief,
My child is going to P2 next year. Some parents were telling me that it is not necessary to have English tuition or enrichment. All we need to do is to buy some English assesment books and teach them ourselves. We just need to send them for Creative Writing Class.
What is your opinion on this? If the grammar and vocab is not strong would they be able to write good compo? Or when learning to write, the grammar and vocab will be improved?
Thanks


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 10, 2008 11:57 am 
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KiasuGrandMaster
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Hi all,

I feel that language is more caught than taught. My son has never attended any writing or english enrichment classes but has managed to do well for his English exams from pr 1 to pr 6.

Since young, we have instilled in him the habit of reading daily. He picks up his vocabulary from the books, newspapers and magazines he can get hold of. Going to the library is a weekly family outing. Now , he goes on his own. It helps when he is surrounded by friends, classmates and family members who love to read.

Of course his class teacher helps by assigning newspaper cutting (thrice a wk) as homework where he has to find meanings of new words (pr 3 and 4) and write a review of the article.(pr 5 & 6)

As for composition, he has a resource book of useful phrases from various sources from which he can apply during the writing process. Oh yes, he has to write journals thrice a week too. (all assigned by his teachers). Sometimes, I get him to write his reflections/thoughts when we are holidaying. He has to pack a journal in his luggage. I am doing this to help him find meaning in writing and definitely not with the objective of getting good English marks.

I guide him in the grammar aspect by pointing out certain grammar rules he needs to remember and follow. The school teachers do the drilling and reinforcement (with worksheets).

I usually do the fun part, like buying the book "Sing to the Dawn" for the kids after watching the show, getting them to read the Chronicles of Narnia when their interest has already been aroused after watching the movies. I may also point him to an interesting article with a creative writing style. :lol:

It is no wonder English is his favourite subject, one he doesn't have to practise (unlike Maths) and can still do well... :lol:


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 17, 2008 4:22 pm 
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YellowBelt
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Hello,

Perhaps you can contact someone called Julie. She has a book of creative writing for primary 3 - primary 6. If you get interesting, will PM you for details and hope it help..


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