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Writing resources

Expected standards in writing. With the children working at home, I wanted to keep them aware of what counts as the 'expected' standard of writing and presentation for their age group (and I thought some Mums and Dads might be interested too!). Below are examples of 'expected' work. They are annotated so that it is clear what it is about them that makes them this standard. For a pupil to achieve 'expected' in writing by the end of the year, they would need to produce 4 or 5 different pieces of writing independently that all demonstrate similar standards. (Independent means without direct teacher feedback but use of checklists, plans, dictionaries and word lists is encouraged.)

Monday 22nd February -Shared writing.

Great ideas from Tylor, Declan and Hazel. 

 

Above the roar of the vicious battle, Macbeth raised his gleaming sword and shouted, "For Scotland!" Before long, the valiant Scottish army had defeated the rebels and invading Norwegians, they had fallen at the mighty power of the King's soldiers - victory!  "Now we must tell our King," declared Banquo as they mounted their waiting war horses and set off into the gloom.

As darkness fell, the swirling mist obscured the weary warriors' view until they could see nothing. Slowly, three eerie hooded figures emerged from the fog and seemed to float towards Macbeth and Banquo ... what could this be? "Witches!" roared Banquo, "stay back!"

"All hail Macbeth," the trio declared and moved in closer.  "You shall be the father of Kings Banquo and you, Macbeth, shall be king of Scotland," chanted the three mysterious figures as they disappeared into the mists.  Neither soldier could believe their ears, "What is this dangerous prophecy?" Wondered Macbeth as he and Banquo continued their journey. 

Tuesday 23rd February, guided writing.

Exhausted, Macbeth and Banquo arrived at the King's camp where they were welcomed warmly.  "Congratulations Macbeth! King Duncan has awarded you Thane of Cawdor!"  Stunned, Macbeth stared at his compatriot, his mind whirling, "Can this be true my friend? The witches predicted this - does this mean I could be king?" Fearful of treason, Banquo hushed his friend. 

Before long, Macbeth suggested the King journey to his castle for a celebratory feast then wrote to his wife, Lady Macbeth, telling her of the battle, the witches, the prophecy and the King's arrival.  

The next day, at Dunsinane,  Lady Macbeth read the letter with growing excitement - a deadly plan began to form.  The feast would be the perfect opportunity to murder the king and achieve her wildest dream - greatness!

Wednesday 24th February.

Roaring flames heated the castle's grand hall and the walls rang with merriment as King Duncan, lords and ladies celebrated their resounding victory. Large wooden tables groaned under the weight of the delicious banquet; roast pigs, baked goose, piles of vegetables and sweet cakes. A feast perfect for a king! Unbeknownst to the revellers, Macbeth and his wife had slipped away to plot their wicked and corrupt deed. "Don't be weak my husband, imagine the power I ... we... would have if you were king!"  However, Macbeth, at heart, was a loyal subject and was filled with terror at the prospect of murder.  Once everyone had eaten their fill and retired to the many bedrooms at Dunsinane, Macbeth paced the upper battlements arguing with himself, "Should I carry out this evil act? Surely the witches intended me to commit murder? What if I am caught?" Suddenly, Macbeth saw Banquo and his son, Fleance.  "Thane of Cawdor! What are you doing here? I am reminding Fleance here of how lucky we are to such a kind and generous king." Banquo stared at Macbeth as muttered that he too was loyal. 

As the pair left, a shining, shimmering dagger knife appeared in the gloom, soon spots of blood dripped from the blade, "is this a message? A dagger of the mind! Surely this means I should commit treason and murder Duncan!"

Meanwhile, Lady Macbeth paced her bedroom, wondering if her husband had carried out her orders and removed the only obstacle to her dreams of power.  The door flung open and Macbeth appeared with blood soaked hands stretched out before him, "The dirty deed is done! I have murdered sleep! What have I done?" He wailed.  Quickly, Lady Macbeth realised she had to cover up the crime and remove suspicion from her husband, "I will take the dagger and place it in the servants' hands, they will take the blame, no-one will suspect us!"

Thursday 25th February.  

Screams soon echoed around the castle as the body of the murdered king was found.  "Bring us the evils culprits!" Roared the King's sons.  When Macbeth told them the servants had already been killed, the sons were puzzled but failed to ask more searching questions as Lady Macbeth appeared to faint to the floor.  

Within the week, fearing for their lives, the King's sons had fled the country vowing to return and wreak their revenge but Macbeth saw an opportunity, "Running away? Surely they may be guilty of this terrible crime!" He declared to the lords.  Banquo was the only one who was suspicious, "This IS strange, the witches' words seem to be coming true. I wonder if Macbeth had a hand in this?" Shortly after this, Macbeth was crowned king but his initial elation was soon replaced by suspicion that Banquo knew of his dastardly deed and that, as the witches predicted, his son (Fleance) would become king.  "This must never happen," declared Macbeth as he sent for hired assassins.  "Banquo and his son will be hunting in the forest this afternoon.  Kill him." The evil assassins suggested that both the soldier and his son could be murdered to leave no witnesses.  It didn't take long for Macbeth, once a loyal warrior, to agree. When would the killing stop? 

Friday 26th February

Some weeks later, tramping through the dark dense forest, Banquo and Fleance were anticipating a  superb banquet at Macbeth's castle.  Suddenly, out of the shadows, two heavily scarred menacing characters stepped out from behind a tree with their swords drawn.  Within seconds, Banquo was slain but his son, luckily, managed to evade the executioners and flee for his life. 

Meanwhile, at the castle, Lady Macbeth was beginning to have doubts about their murderous plans but her husband was more concerned that the banquet would go smoothly and that Banquo's threat was eradicated. The grand hall was overflowing with dignitaries and the feast commenced.  In a dark corner, the two assassins beckoned Macbeth, "We've done the deed but the boy fled after we despatched his father." Aggrieved that his plan was not fully carried out, Macbeth returned to his table but, astonished, he pointed at his chair and demanded, "Who is sitting in my seat?"

Looking around, puzzled, Lady Macbeth replied, "No-one." However, Macbeth was staring in horror as the ghostly apparition of Banquo drifted towards him, arms outstretched. Drawing his sword, the terrified king slashed at thin air, howling and screaming.  All the visitors looked in bewilderment as the crazed king ranted and raged.  "It is an illness! Macbeth is taken ill! Everyone leave at once!"  Lady Macbeth tried to calm her husband but he was convinced that McDuff and other lords were out to get him.  "I shall go to the weird sisters tomorrow to find out what I should do," declared Macbeth. 

Monday 1st March, thanks to Oscar for the great ideas.

Huddled in the shadows of the castle, Ross and Lennox whispered together about their suspicions, "So much death - all seemingly linked to Macbeth!  What should we do?" Meanwhile, Macbeth was riding to meet the weird sisters and discover what his future held.  Stirring their bubbling cauldron, the witches cackled, "Something wicked this way comes!" Macbeth demanded to know what his future held and the hags chanted, "Beware McDuff! However, only a man not born of woman can defeat you and not before Boreham Woods walk." Feeling jubilant, Macbeth declared that he would be victorious as Lennox appeared from the gloom and the witches vanished.  His second in command told Macbeth that McDuff had joined Malcolm and were, at that very minute, marching on Scotland to take the crown.  "I knew it!" cried Macbeth, "They will never defeat me.  Let us go immediately take revenge on McDuff - we will kill his whole family!"

Tuesday 2nd March

In the Queen's bedchamber, the maid and doctor looked on nervously as lady Macbeth, in a trance, furiously washed her hands over and over crying, "Out damn spot!"  

"She is asleep and has no water - what terrifying hallucinations is she having?" asked the maid.

Shaking his head, the doctor replied, "I do not know but we must never speak of what she says - not if we want to live."

Meanwhile, in England, Malcolm raised a great army and set out to Scotland to seize the throne.  Before long, he was joined by McDuff who had learned that the murderous Macbeth had had his family slaughtered.  "I will join you," he declared, "And lead the charge to put an end to his deadly reign,"  After several weeks of travel, the army arrived at Burnham woods.  "Cut down the trees and camouflage yourselves .. we march on Dunsinane!"

Wednesday 3rd March

Upon hearing the avenging army was in the vicinity, Macbeth called for his armour, "I am invincible, no man born of woman can slay me!" Seconds later, a trembling medic arrived and approached the king, "Your majesty, I bring grave news... Lady Macbeth is .. no more, she has died my lord." Briefly bewildered, Macbeth soon recovered and declared that this must not interfere with his forthcoming battle. Just then, a soldier rushed in and shouted, "Look out of the window! The woods ... they walk!" Shaken by sight of trees seemingly approaching the castle, Macbeth roared for his soldiers to attack.

As Malcolm's army discarded their branches, a bloody and vicious battle ensued, the king's gleaming sword slashing left and right, leaving fallen soldiers behind him until he came face to face with McDuff.

"Drop your sword - you cannot defeat me!"

"Ahh, you are mistaken you false king, I was cut from my mother so am not of woman born." With a single stab, McDuff ended the murderous reign of Macbeth.  Severing his head and placing it on a spear, the avenging lord marched into the castle, "Proof my lord that you are now the rightful king of Scotland!"  Cheers rang around Dunsinane as all bellowed, "All hail King Malcolm!"

Meanwhile, on the misty heath, three weird sisters stared into their bubbling cauldron planning, plotting ...

During the week beginning 8th February, we will be writing shorter pieces using image stimulus. Each picture has a sentence task and a story starter.

Great, creative ideas for words, phrases and sentences during our writing session this morning. I can't wait to read your battle descriptions.

We will be working together to plan and write a biography for the life of Elon Musk. Below are some support materials to help write a biography.

This document has additional information about Elon Musk. However, it is not in chronological order - can you sort the information?

Example text created in our zoom session on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.  

 

Have you ever wanted to travel into space? Live on Mars?  Many people would say this was a science fiction dream but one man, who has made millions of dollars from his tech businesses, is trying to make that dream a reality.  A divisive character - is Elon Musk an entrepreneurial  genius or just creating a fantasy? 

Early life.

Elon Musk was born on the 28th June 1971 in Pretoria, South Africa. His family moved to Canada then later, the USA, where he became an American citizen.

Education.

A gifted child, Elon struggled at school where he was the victim of bullying – one extreme incident saw him hospitalised.  His parents decided to change schools where he was much happier.  Interested in computers, Elon, at an early age (12 years old) he created a video game and sold it to a computer magazine. As a teenager, he attended graduate school in physics at Stanford University in California but left after only two days because he believed that the Internet had much more potential to change society than work in physics.

Entrepreneur.

By the time he was 28 years old, Elon sold his first successful company Zip2 (a web software company) for millions of dollars. He went on to start and sell X.com and PayPal (online financial services), both of which he sold for billions of dollars.

Elon’s rapidly increasing fortune enabled Musk to look to the future of technology and its unique impact on the world. “Going viral doesn’t happen by accident,” he says. “Stand out by focusing on what makes you unique instead of chasing others.”

Monday 18th January. Here is a document with a variety of conjunctions and connectives to help improve your sentences.

Space story vocabulary.

Well done on the range of vocabulary you offered today.  Here are some of the examples:

  • barren 
  • lonely
  • black and bleak
  • desolate
  • gravity
  • universe
  • milky way
  • airless
  • silent
  • alien
  • infinite

 Here is a copy of the text we developed together, you can use some of the ideas in your own work.

 

Zooming through the black depths of space, hordes of silver bullet shaped alien ships had their sights set on one destination - Earth.  Their planet had been stripped of resources, it was dying out. The merciless warriors headed to the lush, green planet to invade and make it their new home.  The Earthlings were weak; this would be an easy task. 

 

Mark, an eleven year old boy, lived in Southport - a busy seaside town. He'd been at school (yet ANOTHER maths lesson) where he had been wishing for something, anything to distract him from even more long division. Suddenly,  explosions and earth shattering quakes ripped through the building. The school was reduced to rubble. 

Unconscious for goodness knows how long, Mark came to; coughing and choking on the dust. Bewildered, he dragged himself from the wreckage, carefully checking his injuries.  He didn't recognise the area at all, desperately spinning in all directions, he looked for a familiar landmark - nothing. How would he ever find his way home? A brief flash of panic shot through him but Mark was a brave boy, he set off in what he hoped was the right direction, determined to find his family. 

 

As the bewildered boy struggled to climb over the wreckage that had once been his home, he began to ponder on what could have happened. Was it an earthquake? Was it a gas explosion? Distracted, he flinched as he heard coughing coming from behind a broken down wall.

“Hello?” He queried, “Who is there?”

Slowly emerging, a dusty figure took a step towards him, Mark? It’s me, Betty, year 5. The small girl sneezed repeatedly and broke into a hacking cough. “Do you know what has happened?  I’ve got such a high temperature, am I having hallucinations?”

Mark sadly, shook his head – this was no dream.  All of a sudden, a giant shadow seemed to swallow up the two children, they gazed upwards and gasped. The sky was filled with hundreds, thousands of metallic cubes (trailing long, searching tentacles), hovering or zipping towards the earth.  Grasping Mark’s hand, Betty trembled, “Are you seeing what I’m seeing?”

Shocked, Mark whispered, “We need to get under cover, whatever they are, they aren’t friendly!”  Slowly and carefully, the children edged their way to a derelict building. Too late! SLAP! A vicious tentacle smashed down the wall and reached, searchingly for the terrified pair.

In a flash, Betty was lifted into the air then dragged towards the gaping mouth of the alien space craft.  Paralysed with fear, Mark could only look on in horror as Betty was drawn closer, closer to the terrible creature. Before he knew it, Mark’s instincts had taken over and he quickly grabbed a large rock from the debris. Taking aim, he threw the rock into the air and, drawing on his impressive football skills, kicked the stone with all his might.  A direct hit! The glass frontage of the space capsule shattered revealing the deadly creature to the atmosphere. 

Letting out a huge sneeze, Betty was twisted and turned like a rag doll as the alien battled to control his damaged ship. Silence. The alien life form started to steam and dissolve like boiling water poured onto ice – what could have happened? Dropping the terrified girl to the ground, the metal leviathan swayed for a moment then collapsed, the alien life form was nothing but an oozing puddle of goo smeared across the interior.

Breathing heavily, Mark turned to the small girl and asked, “Did you see why it died? What did you do?”

“Nothing,” Betty replied, “I just sneezed.”

Both children slowly realised what had defeated the mother ship -  a simple cold.

 

Aspiration, Inspiration, Motivation, Aim High

 
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