Language Arts with Lyn Stone (St Monica's Wodonga)
The Paragraph Level
You could say, “Take care of the sentences and the paragraphs will look after themselves”, although explicit instruction and worked examples in any biologically secondary skills stand to benefit everyone.
A paragraph is a sentence or combination of sentences that expresses a main idea. Longer written pieces consist of ordered paragraphs, each with its own main idea, that work together to transmit knowledge on a certain topic.
In larger written pieces, paragraphs become chapters.
Paragraph frameworks are essential tool in every classroom, and should be selected, coached, practised and made constantly available for all children at all times. The Writing Revolution has several basic ones for different genres.
If you are considering taking away paragraph frameworks at any point during written assignments, please ask yourself the following questions
- Whose written work will suffer a reduction in quality if I remove the framework?
- Am I OK with that?
- What will my students gain from having no framework? Could they gain this of their own accord instead?
It is relatively easy to assess proficiency at the word and sub word level. It is even easy to check for understanding at the sentence level.
However, the paragraph and full written piece level is notoriously hard to assess because there is such a high degree of writer and reader subjectivity. There comes a point in writing where it’s no longer possible to look under the bonnet.
Daisy Christodoulou’s work on comparative judgement helps with this somewhat, especially in high school and beyond, but at primary school, it’s very hard to judge.