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Using pre-constructed projects

This page describes how to use a pre-constructed project. Students focus on learning outcomes that can be achieved with each section of the toolbox. The whole package consists of a standard Writing Frame format that many students will find familiar. It is structured to help them write-up their ideas coherently.

The sections that make up the structure are designed to help students understand the processes involved in assembling an argument based on sources. In doing so they will learn how to tackle the question set in the pre-constructed projects. They will also learn how to apply the same processes to other pieces of work they might tackle.

Any other work students produce can be copied into the 'conclusion' section. Any notes and extracts which students created in the evaluation of the individual sources can be copied into this section, with a view to editing them into a coherent, finished piece of writing. The following framework suggests how an answer to the question on the roots of the General Strike might develop.

Preview essay

This is a one-stop visual summary of how the research project is progressing, and is the first screen you will find. The various stages of the research project can be seen in the sections that make up this screen.

Statement

The main statement to be tested in the project is set out here. Students can access a range of guidance questions to help them develop their views on the question. As a teacher you can edit the main statement if you feel the need to change its emphasis or simplify it. This facility can be used in a variety ways if you want a more flexible approach than the pathway set out in the pre-constructed project (see 'using the Writing Frame flexibily' below). 

Evaluation and sources

The first source in the project has been included and the approach we are looking for has been modelled. It is worth taking time to talk through with students what this exemplar section has done with the source, highlighting the ways in which they can use other sources to build up an argument. From this point on students will add sources to their project and evaluate them. They can build up a collection of notes and points that build towards the final argument. From here they can move on to rank sources in order of their relevance and importance to the argument they are constructing.

Evaluate sources example.

Conclusion

In this example, the conclusion is set out as a model to be completed, and also as a model for conclusions on other questions. The conclusion is for editing, and students should be encouraged to bring in their own notes from the evaluation process as well as any ideas they have developed from other sources. 

Using the Writing Frame flexibly

The Writing Frame is for large-scale investigations to be set up and carried through. However, teachers may not always want to put students through such processes, or may not have the time. It is important to recognise the flexibility of the resource - the flexibility of the technology in meeting user needs, and also the flexibility of the range of teaching approaches used.

It is possible to create a new Writing Frame project, or alternatively, to adapt an existing pre-constructed project. The most likely scenario is to get students working with a smaller number of sources than the recommended list for a pre-constructed project. It could simply be two sources, as shown below. 

Teacher aim

To encourage students to compare and contrast two documents relating to British foreign policy in the 1930s. The primary aim is to get students to write a well-supported analysis of how the foreign policy situation changed between 1936 and 1938.

The Writing Frame can be used as follows:

Statement

The teacher does not use a statement, but a question instead:
What do these two sources reveal about the changes in Britain's foreign policy between 1936 and 1938?

Evaluation and sources

The teacher makes the two sources available, referring students to a model of source use in the pre-constructed project to demonstrate the correct kind of writing. Students use the evaluation tool to comment on what the sources reveal and how far they think they can accept the two sources at face value, justifying any doubts they may have.

Conclusion

Students import their notes from the evaluation tool to the conclusion section. In this instance there is no need to formally write-up the conclusion. These notes are then to be used by students as a prompt for a class discussion.

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