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Sunday, March 26, 2023

Helping our children understand the magic of academic writing

By Ardain Isma

 CSMS Magazine Staff WriterAs many of our children take the writing exam next week, there are some important techniques that our parents can use to help them overcome unnecessary anxiety. Across grade levels, many students will have to take the writing portion of the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test (FCAT) on Tuesday. However, for 4th graders, 8th graders and 10th graders in the Florida public school system, it is of utmost importance that they do well.            If language is a venue used to demonstrate proficiency and fluency in academia, one’s writing skill is by far the best tool that he MUST have in order to show cognitive strength. Understanding the scoring rubric is the first step in helping our students.            There are four elements for scoring. They are: focus, organization, support and conventions. The writing itself, however, is assessed based on what they call “the six-trait analytic model.” These traits are the cornerstone to mastering the prompt. Take a look at the traits below.1.      Ideas—The ideas need to be clear, unequivocal. They are at the heart of the message, the pivotal point of piece, and the quintessential theme, along with the supporting details that empower and develop that theme.2.      Organization—Your writing cannot hold unless it is organized. Here, transitional words like First of all, Second of all and Third of all or To Begin with, In addition to that and Further more can help hold the paragraphs together. The organization is the internal structure of a piece of writing, the thread of central meaning, the logical and sometimes intriguing patterns of the ideas (Northeast Regional Educational Library 1996.)3.      Voice—The voice is the “heart and soul, the magic, the wit,” along with the profound conviction and the depth of the writer’s inspiration being put into words.4.      Word Choice—Here the writer must pay close attention of word usage. For instance, “beauty and exuberance,” “dead and lifeless” “silence and stillness” are all words that are synonyms. When it comes to choosing, though, exuberance, stillness and lifeless seem to resonate better in the reader’s mind. So the use of rich, colorful, precise language plays a lot in enlightening the reader and hooking him onto reading the story. 5.      Sentence Fluency—The language must flow like a well-orchestrated symphony. Having great word patterns is the key here. Like in “Word of choice,” showing and telling the story play well. Using descriptive modifiers (adjectives) can help achieve that.6.      Conventions—Conventions are what grammarians call “the mechanical correctness of the piece.” They are: spelling, grammar and usage, paragraphing, use of capitals and punctuation.Remember to teach the students how to stay focused. The paper must maintain a main idea and a unifying point. Most of all, the paper must address the prompt and adhere to the topic. A well-constructed paper must have a beginning, middle and end. Do not forget the transitional devices (See Organization above) to move the writing from one point to the next. The supporting details are also very important. The quality of support lies on word choice, specific details and a sense of completeness.Finally, the development of support may be bare or extended or elaborated. The support is bare when it only bears simple reasons. Example: I like to go to the ballgame because it is interesting.In the extension, however, the information must clarify the meaning. For example: I like to go to the ballgame because it is interesting, especially when my team wins.In the elaboration, additional details, anecdotes and illustrations are used to clarify. For example: I like to go to the ballgame because it is interesting, especially when my team wins and the other team’s fans break into tears. Ballgames bring joy to some and consternation to others. Feelings like these can only bring awe to my heart. Please, parents, give the children the final push they wholeheartedly need to pass the writing prompt on Tuesday. Knowledge is priceless. And to all of you, prospective writers out there: Happy writing!Note: Dr. Ardain Isma is also a novelist and chief editor of CSMS Magazine. You can read a synopsis of his latest novel “Alicia.” Click herehttp://www.themulticulturalgroup.com/books.htmlAlso see Contemporary Novel: http://www.csmsmagazine.org/news.php?pg=20050626I9And see Best tips for emerging writers

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