Back to All News

How students improve their writing skills at the European International School Ho Chi Minh City

When faced with writing, it is common for some students to feel overwhelmed, hesitant, and sometimes even fearful.

Image
featured image-improve writing.png

Often students of all ages ask, “Where do I begin?” or “How do I improve my work?”. Over my many years of teaching in the international schooling system, these are questions that I have answered in a variety of ways until I stumbled across an article about “ISPAACEd” sentence openers. This wonderful acronym seems to be one of the easier answers alongside: use powerful verbs, give creativity time to flourish, plan your ideas, read lots of books, check synonyms, play relaxing background music, vary sentence structures, let it flow, include high-level punctuation and careful word choices, etc.

Here at European International School Ho Chi Minh City (EIS) I’ve been lucky enough to teach in Grade 2 and Grade 4. Eager children at our international school that are ready to learn join my lessons and thankfully make my job a pleasure to do. Upon first entering my class, their writing is usually of a good standard, at their level, but with the extended use of “ISPAACEd” (and other strategies) throughout the year their creative pieces improve dramatically. My own daughter even still uses this method in Grade 9 and will hopefully continue with this life-long skill. By improving writing skills, students will achieve more success with the international curriculum, the International Baccalaureate (IB) programme at our school in particular.

Using this acronym, children naturally begin to use interesting openers in their writing. Introducing this concept in a variety of ways then in turn encourages them to be adventurous writers. Basically, the format is to reduce the number of boring sentence openers such as: The/He/She/It/They/One and instead include:

I …….ing verbs (Waiting …………, Glancing ……….., Striding, ………..)

S similes (As …….as or Like…..)

P prepositions (On ………, Beside ……….., Through ………. )

A adverbs (Carefully, …………. Silently, …………. Often, ……………)

A adjective + plural (Wide …………, Bumpy …………, Tall …………)

C conjunction (So ……………., Even though …………., Meanwhile ……….)

Ed ……ed verbs (Excited ……….. Worried ………… Petrified ………… )

Simple techniques such as this tend to have a huge impact on creativity which in turn allows children to become familiar with a range of word classes and writing techniques. Through gradual introduction of this idea, using a plethora of games and a wide variety of activities, children eventually begin to organically use these excellent sentence openers in their own work which notably improves their writing style and in turn helps their writing confidence soar! Look at these examples then try it and see!

improve writing

 

 

writing skill

 

writing skill

 

writing skill

 

writing skill
writing skill

 

Author: Miss Carolyn (A proud Grade 4 teacher at EIS)