What’s Happening in 2015 at Primary Matters?


Finding our Voices and Defending Our Ideas

In modern day classrooms  (especially those teaching the IB), students are expected to produce academic writing of the highest standard.  Much of the expository work they are asked to produce in school relies on the essay structure  - persuasive writing, writing related to inquiry, magazine articles etc. Throughout their academic and professional lives this is the structure that students will return to time and time again, so it is essential that young writers receive explicit instruction on how to write a clear, logical, well thought out essay.

In this course students will be invited to find topics that matter to them and to find their ‘voices’ through persuading others to see their point of view. They will be encouraged to ‘write to learn’, and ‘free write’ , and to search inside themselves and inside their lives for topics that ignite their passions. They will be taught how to push past their first thoughts (this can be very tricky for young writers) to develop their ideas and opinions as they write. This way of writing is often a revelation to young writers (and to older writers too if you have tried it)!

Students will begin by gathering entries in their notebooks. From these entries they will be encouraged to choose a ‘seed idea’. This seed idea will become a ‘thesis statement’ (for the younger students this is merely a ‘claim’).  From here, students will gather evidence to support their thesis statements, organize it logically and learn how to plan their essays by using ‘bullets and boxes’. For our secondary students (as well as some of our more able Y6 students), once they have the foundations of the persuasive essay structure in place, and have produced one or two final pieces of writing, they will be expected to produce one argument essay (time permitting).

During this course your children will be encouraged to live 'wide awake' lives - just like real writers, and they will do this by paying attention to what they see, hear and notice going on around them at home and at school. They will learn to use essay specific vocabulary: 'I notice that...; 'I am beginning to think that...'; ‘I realize that...’; ‘I am certain that’...; ‘This makes me wonder about...’; ‘The thoughts I have about this are...’ etc.

Essay writing may seem like a step too far for some of our younger writers, but please be assured that class teachers will guide students to find age appropriate subjects:  'Fighting with my friends can ruin my whole day'; 'Homework is boring and time consuming'; 'Riding my bike makes me feel free'; 'My cat is my best friend' etc. -  topics  like these ones mean that even our youngest writers can tackle the essay genre effectively.

As you can imagine, ideas for essay writing are endless, and I'm certain that our writers will generate thesis statements that will delight and surprise us all!

Skills and Strategies to be taught during the course:

  1. How to make entries of interest in their writers' notebooks.
  2. How to 'free write' and ‘flash write’ to explore compelling essay topics.
  3. How to find appropriate topics for essay writing.
  4. How to plan using bullets and boxes
  5. How to find unique and surprising insights.
  6. How to use specific words and phrases related to essay writing.
  7. How to state their claims and support these claims with evidence.
  8. How to bring essays to life by using small anecdotes, quotes, statistics etc.
  9. How to draft, revise and edit an essay..
N.B. Some of our young authors, especially those who love writing stories, may be under the impression that they will not be allowed to be creative or imaginative next term; they might think that they have to produce bland academic writing – this couldn’t be farther from the truth! It is our hope that we can demonstrate to your children that there has never been a time in history when it has been more important to have a voice in the world - and to be able to use this 'voice' in a creative manner to stand out from the crowd.

Registration for Next Term

Registration is now open for next term. You can find an application form for the essay - writing course on the right (if your child is already attending our courses there is no need to send us a new application form). Completed forms should be sent to info@primarymattershk.com or primarymattershk@gmail.com on or before Friday 3rd April.  

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