You might be interested in some of the blog posts in the ‘Teaching’ section of Tim Squirrell’s blog.
There is one called ‘How to write better essays‘. In this one he reviews some key areas of essay writing. This is a summary of the contents:
“In this guide you will find:
(1) a 24-hour panic guide for students who’ve made the grave error of leaving it to the last minute and want to know the absolute basics of what they should do to achieve as decent a grade as possible;
(2) a discussion of how to pick an essay question when you have the luxury of choice;
(3) a guide to reading for the purposes of writing an essay;
(4) tips on answering the question properly, including clarification of what on earth it means to “question the question” and why that’s important;
(5) a how-to on structure, which is really easy and almost everyone gets wrong;
(6) a guide to analysis, and how to PEE on your essay in an effective fashion;
(7) tips on referencing properly, including software recommendations that will save you hours;
(8) new to this guide, some insights into how essays are marked and how to make sure you don’t end up with a worse grade than you deserve;
(9) some take-home messages”.
(Squirrell, 2017, p1)
As you look at this bear in mind that at the University of Northampton we use the Harvard system.
He has also made video guides which you can see here.
This week the FDLT Year 2 UN group explored the tools available in BookCreator in a session about supporting learning in English through using digital technology. You can read more about BookCreator and see some great examples here.
They explored adding their own photos and video to pages; adding written text, speech bubbles and thought bubbles and recording speech that can be listened to. We used the context of ‘the secret life of the campus’ to plan and write imaginary stories as a context for this exploration.
On Monday I was lucky to attend a creative session in the School Experience Library, at Park Campus, University of Northampton. This session, arranged by Academic Librarian, Hannah Rose and Library Learning Services, brought two author illustrators to share with us their approaches to writing and illustrating.
First Birgitta Sif shared with us her journey to being an author illustrator and her process of writing. Birgitta’s first books was ‘Oliver’, a book about a little boy who was different and how he found friendship. As she read it to us she helped us look more carefully at how the illustrations enriched the text and gave us clues and extra surprises. These included searching for a mouse who present in each picture, finding a character who appeared in the middle of the story actually appears in the previous pictures too and using the text inside the pictures to guide us in the story.
She also showed us how she makes a story by making small sketches to get to know her characters, making tiny prototype books and by drawing the world of the character and the places and people or animals the character encounters. She draws from life and imagination and when she is stuck she goes for walks outside and plays with her children.
Then Dave Barrow shared his work with us. His first book was ‘Have you seen elephant?’, a book about a game of hide’n’seek with great visual jokes throughout. As Dave read it to us he helped us understand how he had drawn the illustrations by sketching from life, from videos and trying things out for himself.
Dave also did some live drawing taking ideas from children to give us ideas about how to construct a character through drawing and talking. We could really see how this could lead to imaginative stories as the children talked with Dave. Dave helped them think about how the personality and characteristics of a character could be apparent in a drawing as well how to show clues about the character in the picture so that they didn’t have to be stated in the text. he also showed us how to show the size and scale of a character. He also answered questions about how long it takes to write a story, how many drafts it takes and how sometimes an idea has to be let go to improve the story.
What can we learn?
Make little prototype books to try out and sequence ideas.
Draw and sketch from life.
If you get stuck go outside for a walk.
Practice drawing if you want to improve.
Draw a character to get know it before you start to write it into a story.
Link characteristics of the character with the story you’re going to write.
Keep drafting and improving.
Some of these are things you might try in school or when you are writing.
As part of the session we also made our own character to take away and maybe write a story about, inevitably, mine was a cat!
The University of Northampton SkillsHub is a place where you can access a wide range of electronic resources to support your academic work. There are video tutorials and supporting resources that you can download. You can take a virtual tour of the library, make an appointment to see a tutor at the Centre for Achievement and Performance (CfAP) and check how to use Turnitin to hand in your assignments.
A good place to start is the ‘essential tools’ tab. Here you can access information about your university login, the library catalogue and much more that is useful in the early weeks of the course.
Another great source of support for FDLT students (and all Education students) is new this year – the Library Support for Education Students pages. Hannah Rose, an academic librarian who many of you know, and new students will meet, has created specific help pages for you. We will be referring to these in study skills sessions and you will find them very useful when researching for and writing assignments. The information here will be a support and reminder to the sessions where Hannah works with you in sessions.
You can see the headings below:
You should bookmark the links to both of these resources so that you can access them easily as you work.