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09/08/2011
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Writing a recount based on 'Tobias and the Angel'

This writing was produced following a school arts week, where the children visited a gallery then developed their own paintings and sculptures. The class looked closely at, and talked about different works. In this lesson, the class discussed 'Tobias and the Angel' from the workshop of Verrocchio. The picture was used as a starting point for writing. James worked alongside Ellen. They discussed important ideas in their story before Ellen painted and James wrote, as shown below. The class teacher offers an assessment of James' development as a writer at the end of this sequence.

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Three paintings created by a pupil.
The first painting has two characters standing side by side on brown ground with grass. There is a sun and a blue sky above their heads. The character on the left has wings. The second painting is in the same setting, but with a large black mark on the right. There are two different characters, standing side by side. The third painting has the same characters as the second painting, but the setting is different. They are standing next to a brown building with a pointy roof. There is a sun and black cloud in the sky.

Assessment commentary

  • Sentence openings vary between pronouns and time adverbials in keeping with a recount of main events (AF5 L2 b1). Mainly simple and compound sentences with some subordination (AF3 L3 b1 and b2). Past tense for narration and present for direct speech (AF5 L3 b3).
  • Sentences are demarcated with capital letters and full stops (AF6 L2 b2), although there are points where commas and speech punctuation would help clarify meaning, e.g. in third section.
  • The writing is organised in three sections related to the pictures. It is structured chronologically, following the actions of Tobias and the angel's mission of mercy (AF3 L2 b1).
  • In each section, ideas are grouped according to content, linked pronouns and adverbials. Connections between the three sections are implicit only, based on assumed understanding of the story (AF4 L3 b1 and b2).
  • Although brief, the writing is an imaginative interpretation of the picture, with relevant ideas included (AF1 L2 b1). The characters are not introduced or given motives, although the final sentence provides a wry suggestion about the angel's attitude (AF1 L3 b3). Nouns are not expanded, but verb choice conveys descriptive detail, e.g. 'exhausted', 'being reluctant' (AF1 L3 b2).
  • James adopts a simple recount structure, effective for saying what the picture is about. There is an attempt to use dialogue for humorous effect as well as to provide a pleasing ending (AF2 L2 b1 and AF2 L3 b3).
  • Some of the words selected convey meaning precisely and economically, e.g. 'relieved', 'exhausted', 'reluctant' (AF7 L3 b2).
  • Common high frequency grammatical words are usually spelled correctly as are common content words, e.g. 'give', 'some', 'going', 'food', 'village', 'apples'. In some of his more ambitious choices, James makes attempts which are usually phonically plausible, although there are some mistaken grapheme choices, e.g. 'tace', 'tuns'. Inflectional past tense ending not secure, e.g. 'finishest' (AF8 L3 b1, b2).
  • Letters are generally correctly shaped and there is clear letter formation with ascenders and descenders clearly distinguished (Handwriting and presentation L2 b1 and b2).