2020 Competition | Teaching Materials Week 4: Editing Week 4: Editing . Commas in a list (to...
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Every young person’s ‘place’ looks a little different this year. In the 2020 My Place Competition, the ACTF and ALEA invite students to share what everyday life is like during this time of collective isolation.
We are releasing weekly teaching materials throughout the competition, providing prompts to guide participating educators, students, and families through the writing process.
Congratulations! You have completed the drafting and revising of your fabulous My Place writing, and now the process of editing begins!
Editing is all about checking that the conventions of grammar, spelling and punctuation are correct. Often when we are revising our writing, some of that editing process begins. Editing can be the least favourite part of the writing process for some, but very enjoyable for others because it is an opportunity to prepare writing for publishing and to think about how to experiment and ‘play’ with grammar and punctuation. Whilst thinking about the spelling of a word, you may decide to choose a different word. This is the process of editing!
During your editing process you need to take your time and have a good eye for detail. When you are publishing your writing for an audience, it is really important that all of the conventions are correct. You might find it helpful to use a different colour highlighter for each key area of grammar, spelling and punctuation. It is very helpful to have someone help you with editing after you have tried yourself. It is good to allocate a few shorter sessions for editing rather than trying to do it all in one go. For your work on editing, you will be given some handy hints around using punctuation.
SOME QUESTIONS TO ASK BEFORE EDITING • What feeling do you want this
sentence to show?
• What punctuation might work here?
• How else could you punctuate that?
• How could you end this sentence?
• Try writing this sentence again with different punctuation. Which one works better?
PUNCTUATING WITH COMMAS Punctuation can really make sentences sound better and it is a skill that is developed over time. There are lots of different types of punctuation you can use. For example, commas are used to help make a sentence easier to understand by separating words or parts of sentences. A comma means the reader must pause for a moment before reading on.
2020 Competition | Teaching Materials Week 4: Editing
Commas in a list (to separate three or more items):
• The book, My Place, aims to teach the reader about the history of Australia, about families, settlers, multiculturalism, and the traditional owners of the land.
• I have titled my writing ‘A Long Moment in My House’. It describes life through remote learning, binge eating chocolate, spending the day in pyjamas and chasing a crazy dog around the house.
Commas to separate main clauses and dependent clauses:
• Each child’s story covers a decade in time, showing their particular dress, customs and family life.
• Time stood still, we were anxious and unsure of what the outcomes would be, we just had to isolate, isolate and wait.
Commas can act as brackets (to contain specific information):
• My Place, the classic Australian picture book, is a ‘time machine’ which takes the reader back into the past.
• Parkdale, a suburb by the seaside, became the site for many frustrated locked up teenagers; including me!
OTHER PUNCTUATION HINTS Colons (:) are used to introduce information such as a list or an explanation. For example, ‘Families were caught in this frightening scenario: isolation, possible illness and maybe losing a family member.’
Semicolons (;) are used instead of a conjunction to separate clauses in a sentence. For example, ‘Suddenly the dog was being walked everyday; it was full of joy and energy.’
Dashes (-) are a great way to introduce a sudden surprise or a dramatic ending. For example, ‘The children, terrified, crept into the mist – a scream filled the night – panic.’
Ellipses (…) help to create suspense, pause a reader, draw out an idea, feeling or time. They can also signal a trailing off of thoughts… For example, ‘I heard heavy footsteps… my heart was pounding…I wasn’t ready to see them all again. Finally…after waiting for so long, it was time…’
It takes time to become really good at editing; like most aspects of writing, the more you practise the better you become! Always remember that writing is about experimenting and trying out new words even if you aren’t sure of the spelling. Punctuation is also fun to experiment with. Re-read your writing with your editor’s hat on and see what you can improve! Think about the punctuation marks you could use to show the reader how you want your writing to be read. Enjoy and be proud of your work!
Written by Fiona Jackson.
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