How to write clear instructions
Stefan Gates demonstrates the process of instructional writing using the real-life situation of a cake recipe. He talks through the key features of instructional writing using the correct technical terms, for example chronological order, simple precise language and imperative or bossy verbs. He uses this real-life context to promote the process of editing and evaluating writing to ensure it is as accurate as possible. Keywords and examples are presented on the screen to support pupils writing in this genre.
KS1: Ask pupils to identify how well Stefan writes his recipe. Does he use the correct language? How do you know? After he has made his cake, why does he change some of them? Pupils could be asked to make jottings while watching the clip and re-create the recipe. They may need to watch it a couple of times and you may need to pause the clip at various points, to ensure pupils can make clear notes. Pupils could also follow Stefan’s recipe and make the same cake together in class.
KS2/KS3: Ask pupils to recall the key features of instructional writing and write as many as they can remember on flipchart/ whiteboards in groups. Watch the clip again together and ask them to check their own lists against the key features outlined. Ask them how well they think Stefan did. Could he have added any other sections to improve his instructions or final cake? What about a section exploring decorating the cake in different ways? Pupils could write a survival guide to demonstrate their understanding of chronological order and imperative verbs. Survival guides could be linked to pupils’ learning, for example: ‘How to survive in the Amazon/ Antarctic/ Space/ the 1960s/ without water.’ The survival guide could be related to a text pupils are reading too, ‘How to survive the wrath of Macbeth.
These clips will be relevant for teaching English at KS1, KS2 and KS3 in England, Wales and Northern Ireland and 1st, 2nd and 3rd Level in Scotland.