Ah, the early 1990s. An epoch in human history characterised by denim vests, overalls, chokers, butterfly clips, N’Sync, floppy disks, and mom jeans. If you were lucky enough the experience the 1990s in all its glory, all you experience now is rampant nostalgia of happier and much simpler times. If you were born after-the-fact...I do not know what to tell you but I can assure you it was a wonderful time to be alive. You might be questioning what any of this has to do with writing; patience is key… there is a point to all of this.
The 1990s also marked the commencement of the Information Age; a period of time during which technological advancements provided society with new options of entertainment commerce, research, employment, and communication. Yep! The advancements that came about during the 1990s made it possible for you to use that computer, or phone, you are using to read this guide. As a student of French, you utilise the internet as a valuable resource to aid your studies. You use your computer or mobile device to research. Moreover, you use your computer to WRITE! That is right, you use your computer to write.
Nothing has streamlined the writing process like the computer to be completely honest. A plethora of writing programs and software are available for free and via subscription to provide you with the tools that will ensure your success during the writing process. Such programs may help generate ideas, provide you easy access to library sources, take notes, make outlines, revise, proofread, format your footnotes and bibliography, design layout, and communicate with other writers (your writing group peers).
The most important of these writing tools is the word processor, Microsoft Word Processor and Google Docs come to mind, which encourages the flexibility essential to good writing. When you write by hand or with a typewriter (L O L, who uses those nowadays), your words appear on the page as you compose them; the process of composition and the appearance of the physical text are the same. In contrast, the word processor separates the two events. When you write in a word processor, the words appear on screen as you compose and can be easily and effortlessly fixed; no need for whiteout! You can change your text without making a mess of it and without having to retype the parts you do not want to change—adding, deleting, or moving a letter, paragraph, or entire sections with a key stroke or two and the help of your mouse. Your text is always stored in the computer: you can pull it up and make changes at anytime, no questions asked. The word processor gives you the endless freedom to revise your paper and should help you achieve your writing goals more efficiently than you can with paper revisions. (Paper revisions are still an essential component of the writing process!)
Many word processors are capable of producing accent marks and other foreign language characters. In addition, most word processors have search commands to help you find a single word in a text; the capability of moving or erasing whole chunks of text at once; the list is endless! Although you can type and revise your paper using only a few of your word processor’s capabilities, the more functions you are familiar with, the easier writing with a computer will be.
Whether you save your work directly on your computer or upload it onto a cloud storage service, make sure you upload your work on a removable hard drive or thumb drive just in case. Technology is not always reliable and issues may arise; hard drives crash, no internet access to access your documents saved on the cloud etc., The nice thing about living and writing in 2019 is that your work is automatically saved for you as you type on many programs and if an unexpected shortage causes your computer to lose power, your work will be restored upon startup; this feature would have been nice when I was a student years and years ago.
To prepare your computer-written essay for group discussion in your writing groups, I would suggest uploading your document on Google Drive for example, there you can read, re-read, discuss, and edit your paper as many times as you would like. As you read, think about the aspects of your essay that you would like the group to discuss. Insert your own questions or comments into the text in the appropriate places using the notes function available on the majority of word processors; if using an older program, write using capital letters to distinguish the edits/notes from the original text.
Get the complete Writing With a Computer Guide by visiting our Atélier d'Écriture downloads page.
Bonjour les élèves! Today I have uploaded a French writing checklist that should aid in your writing process. You can click here to download for FREE! An English version of this checklist will be available by clicking HERE!
As you can tell writing is a big focus here at IB French Survival Guide this week! Next week we will focus on listening and speaking activities. Throughout the month of February, new past IB Papers will be uploaded and available for download! Markschemes will be available for free to students who register and will be available under Member Only Resources! Happy studying!
Bonjour les élèves! As promised, the commenting guides for editing your written tasks are now available!
You can click here if you want to download a free PDF of this commenting guide.
Or you can click here if you want to see the online version of this commenting guide.
I would also like to take the opportunity to say that listening activity guides will be up shortly with some sample exercises as well as a guide with tips and tricks to help prepare you for that! More IB French B and IB French ab initio past papers will be posted tonight or tomorrow!
Bonjour à tous! Today I would like to talk a little bit about the stages of writing as it relates to writing, revision, and rewriting.
In writing, many of the stages are solitary- you sit alone at your desk, at a coffee shop or in a library, with your thoughts and your pen and paper (or keyboard)- but it is also a very social activity. When you write you write for other people; there is a specified audience. Take this piece for example, I am writing to you, a user of IB French Survival Guide, looking for guidance and help in French. When you write an essay or paper, you are writing for your teacher, instructor, or professor.
The best way to ensure that you are communicating successfully is to try your work out on real readers. Professional writers for example, share their writing all the time. They share their work with friends, family, colleagues, mentors before they submit their work for publication.
In French class, you already have a group of readers who can offer you the one thing you do not have: a fresh perspective on your own writing. Your classmates can tell you if they are confused by your sentence structure, delighted by your examples, or curious to know where your argument will lead you to next. Best of all, they can give advice, suggesting the perfect word for your analogy, a new sequence for your argument, or an idea to put into your conclusion. Your classmates’ expertise as readers is an important resource to utilise. Everyone has different styles of reading and techniques for analyzing that they have developed over the years; use that to your advantage and focus your discussions on the ideas, organisation, and style of your paper. Because your classmates may not be experts in French grammar, I highly recommend you seek out your instructor or a grammar guide for assistance with grammar related questions.
If you are still reading, it means you are really serious about advancing and elevating your writing in French. I now challenge you to create a small writing group with two or three other classmates. By creating this writing group, you will be giving yourselves an advantage over your other classmates all the while developing better writing skills. In your writing group, take turns reading each other’s drafts; giving one another the opportunity to be the writer and sometimes the editor. As a writer, you gain the direct evidence of your audience’s needs; as an editor, you become more skilled at analysing drafts, a talent you can apply to your own writing. Although the reason for sharing your drafts with your classmates is to give each other suggestions for revision, you get the additional benefit of conversing with each other in French.
Once you have formed your writing group, make sure to schedule a time and place to hold your very own atelier d’écriture (writer’s workshop). Print out three (3) to four (4) copies of your writing assignment: paper, piece, story, exposé, article, whatever it may be. Exchange your written pieces so that everyone in your writing group has a copy of everyone’s written work. If you have the time, exchange papers the day before meeting to allow your group members to take home your written sample so that they have time to read and write comments on them. On the day you meet, your group will discuss one written piece at a time, with each author leading the discussion of his or her own paper. Be sure that you actually talk with one another and provide additional feedback to what is already written on the drafts you exchanged with one another.
These ateliers d’écriture function best when members are supportive and when each one takes responsibility for improving all the drafts of the group. Collectively, the group needs to come up with the strategies for improvement, not simply criticisms. That is not to say you should give false praise or ignore obvious problems, but you should ask questions about what the author is trying to do and make concrete suggestions for revision. It is one thing to say, ‘ your writing sucks, sorry, too bad’. BE a supportive group member and instead say, ‘your writing is terrible, but here is how you can fix it. Instead of…. you can say….’.
The most important thing to remember is that there is no such thing as a bad draft, only an unfinished one. Unlike a reviewer, whose job is to announce the strengths and deficiencies of a finished product, an editor helps the writer shape a working draft. Think of yourself as a collaborator rather than a judge. Be honest but be helpful. When you do not understand what you are reading, or something seems wrong or out of place, ask questions.
Guidelines for writers
Guidelines for editors
That is all I have for you all today! I hope you take the time to read an implement some of these strategies into your own writing process. I will be uploading a free commenting guide to the store which will also be available under the 'Ecriture' section of this site. Stay tuned for more! Merci et à bientôt!
Writing well in any language is hard word, but it can be especially intimidating writing in a second language. When writing in a second language you cannot always rely on your ear for what sounds correct, as you do in your native tongue, and searching for the right words may seem like a daunting task. Speaking from personal experience, as a student of languages, I sometimes feel limited in what I can say and express, and usually question if what I even wrote down made any sense. You will undoubtedly make mistakes in your French writing, but like with anything else in life, practice makes perfect. You have to come to terms with the fact that it is okay to make mistakes! That was the hardest struggle I had to overcome when I began my studies in foreign languages. By allowing myself to make mistakes I became a better writer, a better learner, and a better student. Moreover, though you use your grammar skills when you write, good writing in French does not come automatically from grammar and vocabulary exercises, though they do help, or even from being fluent in French. Effective writing in any language, comes from finding ideas worth saying, explaining them carefully, and arranging them in order that makes them clear to the reader.
Your writing experience in English will help you as you write in French. The more strategies you have to choose from, the better your writing will become. Having these strategies will no doubt aid in finding a writing process that works for you. I would love to share some writing strategies that I have adopted that have allowed my writing in French to blossom into something greater than anything I would have ever imagined when I was a student in IB French courses in secondary school.
1. Start by writing down everything. Write until you cannot think of anything else to say, even if it does not seem related to the topic you have in mind. You can always go back and change it or throw it out; there is no rule that states that your French writing has to be perfect when it first hits the paper, or in our digital age, our keyboards.
2. Write even if you do not know what you want to say. Often times writing helps you discover your thoughts. The process of writing may reveal to you, ideas and opinions that you did not know you had, not to mention things that you did not know you could express in French.
3. NEVER write in English, translating later into French. Do all of your writing, even the roughest drafts, in French. If you write in English first, your French will sound like “franglais”-- more English than French.
4. Do your writing in stages. When you work on a paper, divide the task into smaller subtasks. Doing so will help you feel less stressed and less overwhelmed with the task at hand. Do not feel like you have you proceed in a straight line from introduction to conclusion. Jot down ideas as they occur to you. Later you can organise them and add examples and details to explain them. If you try to generate your ideas and organise them at the same time, the task will seem insurmountable, but if you take it one step at a time, it will become manageable, even fun! Once I started doing this at uni, I no longer waited until the night before a paper was due to get started lol.
5. REWRITE. Rarely will you get it perfect the first time in English, let alone in a second language. The rewriting often lets you articulate an idea you had earlier but could not express at the time. As your revise, you may also want to consult a dictionary, grammar text, verb book, or your instructor to answer specific questions about the French language.
These are some of the strategies I use when I write whether it be an academic paper, exposé, or blog post for this website. Every language learner is different and what may work for me may not work for you. Thank you for coming to my TEDTalk, mdr, I am just joking. Let me know in the comments below what strategies you use, I may add them to the writing section of this site in the future. Happy studying!
Bonjour à tous! Merci de m'avoir rejoint aujourd'hui! There is a new writing exercise up under the "Ecriture" tab! CLICK HERE to head on over and participate!
Hello everyone! Comment ça va? J’espère que vos vacances vous traitent bien! Summer holiday 2017 is officially underway and many of us take this short period of time each year to refresh and to “forget” about the daily routines that the world of academia leads us to follow. For some, routines are extremely important and I know that at least for me, routines keep me motivated; constantly looking towards the future.
That being said, although summertime is meant for you to relax and enjoy yourselves, it can often times lead you develop new and disastrous habits. Alright, I’m being dramatic but as an adamant supporter of the importance of foreign language education and acquisition, summertime means that you are away from your instructor. Being away from your instructor means you are not learning new concepts, vocabulary, and are not actively in an environment where you allow yourself to be fully emerged in the language learning process.
But if you’re reading this post right now, you are probably doing something not many language students take the time to do while on holiday. You are seeking assistance and want to learn, grow, and flourish in French.
You may now be asking yourself... “what does any of this have to do with writing”? As a student of French, or any foreign language for that matter, you must by now know that there are four major skill sets involved in learning a new language — speaking, listening, reading, and writing. There are two additional skills that are necessary and essentially serve as the backbone for all foreign language learning; pronunciation and memorization.
If you are wholeheartedly dedicated to your foreign language studies then you probably have a French radio app downloaded to your phone or are constantly checking up on French news online. You are therefore constantly reading, listening, and repeating what you have read or heard…or maybe that was just me as a young student. Nevertheless, we all tend to neglect our writing skill set.
I want you all to change that this summer. I have created an “Écriture” section for the website which will serve multiple purposes; one (1) to provide you with tools and tips on how to improve your writing and two (2) to provide you with fun writing challenges that will allow you to practice your writing while on holiday. I will post a daily question or prompt that will allow you to write a short response; a few sentences in length. I will then go over your responses and provide feedback and corrections if necessary. Let us make productiveness a priority this summer! The first exercise can be found by clicking here! Bon chance et à bientôt!
French Language and Culture enthusiast, fashion trend-setter extraordinaire. My goal is to provide students with resources, materials, and insight that will help French Language acquisition less intimidating and more enjoyable.