This page is to help you write a strong article for the NUHA blog, which you will then be able to share around you. There are also other ways of composing an article, and we encourage you to explore and experiment until you find an approach that works well for you.
This page is also designed to support teachers whose classes participate in the Blogging Prizes, and we welcome feedback to make the Blogging Prizes a more fun and effective experience for all involved!
Our topics are meant to be engaging and thought-provoking. When you read the topics, we hope that you will feel curious, or that one of the topics will tickle your mind or your imagination; maybe a topic will spark an outburst of ideas! or interesting discussions with people around you.
Once you have chosen a topic for your first article, start by writing down all of your ideas. Then, use one colour to underline the ideas you agree with or that you like, and another colour to underline the ideas you disagree with or don't like. For each group of ideas, put a "1" next to the idea that you think is the strongest, and then rank the other ideas accordingly; if an idea is not very relevant, don't give it a number.
Next, think about how you want to answer the topic: you can write an argumentative / discursive essay (especially if the topic states: Discuss. Explain... Do you agree with...?) or a narrative article (especially if the topic states: Write a short story). You can also mix different approaches: for example, you can introduce your article with a description or a short story, and then write out an argument. Sometimes, a story is a lot more powerful to make a point than any argument you could develop. Often, however, writing a strong argumentative essay will be the most effective approach.
Whichever format you choose, remember that the Jury will be focusing on the quality of your arguments/how strongly you have been able to make your point, and the originality of your ideas.
For an argumentative piece, a strong article has an introduction, a conclusion, and a logical progression in the overall argument. Each stage of the essay is linked to the preceding one, and sentences within paragraphs are well sequenced. The arguments are consistent, sometimes complex, and take into account opposite views.
In an average essay, there are generally relevant points, developed partially with some brief effectiveness. There may be some repetition and the structure is likely to be stronger at the start than at the end. The argument may drift away from the topic. The sequence of sentences may occasionally be insecure.
In a weak essay, there are only a few relevant points. Their development is limited and simple, and may not always be logical or coherent. Sentences will not always follow from each other, there will be repetition and there may be inconsistencies.
For a narrative piece, a strong article is sophisticated and well balanced, and the climax is carefully managed. It is obvious from the conclusion what is the author's position in response to the topic. Sentences are sometimes arranged to produce effects, such as to build up tension or to provide a sudden turn of events, and the text may contain devices such as time lapses or flashbacks.
An average story responds relevantly to the topic, but it is largely a series of events with occasional attention to character and setting. Particular parts may be too long or too short, and the climax is not effectively described or prepared.
A weak story is very simple and narrates events indiscriminately; the ending lacks effect. The shape of the narrative and the response to the topic are unclear, and some of the content is not relevant.
Now that you have written your article, we suggest you leave it aside for a few days. In this manner, you can return to it with a fresh outlook. Maybe you will make some adjustments to make it stronger; maybe you will have other ideas. This will also be a good opportunity to check your spelling, grammar, vocabulary and punctuation.
You may want to consider the following questions: Is your writing clear? Does your text flow well? Do you often repeat the same words or have you varied your vocabulary? Is your use of vocabulary and punctuation accurate? Have you been able to express shades of meaning?
Finally, you can ask someone around you to give you feedback, as long as the article and the ideas in it remain your own.