Drop, Shift, Zoom, Leave - a way to structure a writing to describe or narrate response

Drop, Shift, Zoom, Leave – a way to structure a writing to describe or narrate response

A new way to structure a response to a writing to describe or narrate question.

hello everybody and welcome to this video which is going to focus on question 5 on paper one of the AQA GCSE English language exam so I know I've done quite a few videos on this question which is the writing to describe or narrate one and but I came across an idea from a guy called Nick Wells and you'll find him on Twitter apps NSM wells and he's he's great he's got loads of different ideas and I came across this a couple of months back and it's an interesting way to plan and structure your answer for this question teachers out there if you're watching this video he's blog which is just listed there and is also really useful so he's listed so many ideas that you can just basically steal and try with your students and and give them a go really now what I've done is I took his idea on how to structure this question and I've tested it out with my students and immediately we have seen within our department an increase in the marks that they've got for this question five so I think it's really really important if you're a teacher to try this with your students it might not work for all of them but again it is another way that you can try and if you're a student then you might want to give this a go in a mock exam or in your lesson just to see if it works for you prior to the exam in June so this idea the focus is on creating an interesting structure for this piece of writing and it works if you're doing the writing to describe all the writing to narrate one now I've nicknamed it the drop shift zoom leave technique okay and that's kind of just a way that my kids remember it but it focuses on considering what the thoughts and feelings of a character if it's the narrate one or the thoughts and feelings or atmosphere and that you're creating within your piece of writing is and it considers whether you're going to have a motif so a recurring or dominant idea links to the atmosphere that you're creating and whether you're going to have one of those in your writing and then the actual structure of it is drop shift zoom leave so what I'm going to do is I'm going to briefly go through what that means okay so we're going to have a look at an image considering perhaps what the question would be and I'll show you how you would plan an answer using this technique again that's the guy that came up with this so thank you Nick Wells and like I said having to his blog for some more ideas so imagine we have this image on for question five on paper one and it probably would be described describe or write a description based on or suggested by the image okay and the story might be right about an interesting commute to work or something like that okay so it doesn't really matter whether it's the describe or narrate question you're doing the subtle difference between the two is that with the narration you're perhaps going to choose at least one character and you need to consider the plot so the actual stories of what happens to that character and you might consider the thoughts and feelings of that character in more detail whereas what they describe there's a greater focus on literally just describing what you can see here taste touch and smell but like I said this works for both so your drop part okay is you're dropping into the image so you're providing an overview of this five senses so if we're looking at this image we would think about if we were on that Street what could we see here taste touch and smell if it's the narration you need to start thinking about dropping your narrative voice into the story so thinking about who is the narrator and what are their thoughts and feelings at the beginning of your story if they were placed within that image okay so that is the drop so that's the starts you providing an overview you're almost setting the scene for your description or your narration now the next part of your writing is the shift and the shift uses a flash back or a flash forward okay and you describe the location that you've been in at a different time of the day or a year now this is where you really want to provide a contrast in the atmosphere okay so you're thinking about contrasting emotions of the character if it's the narration or contrast in the atmosphere contrast in the description okay so here I've imagined in my mind that place at nighttime okay so now that might be six months prior to the original and picture or it might be flash forward but you're thinking about creating a huge contrast in the atmosphere then in the next stage of your writing you return to the original time or location okay but you zoom in on a section of that image in your mind or the image that you've been given okay so here I've chosen a taxi from that original image okay and you've got to consider why is that one thing that you're zooming in on particularly significant so why is that one thing important in the narrator if it's right in to narrate that you're doing so really think about the thoughts and feelings of the character does that trigger a memory in the character that's particularly significant or if it's the writing to describe you need to really describe that thing that one thing in detail in such detail that your reader can imagine that being there themselves okay so this is the third stage of your writing and then finally we leave okay we zoom out of the original location now my students were a little bit confused about what to do here so the way I described it to them was for them to imagine that either they were a leaf or a feather blowing in the wind or a bird flying above the location so you're providing it again an overview of what you can see here taste touch and smell but away from that original point okay now if up to if up till that point you have been describing the the building that you've been in if it was inside somewhere and you then finished by exiting in that place and you describe the outside okay so the way this structure works is by telling your examiner that you've considered using interesting structural elements such as flashbacks and flash-forwards and you're also going to be providing contrasts in atmosphere and you're also going to be providing a variety of different descriptions by making sure that you're zooming in and out of that image or the image in your mind now the thoughts and feelings you need need to consider and link that to the atmosphere that you're creating and if you want to use a motif okay that's a recurring idea or thought throughout your piece of writing then again that's a more interesting structural element okay that you can use within your writing so what I've taken is Nik Welles his example because I thought this was a great example just to show how you can plan so planning this answers really really important so what he did was he took this image which I think shows a person in a forest now he says that perhaps there's poppies on the floor and some of my students saw it and thought maybe it was just red leaves but again that it's open to interpretation so there's no right or wrong answer with this question now the thoughts feelings and contrasts that he's planned or you know the mystery the creepiness the confusion okay and and he's thought about how that – perhaps sadness upset depression so the thoughts and the feelings and then the contrast that he's going to use perhaps in the shift or the happiness and contentment and the fact that there is clarity so within the shift of his writing he's going to provide those contrasts the motif that he's chosen okay he's actually chosen a few oh that the mist which is linked confusion the red flowers linking to poppies or remembrance and the stream okay so what happens is throughout his piece of writing he's going to mention the mist he's going to mention the red flowers and he's going to mention the stream okay so structurally his drop is that he's literally going to drop into that overview image okay he's going to describe the tall trees he's going to describe the birds the leaves on the floor the red flowers but he's going to link it to his grandfather having just died so there is a narrative element here okay the fact that there is a character and he's considering the thoughts and feelings of that character his shift then is six months earlier and he thinks about the contrast so actually walking through the forest with the grandfather and describing him physically so that's you know really considering how his thoughts and feelings were different at that time it needs to be a happy memory to show that contrast then he returns to that original point and he zooms in on a twig thinking about the texture of it the strength on it perhaps if what would happen if he stepped on it and maybe that's linked to the fragility of his grandfather okay so again zooming in on that one thing but considering why that's relevant and then he's going to zoom out and leave that point okay so it might be that actually he chooses to be a bird he describes the mist as wrapping itself around him michaei it's protective but confusing so structurally we've got the drop shift zoom leave but he's tied in those thoughts and feelings and contrasts and the motif as he's moved through his piece of writing and I think this plan this example plan is great it would work for a narrative piece or it would work for a description and again you don't even need to do the the question that's related to the image okay because if it's just that the word based question then you can just picture an image in your mind okay so it works for both now have a go at this see if it works for you you need to be spending five minutes planning so I reckon you can do this within five minutes you don't need to really write it in that much detail just literally write down a few bullet points five bullet points for the drop ship zoom leave for each of those sections within the five minutes that you've got give it a go see if it works for you if you do write an answer that you're particularly proud of please email it through to me by my website a shoe exams WordPress comm as I'd really really like to show some examples for this and share them because I know that a lot of students have been asking me for those lately okay so have a go see if it works for you again just another way that you can plan the describe or narrate tasks if you've got any questions about this video or any of the other videos on my channel then you can either tweet me at a shoe exams or like I said email me through my website thanks for listening Oh


  1. Do you mind checking my drop zoom flash plan

    Write the opening part of a story about a place that is severely affected by the weather.

    Drop-the damages of a school due to flooding. See the wallpaper peeling off the wall and the destruction off the classroom. feel-the moisture of the floor. Hear-silence

    Flash- The day of the flood. How the flood violently ripped apart the school and the items inside the class rooms.

    Zoom in- zoom in on a book and how the pages are smudged and how the book is now soggy and damaged

    leave-Personify how the flood has almost deprived the children of the school of their future and ambition and know their is a loss in knowledge

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *