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Better Essays At School: 8 Valuable Tips For Your Child

Which forms of essays does your child write in which grade level?

In all four years of primary school, your child will write their own texts. No correct attachments are prescribed in class 1. The first graders write free texts, letters or cards for Christmas or other occasions. Higher performing students usually already receive fill-in-the-blank or parts of the text in order to develop stories from them. From grade 2 onwards, the essay lessons are more structured. Get an overview of which essay your child will write and when. I am referring to the Bavarian curriculum because it can be representative of the other federal states.

Essay education in the Bavarian curriculum

2nd gradeClass 3Grade 4
  • Picture stories
  • Invent the beginning or the end
  • Factual texts about living beings or things or processes (e.g. cooking recipe, game instructions or animal profile)
  • Letters
  • Texts for a class reading
  • Picture stories
  • Factual texts
  • Experience essays (e.g. picture story, stimulus word story, fantasy story)
  • creative writing on works of art, photo montages, etc.
  • Use text models (e.g. fables, fairy tales)
  • Rewrite or rewrite texts (e.g. retelling, picture story with an open end)
  • Process description
  • Keyword collections e.g. for presentations
  • Factual texts

8 tips how your child can eliminate weaknesses in the essay

1.Once the essay is finished, most children calmly put their fountain pen to one side and hand it in to the teacher without reading it again. The revision of an essay is the most important thing! Therefore, your child should only use every other line of writing when writing an essay. Then there is enough space to insert words later, to formulate sentences or to remove linguistic clumsiness. This way, the article remains legible even after it has been revised. After your child has finished writing, ask them to read their essay through a few times and correct any abnormalities as follows:
2.Many children usually think of the title of their story first. However, it makes more sense if your child only decides on a heading at the end after reading through his or her essay. Because now it knows the course of its story and knows which headline could arouse the reader's curiosity.
3.The introduction should check your child for the essential data: WHO does WHEN WHAT WHAT?
4.Errors in sentence structure and grammatical structures are usually noticed when reading aloud in half aloud.
5.In essays, many children mistakenly use the past tense of the perfect tense that is common in oral language (e.g. he thought he said). Therefore, it is important to check all verbs again at the end and, if necessary, to put them in the past tense (thought, said).
6.Together with your child, create a collection of word fields (e.g. "say"). You can find such word fields in many language books. This preparatory work will make it easier for your child to use different verbs while writing and to avoid repetition.
7.Your child should color-mark the verbatim speech. This quickly shows how high their share is. In the graded essay, your child should better use a pencil, which he or she rubs out again before handing it over to the teacher.
8.Your child can also use a list of the beginnings of sentences drawn up beforehand. It can easily check the first words of all sentences and, if necessary, change repetitions (then ... then ... then) or insert missing sentence beginnings.

Is the spelling taken into account?

A frequently asked question: In principle, misspellings are not included in the essay grade. However, the teacher has to mark all mistakes because the school regulations provide for it. In many schools it is customary for the essay to be written on a concept first. This is then corrected by the teacher and returned for revision and a fair copy. Only now do the children write the essays in their exercise book and the texts are graded.

  • My advice: Before writing a graded essay, your child's teacher explains which things need to be considered in the particular type of essay. If you are unsure, get in touch with your child's teacher and ask specifically about the assessment criteria. In addition, the entries in the exercise books or the worksheets you have worked on will also help if you are not sure which characteristics were worked out in the school.

How many essays does your child have to write and how much does an essay count in relation to your child's German grade?

For each federal state there are binding specifications regarding the number of articles. I myself teach in Baden-W├╝rttemberg, where five essays are written in grades 3 and 4. In Rhineland-Palatinate there are six to eight articles. In Saarland, third and fourth graders write four essays. Ask the teacher how things are organized at your child's school! The grade in German is made up of the parts reading, spelling, examining language and text production. How the individual areas are weighted depends on the respective federal state or on the agreements at your child's school. In Bavaria, for example, essays are scored three times for the German grade, grammar and spelling samples count twice and reading samples single.

How do elementary school teachers rate an essay?

There are 25 notebooks in front of me: stories from my fourth graders. I'm curious to find out what great ideas the children had this time. At the same time, I know that there are at least two exhausting weeks ahead of me, during which I will read the essays over and over again, compare formulations, take a closer look at individual passages and smile again and again. But: How do I actually get the essay grades? In class, I work out the criteria for the form of the essay with the students, which is then graded later. From this I create an assessment grid or use ready-made observation sheets. There, the individual features of an essay are fitted into a point grid, and the students receive comments on the individual areas of their essay. A distinction is made between content-related and formal criteria. So encourage your child if they are not so imaginative and their essays are a bit boring in terms of content. In terms of text design, it can certainly score points if it uses alternating sentence beginnings, observes the narrative time, etc. You can practice these skills with your child at home. The essay training with self-made story cubes can also help.

Evaluation criteria: What is a successful essay?

Division of the essaycriteriaTotal-
headingWith a good headline, your child will make the reader curious and not reveal too much of the content.1 point
introductionYour child introduces their story in just a few sentences. The people are introduced, the place of action and the situation are described.2 points
1. Imagination and narrative flowIn the most detailed part of the essay, your child tells what happens to the people, what they see, hear and feel. It points to a climax, which it elaborates in detail. Your child will often use verbatim speech, question phrases, and exclamations.3 points
2. Text designYour child will vary the beginnings of sentences and avoid repeating words.2 points
Your child describes with appropriate adjectives and verbs.2 points
Your child's sentences are complete and grammatically correct.2 points
Your child decides on a perspective or sticks to the default. It then uses the I or ER form in all the sentences of its essay.1 point
Your child will use the simple past tense (simple past tense), which is usually narrative time (sometimes the present tense is used).1 point
EnoughYour child rounds off the story in a few sentences and describes how the experience ends.2 points



If your child completely fulfills the respective criterion, it will also receive the full number of points (e.g. all verbs are in the past tense). If it only partially fulfills the requirement (e.g. individual verbs not used in the past tense), it only receives part of the points. If it does not meet the requirement at all (e.g. most of the verbs are in the wrong tense), it does not receive a point.