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Please help me help DD with PEE paragraphs in History

(15 Posts)
Hibat Fri 18-Mar-16 11:48:39

Dd is in Year 8 - she reads obsessively, loves English and is currently high level 7, English teacher says she is an excellent all rounder, scores very highly in all pieces of work. However, despite loving history she is currently a level 4A - it's her weakest subject - she contributes well in class and has good knowledge, works hard etc but apparently she scores poorly because she really struggles with PEE paragraphs. Teacher said she has gone over PEE in class several times and has offered to try to guide her a bit more during lunch times and after school if needed but we would like to help dd too, in a more informal way, what can we do?

We need help!

Pinkshire85 Fri 18-Mar-16 11:52:07

When you're talking to her about history and she makes her point, explains it to you and then shows you evidence, highlight to her that she has done her PEE. She might be doing it orally but not writing it down.

Also, I often say to my kids to imagine that I am talking to them and if I would ask them for more info or to explain etc then they should be writing it down.

tiggytape Fri 18-Mar-16 12:08:35

I say that too Pink. I say "imagine I am in the exam saying "and so....?" every time you write a sentence and try to move on to the next point."

Often they have answered the question in a perfectly accurate way but they don't then explain how they know their answer to be valid using quotes from the text or with examples from their own knowledge.
For example they'll write "Stalin was very afraid of losing power" but they don't go on to say the crucial bit which is how they come to know that this is true or likely.

When you ask them how they know Stalin was afraid of losing power they'll say "oh yes... and so that's why he held purges and show trials and frightened people into being obedient" - and that's what's required to get the marks.
As she has good knowledge, it is literally just a case of linking everything up when she writes it down.

TeenAndTween Fri 18-Mar-16 12:14:11

The only way my DD can manage PEE is to write them as separate sentences on separate lines and then merge them (dyspraxic, uses laptop).

That said she gave up history after GCSE mocks so maybe not much help! She tended to run 3 points all into one sentence and then not explain them either.

Point: Henry VIII was a brutal king.
Evidence: An example of this is that he had two of his wives (Anne Boleyn and Catherine Howard) executed.
Explain: This shows his brutality because once these wives weren't wanted any more he executed rather than divorce them. Although the wives had done nothing to warrant execution he ensured there were trumped up charges against them so he could be rind of them once and for all. He didn't want ex-wives around the place and he would stop at nothing to achieve this.

Hibat Fri 18-Mar-16 12:15:13

Thank you Tiggy and Pink - the other thing she struggles with is, whenever she tries to write a PEE paragragh in History she feels it doesn't flow - it's too clunky and therefore she makes it more concise, eliminating the information the teacher requires.

tiggytape Fri 18-Mar-16 12:19:06

Yes it can feel clunky. It feels like you are over-egging it sometimes (or explaining the bloody obvious sometimes!) but that's what's required to get the marks.

If she is a good, creative writer then it might jar slightly having to approach it in what can be quite a stilted or prescribed fashion. But tell her it is a point collecting exercise more than a writing one. There is a formula for approaching each question to gather maximum marks form it (exactly as Teen and Tween has done) and, although it may not flow very nicely, it ticks all the boxes for collecting points and that's what counts.

mouldycheesefan Fri 18-Mar-16 12:19:22

What is pee? I have a history degree and never heard of it

tiggytape Fri 18-Mar-16 12:20:04

Point, Evidence, Explain

kickassangel Fri 18-Mar-16 12:20:53

What bit of it is she not getting? I teach this age group for English btw.

Does she have more than one point in the paragraph? Or not support her argument? Those are the two biggest problems usually. I'm surprised it hasn't also come up in her English class.

One quick thing to do at home is to use a newspaper headline.

e.g. Essay - Has Madonna finally lost the plot?

Point - She showed a girl's nipple on stage.
Evidence - quick recap of the story.
Explain - we don't usually show nipples in public, and very definitely don't show other people's. This would be socially unacceptable and therefore implies that Madonna has lost the plot.

You can do this very quickly verbally, using a news headline.

If she keeps saying 'and it's also just to promote a model, and it's ...' then she's trying to put several points into one paragraph.

To help fix that I'd suggest getting a piece of paper. Write down, using bullet points, all the points she can think of. Then look over it, see if two are pretty much the same thing in different words. Then make sure that each one is a separate paragraph. Only let her talk/write about one at a time, not try to get all her points out at once. It's a bit like a meal - you don't have all the courses spread out in front of you and randomly eat from them all. You have one at a time, so that you can fully appreciate each course.

TeenAndTween Fri 18-Mar-16 12:23:15

Mouldy Point, Evidence, Explain. OR Point, Example, Elaborate.

Key sentences starters:

Point: make a short statement/ assertion

Evidence: For example ...... OR We know this because .... OR An example of this is ....

Explain: This shows that ...

kickassangel Fri 18-Mar-16 12:29:21

Yes, it is clunky, and formulaic, but it is expected of all academic papers in the English speaking world to use those elements to prove a point. This holds true for debate, or even writing a book. Once she's got the flow of it then the order can be switched around. But even if she was writing a book, each chapter would still stick to having all these elements.

She can also put in short transitions if she wants, e.g. 'although Madonna may have shown poor taste in Brisbane, she is attempting to make a statement about how older women are seen in the media.'
Then raise a positive point about Madonna.

It's a bit like a formula that helps her, and her reader, to know that everything has been covered thoroughly. Without it, her reader will struggle to follow her argument. As a writer, she should always be thinking about how her reader will respond/understand things, so she needs to be clear and thorough.

Hibat Fri 18-Mar-16 12:33:36

Kickass her English is amazing - her teacher couldn't say enough good things about her, she is good at analysis of texts - both poetry and Shakespeare, good at public speaking, creative writing. Only one piece of work was below excellent this year and that was a lot to do with her typing it with her left index finger after just breaking her right arm! I can't understand how she gets it in English but not History. But we will try your idea - it sounds very doable.
Will try to also point out that it is a point scoring exercise Tiggy but this is a big sticking point.
I wonder whether her Aspergers is making this more difficult, not that it matters, I suppose - she still needs to structure her work in the correct way.

Pinkshire85 Fri 18-Mar-16 12:52:41

Sentence starters will definitely help her be more succinct so agree with Teen.

When she gets wants to make inferences sentence starters like "this tells me that...." Or "from this I can infer..."

There are lots of good ones online that have a huge range of sentence starters for when she starts writing longer essays.

Hibat Fri 18-Mar-16 13:11:45

Yes I think sentence starters will help a lot too, will print them out and encourage her to stick them to her noticeboard, thanks pinkand tween!

You have all been very helpful! flowers

FatimaShitbread Fri 18-Mar-16 13:25:53

I work with low level English students so we are very basic but our PEE paragraphs will go something like this

Make the point (short sentence)
I know this because... (evidence)
This means that (explanation)

They struggle in history with sources but we try to use a similar sentence structure.

Q. Did William Wallace deserve the name Braveheart?
A. William Wallace deserved the name Braveheart. I know this because source A shows that he led an army that killed over 5000 British men. This means that he deserved the title as he was courageous to fight a more sophisticated army than he had.
Not high level at all but that's how we introduce it

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