Jump to content


What's with the ads?

Photo

Why is writing so hard?!? Need advice for my almost 10yo


11 replies to this topic

What's with the ads?

#1 luuknam

luuknam

    Think before you arithmetic

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 7027 posts

Posted 18 May 2017 - 12:13 PM

Celery does okay with almost everything except writing. We did CAP W&R Fable this year (I've got a thread on the writing subforum if you want to see how that went*), and now we're trying Killgallon Elementary Sentence Composing, and he's seriously struggling with the 'imitation' parts of practice 5, where he's given a model and has to imitate that model by writing a sentence similar to the model. He'll write sentences... but they mostly do not really resemble the model. The individual skills involved with writing (spelling, grammar, punctuation, etc) aren't perfect, but they're not terrible either (within the realm of normal for a kid wrapping up 4th grade). Not sure what to do at this point. 

 

I'm going to x-post this on learning challenges, because he's got an IEP for autism and gets 2 hours of speech therapy per week, for both pronunciation and pragmatics. I just want a secular writing program that will help him improve his writing but that isn't a mega struggle to drag him through. So, something that's not too hard, but will let him make progress, but is not too childish for a kid who'll be entering 5th grade either.

 

*Link to the Fable thread: http://forums.welltr...p-wr-2016-2017/


Edited by luuknam, 18 May 2017 - 12:19 PM.

  • Julie Smith likes this

#2 OhElizabeth

OhElizabeth

    Beekeeping Professor

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 30861 posts

Posted 18 May 2017 - 02:58 PM

I'm one stage behind you, same boat. I don't think regular curriculum is going to help you a whit. You need to move on to therapy-oriented materials. Winston makes grammar pretty visual, so you could *try* it. It's just not really the most important thing. Can he answer the wh-questions? If he doesn't have wh-questions for his everyday speech (ability to use them, ability to answer them), then he doesn't have that as a tool to harness understanding grammar either, kwim? 

 

I've got Nurturing Narratives (aimed at autism), and when I first read it I thought oh that's way obvious. Then I watched my ds try to sequence 8 pictures and tell a story and I was like DUDE NO WONDER, kwim? Like we've got to go way farther back. Have you looked at his IEP goals? I notice how deftly our IEP team SKIPS having any actual, sensible IEP goals that reflect working on common core goals. Like look at Common Core gr 1 for writing. It says ability to retell a simple story, tell the moral of the story, etc. Can he do this? 

 

I have some personal theories, but I'm behind you enough that my theories aren't tested or solid. My personal assumption or working theory is that my ds' writing development will follow a path, just like any other dc's, and reflect his oral narrative ability, just like any other dc. So when I look at what my ds is doing, he's going through steps my dd did, but he's doing them YEARS LATER. Multiple multiple years later. 

 

So to me, I look at that and go ok, going to the end and wanting rising 3rd grade or whatever writing is just going to be a mess, because where his expressive language is, where his real ability to narrate and compose is, is like age, um, maybe 5 or 6? He might be 8.5, but he's functioning way, way younger. He's making lists. What age was my dd when she made lists like that, kwim? Listmaking is awesome and worthwhile. I'm cool with that. I think we're going to have to start some really basic sequencing with pictures and putting words to things. Maybe starting with non-fiction. Maybe starting with something high interest but simple. And maybe we make it more visual with powerpoints and stuff for the steps. I'm hoping to rearrange his office and bring in a low table, a computer for a writing center, etc., so he can work on this and be more empowered with his own communication. 

 

Just seems to me if it's not in his mind to say, it's kind of pointless. And whatever is in his mind to say is going to reflect where he is developmentally and have no correlation to grade level expectations. He is who he is. I think I'm *more* likely to get more detail with something he's really into (something technical, something relating to his strong areas of interest). But really, when he goes into those, he's often scripting or gets this funky hollow voice. Like to me that's not real either. 

 

If you want to try IEW, I would go low. He has really funny models, many non-fiction, so it might be engaging for your ds. Also Writing Tales could be worthwhile. I had it on my dream list to try with him at some point this coming year. I like the social component, that it's using fiction. I think it's something where we could really slow down and engage and make mental pictures. When I've done stuff with him so far, that's what I've tried to do, having him draw each scene and then put words to it. That gets you back to the Nurturing Narratives book. I think I thought that would just come, poof, like just happen if I waited, and now I'm realizing I'm probably going to need some strategies.

 

I really don't think you can go overkill on language work. Personally, I think cranking out specific assignments is less important than the overall language development. Anything you can do with playing games, nurturing oral narrative, etc., will probably nurture that in the long run.


  • luuknam and fralala like this

#3 OhElizabeth

OhElizabeth

    Beekeeping Professor

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 30861 posts

Posted 18 May 2017 - 03:00 PM

The Intervention Specialist's great tips were to use graphic organizers and to empower him to work independently. There you go. Sorta simple and sorta profound (if it fits) at the same time.


  • luuknam likes this

#4 OhElizabeth

OhElizabeth

    Beekeeping Professor

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 30861 posts

Posted 18 May 2017 - 03:05 PM

And then, just as a total aside, have you seen any articles or products for using lego with narratives? I know I've seen stuff on it. My ds is really into lego now, so I'm thinking it's time for us to pursue that. I think the jist is you use the legos to build the narrative and steps and sort of slow the whole process down and help them visualize it and put language to it.


  • luuknam likes this

#5 Mom27kidz

Mom27kidz

    Hive Mind Worker Bee

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 71 posts

Posted 18 May 2017 - 03:43 PM

I've been looking at Writing Tales for this exact reason. My ds is almost done grade 4 but his writing is atrocious. He really struggles. Spelling is even worse.

I looked at Writing Tales book 1 for him so that he will actually enjoy writing instead of hating it so much. Then even though it's meant for lower grades put him into book 2 next. Then after that, when he has had a more gentle (and hopefully enjoyable) experience we'll wiggle into W&R book 5 or so.
  • luuknam likes this

#6 luuknam

luuknam

    Think before you arithmetic

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 7027 posts

Posted 18 May 2017 - 05:10 PM

Can he answer the wh-questions? If he doesn't have wh-questions for his everyday speech (ability to use them, ability to answer them), then he doesn't have that as a tool to harness understanding grammar either, kwim? 

 

I've got Nurturing Narratives (aimed at autism), and when I first read it I thought oh that's way obvious. Then I watched my ds try to sequence 8 pictures and tell a story. 

 

It says ability to retell a simple story, tell the moral of the story, etc. Can he do this? 

 

 

He asks and can answer wh-questions - those were in his IEP goals for K-2 or so (not entirely sure of grade level, but 2nd grade at the latest), and were removed because he mastered that one (and, in my experience, yes, he does fine with wh-questions).

 

I have no clue about sequencing 8 pictures - I had some pre-K/K set of sequencing 4 pictures and he found that one very easy iirc 2 years ago when I dug it up again to do it with Broccoli (who also found them easy, so I donated them to the Y's preschool program). I should print out some free ones and give that a try, but I suspect he can sequence that many cards just fine. 

 

He did a pretty good job with narrating back the stories from Fable, as well as from SOTW. He also did okay with the morals, though he struggled with the chapters where he was supposed to guess what certain morals meant without being given context. When talking to somebody about something that happened he does struggle keeping in mind that the listener may not have the needed background knowledge, so he may leave out things the listener can't possibly know. Same problem with summaries - sometimes they're a little incoherent because he'll use a pronoun when he hasn't mentioned the character yet so it's impossible to know who or what the pronoun refers to. 

 

So to me, I look at that and go ok, going to the end and wanting rising 3rd grade or whatever writing is just going to be a mess, because where his expressive language is, where his real ability to narrate and compose is, is like age, um, maybe 5 or 6? He might be 8.5, but he's functioning way, way younger. He's making lists. What age was my dd when she made lists like that, kwim? Listmaking is awesome and worthwhile.

 

I agree... you can't just make a kid skip a bunch of skills just because they should have them at a certain grade level. I did score a couple of workbooks on outlining at a curriculum sale on Tuesday - beginning outlining for grades 3 & 4 (very basic), and outlining for grades 5-8, so I was thinking of going through those after we move. And my original thought was to maybe do them after Killgallon, but now I'm thinking I should maybe throw in the beginning outlining one sooner (not sure about the other one... we'll see).

 

Unfortunately, his speech therapist spends most of their time on pronunciation, because if he's unintelligible, it doesn't matter much what he's saying. Like, the other day we were in the car and suddenly we heard him yell 'violet'. We were so confused, until he finally slowed down and it turned out he'd said "fly alert"...



#7 Farrar

Farrar

    Expert Cat Herder

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 22609 posts

Posted 18 May 2017 - 05:58 PM

I'll suggest a couple of radically different things.

 

One. Wordsmith Apprentice is really simple, really approachable. Really workbooky and not threatening. It is religious, but I'm secular and I didn't have an issue with it. The religious elements were all things like assuming that you would have church and Sunday school as familiar experiences. And when they asked you to retell a story or things like that, it often had a Bible story as one of the ones to do. Ds did some of them and I know I marked a couple out and replaced them with more fairy tales and the like. But even that was pretty rare. We're talking about less than a dozen references, not of them proselytizing.

 

Two. Brave Writer. Loosey goosey. But Partnership Writing really is good for a lot of reluctant writers.

 

Either way... he's not even ten. Even if you just have him putting pencil to paper with copywork or something regularly then he's going to improve. Which is not to say you shouldn't work on it... more that I wouldn't freak out. A lot of kids this age are writing up a storm... and a lot aren't. And public schools try to get all kids to be in the writing up a storm category, but I don't think it's outside the bounds of normal to not be ready to do a ton yet. He can write a sentence, even if the imitation element is difficult. That's something. Keep going. It's probably going to come.

 

 


  • luuknam likes this

#8 Julie Smith

Julie Smith

    Amateur Bee Keeper

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 9563 posts

Posted 18 May 2017 - 06:37 PM

IEW

At that Age, if I remember correctly my boys were doing WWE. It was great for that time, nice copywork, dictation, conversation...

But IEW, the DVDs made it so they could write. It was a perfect fit for them.
  • luuknam likes this

#9 luuknam

luuknam

    Think before you arithmetic

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 7027 posts

Posted 18 May 2017 - 06:45 PM

I have no clue about sequencing 8 pictures - I should print out some free ones and give that a try, but I suspect he can sequence that many cards just fine. 

 

 

I did, and, as anticipated he did fine on an 8 picture sequence of going swimming, and a 10 (because I can't count, apparently) picture sequence of baking a cake.



#10 OhElizabeth

OhElizabeth

    Beekeeping Professor

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 30861 posts

Posted 19 May 2017 - 08:01 AM

I did, and, as anticipated he did fine on an 8 picture sequence of going swimming, and a 10 (because I can't count, apparently) picture sequence of baking a cake.

 

Socialthinking - Sequences: 6 & 8-Steps for Children Just to dig in a little on this, the cards therapists use usually involve making inferences and predictions. So it's not like the 4 steps of a seed growing into a plant, where it's just obvious. They'll have to look at the pictures and infer what is happening, predict what would happen next and why, etc. So the dc could put the pictures into what seems like to them a logical sequence and make a story, but their thinking would reflect that they were missing the non-verbal clues in the pictures and not making inferences about WHY they would go in a certain order. Then you have the breakdown of adding language/dialogue to each step, and then you have whether the dc can get the main idea and make an appropriate title.


  • luuknam likes this

#11 luuknam

luuknam

    Think before you arithmetic

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 7027 posts

Posted 19 May 2017 - 10:07 AM

Socialthinking - Sequences: 6 & 8-Steps for Children Just to dig in a little on this, the cards therapists use usually involve making inferences and predictions. So it's not like the 4 steps of a seed growing into a plant, where it's just obvious. They'll have to look at the pictures and infer what is happening, predict what would happen next and why, etc. So the dc could put the pictures into what seems like to them a logical sequence and make a story, but their thinking would reflect that they were missing the non-verbal clues in the pictures and not making inferences about WHY they would go in a certain order. Then you have the breakdown of adding language/dialogue to each step, and then you have whether the dc can get the main idea and make an appropriate title.

 

 

Right... I specifically tried to not give him the most obvious ones I could find (like the one where someone builds something from legos, with there being one or two more legos each time). I just don't want to spend $40+ for something if I don't know if he needs it, plus, there are only 48 cards, and reusability is very limited. So, IF he needs it, then it might be worth that money, but if he doesn't, then I don't want to throw $40+ down the drain. I really wish that there were 1-2 sample sequences so I could tell if it's at his level or not, but the internet is not being super helpful. 

 

ETA: the sequence on the front of the box is too blurry for me to make out what's going on - I think the girl got a present and opened it, but then I'm lost wrt what happened in the last 2 pictures.


Edited by luuknam, 19 May 2017 - 10:11 AM.


#12 luuknam

luuknam

    Think before you arithmetic

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 7027 posts

Posted 21 May 2017 - 09:36 AM

Or, I could just follow Lewelma's writing program, which, iiuc, is "kid learns to write through using AOPS" (writing proofs). Celery should be starting AOPS Pre-Algebra this fall, so, there. Not sure how writing a pre-algebra program under "writing" would look like on an IHIP... then and again, not sure anybody actually reads the IHIPs. 

 

(to be clear, I'm NOT going to *just* use AOPS for writing... we will do other stuff, tbd)