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It has been summer holidays here, so I have been reading, reading, reading about writing. I have read 3 of the 4 recommendations from SWB for rhetoric: Corbett's Classical Rhetoric for the Modern Student (re-read this one, and really studied it) DeAngelo's Composition in the Classical Tradition (yes, the examples are as bad as she says) They Say, I Say: Moves that Matter in Academic Writing I have also read Webster's Student Writing Handbook Lively Art of Writing And I have read the following curriculum (some I actually read like LtoW, CW and WWS; others I really just skimmed to understand what they were doing like Killgallon and WWE): Killgallon Sentence Composing (middle and high school levels) Lost Tools of Writing (LtoW, levels 1 and 2) Classical Composition's Fable Classical Writing's (CW) Homer, Maxim, and Chreia, (and soon Herodotus as it just arrived today) MCT's Island, Town and Voyage levels Writing with Skill (WWS) Writing with Ease (WWE levels 1,2,3) IEW's Structure and Style (luckily got these DVDs from the Homeschool library). Yes, as you can see, I have also spent a lot of money. But I see things so clearly now and I wanted to share my understanding. I hope this helps someone..... I also don't mind answering questions. I have found that Corbett is the best overview of the scope of writing, and would recommend it as a must read for anyone interested in teaching writing to her children up through high school. Corbett sorts classical writing into the 3 canons: Invention, Arrangement, and Elocution, and I have found that organization perfect to sort the different curriculum into. Invention: by far the best curriculum I have read to improve a student's invention is Lost Tools of Writing. It uses the exact same list of Common Topics found in Corbett. However, when I read Corbett, I just could not understand how to get from the list of topics to putting them into an essay. And in WWS and CW I was spoon fed too much, so I could not really see the forest through the trees and implement it on my own. LtoW teaches the student how to ask questions based on the Common Topics and then how to arrange them into an argument. Also, LtoW and CW are the only curriculum that give any attention to the Special Topics associated with judicial, deliberative, and ceremonial discourse. The Lively Art of Writing has 2 excellent chapters on how to create a thesis statement. WWS (as planned for grades 5-8) studies half of the Common Topics listed in Corbett, I assume she will cover the rest in her high school curriculum WWStyle. Arrangement: Different curriculum attacked this in different ways. IEW does the best job in teaching kids the traditional paragraph structure, story structure, 5 paragraph essay. But also does this is a very formulaic manner. I have not seen IEW's more advanced materials. LtoW is also formulaic, but at the essay level. They Say/ I Say is unique in its discussion of arrangement. It focuses on the persuasive essay at the highest level and how to incorporate your ideas into the ongoing Great Discussion of books, essays, and ideas. This is the kind of arrangement I needed to write my dissertation. WWS's discussion of arrangement is not based on an standard outline, but rather on imitation of great writers – imitating how they describe and narrate historical and scientific topics (for level 1, haven't obviously seen the other levels) Elocution: Killgallon and Classical Writing tie IMHO for the best instruction on style of the sentences. They both have you play with sentences, change them around, evaluate how the new sentence augments certain aspects of an idea. LtoW teaches some extremely advanced stylistic features that are covered in Corbett. However, it does not spend enough time on each of these features for the student to actually be able to use them effectively. IEW teaches more formulaic style including a certain number of features for each paragraph, but it does not actually teach you HOW to change a sentence around. WWS so far has a fairly limited approach to style. Critical Reading: Both WWS and CW require students to analyze classic writers to help them understand what makes writing effective. CW does this somewhat better than WWS. MCT has you read classic essays but does not spend much time guiding the student through them. Classical Curriculum using the Progymnasmata. Corbett does not discuss this at all and has a somewhat condescending attitude towards it. The progym is a series of exercises that teaches you how to create different paragraphs and discuss different set topics, It uses Corbett's rhetorical ideas in a restricted and controlled manner. DeAngelo explains the purpose of all of the exercises very well, but his writing examples are as bad as SWB said. I actually could not finish the book, and the examples tarnished my feeling towards the progym. Classical Composition is a progym course which you would finish by 8th grade and then move to rhetorical writing. CW is more than just progym. It stretches the progym out to cover up to 12th grade (although the additional books are not out yet). By stretching out the progym exercies, it mutates some of them to make them truly rhetoric, meaning persuasive essays. The initial idea of the progym is that it happened before rhetoric – a student learned how to write and think using the exercises and then used this understanding to construct persuasive arguments. CW merges the two at the higher levels. Classical Curriculum not using the progym: LtoW follows Corbett's text but does not use the progym exercises. It is an early Rhetoric curriculum that teaches persuasive writing. WWS also follows Corbett's text but does not use the progym exercises. However, in contrast to LtoW, WWS does not teach students about persuasive writing. Instead, it teaches each of the Common Topics (well, half of the Topics) that will be used later to construct a complete argument in a rhetorical composition. Classical vs Modern writing: I have seen some discussion of this, and was confused for a while. But all this reading has cleared it up. In Ancient times there was a lot of time spent on ceremonial and judicial speech, to praise the fallen and to defend oneself (you acted as your own lawyer). These types of writing are not really done now, more of an ancient style. Also, many of the progym exercises use essay starters (like maxims etc) that are not commonly found today. WWS definitely uses more modern styles of writing than CW for example. What I will be using: For 5th through 8th, we will use WWS with Killgallon to shore up the lack of style in WWS. I like the modern writing style in WWS. 9th and 10th LtoW, I may even compact levels 1 and 2 into 1 year. This is early rhetoric. 11th -12th : Rhetoric. We will be writing across the curriculum without a curriculum. For an overview of rhetoric, Ds will read Corbett both years; for critical reading, we will apply Corbett to essays; for arrangement, we will use They Say/ I Say; and for style we will continue with Killgallon. I like CW, I really do, but I am concerned about the focus on non-modern writing styles. I think I will be creating my own CW by using the above books. I disagree with SWB about how difficult Corbett was to read. If you skip the part on logic, the rest of the text is straight forward and relatively easy to read. I found his examples and very lengthy discussion of them to be excellent, just excellent. And after studying all the topics, I think that I could now guide my son to analyze other's essay writing (like MLK or Rachel Carson) using my knowledge of the topics. Very very useful text, and I will definitely have my son read it twice in both 11th and 12th grades. Well, that is about it!! Hope you enjoyed it!:001_smile: Ruth in NZ
Every year we do a large scientific investigation for our science fair. And I thought that there might be some in the hive who would like to see how scientific inquiry works, especially while we are in the middle of it rather than all tidied up and sugar coated at the end. :001_smile: We are studying Earth Science this year and have done 9 weeks each of astronomy, geology, and oceanography, so there are 9 left for our investigations. Earth Science is always the hardest science topic for kids to study IMHO because the processes are slow (plus I have never studying Earth Science (ever) so I am always at a loss.) I have a 6th grader and a 2nd grader, and the 6th grader will try for the regional science fair this year so there a lot of restrictions on originality and independence. Week 1 6th grader: We discuss what he will study and decide that since he has been reading about Oceanography most recently and has just started learning to sail that he would like to study the ocean. I try to sway him towards studying life in rock pools, maybe how different animals are affected by the tides or prevailing wind etc. He is not interested. "That's Biology; I want to study Earth Science!" sigh. "ok, so what are you interested in?" "I want to study the movement of sand." :001_huh: hummmm. Now, how is an 11-year old going to do that? After some more questioning, he tells me that he would like to see how sand moves differently depending on the location in the bay he sails in. Ok, that is a good question, just maybe not answerable without a million dollars worth of equipment. We go to the library, and find a textbook on seashore ecology which has a chapter on how waves affect animals (my original idea). But not much else. Next, we hunt for articles on sand movement in the peer-reviewed science journals using the library databases. We find that scientists use radioactive sand that they can then trace or they study a shoreline over the period of 5 years. Ok, neither of those are possible. But we discuss how maybe we can use a different color sand and dump it in the water and time its movement and measure its direction. We also brainstorm all the factors that could affect sand movement: sand size, wind speed and direction, prevailing currents, orientation of the bay to the wind and currents (sheltered?), obstacles (rocks, jetties), slope of the shore. WOW. That is a lot of variables to control once we set up the experiment. On Saturday, after sailing he takes a look around the bay to see if the sand moves at all. It does. That is all the information he brings back.:001_huh: Next, we go to a different beach and collect the sand there (which might be a different color), and collect magnetite (magnetic soil mixed into the sand on this beach, it is black and will definitely show up). Finally, we discuss how much he can generalize given the sampling he is considering. Tomorrow, we plan to put the collected sand and magnetite in the water and see if we have any chance of measuring anything, or if this is just a wild goose chase (which it definitely could be). Time: 4 hours including discussions 2nd grader: I start with my this ds trying to convince him that looking at animals in rock pools would be cool (can you see *I* really want to study this) but alas he is not interested. He wants to study how deep the roots of trees go into the soil. :001_huh: I tell him that we could look at this using road cuts, but that perhaps it would be pretty difficult to study. But he does still want to study soil (4 months ago, I read 30 minutes about soil profiles to him, so I am pretty surprised he remembers anything). So we review what we know about soil: layers A,B,C; earthworms, and that is about all he knows. We go to the library and find no books on soil in the kids section and 2 books with a chapter on soil profiles and topsoil composition. The next day when I am out for a walk in the early morning with a friend, I look at the road cuts and notice different layers in the soil. Perhaps we can identify the soil profile using these cuts. I tell ds, and he loves the idea. He packs a backpack and brings a tape measure, a "data collection booklet", a broken pencil :001_huh:, and a trowel. We go to his favorite spot where he digs out "mudrocks" and loves to throw them and watch them smash. I am wondering what a "mudrock" is from the point of view of a soil strata. We get to the site, and start measuring and recording and then promply cannot remember anything about the different strata and how to identify them:lol:. So back home we go, look up the info in the older ds's textbook, take some notes, and go back out. We measure the strata and feel pretty confident. Next, we walk around the woods looking at the different cuts and their strata. Our woods is on a small mountain (large hill) and it was used 100 years ago as a sheep farm so there are lots of old wagon trails that were cut out of the hill side (think Lord of the Rings Weathertop and "get off the road" scenes, because they were filmed 200m from my house). What really really surprises us is that the soil profile just along this one road cut is very different. Top soil thick to non-existant, B horizon 20cm to 150cm deep, or even areas with bedrock exposed. Funny how I have never noticed this before. So, now I ask *the* question: Why? Why is the soil profile different in different areas? We brainstorm a few reasons (I guide him here, but some he comes up with on his own): Slope, vegetation, bikers. He suggests (on his own) that pine trees inhibit the growth of plants under them so that there would be less topsoil where pine trees grow. !!! Excellent thinking and really cool hypothesis. He also suggests that the B horizon is thicker in some areas because in ancient times more soil collected and then over time compacted into b-horizon soil. so.... WOW, this is going to be an AWESOME project. How does the slope and vegetation of the mountain affect the amount of topsoil? If he were 11+, he could win the regional science fair with this one. (or is it that *I* could win? :lol:) Time: 2 hours Ruth in NZ