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If you've had trouble with details of writing instruction, how did you resolve it?


Annabel Lee
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There were some threads within the last month about teaching the specifics of writing within the WTM and/or WWE writing curriculum. Some people (myself included, whether I posted or lurked I don't recall) lamented lack of detailed instruction on how to teach what a paragraph is and is not, the varying types of paragraphs, sequencing, sentence fluency and fluency between paragraphs, and precise word choice.

 

I'm not already comfortable with these things; I've only scratched the surface and simply know they exist. If I tell my children to write about their history lesson or rewrite a literature passage, the only things I know to grade for are indenting, capitalization, punctuation (not the super-complicated stuff - but I'm learning thanks to theoatmeal . com), some sequencing and some fluency. I don't know how much to grade for at once & had never heard of giving them checklists to proofread by and to grade by until I read about it here. All of this is new to me; info. that I've only just heard of. It's nothing that I can organize and teach well on my own.

 

Does WWS cover the things I mentioned in my 1st paragraph above in a way that I don't need to worry about it now? Even if it doesn't cover them explicity, does it give the student practice in them?

 

If you felt this way about writing, what did you end up doing? If you kept on with just WTM writing and/or WWE, how did you do it?

Thanks, as always!

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MCT Language Arts has a book called Paragraph Town. THe next level is essay voyage. You learn about paragraph organization through the dialogue between two characters (two ducks). That might would be helpful to you. WE're just starting it but others can speak to this I'm sure. Also, MCT has a CD where he has compiled many essays over the years with comments on them, and comments on the comments he gave. The intention is for the teacher/parent to use these comments to learn from and to use to grade essays. He then gives you a scoring rubric to use.

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Well, Cap'n :D, jumping ship for a new ball of wax is an option, but I wanted to find out just how people are expected to inherently know these things within the WWE/WTM writing program... am I missing somthing? Am I wrong to think these things might be intended as part of these programs by SWB? If I can fix what I've got; what I've been hinging my entire writing philosophy on for the last 2 years, that would be nice.

 

*sigh* I'm going to go re-read TWTM and see if I've forgotten something. Then tomorrow I'll start re-listening to the audio lectures. Bits of info. seem to always leak out my ears or something; I'm always forgettting some detail or other. I also need to go chew on some wise words 8FilltheHeart just said in another thread about finding your (general your) own educational philosophy.

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I don't know that you can know these things w/in WWE/WTM writing program. It's just not covered. I think someone mentioned that near the end of WWE4, she mentions talking to the students about paragraphs but there is no instruction. I'm fairly certain these things will be covered in WWS which hasn't been written yet. I think that's why SWB recommends other writing programs such as Rod and Staff. I've never seen it but I would assume it covers good paragraphs, transition between paragraphs, essay structure, etc.

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Abe's not ready for WWS yet, I'm just looking ahead and wondering, if it's not here, maybe it's in there.

 

I actually have R&S 3 and 4, so I know there's very basic paragraph instruction there (such as "Meet the Paragraph" in 3). R&S 4 has 32 lessons involving oral or written compositions out of 127 lessons total; there are some weeks w/o a writing lesson at all. I should have narrowed my thoughts and looked through the R&S books carefully before posting; I'm curious when and if a child is supposed to have regular practice with the different types of paragraphs after they're introduced in R&S. By "different types", I mean narrative, descriptive, persuasive, compare-and-contrast, "how-to", and definition paragraphs. Then each time they write one of these, should I make sure they're getting practice with some organized, sequenced combination of the "6 writing traits" (ideas, organization, word choice, fluency, voice, and conventions)? The R&S writing lessons, while sufficient to teach the very basics, are too few & far between for my comfort level.

 

If it sounds like I've been looking at something else to draw these ideas from, you're right. In my panic I picked up some Evan-Moor Daily 6-Trait Writing and other EM sentence/paragraph writing workbooks. I'm just curious if this is stuff I'm expected to be implementing into the WTM summary writing for continuing practice after each type of paragraph is introduced in R&S. I'm sure I'm making it more complicated than it has to be; I'm great at that.

 

I re-read the reading & writing sections of TWTM last night and realize that WWE for copywork/narrations/dictation; summary writing (following the same flow as WWE but pared down in quantity to adjust for WWE) in history, science & literature; plus Rod and Staff writing is, by WTM standards, a hefty load. But, I feel compelled to add something that gives more use of the new skills - WS 3 looks like it would dive right into that. To do the EM books TOO would be major overkill. I'm wondering if I could juggle the WWE/WTM summary mix as described in WTM 3rd edition pg. 67, R&S writing (which occur only irregularly in the schedule), and WS (which would be 2x per week), without making my kids hate writing. Zeke wouldn't start R&S writing or WS until 3rd grade, if those become keepers.

 

Doable? Still way too much? What do you think?

 

P.S. I also just noticed the clause in WTM grammar stage writing about parents who are uncertain writers themselves starting a writing program (other than R&S) in 3rd grade. Oh. Whoops. New things jump out of this book at me every time. I didn't know I was uncertain about writing the 1st time I read it and long ago, when Abe was Zeke's age, planned on using WWE/WTM + R&S only.

Edited by Annabel Lee
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Arcticmom-I am not much help, since I'm pretty much where you are. But what I'm doing is looking at other curricula to help *me* learn how to teach writing. I have been unable to find a curric that I can just *use* straight with dd10. I picked up "Evaluating Writing", written by the Writing Strands guy, and WriteShop, which I am reading the TM, and they have some good checklists of what to look for, also TOG Writing Aids and a few others. These are for me to read through to try to figure this all out.

 

It is NOT a perfect solution-I want a step by step curriculum to help me do this! But I can't find that so I really really need to do something else now.

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If you are using R&S then you really need to do the writing lessons and then, use them again and again with different topics so that your kids can practice each format.

 

If it is a lesson about outlining, you do the lesson and then later in the week or the next week you have the child practice outlining something else and then the next week, something else.

 

Exactly. :iagree: R&S teaches the form and then you need to apply it across curriculum.

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Exactly. :iagree: R&S teaches the form and then you need to apply it across curriculum.

 

If this was the intended way to use it in WTM curric., they could have mentioned so. At this point in my "homeschool journey" it seems like simple logic to do so, but I only thought of it w/in the last couple months after I realized there was a problem. My entire 1st year (and the better part of my 2nd) doing WTM was spent trying to keep a grasp on all the exact how-to's (add to that how much, when, etc.). I was following it like a formula and was new to anything outside a boxed curric., so it didn't dawn on me back then to think of applying writing lessons outside the lesson (unless it was written into a TM!). Our way of doing R&S just carried over to the next grade, since I was unaware of this. Oh well, you live, you learn.

 

Maybe people reading can be forewarned and learn this lesson the easy way - from my mistakes. :tongue_smilie:

 

Meantime, I think I've got a workable solution that we'll begin testing out tomorrow. Thanks for the help and letting me think this through "out loud".

 

HappyGrace - Yes, as I've been hunting around I too am learning from other curricula. It can be both amazing and overwhelming, the amount of info. and varying approaches available. I've had to accept I can't implement everything, not all at once anyhow.

Edited by Annabel Lee
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If this was the intended way to use it in WTM curric., they could have mentioned so. At this point in my "homeschool journey" it seems like simple logic to do so, but I only thought of it w/in the last couple months after I realized there was a problem. My entire 1st year (and the better part of my 2nd) doing WTM was spent trying to keep a grasp on all the exact how-to's (add to that how much, when, etc.). I was following it like a formula and was new to anything outside a boxed curric., so it didn't dawn on me back then to think of applying writing lessons outside the lesson (unless it was written into a TM!). Our way of doing R&S just carried over to the next grade, since I was unaware of this. Oh well, you live, you learn.

 

Maybe people reading can be forewarned and learn this lesson the easy way - from my mistakes. :tongue_smilie:

 

Meantime, I think I've got a workable solution that we'll begin testing out tomorrow. Thanks for the help and letting me think this through "out loud".

 

 

 

arcticmom, you are on pretty much the same journey that I've been on (and I'm sure many others) - if that helps any! Trial and error, reading and re-reading, seeing "new" things jump out at you, seeing how other people here were applying WTM instructions, how they incorporated R&S, how you incorporate all that info. with the writing lectures.

 

Here is how it has been working out here: my 12yo has still been doing "grammar-stage style" narrations in grades 5 til now, and I incorporate things from R&S that I think he is ready for (some things can wait til high school, I feel). He did his first "rewrite from an outline" last week - I will slowly incorporate R&S things into these rewrites, too. But yes, R&S info. is very helpful to have on hand. It is helping me to figure out what to incorporate and what can wait til a rhetoric study. And I think that's an individual thing. Indent paragraphs, punctuation, spelling, grammar-that-has-been-learned-in-R&S all get incorporated. Types of paragraphs are iffy here - I think a lot of that is covered in later R&S, as well as the rhetoric study.

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