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Susan Wise Bauer

Answering questions about Writing With Skill

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Well, after getting clarification in this thread today, my son just now followed the revised instructions, finished his essay, and it matched the "spirit" of the Step three samples in the IG. I'll volunteer to try to help you...

 

Lesson 23 again... My son is really struggling in adding narrative to his analysis. His analysis didn't contain much narrative (not like the examples in the book). His focus in the second paragraph was on the similarities of Rikki and Nag (both have something to protect both are fighters with similar tactics, both are smart etc.).

 

The problem is the first paragraph doesn't match with the second and just tagging on a narrative introduction makes it look like a bad collage. Is there a way to fix this, should I bother?

 

The idea that Nag and Rikki are similar is just dropped in the second paragraph out of the blue. His writing (at this point) resembles a picasso. It is all pasted together.

 

How was his narrative from Step one? Do you think he fulfilled the requirements of writing the narrative summary? I ask, because it sounds as if the problem is mostly from problems with completing Step two, with the two analysis paragraphs.

 

What about having him go through Step two again, maybe with you so you can spot if he's missing any instructions or not fulfilling them. Maybe, as he's answering the questions on paper, have him state his answers aloud to you first, so you can get him to clarify his answers, according to the Step two instructions. Maybe have him state his answers to you in complete sentences before he writes them down (our WWE training reminds me of this).

 

And, if this doesn't seem to help him, maybe go back to doing the discussion from Day two. I think the observations made during that discussion were meant to be useful in doing Day three, particularly in writing the two analysis paragraphs in Step two. So, you could go back to the discussion to help him clarify his thoughts there, too, and then move forward again with the analysis paragraphs.

 

From what you describe, it just sounds like he missed a concept or didn't clarify to himself his answers to the Step two questions. Hopefully some close coaching from you with each step would help. And then, voila, follow the clarified Step three instruction, and it should hopefully work! Fingers crossed...

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Would those of you that have finished the first Literary Criticism report be alright with posting your dc's analysis in the WWS examples at the writing thread? I am TRYING to understand all of this, but perhaps seeing an example done correctly would be helpful. I am still in a place where we wrote our summary out and then went back and interjected in bits of analysis along the way. I am assuming that isn't right, but I can't seem to understand everyone's replies above. Sorry! I just need to see samples of it done correctly to understand.

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Would those of you that have finished the first Literary Criticism report be alright with posting your dc's analysis in the WWS examples at the writing thread?

 

Well, I can but I am sure I did *not* do this correctly.

 

And, if this doesn't seem to help him, maybe go back to doing the discussion from Day two. I think the observations made during that discussion were meant to be useful in doing Day three, particularly in writing the two analysis paragraphs in Step two. So, you could go back to the discussion to help him clarify his thoughts there, too, and then move forward again with the analysis paragraphs.

 

Thanks so much for all of your suggestions. I saw this after we finished so I didn't have a chance to apply them unfortunately. However, the really weird thing was that he did seem to follow the instructions for step two. He just naturally wrote it differently. Because of this it was not possible to piece together and he just wound up writing something new from scratch.

 

What I wound up doing was letting him eat and run around and then we curled up and read a little of the Kane book and I just let him do it his way. What he came up with after this was much better than his first try. He has gone from essentially not being able to write to actually writing, which is really excellent. But he still sometimes gets bogged down and confused by sequential instruction. Things that help other kids sometimes confuse him.

 

Anyhow thanks for your suggestions and for asking questions about this. Teaching writing is so difficult! It's really awesome to have support. And big thanks to Susan for all of your help.

 

I'll go post what he came up with on the writing thread.

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Would those of you that have finished the first Literary Criticism report be alright with posting your dc's analysis in the WWS examples at the writing thread? I am TRYING to understand all of this, but perhaps seeing an example done correctly would be helpful. I am still in a place where we wrote our summary out and then went back and interjected in bits of analysis along the way. I am assuming that isn't right, but I can't seem to understand everyone's replies above. Sorry! I just need to see samples of it done correctly to understand.

 

I posted my son's for you. I hope the process is obvious through what he wrote and how I structured my post. Let me know over there if I can clarify anything.

 

...he just wound up writing something new from scratch.

 

...What he came up with after this was much better than his first try.

 

Yay! I look forward to reading it!

 

But he still sometimes gets bogged down and confused by sequential instruction. Things that help other kids sometimes confuse him.

 

I myself have to work really hard at this, too. Even though this Step three issue is now clarified, I still have to think through it all very carefully. Don't even ask me how much time I spent yesterday and today typing up posts and working with my son who, once a step is clarified, whips right through it. :lol:

 

Teaching writing is so difficult!

 

I hear you. It's a very involved process, and I wish I'd learned writing skills myself a long time ago!

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Instructor Manual, p. 327, second paragraph down, instructor instructions.

 

The bottom of this paragraph tells the instructor to tell the student to write two sentences about Madame Loisel as protagonist. Shouldn't the student be writing about her antagonist side here? Just checking, because I want to make sure we are doing this one correctly.

 

Thanks.

 

ETA: I figured out it must be antagonist.

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Is there a placement document for differentiating level 1 and level 2 of WWS?

 

Thank you.

 

Lee in New England

 

Level 2 of WWS isn't written yet as far as I know, so there wouldn't be a placement document. If you're interested in starting, I'd start with what's available now and go with it. I'm using it with an 11 yo and with what I find in it, I'd have no trouble using it with an older student either.

 

We were pretty well on track but wound up having a lot of illnesses this winter and spring and missing a week here, a week there. So we'll be using level 1 longer than anticipated but I feel fine about that...and normally, with another curriculum, I'm the type that would be worried. It's just so worthwhile, no matter what the age, so I don't feel any anxiety about when WWS2 will be out either. :)

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Level 2 of WWS isn't written yet as far as I know,

 

I thought I saw it at a convention last month, and now I find out it doesn't exist. How embarrassing. . .

 

Thank you for your suggestions re level 1.

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Well, it is a challenge. My kids do NaNoWriMo young writers program and set their own goals. They have made their goals 2 years in a row. Ds wrote 30,000 words last November and he is a SLOW writer. That means he spent 4-5 hours/day on top of his regular school work. However, we enjoy it so much that ds and I are doing camp NaNoWriMo right now and we're both trying for 50,000 words this month while there is no school :).

 

It is addictive!

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Has this been published yet?

 

SWB's new grammar program for 5th grade and up, Advanced Language Lessons.

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Has this been published yet?

 

Sister, you need to read this thread. The answer to your question is kind of buried, but regulars here in the Hive pretty much all know the answer and so the conversations have died down.

 

Blessings,

Lucinda

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Have you read SWB's blog recently? According to her entry on 06/26, WWS2's beta testing phase is currently on the front burner. Yahoo!!! I'm sure there are others that are just as happy as i am to learn this.

 

I just had to let out a big whoop-whoop when I read it this afternoon.

 

:party::party:

 

Blessings,

Lucinda

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Is there an available concise list of the changes & corrections discussed here?

 

I'm interested in this as well. Maybe we need to ask in a new thread...?

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I also have questions about placement. My dc are going into 11th, 6th, and 4th gr.

 

My 11th grader goes to PS and teachers have always gushed about her writing, saying it's a breath of fresh air to read such well-organized thoughts. Yet, she only scored average on yearly testing. I've been wondering if WWS would be too young for her. Based on her writing that I've read, I suspect there is much in it that wasn't taught or was skimmed over in PS. What do you think? Would a higher level product from IEW be more appropriate?

 

My 6th & 4th graders are not at grade level in language arts subjects (no learning disabilities, though). Time was lost due to illness. In the original post, SWB, you mention that a child should be at 5th gr. level to do WWS. I feel panicked about being behind, but now that I can fully devote my time to school, I have to ramp things up a lot to get them on track.

 

My 6th grader has only ever written a paragraph at a time for school. I've seen papers he's written for play that are longer, but lack any organization & structure. He is at the beginning of FLL 4, doubling or tripling up on lessons whenever possible. Afterwards, he'll do the ALL sample and then R&S 6. He is in WWE 2, but I would continue that as a separate strand of learning (just as some continue with WWE 3 or 4 alongside WWS). One way or another, I have to bump up his writing dramatically this year to get him caught up. My original plan was to do WTM-style content subject writing with R&S writing lessons & Killgallon as time allows. What do you think about him jumping into WWS? I'd slow it down, even to half-pace, if needed. What about doing WWS half-pace while using my original plan in the weeks in between? Am I jumping the gun? I think, but am not positive, he could do it (with much hand-holding, and as long as he moves forward quickly in grammar).

 

My 4th grader is in the same boat as my 6th grader. He's only ever written a paragraph at a time for school and is in WWE 2 & FLL 3. My plan for him this year is much like my original plan for my 6th grader: writing lessons from R&S and Killgallon (as time allows) applied to WTM content subject writing. Is there anything else you suggest I do to get this child caught up and well prepared?

 

Any suggestions are much appreciated. :bigear:

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Annabel Lee,

 

You have time to get caught up! Don't panic yet. :)

 

Here's what you need to know about WWS in order to plan: It is a full pre-rhetoric course, meaning that it teaches all of the basic organization, research skills, and composition skills that a student needs before going into a full-fledged persuasive writing course. In its final form, it will be three core years plus an optional fourth year for students who need a little more practice. Students who finish Levels 1-3 will be fully equipped to go into rhetoric.

 

Here's the other thing you need to know: Many students graduate high school without studying any rhetoric whatsoever.

 

Ideally (and take "ideally" literally--this is in a perfect world), a student would finish WWS by the end of eighth grade and have a full four years to study rhetoric. However, as a college composition teacher I can tell you that if one of my freshmen came into that first college composition class having ONLY completed the WWS core levels 1-3, that student would be perfectly well prepared to do freshman comp. Not knocking my socks off with brilliance, but completely capable of fulfilling the course requirements.

 

With that background:

 

Your rising 11th grade student may or may not need a little more practice in basic skills. If you email my executive assistant Pattie Worth (executiveassistant AT welltrainedmind.com) and ask for the first twenty weeks of WWS1, she will send them along--that should give you some idea of whether or not WWS is too elementary for her. You could skim through WWS1 in the first semester of the 11th grade year and then do WWS2 the second semester (it is now in beta testing, so you could become a beta tester) and then use the IEW rhetoric course or else the New Oxford Guide to Writing for 12th grade.

 

Or you could use the IEW rhetoric course for 11th grade and the New Oxford Guide for 12th. Either way, she'll get some rhetoric skills under her belt before graduating.

 

Your 6th grader is fine. It sounds as though he's still struggling. I would keep on using WWE for one more year, do WWS 1-3 in grades 7-10, and that still gives you two full years for rhetoric study. However, if you get those first 20 weeks of WWS1, that should give you some idea of whether he could go directly into it this year or not. Just remember that you can take one more year to prepare and still not be "behind."

 

Rising 4th grade student: Aim to begin WWS in 5th or 6th grade. As you can see, doing it in 6th grade still gives you *plenty* of time to move on to rhetoric in high school.

 

Hope that helps,

 

SWB

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In its final form, it will be three core years plus an optional fourth year for students who need a little more practice. Students who finish Levels 1-3 will be fully equipped to go into rhetoric.

 

Oh, that is good news, indeed. That gives us some more breathing room.

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As I've gotten deeper and deeper into the construction of the writing process, I've realized that 1) the basic pre-rhetoric skills CAN be covered in three years, and 2) lots of students need a little more flexibility and time.

 

I'm going to do a sticky about this shortly, but WWE4 is pretty much an optional year as well. It's increasingly clear, as students go through the progression, that by the end of WWE3 most of them are ready to go on to actual composition. WWE4 is a good option for kids who still need practice, or who don't yet have the maturity to go on to a middle-school program.

 

SWB

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Annabel Lee,

 

You have time to get caught up! Don't panic yet. :)

 

Here's what you need to know about WWS in order to plan: It is a full pre-rhetoric course, meaning that it teaches all of the basic organization, research skills, and composition skills that a student needs before going into a full-fledged persuasive writing course. In its final form, it will be three core years plus an optional fourth year for students who need a little more practice. Students who finish Levels 1-3 will be fully equipped to go into rhetoric.

 

Here's the other thing you need to know: Many students graduate high school without studying any rhetoric whatsoever.

 

Ideally (and take "ideally" literally--this is in a perfect world), a student would finish WWS by the end of eighth grade and have a full four years to study rhetoric. However, as a college composition teacher I can tell you that if one of my freshmen came into that first college composition class having ONLY completed the WWS core levels 1-3, that student would be perfectly well prepared to do freshman comp. Not knocking my socks off with brilliance, but completely capable of fulfilling the course requirements.

 

With that background:

 

Your rising 11th grade student may or may not need a little more practice in basic skills. If you email my executive assistant Pattie Worth (executiveassistant AT welltrainedmind.com) and ask for the first twenty weeks of WWS1, she will send them along--that should give you some idea of whether or not WWS is too elementary for her. You could skim through WWS1 in the first semester of the 11th grade year and then do WWS2 the second semester (it is now in beta testing, so you could become a beta tester) and then use the IEW rhetoric course or else the New Oxford Guide to Writing for 12th grade.

 

Or you could use the IEW rhetoric course for 11th grade and the New Oxford Guide for 12th. Either way, she'll get some rhetoric skills under her belt before graduating.

 

Your 6th grader is fine. It sounds as though he's still struggling. I would keep on using WWE for one more year, do WWS 1-3 in grades 7-10, and that still gives you two full years for rhetoric study. However, if you get those first 20 weeks of WWS1, that should give you some idea of whether he could go directly into it this year or not. Just remember that you can take one more year to prepare and still not be "behind."

 

Rising 4th grade student: Aim to begin WWS in 5th or 6th grade. As you can see, doing it in 6th grade still gives you *plenty* of time to move on to rhetoric in high school.

 

Hope that helps,

 

SWB

 

Susan,

That does help tremendously, thank you. I read your response aloud to my older son (the 6th grader) and I think hearing it from you - an author, university prof., homeschooler, homeschool grad. - really put him at ease. His face lit up a little hearing that you said "don't panic, you have time". I think he'll start the year with renewed confidence now. :) I can't thank you enough for that.

 

I actually own WWS1 :blushing:, but was still very unsure of which kid(s) to start on it and when. I read through most of WWS but I'll go over it again with your points in mind. I guess it won't hurt anything if I try WWS with my 6th grader at some time before the end of this school year and discover that he still needs more preparation.

 

Thanks again!

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My oldest child has Aspergers. He is 15. He will be 16 in January. He struggles with writing both physically and mentally. He is finally over his fears of pencils. He started Writing with Skill this last school year. He is dedicated to getting it done this year. It works well for him! I am curious if there are any suggestions for what to add to this program to make a full English 9 course on his transcript.

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If I do WWS in 5th do I also do the recommended dictation twice a week from TWTM? And how about the stuff recommened in the reading, the narrations and reports on books they read? Does WWS replace it? I know I will still have her read and question or evaluate her, but do I add the narrations ?

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If I do WWS in 5th do I also do the recommended dictation twice a week from TWTM? And how about the stuff recommened in the reading, the narrations and reports on books they read? Does WWS replace it? I know I will still have her read and question or evaluate her, but do I add the narrations ?

 

WWS replaces those suggestions. If your student can do WWS, likely he/she won't need to carry on with dictations. Also, narration is taught at the beginning of WWS, so the student can do more advanced paragraph work later in WWS.

 

However, if you can fit it in, you can use the WWS skills to do history/literature/science writing when studying those topics. For example, if you do WWS four days a week, you could do one content writing assignment on the fifth day.

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We've just received our WWS books and I am so excited. I just never felt good with Writing Strands, and WWE didn't seem to fit my natural writer son. This feels like it will be just right. I have a question, though. It looks like this curriculum does a great job with teaching outlining skills, which I was going to try to have my son do through his history reading, but I would prefer doing it through WWS. Will the coverage of outlining skills be sufficient in WWS? Can I let go of doing it with his history reading, then? Advice appreciated. Thanks!

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I have a question, though. It looks like this curriculum does a great job with teaching outlining skills, which I was going to try to have my son do through his history reading, but I would prefer doing it through WWS. Will the coverage of outlining skills be sufficient in WWS? Can I let go of doing it with his history reading, then? Advice appreciated. Thanks!

 

We stopped outlining in history until we were about halfway through WWS. I think we will now start outlining in history again to see how the skills are transferring to situations with less hand holding. We won't be outlining in history every day, though.

 

This is just our approach. I'm sure there are others. :)

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i have just gone back university after almost 18 yrs and doing ba in english. would you recommend oxford guide writing as refresher to help me with my writing skills?

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Susan,

 

My ds and I are beta testing WWS2, and I would love some advice from board members on his compositions. Last year many of us posted WWS1 compositions on the writing board, but I was uncertain if that would be appropriate for WWS2 while being beta tested. I would assume that discussing the program would not be appropriate because it is still under construction, but thought that perhaps getting advice on whether a composition meets the rubric would be ok. I would also love to see what other kids are writing each week as it highlights my own son's strengths and weaknesses. Please advise.

 

Thanks,

 

Ruth in NZ

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In its final form, it will be three core years plus an optional fourth year for students who need a little more practice. Students who finish Levels 1-3 will be fully equipped to go into rhetoric.

 

...if one of my freshmen came into that first college composition class having ONLY completed the WWS core levels 1-3, that student would be perfectly well prepared to do freshman comp. Not knocking my socks off with brilliance, but completely capable of fulfilling the course requirements.

 

 

As I've gotten deeper and deeper into the construction of the writing process, I've realized that 1) the basic pre-rhetoric skills CAN be covered in three years, and 2) lots of students need a little more flexibility and time.

 

I don't know how I missed reading this info., but this provides relief for me, too! Thank you.

 

I see a theme here. WWE has three core years with an optional fourth, WWS will have the same, and it seems that ALL will have sort of the same idea - getting all that grammar into four years instead of six or eight. Very efficient. Flexible or efficient - for the parent to pace out. Very clever. Good stuff.

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What is the current ETA for publication of WWS2? Thanks!

 

:bigear::lurk5::bigear:

Another voice asking this question :001_smile:

Do we have a timeframe yet?

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Publication [of WWS2] will be in the spring/summer of 2013. If you'd like to begin it before then, you can request to participate in the beta testing phase (going on now). The contact is executiveassistant AT welltrainedmind.com.

 

Moderator

 

Here is the thread where the WWS2 publication date is posted.

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I would love to see a TOC for WWS 2 so I know what it is covering. Is there a link somewhere or can someone post it?

 

:bigear:

Bump

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I would love to see a TOC for WWS 2 so I know what it is covering. Is there a link somewhere or can someone post it?

 

Previously in this thread (I'm not searching, lol) SWB posted a link to the Scope and Sequence for all of WWS, if that helps.

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So glad I found this thread. As a former English teacher and a current homeschooler I get asked so many questions. I'm just going to send them here! Great info. Great details. Very helpful.

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I hope that this is the right spot for this post. The abbreviations for the states given in Week 28, Day 2, Step 3 do not match the abbreviations in my 7th edition MLA Handbook. The student instructions specifically say to not use the postal two-letter abbreviations, but that those are the abbreviations given in my MLA handbook.

 

Given that WWS is teaching MLA style, I am now confused! Perhaps MLA has made a change after my printing of WWS, or perhaps I have misunderstood something. Any help would be appreciated. Thanks.

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The lessons are intentionally of different lengths, so that often a difficult assignment is followed by an easy one. They range from 20 to 45 minutes (ideally), although as you mention, mileage varies.

 

I wouldn't have a middle-grade student work for more than 45 minutes without breaking the lesson into two and finishing it the next day, and for many fifth and some sixth graders, 30 minutes of concentrated work is enough. An older student can work for longer periods.

 

SWB

 

Is all of the approx 30 minute teacher intensive? Or will it be more of me spending say 10-15 minutes with them and the rest will be them them working on finishing the assignment? I'm looking at having various students in WWE4, WWS1 and 2 or two in WWS1. I haven't decided yet. Thank you.

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I THINK that both of these questions are asking for a scope and sequence. If not, let me know. :-)

 

I'm adding here a link to a PDF of the topics that I intend to cover in Levels 1-4. In addition, the series will cover outlining (up to 3 levels) and rewriting of sentences to improve style, as in the current WWS1; each level also asks the student to research and write independently on self-chosen topics. (This is at the end of WWS1, which I know you don't have yet--the full PDF is having the final changes made to it. I'll keep you posted on availability.)

 

I'm sure you'll have questions about the link, so post away.

 

http://www.welltrainedmind.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/Topoi-expanded.pdf

 

 

Was the updated PDF ever posted? I can't find it.

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