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Resources for teaching writing for high school?

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What resources do you use to teach writing for high school?

 

If someone took away all of those resources except one, which one would you want to be left holding?

 

What one practice do you feel has contributed to your student's success as a writer?

 

If you could do it all over again, would you do anything differently? If so, what?

 

What one skill has been the most difficult for your student to master?

 

Thank you for humoring me.:tongue_smilie:

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What resources do you use to teach writing for high school?

I must hang my head in shame and admit that we do not really use resources and do no systematic training. DD has read through Strunk&White The Elements of Style and The Lively Art of Writing, but we do not do the exercises that go with it.

She writes, I read through her work, we discuss, she revises. She goes "by feel".

 

If someone took away all of those resources except one, which one would you want to be left holding?

a dictionary

 

What one practice do you feel has contributed to your student's success as a writer?

I have a hard time judging success in writing - but I am told that DD writes rather well. I attribute this solely and entirely to voracious reading of all manner of texts - fiction, non-fiction, Great books, junk, magazines, textbooks, just a variety of fields and styles.

I have not done anything to TEACH her writing - she has learned to write by herself. She does a lot of creative writing (which I never get to see).

If you could do it all over again, would you do anything differently? If so, what?

No there yet. Ask me in a couple of years.

 

What one skill has been the most difficult for your student to master?

The hardest for DD to master is the 25 minute persuasive essay on a stipulated topic that is required fro the SAT and ACT. We will have to do some major practice for that. She writes well if it is a topic that interests her and that she has given thought, and does not need many revisions. If the topic is something she is not interested in and forced to write a timed essay on, she is not doing her best writing.

 

Sorry, that was not very helpful, was it?

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I must hang my head in shame and admit that we do not really use resources and do no systematic training. DD has read through Strunk&White The Elements of Style and The Lively Art of Writing, but we do not do the exercises that go with it.

She writes, I read through her work, we discuss, she revises. She goes "by feel".

 

a dictionary

 

I have a hard time judging success in writing - but I am told that DD writes rather well. I attribute this solely and entirely to voracious reading of all manner of texts - fiction, non-fiction, Great books, junk, magazines, textbooks, just a variety of fields and styles.

I have not done anything to TEACH her writing - she has learned to write by herself. She does a lot of creative writing (which I never get to see).

No there yet. Ask me in a couple of years.

 

The hardest for DD to master is the 25 minute persuasive essay on a stipulated topic that is required fro the SAT and ACT. We will have to do some major practice for that. She writes well if it is a topic that interests her and that she has given thought, and does not need many revisions. If the topic is something she is not interested in and forced to write a timed essay on, she is not doing her best writing.

 

Sorry, that was not very helpful, was it?

 

It is helpful and my youngest faces the same issue when it comes to writing on a topic of little interest. I have a strong aversion to teaching to a test, but that would be academic suicide to not teach ds to deal effectively with SAT and ACT questions.

 

Regentrude, unlike you, I have lots of writing resources, but am haunted by my lack of a "plan," especially as we move towards high school. My son and I talk endlessly about good writing, but do too little of it, by my expectations. My teaching process is so...so...organic... that of course I worry about gaps.

 

Perhaps instead of asking about resources, I should be asking about expectations. What do you expect an academically competent 9th grade student to be able to write? 10th grade and so on?

 

ETA: 1TOGO, thank you for pm. I am pondering it.

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What do you expect an academically competent 9th grade student to be able to write? 10th grade and so on?

 

 

I do not have grade specific expectations. I expect a high school student to have mastered spelling, grammar and semantics and to produce correct English sentences without mistakes in these departments. These things should be accomplished by the end of Middle school.

I see high school as the time to focus on content organization, developing a style that is varied and pleasant to read, writing with clear logic, delving deeper into literary analysis and writing about more difficult topics.

So, looking at a grade progression, I would expect increasing complexity of argument, increasing elegance in style, increasing difficulty of issue discussed, and increasing length of paper over the years.

 

I just posted DD's essay on the Highschool writing board. That's the kind of writing I expect from her, and we work on improving flow, logic, organization.

We find it easiest to do this by working with a specific text; we do not do "exercises".

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What resources do you use to teach writing for high school?

 

I used a variety at different times; Classical Writing, Write Shop, IEW Advanced Communications skills, and the first Lost Tools of Writing. Robert Einarsson's worktext.

If someone took away all of those resources except one, which one would you want to be left holding?

 

Classical Writing.

 

What one practice do you feel has contributed to your student's success as a writer?

 

The CW method of interweaving theory, analysis, and imitation plus our own applications/adaptations of writing projects to other subjects.

 

If you could do it all over again, would you do anything differently? If so, what?

 

Find a time warp so that ds could have worked through more of the CW books before he graduated?

 

What one skill has been the most difficult for your student to master?

 

Narrative writing; once he'd grasped the nuances of narrative his writing took off. There was a time when he was the proverbial pencil-allergic boy who could never get his thoughts onto paper.

 

Thank you for humoring me.:tongue_smilie:

 

Regarding expectations; I generally tried to add to the length and complexity of writing assignments each semester. My son never did well using the writing prompts on things like the ACT/SAT even though we did Write Shop timed essays regularly. No matter what we did, there was always a huge disconnect between his writing on substantive topics and the canned silly things like "Should soda vending machines be banned on high school campuses?"

 

My favorite "reality check" was the section from the University of Chicago website on college writing.

 

ETA: Link for the UC writing guide; there are other great pages in this section as well

http://writing-program.uchicago.edu/resources/collegewriting/index.htm

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Martha -

Thanks for the U of C link. I am trying to get dd to develop these skills, even if it is just over the course of a paragraph. We are using LAW this semester, this link should help get us thru next semester.

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Classical Composition. it is similar to Classical Writing but without all the extras of vocabulary, grammar,etc..

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Martha -

Thanks for the U of C link. I am trying to get dd to develop these skills, even if it is just over the course of a paragraph. We are using LAW this semester, this link should help get us thru next semester.

 

You're welcome! Someone posted it here several years ago, and it's been one of the most useful websites I've used. I wish I could remember who posted the link originally, so I could give them the credit. :)

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What resources do you use to teach writing for high school?

 

If someone took away all of those resources except one, which one would you want to be left holding?

 

What one practice do you feel has contributed to your student's success as a writer?

 

If you could do it all over again, would you do anything differently? If so, what?

 

What one skill has been the most difficult for your student to master?

 

Thank you for humoring me.:tongue_smilie:

 

I don't really rely on textbook too much, but since our conversation, I have been researching options. :tongue_smilie:

 

I am actually thinking about ordering this one: http://www.amazon.com/Little-Red-Writing-Book/dp/1582975213/ref=pd_sim_b4

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Lisa - I, too, am over-run by writing curriculums. And in the end, we haven't really done any of them, not from beginning to end. The whole thing feels so disorganized because anything that isn't attacked sequentially tends to feel like that. It feels organic because you are dealing with an organic organism. Two, actually - yourself and your son. In the end, I wound up doing a little of this and a little of that and winding up with three who can write, perhaps not well, but at least adequately for where they are going. The oldest learned to write in public school. This summer, he just produced a 143 page paper and lots of very amusing emails describing his adventures. The middle one, the one who cried if I asked him to write a sentence in 5th grade, the one who had such a bad time learning his letters that in second grade I taught him cursive, has been getting As and Bs on his college papers. The youngest wrote a spectacular set of emails from Japan last year, can write a reasonable scientific report, and can make a reasonable stab at writing a paper proving something for history or literature. All with a horrible mishmash of curriculums. Last year (10th for the youngest), I decided that that organic process, as you called it, was actually a rather efficient way of feeding my children the information and practice they needed at the time they needed it, and that I needn't feel guilty about all the money I spent of writing books because they were necessary for me. *I* needed to learn how to write in order to be able to teach writing. Writing turned out to be one of those things that my children had to learn from me, not from a curriculum. The three most useful were Writing Strands, my husband's demos of a 5 paragraph paper (something he learned from Mr. Reynolds in high school - I took the same class and didn't learn anything at all), and the Schaffer curriculum. Writing Strands was the most useful in the long run, and the Schaffer curriculum was the most useful most recently. There is no way my children, any of them, are going to write a good SAT paper. The most I hoped for was for them not to score so badly that it dragged their composite score down too far. That was true for the first two and I suspect it will be true of the third as well. Last I checked, the Schaffer curriculum was no longer for sale, but if you google it, directions show up (along with all the good and bad criticisms). It is a very stilted way of organizing a paper but for my son, who was having trouble stating the obvious enough to tie his facts together, it was very helpful.

Anyway, I think perhaps you aren't doing as badly as you think you are.

Nan

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What resources do you use to teach writing for high school?

 

I have never seemed to find any writing program for high school, so I've cobbled bits and pieces of lots of things together -- where ever I find an idea that helps. Which mostly makes me feel strongly we never did *enough* writing, and so Writing always seemed haphazardly tacked on as an after thought rather than a conscious and concerted pursuit. Sigh. Things from which I have gleaned tidbits:

 

- Window to the World -- chapter on writing a literary essay

- Stack The Deck (the gr. 10-12 book in that series) -- coverage of various types of writing

- Put That in Writing 1 -- just a few of the chapters on various types of writing not covered elsewhere

- Wordsmith Craftsman -- guides the student into taking ownership of own writing and how to tackle a writing assignment

- Jensen's Format Writing -- step-by-step break down of how to write

- WriteSource: Writer's Inc -- resource for any aspect of writing, but esp. on the format for citing sources

- OWL at Purdue website -- ideas of aspects of writing to cover

- 8FillTheHeart (WTM poster!) -- weekly practice of timed essays and essay prompts from online sites

- Chortling Bard -- practice editing/revising your work

- IEW -- idea of keyword outline; breaking the work into bite-size pieces and doing a little each day (or at several times during the day)

- Nan in Mass (WTM poster!) -- specific tip on having a sentence of *commentary* on each specific example in the paragraph to show HOW the example supports your contention (see here)

- Marcia Somerville (Writing Aids author) homeschool convention session on writing -- write out very specific expectations for the assignment and when each is due; make it a checklist that the student must check off and hand it at the same time they hand in each stage of the assignment

- tidbits of even more things in this past post of mine

 

 

If someone took away all of those resources except one, which one would you want to be left holding?

What one practice do you feel has contributed to your student's success as a writer?

 

 

Our one most helpful thing re: writing comes from 8FillTheHeart (formerly Momof7 back then ;) ). We would practice a weekly timed essay from a scripted prompt. All 3 of us (starting DSs in gr. 8 and 9 -- AND myself) did it, and then critiqued each other's essays. (95% of the time BOTH DSs essays are way better than mine -- LOL! -- I get too wordy and detailed and then have to scramble to finish.)

 

We use past SAT essay prompts from here (scroll down about 1/4 to 1/3 way down the page). 8FillTheHeart originally linked us a big page of essay prompts; I think it was either this one or this one. (And this one looks helpful as practice for college admission essay writing)

 

We worked our way up slowly from 10 minutes to 25 minutes; from the expectation of 1 complete paragraph to as close to a 5-paragraph essay as possible. I also set a single expectation for each new "level" once we could complete the previous "level's" task. We stuck with a once-a-week essay at that level until we were very proficient at it -- usually about 12-18 weeks. I am re-posting our "levels" from a previous post below.

 

What did this achieve for us?

- Regularly HAD to write so it eventually stopped feeling like torture to them.

- Not graded, which took off the stress.

- Since we had to share what we wrote, they put legit effort into it.

- Since we timed all of them, eventually that took the stress out of being timed.

- Focus on one aspect of writing per "level" helped them hone each skill.

 

 

If you could do it all over again, would you do anything differently? If so, what?

 

 

Require much more writing! Then...

Be FAR more patient.

Be FAR more consistent and persistent.

Possibly outsource writing instruction??

 

(I am a natural writer, which makes it virtually impossible to explain how to write, especially to one DS with NO interest in writing, and another with learning disabilities in the areas of writing and spelling coupled with a real dislike of writing. Ug.)

 

 

What one skill has been the most difficult for your student to master?

 

DS #1 -- so concise it's nigh on impossible to get him to give you ENOUGH detail to get more than a 1-2 page paper out of him. Also, NOT at all interested in creative writing.

DS #2 -- overcoming learning disability -- get his fabulous thoughts, details and vocabulary out of his brain and physically onto paper.

 

At this point, we have launched DS#1, who seems to be doing adequately in his Writing 101 class at the community college. He has one of the few teachers who is strict, and DS has said, "While I don't enjoy the Writing class, my writing teacher is really *good* for me." The teacher is requiring from DS what I just couldn't seem to. However, DS did say he was one of only 7 students in the class who got a "B" on the first essay (everyone else had a grade below that), and more importantly, he felt he really understood from the teacher's comments HOW to improve on the next one -- yea! Success!

 

Jury is WAY out on DS#2. This is his senior year. We will really be focusing on daily output, even if it is just a paragraph, plus regularly editing/revising his own work. Plus work on spelling. I really encouraged seeking out a tutor, but he is not willing, so... Sometimes you just have to let go and realize they will have things they are determined to learn the hard way on their own later in life... On the other hand, this kid is a FABULOUS debater, so at least he has down SOME of those rhetoric skills! ;)

 

Hope that helps! Warmest regards, Lori D.

 

 

 

Level A

- 10 minutes

- 1 paragraph at least 5 sentences long

- with an introductory sentence which introduces the topic

- at least 3 "body" sentences which support the topic sentence/contention with at least 1 specific example

- and a solid concluding sentence ("clincher")

 

 

Level B

- 15 minutes

- a longer paragraph, at least 6-8 sentences long, or 2 paragraphs

- with a "hook" in the introductory sentence

- a topic sentence/contention (can be in the same sentence with the "hook")

- the body sentences all support the topic sentence with at least 1 specific example

- and a solid concluding sentence ("clincher")

 

 

Level C

- 20 minutes

- 3 paragraphs

- intro paragraph can be short -- 1-2 sentences -- still must have a hook and topic sentence/contention

- body paragraph sentences must all support the topic sentence/contention, and must have at least 2 specific examples all supporting the contention

- and a solid concluding sentence ("clincher")

 

 

Level D

same as C above, but now must add an additional "extra" in the concluding paragraph, not just a restatement of the opening sentences -- add a thought, "reason why", "what this leads to" -- this is something out of the student's own thoughts and reasoning

 

 

 

Level E

- 25 minutes

- 3 to 5 paragraphs

- intro paragraph can be short -- 1-2 sentences -- still must have a hook and topic sentence/contention

- body paragraphs must have 3 specific examples which all support the topic sentence/contention, AND must include a sentence for each example which explains WHY the example proves or supports the topic sentence/contention

- concluding paragraph which sums up the essay, plus adds a little "extra" from the students own thoughts

 

 

 

Level F

like E above, but must also finish 2-4 minutes before the time is up in order to quickly proof the essay for typos, capitalization, punctuation, run-on sentences, forgotten word, etc.

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I think the only thing truly needed to teach writing is to have a *reader* who digs in and gives feedback. Whether my kids were advanced or behind, public schooled or homeschooled, I think this was the most valuable "resource."

 

After that, I think it depends a lot on the particular student. My two youngest were direct opposite writers --

 

  • dd couldn't think of what to write, wanted to be perfect, didn't write enough, wants only facts & not her own thoughts.

 

  • ds can think of things to write instantly, tells me no one is perfect so why worry about it, prefers to change facts to suit his mood.

I'd use materials you want to use and wait to see if your individual child needs some special help in a particular area -- then research that.

 

Julie

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Time. Time is the most difficult thing to come by.

Self-control is a close second. It's hard to teach kids to do the work they know they need to do, especially when they feel the time crunch.

 

Background: Dd - Honors Comp Class. Local research @ the mall to support or refute one of Gladwell's essays.

 

It took a chunk of time simply to fix this sentence. It's not a bad sentence to start with, but the prof spent an entire class on nominalization/passive voice. As the parent, I knew to hold her to task until she generated a better verb. She didn't like the sentence but didn't want to work to fix it.

 

For example, in the center of Neiman Marcus, within visual range of the doorway, there is a large abstract sculpture, bearing a strong resemblance to a slightly melted St. Louis Arch, flanked on either side by two escalators.

 

She just couldn't seem to figure out how to fix it without either losing the rhythm or losing the escalators. "Stands" was the verb she chose. She knew she had a problem, but she didn't have the knee-jerk answer to it. We both knew she had work to do, but she needed a nudge. Of course, I was there; I'm the official nudger. :001_smile:

 

Finally! An answer: an absolute.

 

Bearing a strong resemblance to a slumped and somewhat melted St. Louis Arch, an abstract mega-sculpture stands in the center of Neiman Marcus, two escalators flanking it on either side.

 

That is hard work. You have to unravel the propositions, list them, rearrange them, read the sentence aloud, and often try again. The entire time, you just want to say, "Bah! Good enough. Move on." But you know you shouldn't.

 

Editing takes time. And it's not the emotional process they expect; it's actually much more pragmatic. It feels more work-like than euphoric. More like scrubbing the tub than shopping for throw-pillows.

 

Peace,

Janice

 

Enjoy your little people

Enjoy your journey

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Just a quick note here to let you all know that we are out the door for a four-day camping trip. The only school work that is going with me is a few writing resources and notes from your posts. I appreciate the time everyone has taken to respond and have a few more questions to ask when I get back.

 

Thank you all for being a great source of information and support.:grouphug:

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Editing takes time. And it's not the emotional process they expect; it's actually much more pragmatic. It feels more work-like than euphoric. More like scrubbing the tub than shopping for throw-pillows.

 

 

As creative writer, I so dislike editing. I love your shopping analogy. I even bought a special hat to wear while I edit.

 

 

I love this thread! I'll share where we are this week with my reluctant writer. Ds wrote a one paragraph argument. Combing with current events, he chose to write about the stupid (his words) business decision Netflix made this week. My guideline was it had to be 4-5 sentences, nothing major.

 

Because he got SOMETHING down on paper, we can now edit. I numbered the sentences and wrote comments about each one. In those four sentences I found errors that will give us a great lesson today. He will have to use a thesaurus, a grammar guide, and a sentence skill sheet we've been using. All of this will take more time than writing the paragraph itself. I wrote my comments in red and highlighted the references sources he will have to use. I have visions of Nan in my head about taking the time to walk through a process. I feel like I'm breaking this down to the microscopic level, and I want to pull my hair out. It's four sentences!!!! But these are the baby steps, right? I'm glad he didn't turn in an essay, because it would take us weeks to correct.

 

Many of you that posted in this thread have helped me over the years to see the importance of these kinds of steps. Thank you!

 

If I could only have one book, it would be Corbett's Classical Rhetoric. I adore the book. I don't think it's the book for everyone, though, and I own more than my share of books on writing. I recently went through and outlined a plan for using what I already own for teaching writing through high school. I don't plan to buy another "program". I might buy a book or two, but not an expensive program.

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It is helpful and my youngest faces the same issue when it comes to writing on a topic of little interest. I have a strong aversion to teaching to a test, but that would be academic suicide to not teach ds to deal effectively with SAT and ACT questions.

 

Regentrude, unlike you, I have lots of writing resources, but am haunted by my lack of a "plan," especially as we move towards high school. My son and I talk endlessly about good writing, but do too little of it, by my expectations. My teaching process is so...so...organic... that of course I worry about gaps.

 

Perhaps instead of asking about resources, I should be asking about expectations. What do you expect an academically competent 9th grade student to be able to write? 10th grade and so on?

 

ETA: 1TOGO, thank you for pm. I am pondering it.

 

One aspect of using classical methods for teaching language arts is that (IMO) you don't really have to worry about teaching to the test so long as you're reasonably diligent about your work. That was the advice I was given by more experienced moms. It has been my son's experience and it's also been true for the co-op students I've worked with. That's anecdotal, though, so I won't try to offer a 100% guarantee. :D

 

It's pretty much the norm to feel as if writing instruction is in a chaotic state as you approach high school. There's a lot going on with children developmentally, and sometimes it's tempting to think the worst, but with time, patience, and diligent work things usually work out. Also, don't be intimidated by reading retrospective posts about what worked for other people. Your path may be different, and, believe me, what looks orderly, logical, and sensible in retrospect seems anything but that while you're working through it.

 

I think it's important to have a goal in mind--for me it was the UC page for composition and TWEM for literature, but I'd have panicked if I'd tried to evaluate what we were actually doing in 8th or 9th grade based on those things. I did use them to evaluate other resources and weed out things that either were not a good fit for us or which didn't seem like they'd help us reach our goals.

 

For example, a lot of the things on the list in my previous post were chosen in response to particular situations. Write Shop II was primarily for co-op classes; we worked through it fairly quickly on our own time as did several other families so that we'd have a common ground for general co-op writing. We used the IEW material to beef up study skills and notetaking. I had ds work through Lost Tools because he needed to reinforce his invention skills and with MIL living with us and needing lots of help at that time I needed something structured. Classical Writing always formed the core, but I did not use it exclusively. If we needed to do something else for a specific reason, I'd lay it aside for awhile. We were able to do this because ds was/is able to progress quickly in language arts/humanities. Math is another story.

 

ETA: Another post above reminded me of Corbett's text. It's a good reference point for trivium studies for those who want to use an explicitly classical educational model. The D'Angelo book Composition in the Classical Tradition is another good reference if you're using the progym.

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Regentrude,

 

I realize you haven't asked, but I thought I would offer up some advice.

Yes, your daughter writes well. She uses appositives and adverb clauses well for her age. Bravo!

 

I would revisit Strunk & White. It has much to offer her. Take a look at this paragraph.

 

Gold in Beowulf is often used as a symbol for royalty. For example, the mead hall, a key setting throughout all of Beowulf, is first introduced by these words: “They marched in step, hurrying on till the timbered hall rose before them, radiant with gold.” (307-310) Historically, mead halls were a home for the king and his retainers. They were the central point of the kingdom. The first time this location is introduced to the audience, it is immediately associated with gold. Heorot, the mead hall in Beowulf, is referred to simply as the “gold-hall” multiple times throughout the text, often in times of great danger or worry. When King Hrothgar’s queen comes to a banquet, she is first described as being “adorned in her gold” (614). Later in the feast, she is shown to be wearing “her golden crown”. By specifically referring to the gold the queen’s own, it is clearly shown that gold is inherent of being royal or noble. One of the more common kennings used in Beowulf is calling the king “ring-giver”. On occasion, he is even referred to by the extremely specific “gold-friend”. The association of the king with treasure is so closely linked that it becomes part of his name and title in many circumstances.

 

Unless I missed something, I cannot locate one independent clause with an active verb. Apart from the two state-of-being verbs, the rest of the verbs are in passive voice.

 

Yes, she is doing a great job, but she's clearly ready for the next thing. I would heartily recommend Strunk & White coupled with books 2 & 3 of the Stewart English program as recommended in TWTM. Yes, the Stewart program offers exercises; they are filled with direct instruction. But they are worthwhile IMO. I really think your daughter is ready to explore more options.

 

For what it's worth. ;)

 

Peace,

Janice

 

Enjoy your little people

Enjoy your journey

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I'm not that far in yet, but I am told by other teachers that my dc write well, and people pay me to teach their dc writing, so I think I'm doing okay. :D

 

The one thing I wouldn't be without is a grammar handbook. We have Little, Brown and Scott-Foresman, as well as a few curriculum-provider ones (R&S, BJU, etc.) Being able to have dc go back and read the rules and explanations when they make an error is so helpful.

 

Other than that, we do Elements and Lively Art, plus a run through Art of Argument, each year. Of course, Art of Argument runs into logic training, and there I will say that teaching logic and rhetoric has made it much easier to teach writing.

 

I don't use a curriculum, but I require a lot of writing, and I tear it apart. I did use Elegant Essay last year, because a parent requested it, but I didn't think it added anything.

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Golly, Lori. :blushing:

 

Lori's and Angela's posts reminded me of the easiest way to describe our writing process. Consistency, heavy-critiquing, and practice. ;) That pretty much sums it up. They write 1 paper/wk with heavy revising and editing w/me that they then have to re-write.

 

W/my oldest I did do 1 timed essay/wk. I didn't w/my Aspie b/c he can't write quickly at all and actually qualifies for extended time due to disabilities. I really should have continued the process w/17 yod. But, her 10th and 11th grade yrs were far from ideal b/c my brains were in the process of liquifying from having a baby in my 40s. :lol: I'm really glad I read her post b/c I am going to re-institute it w/my 10th grader. :D

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Or, get all the bits and pieces through one path; i.e. progym to rhetoric.

 

This is going to be a matter of personal preference b/c I was completely turned off by CW. I don't know the other programs that follow that format, but based on CW, I know it was not a good fit for my teaching style or for how I create writing assignments. However, I do know people that love CW and believe it has helped their children become very strong writers.

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This is going to be a matter of personal preference b/c I was completely turned off by CW. I don't know the other programs that follow that format, but based on CW, I know it was not a good fit for my teaching style or for how I create writing assignments. However, I do know people that love CW and believe it has helped their children become very strong writers.

 

After I looked into the history I was hooked ;). Personal preferences are important, though. I tried using Writing Strands when we first started hsing, but I couldn't seem to make it work no matter what I tried. It's been interesting to me to look at the several interpretations of the progym that are available. I'm most familiar with CW, which integrates lots of different elements, but Classical Composition is a stand-alone version. The D'Angelo text that used to be mentioned here quite a bit several years ago is yet another interpretation; it's geared toward pre-law college students. My son liked D'Angelo because the instructions are short and there's often a choice of arrangements available. There's an older book written (I think) by a teacher in a Catholic parochial school from the early 1900's that I remember hearing about on the old K-8 Curriculum board.

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Regentrude,

I realize you haven't asked, but I thought I would offer up some advice.

 

Janice, thanks for your feedback. Actually, I DID ask for advice, that's why I posted the essay on the writing workshop board.

Not sure if it's possible - is there a way to move your post over there so we do not shred the OP's thread?

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I just remembered A Rulebook for Arguments. I had my son outline that last year and I read it myself. Nice and concise. And there is a list of spelling rules on the web someplace (I'll try to find the link later when I'm not so busy) that I made my sons memorize in 9th grade. That list fixed SO many spelling problems. Much better than a spelling program for them. Latin fixed the most blatent grammar problems (it is me, with Tim and I) and their punctuation. And this year (11th) I will have my youngest read Skunk and White or whatever it is called, another nice concise recommendation from TWTM. JW and SWB have a good idea of how much time we have available GRIN. I spent tons of time on writing in 9th and 10th grades, so much that I worried about everything else we were supposed to be doing. It paid off and he can now write well enough to survive engineering school (I hope) and communicate well via email with his family. I highly recommend the enormous push in 10th for those struggling writers. Ideally, you would do in 7th and 8th what we did in 10th and 11th for the older one and 9th and 10th for the younger one, but I think there was sort of maturation process that had to happen first. I certainly tried in 7th and 8th. And panicked in 7th and 8th. Now if I could only get youngest writing in French...

Nan

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I just remembered A Rulebook for Arguments. I had my son outline that last year and I read it myself. Nice and concise.

 

O! That's what I meant! Rulebook for Arguments, not Art of Argument.

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I just remembered something else useful: SWB's research paper handout (it is on the WTM site). It explained the writing process the way it really happens. Most books give the impression that it goes like this:

Spend 10 minutes thinking about a thesis statement.

Spend another 10 minutes making sure it is a statement and not a question and that it is true.

Spend a few hours collecting material for the paper.

Spend a few hours organizing that material.

Spend a week writing the paper.

Spend 10 minutes rewriting the paper.

 

This is totally warped. The reality is that one needs to do research in order to come up with a provable thesis statement. This means it has to be the right scope, there have to be resources available, and the thesis statement can't be true in the way that occurs first to most people or nobody would need any convincing and the paper would be useless and the student will have a horrible time finding anything to say that isn't totally obvious and stupid. The reality is that you probably will have to change your thesis statement as you do more research. The reality is that a large part of the actual writing process is organizing your materials and if you do a good job of that, you don't need to spend days writing the first draft. In fact, for some people, it works better to bang out a horrible first draft as quickly as possible and then move on to the fixing part because they find writing from scratch the hard part. Some people are even better off writing without making a plan. They've made a plan, but it is not on paper and in the process of putting it on paper, it evaporates. (But I don't recommend telling your children that.) And then the rewriting process can take days, should take days, because things have a funny way of sounding totally different after you haven't looked at them for a few days.

Anyway, I found SWB's handout to be a much better description of the process than the gazillion other descriptions I've read in my desperation. : )

Nan

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I'm totally sold on SWB's plan for teaching writing and that is the one thing I would not give up. I only have a ninth grader so I don't know how that is going to work in the end, but the overall plan is the same each year. I will use the resources she suggests. This year that is The Rule Book for Arguments, since that is short I'm also going to use The Lively Art of Writing.

 

Persistence, time, and making your child actually do the writing are the most difficult things in our house, but you can't buy those anywhere.

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I just remembered something else useful: SWB's research paper handout (it is on the WTM site). It explained the writing process the way it really happens. Most books give the impression that it goes like this:

Spend 10 minutes thinking about a thesis statement.

Spend another 10 minutes making sure it is a statement and not a question and that it is true.

Spend a few hours collecting material for the paper.

Spend a few hours organizing that material.

Spend a week writing the paper.

Spend 10 minutes rewriting the paper.

 

This is totally warped. The reality is that one needs to do research in order to come up with a provable thesis statement. This means it has to be the right scope, there have to be resources available, and the thesis statement can't be true in the way that occurs first to most people or nobody would need any convincing and the paper would be useless and the student will have a horrible time finding anything to say that isn't totally obvious and stupid. The reality is that you probably will have to change your thesis statement as you do more research. The reality is that a large part of the actual writing process is organizing your materials and if you do a good job of that, you don't need to spend days writing the first draft. In fact, for some people, it works better to bang out a horrible first draft as quickly as possible and then move on to the fixing part because they find writing from scratch the hard part. Some people are even better off writing without making a plan. They've made a plan, but it is not on paper and in the process of putting it on paper, it evaporates. (But I don't recommend telling your children that.) And then the rewriting process can take days, should take days, because things have a funny way of sounding totally different after you haven't looked at them for a few days.

Anyway, I found SWB's handout to be a much better description of the process than the gazillion other descriptions I've read in my desperation. : )

Nan

 

I cannot find the handout on the website. Can you share a copy or the link where to find it?

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What resources do you use to teach writing for high school?

 

If someone took away all of those resources except one, which one would you want to be left holding?

 

What one practice do you feel has contributed to your student's success as a writer?

 

If you could do it all over again, would you do anything differently? If so, what?

 

What one skill has been the most difficult for your student to master?

 

Thank you for humoring me.:tongue_smilie:

 

I use Classical Writing. My 10th grader is working through Intermediate Poetry and will start Herodotus soon. I only use one resource, so I would want to keep CW.

 

My son's success in writing is attributed to his weekly writing assignments along with my (and DH's) feedback. I use a rubric that assesses Structure, Content, Writing Style, and Mechanics. This rubric helps my son identify what is wrong and guides him in how to fix his writing.

 

There's not much I would change, but if I could, I would have guided his corrections earlier rather than tell him what to write...

 

My son struggles with writing a clear, concise thesis statement. He's getting better with time and writing experience. It would also help if he took more time in reading and editing his paper before he turns it in.

 

HTH!

~ Beth

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My 15 y.o. son started working with him a month ago and I am seeing slow, steady results. It is WONDERFUL to have someone else instruct him in academic writing. I just seemed to struggle to teach it and I don't want to cause any anxiety about it. Now, I just have to make sure he logs in daily and gets his work done. We are planning to do a 3 month session, pause, and then do one more 3 month session for this, his sophomore, year. YMMV but this is working for us. Cost is $75 per month but they can work daily.

 

Aloha,

 

Kristin

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This thread is giving me a migraine!

 

I was so excited to find A Guide to Critical Writing, Grammar, and Style by Robert W. Watson (SMARR publishers) here that I couldn't wait to post what a wonderful resource I thought it was. I printed all 88 pages and placed it in a nice 3 ring binder. I read through it at lunch highlighting, and flagging those pages I knew I would use with DD. Best part - the 88 page resource is free!

 

Then I see this thread and now I just printed out TWTM link on research papers and I'm wondering whether I should purchase Rulebook for Arguments for my 9th grader to outline even though I don't understand what the benefit of doing this will be. (taking a cleansing breath)

 

So to answer OP questions.....

 

 

What resources do you use to teach writing for high school?

IEW, Writer's Inc., Holt & Rinehart textbook references pages on Language Usuage, Mechanics, and Composition

 

If someone took away all of those resources except one, which one would you want to be left holding?

Any Grammar/Composition reference book like Writers, Inc.

 

What one practice do you feel has contributed to your student's success as a writer?

Structure & Style elements from IEW thus far (I am building on a foundation that was previously laid by traditional school). I can't say we've achieve success by my definition.

If you could do it all over again, would you do anything differently? If so, what?

Bring my DD home sooner from school! She came home 2nd semester 7th grade. I'm playing catch up on a lot of different skills. I only have 3 more year ...ugh....

 

What one skill has been the most difficult for your student to master?

Sentence structure and Language Mechanics (parrallelism, dangling modifiers, etc.)

 

Thank you for humoring me.:tongue_smilie:

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I use Classical Writing. My 10th grader is working through Intermediate Poetry and will start Herodotus soon. I only use one resource, so I would want to keep CW.

 

My son's success in writing is attributed to his weekly writing assignments along with my (and DH's) feedback. I use a rubric that assesses Structure, Content, Writing Style, and Mechanics. This rubric helps my son identify what is wrong and guides him in how to fix his writing.

 

There's not much I would change, but if I could, I would have guided his corrections earlier rather than tell him what to write...

 

My son struggles with writing a clear, concise thesis statement. He's getting better with time and writing experience. It would also help if he took more time in reading and editing his paper before he turns it in.

 

HTH!

~ Beth

 

I want to start CW with my 10th grader. Any insight you can provide on expectations, output, and placement would be appreciated! I'm thinking of starting him with maxim/cheria in a month after we finish WWS and IEW Medieval HBWL.

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We already own several writing resources, but this looks good too. :tongue_smilie:

 

Don't buy it. I did and it was way too elementary.

 

I have been eying this one though: http://www.amazon.com/Norton-Writing-Readings-Handbook-Second/dp/0393933822/ref=pd_ybh_24?pf_rd_p=280800601&pf_rd_s=center-2&pf_rd_t=1501&pf_rd_i=ybh&pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_r=06EVSRRD857XR5N67R3H :D

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My 15 y.o. son started working with him a month ago and I am seeing slow, steady results. It is WONDERFUL to have someone else instruct him in academic writing. I just seemed to struggle to teach it and I don't want to cause any anxiety about it. Now, I just have to make sure he logs in daily and gets his work done. We are planning to do a 3 month session, pause, and then do one more 3 month session for this, his sophomore, year. YMMV but this is working for us. Cost is $75 per month but they can work daily.

 

 

Hey, we've got Mr. Klein too! I love Write Guide. We're just finishing up 3 months with Mr. Klein, then I think we're going to try another session with Ms. Finnigan, who we had last spring and my kids really liked as well. It's nice to get the different perspectives on their writing, and there has been great improvement, I think partly just because they are writing consistently.

 

If you sign up for 3 mos or more, it's only $70/mo, and you can share with as many kids in your house as you want as long as you don't send in more than one submission a day. My twins take turns submitting something every other day.

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BUMP AND UPDATE

 

 

At this point, we have launched DS#1, who seems to be doing adequately in his Writing 101 class at the community college... Jury is WAY out on DS#2....

 

 

Just thought I would not only BUMP this thread up for re-viewing, but also to update with how the writing is coming out with our DSs a semester after writing the above post: DS#1 got an "A" in his Writing 101 class (very competent teacher), and is now taking the Honors Writing 102 and doing well!

 

DS#2 is taking Writing 100 this semester for dual enrollment credit at CC, with a teacher who runs the class like a solid Writing 101 course, just at a slightly slower speed. And DS#2 is doing well! This is the VSL DS who has *always* had mild learning disabilities with spelling and writing. He is taking responsibility, writing full paragraphs and papers, and only coming to me for mild proofing oversight. He is finding his "writing voice"! And what a boost this is turning out to be for his confidence level -- he is finishing his senior year, AND succeeding in taking a CC course! And taking American Sign Language for his foreign language at the CC is really helping his *spelling*! :w00t:

 

For having non-natural writers, who hated writing (and one who additionally struggled with writing) -- whew! What a relief! It looks like we cleared the hurdle -- maybe not as high or fast or prettily as I would have liked, but we are DOING it! :)

 

Warmest regards, Lori D.

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Grats to you and your son! Thanks for letting us know. It is definitely the kind of encouragement I could use as I sit here searching for threads on *writing*.

:001_smile::001_smile::001_smile:

 

 

 

 

BUMP AND UPDATE

 

 

 

 

 

Just thought I would not only BUMP this thread up for re-viewing, but also to update with how the writing is coming out with our DSs a semester after writing the above post: DS#1 got an "A" in his Writing 101 class (very competent teacher), and is now taking the Honors Writing 102 and doing well!

 

DS#2 is taking Writing 100 this semester for dual enrollment credit at CC, with a teacher who runs the class like a solid Writing 101 course, just at a slightly slower speed. And DS#2 is doing well! This is the VSL DS who has *always* had mild learning disabilities with spelling and writing. He is taking responsibility, writing full paragraphs and papers, and only coming to me for mild proofing oversight. He is finding his "writing voice"! And what a boost this is turning out to be for his confidence level -- he is finishing his senior year, AND succeeding in taking a CC course! And taking American Sign Language for his foreign language at the CC is really helping his *spelling*! :w00t:

 

For having non-natural writers, who hated writing (and one who additionally struggled with writing) -- whew! What a relief! It looks like we cleared the hurdle -- maybe not as high or fast or prettily as I would have liked, but we are DOING it! :)

 

Warmest regards, Lori D.

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BUMPING this thread up AGAIN for re-viewing! :)

 

But also a final update on our struggling writer's 2 semesters of required college writing this past year: he worked hard and got A's both semesters! The first semester we still worked together a lot -- he would write, have me look it over and make comments, he would revise, and have me look it over again -- but the second semester, other than 1 paper that he had me look over, it was all him! I am so proud of him! :)

 

BEST of luck to all still in the trenches and slugging away at teaching writing -- we're proof that there IS a pay-off for all the tears and sweat! Warmest regards, Lori D.

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