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Writing With Skill - Word Count


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How are your students doing with having their assignments meet the word count requirements set by SWB? We are on Week 5, step 3 (writing about the events that led to Jenner's discovery of the smallpox vaccine). My son's initial paper was 165 words, but I just went through it with him and had him cross out most of the details SWB notes as unimportant in the teacher's manual (which excludes almost half the outline), I don't see where he'll wind up with nearly 150 words. He'd have to really expand on what is left of the outline to come close to that and what would be the point of that if we're trying to avoid extraneous detailsl?


Anyone else have this trouble or is it just us?




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I think Miss P was short on that one, too, her first draft. I remember that we put it away for the day and came back to it the next day fresh, and I mentioned a couple of places where the logic didn't flow too well, and she added a couple of transition sentences . . . I think she made it up to close to the limit.


I do recall that was around the lesson where we first smacked up against the "writing from SWB's notes" issue - or actually it was worse on the Alexander the Great assignment. She just doesn't have enough background knowledge about some of these technical scientific or historical subjects to make sense of the list of notes. This has been discussed a few times on the logic board, so I know we're not the only ones with this issue.


What I've started doing is filling in that background, whether it's reading something to her (i.e. about Kepler) or having her do her own background reading and/or doco watching (i.e. Titanic) and come up with her own list of notes to outline and then write from. It makes the assignments take longer, but she gets a lot more out of them, and is proud of her writing because it is all her. And it's not a race, right? Given that each level of WWS may take more than a year to produce, I figure if we stretch it out we're still just fine.


Anyway, my sympathies - some of the topics are harder and some easier to write about. I'm treating the number of words suggestions as, well, suggestions! ;)


ETA: to actually address your question, I meant to say that I have found that having her do her own background reading has made it much easier for her to hit the word count, because she actually understands a lot more about the topic and has something to say about it . . .

Edited by rroberts707
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