Jump to content


A short writing sample...

Recommended Posts

We are studying Greek and Latin word roots, and to cement them I have my 14 year old (9th grade) write a paragraph about a word that is derived from a root every few days. We use IEW writing techniques, but we are not super-legalistic about making sure we get all the dressups.


Any perspectives on this sample? Is it appropriate for the age? It took him probably 15 minutes with a couple of basic mechanics corrections.


Derived from ancient Greek root words, the precursors of all the Romance languages, the word symphony is composed of syn, meaning together or with, and phone, meaning sound. Attended by millions of people for hundreds of years, symphonies are made up of a variety of unique instruments, including flutes and oboes, trumpets and trombones, and almost all the strings ever created, exempting guitar and mandolin. Banjo is also unfortunately excluded from what I like to call the Classical Club, for it does not deliver stirring melodies quite as effectively as the violin or piano. There is a certain culture surrounding the symphony, which is usually attended by the wealthier people of the surrounding community. Being extremely popular with music lovers throughout the ages, it’s understandable that the symphony would be quite crowded, but one will find it is an enjoyable experience nonetheless. The Greek root words may not define entirely what the symphony is all about, but when put in proper context they efficiently explain its meaning rather solidly.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Stylistically, he is over-using the introductory phrases.


With respect to his argument, he starts and ends with the definition of the word symphony, but the middle wanders. The bits about the poor banjo being left out of the Classical Club and about symphony goers being wealthy and the concert halls crowded don't connect well.


Once he's made his point about the definition of the word symphony, he should conclude his paragraph rather than trying to fill in some minimum length. On the other hand, if he really wants to talk about banjos or overcrowded concert halls, he should start another paragraph with a different topic sentence.


I'd say it's probably OK for a 15 minute exercise by a 9th grader, but working on well-focused paragraphs is an area of weakness to work on for future assignments.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


  • Create New...