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PeterPan

s/o--College/University writing instructor rants on high school writing instruction...

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Inspiration software converts the webs to outlines for the student.  It helps kids who are very visual or spatial in their thinking get their ideas into linear fashion.  Honestly, when  you see the software do it, it's so marvelous it seems like a miracle.  The kid can just be all over the place in his thoughts and connections, and boom suddenly it's linear and easy to write from in a tidy way.  It gives you a visual way to discuss WHY that one point is out there alone and whether it should stay that way or not, whether your map is balanced overall or needs to be split up a bit, etc. etc.

 

That is very interesting!  I would think about ways to use that as a tool to teach her how to do that herself in the long run, like by the end of high school or something, i.e., to improve the sequential thinking using the spatially-organized substance, developing the connection between the two sides of the brain so to speak (talk about not being clear - I think you know what I mean  :tongue_smilie:)

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Now see for me, having been through what I've been through with dd, I don't think the issue is a problem of grammar (though sometimes it is, ugh) so much as LACK OF CLEAR THINKING.  Dd's best writing comes when she knows what she's trying to say and it's all very clear in her head.  Using the mind maps of Inspiration (the software) is really fascinating, because it allows you to get all those thoughts out and then have them take those 8 concepts and compact them into 3-4 high quality sentences.  Then they actually SEE it and are THINKING CLEARLY before they ever start to write.

You are having an issue with ideas, content, and organization?  It sounds like she is working through her ideas, and that is good.  I think there will be difficulties for anyone who writes as far as finding clarity before writing.  Sometimes you see things more clearly than others.   The grammar can come into play when you examine various ways of arranging the ideas.  That's more the issue I am dealing with, but your Dd may be okay with grammar.    It all works together.  

 

I have always found the grappling with ideas to be the most difficult part of writing.  I worked my way through college and I used to think through my ideas and outline in my head while I shelved books.  Then once I got home I could sit down and write.  The software you describe is interesting.  I was going to comment on the earlier post about outlining.  All through college I simply listed my ideas and possible proof and then sorted through them in my mind before writing.  I think my brain just thinks very logically.  My list may have been somewhat organized like the software, but I rarely felt a need to organize outlines on paper.  I had friends who did need an outline on paper, though.  

 

I don't have Cothrin's Rhetoric, though I have Dh's old copy of Corbett's Classical Rhetoric for the Modern Student.  Haven't looked at it since summer, though.  

 

Lost Tools of Writing has some great ideas, but I find it irritating and cumbersome to teach.  It could have been done much more efficiently.  

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Elizabeth, I happened to pick up The Dyslexic Advantage at bedtime last night and opened it up to where I left off (a year ago? LOL).  The section was discussing gist (under the "I" chapters of the MIND acronym).  It described perfectly how I think and how that thinking can be harnessed for writing (I dunno, maybe that second part was in my mind rather than in the book LOL).  The gist is the outline/logic.  If your dd likewise happens to be on board with this "gist" way of thinking, IMO that could be harnessed to good effect.

 

Anyway, I missed Jane's post above until you quoted it.  I think it goes to the importance of substance for the student to write about.  Writing within the major makes *total* sense to me.  I still didn't really know how to write senior year of college, but the best paper I wrote was within my major on an interesting subject (a specific antitrust situation).  My roommates mocked what they called the "see spot run" language of my paper, but I believe it was the clear and logical presentation of really substantive ideas that got me the A (fortunately I was using some logically-organized resources on the topic).

Don't laugh, but I don't actually have my own copy of DA.  I've gotten it from the library how many times and usually just read more and return.  So what is their gist way of thinking? Dd has word retrieval and praxis issues.  She REALLY has to have her brain wrapped around what she's trying to say, and even then it wears her out.  It used to be REALLY bad, but since we did the metronome work it has gotten easier.  With her creative writing, she spends a lot of time pre-thinking (I think?).  She does it burrowed in her room with her iPad, so I don't always know, lol.  I know the push of the monthly fan fiction contests has been good for her.

 

Getting back to Jane's comment though, I've had someone else saying the same thing, that universities are switching to english seminars specific to majors, meaning freshman engineering students write on science, engineering, etc. topics while history majors get history-specific instruction.  I doubt that's happening at EVERY college or university, but it's certainly interesting.  It gives us room to question whether the WTM-specified history and lit writing is the ONLY way or whether we couldn't broaden our minds, hit the same goals of rhetoric and analysis with SOMETHING ELSE and be perfectly fine.  ;)

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I love this.  This is a very clear articulation of what I've realized this year.  Clear, insightful writing requires and reflects clear, insightful thinking.  When I give my child trivial and immature writing assignments, she gives me trivial and immature papers.  When I ask her to write about something she knows and cares little about (a la WWS), she drags her feet and her writing seems vague and fluffy.

 

When she spends time reading and taking notes about a content subject, and then we discuss it, and then she organizes and writes, and then we discuss more and she gets feedback, and then she edits and revises, the end result is something completely different: something she is proud to have written and that I am happy to read!

 

I'm just going to leave it at that, because wapiti already said better what I keep trying to say next.  This is another wonderful thread!  

Now see my dd has NEVER been content to do a rewrite.  All the prescribed, forced narrations of WTM were a BUST, a total bust for us.  She looked at me in 1st grade and said if I so all-fired wanted to know, why didn't I read it myself?  That was the end of that, lol.  I've tried to hit the skills, but hit them in ways that would engage her creativity and not result in her turning out tripe just to get it over with.  

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Bingo!  I recently read a book written by a former high school English teacher (Stories from a Teacher) and one of the chapters in the book covers this.  He says that he teaches five class periods a day with approximately 30 students in each class, so 150 students total; meaning when he assigns an essay, he has 150 of them to grade.  He would like to spend at least 15 minutes grading each essay in order to give proper feedback, but in reality he only has six minutes...that barely gives enough time to read it, much less critique it.  Six minutes per essay is ten essays graded per hour, meaning it takes 15 hours to grade all of the essays!  He has to put in almost full-time hours on Saturday and Sunday grading essays so that they can be handed back to the students on Monday.  If he gave the necessary 15 minutes to each essay it would take 37.5 hours just to grade the essays, and with lesson plans that need to be organized and other homework to grade, to say nothing of sleeping, there aren't enough hours between Friday and Monday to fit it all in.

 

 

I would agree that this is one part of the issue and one we desperately need to change. English classes need to be smaller. Wouldn't that cost more? Yes, but only in the short run. A situation that allows only a few minutes of analysis per essay is a waste of the teacher's and students' time and the taxpayers' dollars. My oldest son spent weeks writing an essay for his English class only to have it returned with one comment on several pages of writing. He was indignant. What was the point of all that effort? A wonderful WTM board member, KarenAnne went over his essay and marked it up for him. There was a fair amount of ink, but ds said he learned more about writing from KarenAnne than he had the whole semester at school.

 

In contrast to my oldest son's English class, my younger one's teacher takes a good deal of time on essays and writes up detailed comments and critiques. It makes a difference, and I am silly enough to believe that kids have a right to that level of instruction. You can't grow as a writer without good feedback.

 

Ok, here's a beef I have with college writing classes.  What elegantlion is taking is being CALLED rhetoric, but it's composition and grammar.  What flyingiguana is referring to, to me, is rhetoric, the ability to think and develop arguments.  I researched rhetoric here on the hs board in the past, but I didn't end up with anything that was in the realm of wow super practical to implement.  I don't feel like I have a need to replace college level writing, but I also don't have a need to take my dd who DOES think and shove her into formulas.  It seems like rhetoric, actual rhetoric, would answer that.  

 

I thought the WWS sequence was going to be the solution, but WWS2 is so gaggy I just couldn't make her do it.  We've got it.  I might make a younger student go through it, but a really bright 9th grader mid-year?  I don't know.  You just look at it and go PLEASE, CUT TO THE CHASE!!!  So something for rhetoric that is age-appropriate, tidy and efficient, is it so much for a woman to ask?  And we don't want to do it this year anyway.  We're having way too much fun doing creative writing and learning to think by analyzing essays.  You know, that might even be a back way to get there, to take published essays, analyze them, then attempt to imitate their structure with another topic of interest.  Of course that might blow her mind, lol.

 

 

OhElizabeth, I laughed out loud when I read the part in all caps. YES! There has been a trend in education for several years now to examine the habits of students that are skilled in a particular discipline. That information is turned into an elaborate methodology complete with a hook (dress-ups or a return to the ancient Greeks) to make it distinctive from all the other elaborate methodologies. There are 50 steps to follow and all of them are critical, especially the one that tells the student exactly when to turn the page. :tongue_smilie:

 

It happens in homeschooling too. I should know as I have spent more money on writing programs than all of my other curriculum together and I am embarrassed to admit that the things that have helped us the most, have probably cost us the least. We need to stop making the process of learning to write well a mystical, ornate process. It's notandforheavenssakeWeNeedto SetBetterexamplesinourdailywritingTHEMOSTCOMMONexamples! ofwritingkidsseeissocialmediaandparentswhoaretoobusytopunctuateand capitalize.correctly.or.the.Keybrokeortheyarenursing. Whatever. I still fail to understand how writing like an illiterate is cool, especially when you are literate and know better. (You can throw tomatoes; it's okay.)

 

Elizabeth, I have written several times on the board about using essays in high school to teach solid analysis and writing skills. It's the most product thing we've done for writing outside of reading lots of good books,  and I would agree that most of the time, it's fun. Be sure she looks at editorials and primary source material, especially speeches. Writing tends to shine when the author feels that something important is at stake.

 

I haven't taught college writing--I teach finance and economics, but I have my students write.  A few semesters ago the papers were SO BAD, I handed them back and I told the students:

 

"Place a line under the subject of each sentence and a double line under the verb of each sentence in your paper."  Only about 5% of the class could fairly consistently identify the subject and verb of a sentence they wrote.  Sometimes the problem was that they did not have a subject or verb.  These were examples of what students underlined as the verb:  very, in the store, the bank, high interest rates, because interest rates rose, lower.  Many of the students I see have not had enough basic grammar to be able to write well.  They started creative writing (and inventive spelling) in kindergarten and are still doing that in college.  

 

In graduate school, one of the more memorable moments was when a professor returned papers to the class, slapped his hand hard on the podium and told us, "If you think good writing skills aren't important in a business program, think again." He had a list of tutoring resources on hand and told us that if our grade was lower than a "B," he expected us to take advantage of the services and that he would be be watching for improvement and grading accordingly. He meant it.

 

My oldest son took an online 12th grade English course in 11th grade through one of our state's virtual academies. I could read the students' responses for graded discussion questions and there were maybe three students out of forty who looked even remotely college-ready. That was one of the most depressing things I've witnessed in 19 years of educating my children.

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Actually, my professor did a nice job of teaching actual rhetoric. He used some Aristotle, rhetorical terms,  and pulled relevant exercises from modern constructs. There was no grammar instruction. In the honors class he teaches, they actually read Aristotle's Rhetoric. I was a little bummed not to be in that class. 

 

Most of the other teachers use the book "Everything's an Argument".  

 

Interesting!  This might be one of the books I got through the library to look at a while back when I did my research.  Trouble is, a lot of them hit more mature topics than I'm ready to get to with a student of this age.  Interesting to know that it's the honors classes getting the extra meat.  Makes sense when you think about it.  Might give dd something to work toward.  :)

 

I am in full agreement with this!

 

In my son's situation, it was not necessarily a case where he was writing only to fit his major.  Through homeschooling and in college he has been able to write about things that interest him.  That first year writing intensive course was in the music department (not his major).  He wrote about the use of visuals in stage productions and videos--quite interesting stuff. Most importantly, the subject matter interested him.

 

My son has never been told in college to write a paper on a narrowly specific topic,  Yes, he has been assigned papers on a work of literature but he has never been given a specific prompt to compare and contrast blah-blah-blah. I think this is part of the problem with high school writing.  Students are not engaged by what some teachers think should captivate them.  Nan and I have written often about how our boys would argue about the stupidity of an assignment--and in most cases they were right.  I would extend leverage to your high schooler to find topics of interest in any subject that he or she is doing.  Perhaps she'd like to write about the latest research on DNA sequencing some gut microbe.  If that is interesting to her, go for it.  Or perhaps she is more interested in original instruments for which Bach wrote.  I don't think that every high school freshman needs to write about To Kill a Mockingbird, even if it is a very fine book indeed 

 

And scrap the five paragraph essay. The only time it is used is on standardized exams when writing a timed essay!  What a waste.

This is interesting.  For as hard as I attempt to open my mind, I'm still pretty narrow, lol.  What you're saying fits with what dh is getting assigned in his grad classes right now.  It's really hard to work that way, because they have to do so much pre-learning just to narrow it down.  I think you're right though that in her case that's a good way to go.  Thanks for the tip.  :)

 

That is very interesting!  I would think about ways to use that as a tool to teach her how to do that herself in the long run, like by the end of high school or something, i.e., to improve the sequential thinking using the spatially-organized substance, developing the connection between the two sides of the brain so to speak (talk about not being clear - I think you know what I mean  :tongue_smilie:)

You know occasionally you're super brilliant? :D  Not just occasionally.  :)  Anyway, you've hit on something.  I felt sort of bad that I wanted to do that, starting with some Inspiration templates and working outward.  In a sense though, it could be really instructive because it's doing what you're saying, getting all the parts of her brain to wrap around it.  Otherwise the instruction on the analysis is still linear.  Maybe that's why she was going crazy with WWS1?  You could really blow the roof off this, say taking the Economist or WSJ articles, making the template for them ahead of time, then challenging her to FILL IT IN.  She'd learn the form without the haranguing... 

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The main complaint I hear from my colleagues in the English department is that the students do not have sufficient reading comprehension, with 25-30% of incoming students not having sufficient reading comprehension for college.

It seems obvious to me that somebody who can not read at an adequate level would not be able to write well.

This problem starts early--when children who are in kindergarten are asked to write BEFORE than can read.  The more I have seen how my college students write, the more link I think there is between reading and writing--but it goes both ways.  I realized that many of my students would read the sentence "Jane lends Mike money." and they know the sentence is about Jane, Mike, and money, but they do not have a clear understanding that the money is going from Jane's hands to Mike's hands.  In other words, they do not know the difference from a subject and a direct object in a sentence--that is grammar, but it impacts their reading.  

 

I am trying to learn German now, and I keep asking the instructor--how do these students learn German when they don't know what direct and indirect objects are?

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I am trying to learn German now, and I keep asking the instructor--how do these students learn German when they don't know what direct and indirect objects are?

 

Good question... because in English, you at least have a prescribed order of words. Not so in German.

The father gives the child the book can be in German also in the following order:

The child gives the father the book, The book gives the father the child, or The book gives the child the father - with proper declensions indicating subject, indirect and direct object. Word order gives absolutely no clue who gives what to whom :-)

Not that I want to discourage you from learning, LOL.

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Don't laugh, but I don't actually have my own copy of DA.  I've gotten it from the library how many times and usually just read more and return.  So what is their gist way of thinking? Dd has word retrieval and praxis issues.  She REALLY has to have her brain wrapped around what she's trying to say, and even then it wears her out.  It used to be REALLY bad, but since we did the metronome work it has gotten easier.  With her creative writing, she spends a lot of time pre-thinking (I think?).  She does it burrowed in her room with her iPad, so I don't always know, lol.  I know the push of the monthly fan fiction contests has been good for her.

 

Getting back to Jane's comment though, I've had someone else saying the same thing, that universities are switching to english seminars specific to majors, meaning freshman engineering students write on science, engineering, etc. topics while history majors get history-specific instruction.  I doubt that's happening at EVERY college or university, but it's certainly interesting.  

 

I'll have to go back to DA later and re-read what I read last night as I was about to fall asleep.  IIRC, it had to do with using the strength of understanding the gist or heart of the matter, often when reading, I think (a bigger version of using context when words are missed).  I would use that gist in the big picture of the logical argument.  (FWIW, as an aside, I think word retrieval can be painstakingly improved with a lot of practice, particularly using a thesaurus during editing, though I don't know whether high school writing is enough volume/frequency for that or not, and I unfortunately can't think of an "easier" way than motivated writing on a complicated topic.)

 

 

It gives us room to question whether the WTM-specified history and lit writing is the ONLY way or whether we couldn't broaden our minds, hit the same goals of rhetoric and analysis with SOMETHING ELSE and be perfectly fine.   ;)

 

Of course there are a great many other subjects that are appropriate vehicles for analysis and writing, arguably more appropriate for many students.  I enjoy reading history (maybe) and literature (depending), but I sure don't want to write about either one, LOL.

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You are having an issue with ideas, content, and organization?  It sounds like she is working through her ideas, and that is good.  I think there will be difficulties for anyone who writes as far as finding clarity before writing.  Sometimes you see things more clearly than others.   The grammar can come into play when you examine various ways of arranging the ideas.  That's more the issue I am dealing with, but your Dd may be okay with grammar.    It all works together.  

 

I have always found the grappling with ideas to be the most difficult part of writing.  I worked my way through college and I used to think through my ideas and outline in my head while I shelved books.  Then once I got home I could sit down and write.  The software you describe is interesting.  I was going to comment on the earlier post about outlining.  All through college I simply listed my ideas and possible proof and then sorted through them in my mind before writing.  I think my brain just thinks very logically.  My list may have been somewhat organized like the software, but I rarely felt a need to organize outlines on paper.  I had friends who did need an outline on paper, though.  

 

I don't have Cothrin's Rhetoric, though I have Dh's old copy of Corbett's Classical Rhetoric for the Modern Student.  Haven't looked at it since summer, though.  

 

Lost Tools of Writing has some great ideas, but I find it irritating and cumbersome to teach.  It could have been done much more efficiently.  

Bingo.  If Kern couldn't pull it together and be more efficient and clear in his own analysis, he certainly can't teach my student to be.  (emphasis on *my*, totally grant it works for others)

 

Um, no I wouldn't say we have issues with the basics.  Right now she's writing all fiction, except for some summaries and things for her science and whatnot and her history project (whatever form that turns into), so I'm more thinking for next year.  I'm going to have to buckle down with her and do some non-fiction writing, and it needs to have meaning and significance or it won't work.  I see in her an increasing ability to be logical and analyze, but *I* didn't get enough writing instruction, even in college, to know what I'm wanting or the right terms.  I'm having to go back and relearn myself!

 

Yup, I have Corbett and a bunch of the WTM recs.   :blink:  Those are my eyes bugging out in wonder that those books would ever be appropriate.  Maybe?  Obviously we have 3 years to go.  I just don't think it's necessary to use a grad level text, and the format is pretty crunchy for a younger student.  I'm glad those recs work for someone, but they certainly aren't mainstream.

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I'll have to go back to DA later and re-read what I read last night as I was about to fall asleep.  IIRC, it had to do with using the strength of understanding the gist or heart of the matter, often when reading, I think (a bigger version of using context when words are missed).  I would use that gist in the big picture of the logical argument.  (FWIW, as an aside, I think word retrieval can be painstakingly improved with a lot of practice, particularly using a thesaurus during editing, though I don't know whether high school writing is enough volume/frequency for that or not, and I unfortunately can't think of an "easier" way than motivated writing on a complicated topic.)

 

 

 

Of course there are a great many other subjects that are appropriate vehicles for analysis and writing, arguably more appropriate for many students.  I enjoy reading history (maybe) and literature (depending), but I sure don't want to write about either one, LOL.

Interesting.  Yes, she's very insightful in that way of taking something, getting to the heart of it, and then making connections.  She doesn't get lost in the weeds the way I do, lol.  

 

Word retrieval is its own beast.  I just ordered some materials to use with ds.  It has to do with who they're organized in the brain, how automatic they are, etc.  So for instance the SLP did some testing on ds this week looking at his language processing.  He was asked to compare a refrigerator and stove.  He thought a bit, and said the one cooks the other keeps things (stumble over words) FRESH.  Yes, my 5 yo tells the therapist one cooks the other keeps things fresh!  Expected answer?  Hot and cold.  So he can't retrieve cold and ends up with FRESH.  Sigh.  I die a year every time one of my kids get evals.  Anyways, um, I guess we'll see.  It's awfully late to go back and work on anything for dd.  For ds, we'll be doing some explicit work on it pretty soon.

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Sounds like this professor's list would be Greek to a lot of freshman.

http://www.americanshakespearecenter.com/v.php?pg=184

 

OhE, have you seen Horner's Rhetoric in the Classical Tradition?   It might fit what you are looking for. 

 

You mentioned this a while back and I bought a copy for myself. I've actually enjoyed reading it and feel like it has helped with some gaps in my own education. I prefer it to the one SWB recommended, which admittedly is occasionally over my head.

 

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Interesting.  Yes, she's very insightful in that way of taking something, getting to the heart of it, and then making connections.  She doesn't get lost in the weeds the way I do, lol.  

 

Word retrieval is its own beast.  I just ordered some materials to use with ds.  It has to do with who they're organized in the brain, how automatic they are, etc.  So for instance the SLP did some testing on ds this week looking at his language processing.  He was asked to compare a refrigerator and stove.  He thought a bit, and said the one cooks the other keeps things (stumble over words) FRESH.  Yes, my 5 yo tells the therapist one cooks the other keeps things fresh!  Expected answer?  Hot and cold.  So he can't retrieve cold and ends up with FRESH.  Sigh.  I die a year every time one of my kids get evals.  Anyways, um, I guess we'll see.  It's awfully late to go back and work on anything for dd.  For ds, we'll be doing some explicit work on it pretty soon.

 

Ah, I think it's so much better to have the strength with the connections and struggle working through the weeds later, LOL.  On the weeds, er, words, lots of careful reading is presumably something all over her plate already so I didn't mention it, but my instinct tells me that reading of the type of writing she's expected to do may help with word retrieval.  So, maybe if she's writing a paper on a particular science topic, say, it might help if she read some journal articles?  (Maybe not, as some are not well-written, but it's an interesting idea.)  I think reading the correct genre is very important.  E,g., reading literature didn't help me know how to write about it, at least not by itself, but reading essays or whatnot that were written about literature might have helped a great deal.

 

About the example with your ds, my take is different:  to me, that looks more like a potentially-gifted-kid answer than a word-retrieval difficulty.  Hopefully an experienced 2e tester would be able to tell the difference.

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Someone (not on here) told me she was using the WSJ online opinion blog articles for analysis.  You can apply SWB's topoi approach to it, no problem.

 

 

Yes, yes, yes!!!  This is where I am, or at least have grown into philosophically.  Totally agree on the influence of what they read and how it affects how they write.  I have a pile of back issues of the Economist that I got from the library to use with her in some fashion.  I know in theory this should work, but what exactly do you DO with them?  I grew up in a trailer in VA.  We never read the Economist.   ;)

 

We had an interesting experience this week related to these posts. There was an article in The Economist related to the WWS2 assignment topic.  Charlotte Mason's "Education is the science of relations" came to mind. 

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...OhElizabeth, I laughed out loud when I read the part in all caps. YES! There has been a trend in education for several years now to examine the habits of students that are skilled in a particular discipline. That information is turned into an elaborate methodology complete with a hook (dress-ups or a return to the ancient Greeks) to make it distinctive from all the other elaborate methodologies. There are 50 steps to follow and all of them are critical, especially the one that tells the student exactly when to turn the page. :tongue_smilie:

...Elizabeth, I have written several times on the board about using essays in high school to teach solid analysis and writing skills. It's the most product thing we've done for writing outside of reading lots of good books,  and I would agree that most of the time, it's fun. Be sure she looks at editorials and primary source material, especially speeches. Writing tends to shine when the author feels that something important is at stake.

 

:lol:   I guess we don't even have to name curricula to enjoy a laugh about that!  It's frustrating because when they bog down their program too much with things that didn't matter or could have flexed, they make it hard for us to pick it up and TEACH, which is to take content and help it connect to our kids.  That's why I keep looking for something more streamlined and idiot-proof, because I need something I can actually work with and not get lost in the weeds.

 

Yup, I started her reading science essays this year from the Best Nature Essays collection precisely for this reason.  They're easy to intersect with, excellent writing, and she actually ENJOYS them.  I'm hoping this will build a bank in her mind of what excellent writing looks like outside the fiction she has focused on for most of her life.  How to take it to the next step though, that's trickier.

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Ah, I think it's so much better to have the strength with the connections and struggle working through the weeds later, LOL.  On the weeds, er, words, lots of careful reading is presumably something all over her plate already so I didn't mention it, but my instinct tells me that reading of the type of writing she's expected to do may help with word retrieval.  So, maybe if she's writing a paper on a particular science topic, say, it might help if she read some journal articles?  (Maybe not, as some are not well-written, but it's an interesting idea.)  I think reading the correct genre is very important.  E,g., reading literature didn't help me know how to write about it, at least not by itself, but reading essays or whatnot that were written about literature might have helped a great deal.

 

About the example with your ds, my take is different:  to me, that looks more like a potentially-gifted-kid answer than a word-retrieval difficulty.

Yes, that's why it's hard to test ds and evaluate the results.  You could hear him start to say /k/, so he actually wanted to retrieve the word cold and couldn't.  At that point he worked around it and got to where he was going.  Yes, the fact that his work around was so curious does indicate cognitive level.  Makes him stinkin' curious to work with.  In about 9 or 10 years I'm going to be back on this board talking about my boy whom I read everything aloud to who maybe can type who can't spell but who writes like Tolkien and tells stories like Jim Weiss, lol.  He's gonna be a trip.  

 

Your comment about the reading the genres improving her word retrieval and ability to write in the genre is interesting.  With math, I actually put the words onto a card so she could talk about her math as we worked through problems.  Otherwise, she'd lock up and not be able to get the words out.  That's a total aside, sorry.  It's in the vein of what I'm doing, but I just hadn't thought about it quite that way as to how beneficial it would be.  I've got her reading science essays this year, so maybe we capstone that with science writing?  Then read lit essays from WSJ and lead that into writing about literature?  We totally skipped that end stuff in WWS.  We got busy with the NHD project, which was roughly equivalent to the final project, and well I just think a lot of prescriptive lit writing is NASTY.  Writing should result in something someone wants to READ.

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Btw, this is just total bonus and off-topic, but I have my dd discussing Star Trek with me as we watch the episodes.  There's SO much in there, with literary allusions, cultural references, and the ability to compare and contrast what was subtle in the original series to what becomes overt in the later series and then how all that plays out on the current political stage.  I love this discussion as a way of building argumentative analysis.  I don't think everything has to be written, but eventually it should move that way to where she CAN write it.  For right now it has been a good step, making lists and arguments and comparing/contrasting orally.  Then, as wapiti said, maybe we find some excellent published sources that do that and move into doing our own written.

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Now see my dd has NEVER been content to do a rewrite.  All the prescribed, forced narrations of WTM were a BUST, a total bust for us.  She looked at me in 1st grade and said if I so all-fired wanted to know, why didn't I read it myself?  That was the end of that, lol.  I've tried to hit the skills, but hit them in ways that would engage her creativity and not result in her turning out tripe just to get it over with.  

 

 

Well, see, I'm lucky because my oldest is a very compliant child.  I'm having to get more . . .  creative with my 2nd girl!  :lol:

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Interesting!  This might be one of the books I got through the library to look at a while back when I did my research.  Trouble is, a lot of them hit more mature topics than I'm ready to get to with a student of this age.  Interesting to know that it's the honors classes getting the extra meat.  Makes sense when you think about it.  Might give dd something to work toward.   :)

 

 

 

I have an older version of Everything's an Argument and I found some of the topics to be dated quickly. Which makes sense to do in a book they update every few years, but it hasn't been particularly relevant to help ds. 

 

Another book I seen mentioned around (probably here) is The Language of Composition.  It looks interesting, something I have earmarked for later. 

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I have an older version of Everything's an Argument and I found some of the topics to be dated quickly. Which makes sense to do in a book they update every few years, but it hasn't been particularly relevant to help ds. 

 

Another book I seen mentioned around (probably here) is The Language of Composition.  It looks interesting, something I have earmarked for later. 

 

Was the instruction in the Argument book irrelevant too? I have the book, used it a few years ago and plan on using it again next year with Sailor Dude. I'll have to take a look at again, as I remember liking it. :tongue_smilie:

 

We are using The Language of Composition this year and I find the rhetoric portion to be helpful without being overwhelming.

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Good question... because in English, you at least have a prescribed order of words. Not so in German.

The father gives the child the book can be in German also in the following order:

The child gives the father the book, The book gives the father the child, or The book gives the child the father - with proper declensions indicating subject, indirect and direct object. Word order gives absolutely no clue who gives what to whom :-)

Not that I want to discourage you from learning, LOL.

Regentrude, how much is the grammar explicitly taught in Germany to native speakers and how much of it is picked up naturally through speech and reading?  

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Was the instruction in the Argument book irrelevant too? I have the book, used it a few years ago and plan on using it again next year with Sailor Dude. I'll have to take a look at again, as I remember liking it. :tongue_smilie:

 

We are using The Language of Composition this year and I find the rhetoric portion to be helpful without being overwhelming.

 

No, but at that point I wanted something that would be less work to make applicable to ds. He wasn't quite ready for that level of writing and what was being written about as current events at the time of the writing, would have required an additional history lesson for ds to really comprehend. I keep putting them in the pile to sell and I keep pulling them out. I have copy with readings, one without (love my former thrift store). They're sitting on my desk as of last week. 

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You could really blow the roof off this, say taking the Economist or WSJ articles, making the template for them ahead of time, then challenging her to FILL IT IN.  She'd learn the form without the haranguing... 

 

I think that learning such a form might help internalize some of the logic, albeit in a formulaic sort of way.  If we think about a whole-to-parts order of having a context in place before filling in the details, a general outline form can be visualized in the mind (or on paper or on the computer), and details placed in the appropriate locations.  I guess I think of this as attempting to use her spatial talents to create a form hanging in space that just happens to be linear (I visualize the whole thing vertically, myself; like a ladder with sections).  By all means, I'd try an exercise that involved filling in a form/template.  I'd probably try several such exercises to build comfort level.  Start with the web, sit down with the web on one side and the outline form on the other, and place stuff from the web into the outline.  That really isn't much different from how I'd write something if I was stuck - I'd start with a rough outline (an open Word document with a list of a few headings) and kill time by placing everything I knew someplace on it.

 

This brings to mind something else I saw somewhere on the boards - categories as a spatial strength.  Use that strength.  I wish I could remember where I saw it - might have even been this board.

 

Another, totally random tip I got from a brilliant person, who is now a professor, when we were writing a brief together:  this may differ by subject matter, but generally when a written document needs a section describing the facts of something that happened/occurred, it is almost always best to write up that section chronologically, as a story.  That makes the facts easier for the reader to understand and remember than a different sort of organization, I suppose because it provides context.

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I've never formally taught ds16 writing.  We've used the information in learning logic and geometric proofs in our essay writing.  The biggest problem we've had has not been with organization but with content.  He recognizes that he doesn't really know enough to come up with his own brand-new argument regarding a piece of literature.  He can (and does) know how to take someone else's thesis and to present that along with back-up.  That has been our biggest frustration - feeling like he's supposed to be able to analyse Dante's Inferno in depth even after he's had some TC lectures and has read (and understood) the material because his understanding is still that of a 16 year old boy.  

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I've never formally taught ds16 writing.  We've used the information in learning logic and geometric proofs in our essay writing.  The biggest problem we've had has not been with organization but with content.  He recognizes that he doesn't really know enough to come up with his own brand-new argument regarding a piece of literature.  He can (and does) know how to take someone else's thesis and to present that along with back-up.  That has been our biggest frustration - feeling like he's supposed to be able to analyse Dante's Inferno in depth even after he's had some TC lectures and has read (and understood) the material because his understanding is still that of a 16 year old boy.  

 

He doesn't have to have a brand-new argument, just a new-to-him argument. See if you can find some controversial comments on The Inferno that have been written through the years, something he disagrees with and go from there. He just needs an opinion that he can support with examples from the text. It doesn't have to be original or super in-depth.

 

Do you need some prompts? Maybe one of these from Schmoop?

 

Inferno Questions
Bring on the tough stuff - there’s not just one right answer.
  1. How can forces like love and compassion give rise to banishment to Hell? Do you see any traces of love or compassion in the sinners’ punishments?
  2. What are the three categories of sin, according to Dante? Why are the sins of the deeper circles morally worse than those of the higher?
  3. Why does Dante so highly admire Nature or anything natural? And if the natural is so good, why are the incontinent sinners – who only follow their natural instincts – condemned to Hell?
  4. Which sinners seem to be portrayed in a sympathetic light, highlighting their good attributes instead of their sins? Why do you think Dante tries to elicit our sympathy for them?
  5. Why is Dante’s sympathy for certain sinners so angrily rebuked by Virgil? Does Dante's maturation into a condemner make him morally superior?
  6. If Dante is devoted to honesty in his words, unlike these sinners, is he justified in lying (to say, Fra Alberigo) to carry out Divine Justice?
  7. To what extent does Dante’s personal and political life affect the Inferno’s content? What proportion of the sinners comes from Dante’s Florence?
  8. Which sinners come from Classical literature? Which are Biblical? What does this say about Dante’s conception of the Classics vs. the Christian?
  9. How does Dante honor the Classical tradition while adhering to the tenets of Christianity?
  10. How does Dante represent good and evil? What does this say about the power of evil in comparison to the power of virtue?

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Regentrude, how much is the grammar explicitly taught in Germany to native speakers and how much of it is picked up naturally through speech and reading?  

 

Grammar is extensively taught in school. When I was in school, I never understood the point of it because it was natural to me from speaking and I found it highly annoying having to do exercises for something I did automatically correct.

We do not diagram sentences at all, but the three genders, declensions (4 cases of nouns, in each gender and number), conjugations, tenses (6), and parts of speech are covered explicitly, beginning in elementary school. 

In addition, all German students study at least one, college bound students at least two, foreign languages beginning in 3rd and 6th grades, respectively. The grammar instruction in foreign languages reinforces the grammar instruction in the student's native language and, in my opinion, makes the native grammar make more sense, IYKWIM.

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ahh the 5 paragraph essay, we had a teacher in grade 12 that would deduct points if we wrote more than 5 paragraphs or had more than 3 points.  The worst was when we did compare and contrast essays, those need more than that stupid formula and 3 paragraphs.  The diploma exam for grade 12 English required the 5 paragraph essay too and so my kids have to master it, but it is stupid.  That said my college English classes weren't much better. Students not knowing grammar was a huge issue for sure, but instead of assigning a 5 paragraph essay we had to write essays of a certain number of words, most often 750 or 1100.  I guess it was to avoid students writing a paragraph and calling it good, but some essays need more than that, and sometimes a topic needing 1100 could be written better in 750 without superfluous padding of the sentences to up the word count.

 

My kids aren't fully doing high school writing yet, they struggle with composition, but I have felt it is better to be delayed and learning solid skills than rush it just to write meaningless essays.  We are using a combination of meaningful composition and the writing assignments in R&S.  Next year they are taking an online high school writing course and possibly dropping meaningful comp.  though it will depend on how they are doing in the class.  If they do well they will follow up with the advanced high school writing class.  They will continue with R&S since it starts to focus more on writing and less on grammar as you get into the higher level books. 

 

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I am coming to the understanding that I am not a fan of the "writing prompt." In my experience, writing prompts result in dry writing. The high school lesson plans I have from Kolbe Academy fall under this category. I wanted them to work because a specific prompt is easier (for my DC and for me). Of course, there is value since the student must work to develop a written response and I do not want to sound as if I am criticizing those who use written prompts.

 

However, I believe that my students will be better prepared for college by grappling with the problem of coming up with a topic in their high school writing. For this, I like SWB's questions for high school literature, history and science on the slides from her writing lecture. There is enough guidance there to get a student thinking but there is still a great deal of work that the student must do before he can proceed to putting pen to paper.

 

This process takes time. When a student is young, it also takes guidance and discussion- trial and error. Of course, it also means that a student must be well-informed on the topic BEFORE he can begin writing. I am so glad that we are homeschooling and we can take this time because I think it will pay dividends (and be more enjoyable for all of us).

 

I am thinking that it can begin with anything- a great book, an essay, an article, a TC lecture, a movie, an interest. Then all we have to do is read and discuss (this is already a part of everyday life here) and move into the writing process. This process will not churn out multiple papers a week (and this is something I need to remember) but it is likely to be much more meaningful and fruitful that my buying ANOTHER writing curriculum that I send back before the return period has expired!

 

Right now we are discussing science and literature essays during school and we are really enjoying our discussions. The next logical step is to turn some of those thoughts into a writing project. I know this is the way I need to head but I am a little nervous about the teacher-intensive nature of this approach. At least it will be time well-spent. Time spent researching writing curriculum is NOT time well spent for me anymore.

 

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Grammar is extensively taught in school. When I was in school, I never understood the point of it because it was natural to me from speaking and I found it highly annoying having to do exercises for something I did automatically correct.

We do not diagram sentences at all, but the three genders, declensions (4 cases of nouns, in each gender and number), conjugations, tenses (6), and parts of speech are covered explicitly, beginning in elementary school. 

In addition, all German students study at least one, college bound students at least two, foreign languages beginning in 3rd and 6th grades, respectively. The grammar instruction in foreign languages reinforces the grammar instruction in the student's native language and, in my opinion, makes the native grammar make more sense, IYKWIM.

I have known more Austrian students than German, but it has always been my feeling that they had studied more English grammar than US students had.  I can see how the grammar instruction in a foreign language reinforces that in the native language.  I was always a big proponent of teaching grammar, but now that I am trying to learn a foreign language I am convinced that it is more important than I originally thought.  It does teach much more than arbitrary rules; it teaches a lot of logic and structure.

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This is an amazing thread. Thank you ladies.

 

Also, I did not know that software like Inspiration even existed!   My son is simply going to flip!  His physio therapist said, to use his computer to write because of the difficulties he has with a pencil, but my son is so visual it's scary!  I'm ordering it through Amazon, what I'll save in post-it notes with my teen and pre-teens will cover the cost of the software in a few short months.  Thank you!

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I have known more Austrian students than German, but it has always been my feeling that they had studied more English grammar than US students had.  I can see how the grammar instruction in a foreign language reinforces that in the native language.  I was always a big proponent of teaching grammar, but now that I am trying to learn a foreign language I am convinced that it is more important than I originally thought.  It does teach much more than arbitrary rules; it teaches a lot of logic and structure.

 

I found it works MUCH better to teach the grammar in the foreign language and let that knowledge transfer to the native language. For the foreign language, the grammar instruction is necessary, and the student will see the point.

Despite our strong German grammar instruction, there were many things we never covered. I was very surprised to find out, as an adult, that there are rules governing the seeming irregularities of certain German verb conjugations (the switch in stem vowels for example). I had no idea that such rules existed, but of course I was speaking correctly and did not need to know any rules. I still wonder whether the rules have been invented in retrospect out of desperation to find some commonality between the seemingly random cases, to help people learn German as a foreign language. So, a learner of German as a foreign language will most definitely receive a more in depth grammar instruction out of necessity.

 

We learned a lot of English grammar, because we needed it in order to speak properly. Consequently, there are some mistakes that are very frequent in native speakers that I have never seen Germans (or other foreigners) make. Saying "could of" instead of "could have" comes to mind as a prime example - "could of" is a nonsensical grammatical construction and would never occur to somebody who learned English as a foreign language. Or "be suppose to" - any foreigner would know it has to be "be supposed to".

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But English speakers are not saying 'could of' they are saying could've as a contraction of could have, not nonsensical at all.

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But English speakers are not saying 'could of' they are saying could've as a contraction of could have, not nonsensical at all.

I have many college students who write "could of", "would of", and "should of" in their papers; when I have marked that incorrect, they have no idea what is wrong.

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I am coming to the understanding that I am not a fan of the "writing prompt." In my experience, writing prompts result in dry writing. The high school lesson plans I have from Kolbe Academy fall under this category. I wanted them to work because a specific prompt is easier (for my DC and for me). Of course, there is value since the student must work to develop a written response and I do not want to sound as if I am criticizing those who use written prompts.

 

However, I believe that my students will be better prepared for college by grappling with the problem of coming up with a topic in their high school writing. For this, I like SWB's questions for high school literature, history and science on the slides from her writing lecture. There is enough guidance there to get a student thinking but there is still a great deal of work that the student must do before he can proceed to putting pen to paper.

 

This process takes time. When a student is young, it also takes guidance and discussion- trial and error. Of course, it also means that a student must be well-informed on the topic BEFORE he can begin writing. I am so glad that we are homeschooling and we can take this time because I think it will pay dividends (and be more enjoyable for all of us).

 

I am thinking that it can begin with anything- a great book, an essay, an article, a TC lecture, a movie, an interest. Then all we have to do is read and discuss (this is already a part of everyday life here) and move into the writing process. This process will not churn out multiple papers a week (and this is something I need to remember) but it is likely to be much more meaningful and fruitful that my buying ANOTHER writing curriculum that I send back before the return period has expired!

 

Right now we are discussing science and literature essays during school and we are really enjoying our discussions. The next logical step is to turn some of those thoughts into a writing project. I know this is the way I need to head but I am a little nervous about the teacher-intensive nature of this approach. At least it will be time well-spent. Time spent researching writing curriculum is NOT time well spent for me anymore.

 

SWB's suggestions are excellent, but sometimes it's more than a student can handle in the early stages to come up with a suitable topic and then to write a well-constructed essay. I think Julie Bogart of Bravewriter talks about this.

 

We work with prompts and without prompts, because sometimes a student needs to come up with an original topic and sometimes (often for testing) a student needs to know how to handle answering a prompt in all its parts. Students often lose points for not handling the whole prompt. Prompts aren't necessarily artificial either. A client can ask for information  regarding a project or you may need to deliver a presentation; if you do not read carefully and answer questions fully, it's problematic.

 

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I have many college students who write "could of", "would of", and "should of" in their papers; when I have marked that incorrect, they have no idea what is wrong.

 

wow, that's pretty bad, then again given the words I correct at work all the time I shouldn't be surprised. At the diner I have coworkers who do things like write 'cold slaw' instead of coleslaw, bergers instead of burgers and then the spelling errors of sause (my boss does that one), raisons (also my boss), pickels etc.  The worst is when these things are misspelled in the menu or on the specials board.  It's bad enough in the cooler where the other staff sees it, but where the customer sees it is so embarrassing.  I have taken to correcting things with a red pen at work lol. I have not seen the could of etc in writing though.

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But English speakers are not saying 'could of' they are saying could've as a contraction of could have, not nonsensical at all.

 

I have seen "could of", "would of", "should of" many many times in writing. Even on these boards

 

(ETA: Do  search for "could of" and "would of" on the forum and look at the hits. I just did. You will be shocked to see how many boardies make this mistake. I do not want to quote posts as to not embarrass the posters... but especially for homeschooling parents, it is pretty disturbing)

 

They may mean the contraction, but they write "of" which is completely nonsensical.

 

 

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wow, that's pretty bad, then again given the words I correct at work all the time I shouldn't be surprised. At the diner I have coworkers who do things like write 'cold slaw' instead of coleslaw, bergers instead of burgers and then the spelling errors of sause (my boss does that one), raisons (also my boss), pickels etc.  The worst is when these things are misspelled in the menu or on the specials board.  It's bad enough in the cooler where the other staff sees it, but where the customer sees it is so embarrassing.  I have taken to correcting things with a red pen at work lol. I have not seen the could of etc in writing though.

 

Brandy, I have an exercise to make you crazy. Listen to the radio, NPR or something similar or maybe even to your coworkers at the diner. See how many times in the course of the day you hear someone say "there's" when they mean "there are."

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Brandy, I have an exercise to make you crazy. Listen to the radio, NPR or something similar or maybe even to your coworkers at the diner. See how many times in the course of the day you hear someone say "that's" when they mean "there are."

 

Ouch. It hurts every time our local NPR station guy says "and here is a few items from our community calendar".

 

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Ouch. It hurts every time our local NPR station guy says "and here is a few items from our community calendar".

 

I thought it was just me. "There's leaves in the gutter, " even in Teaching Company lectures.

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I live in hick town I try to not listen too closely to how others speak around me lol That exercise may put me over the brink, as it is my son makes my ears bleed every time he says thim instead of them

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I live in hick town I try to not listen too closely to how others speak around me lol That exercise may put me over the brink, as it is my son makes my ears bleed every time he says thim instead of them

 

I hear you. Locals around here frequently say things like "have went" or "has been rode" which makes me cringe

 

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While texts teaching the mechanics of writing should be held to the highest standards, I would hate to think that any of our posts here are being analyzed for proper grammar.  I wonder how many use speech to text which would likely account for "could of" and many other such things.  I think of my writing here on the forum as a written account of how I would speak and not formal writing at all.  Jus' sayin'.  : )   I think I'm often guilty of using there's instead of there're.  I remember taking the SAT and wondering when we should've learned all the grammar we were supposed to know.  Our composition instruction was great, but the grammar was definitely lacking.  Thankfully dd's grammar is much better than mine.

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While texts teaching the mechanics of writing should be held to the highest standards, I would hate to think that any of our posts here are being analyzed for proper grammar.  I wonder how many use speech to text which would likely account for "could of" and many other such things.  I think of my writing here on the forum as a written account of how I would speak and not formal writing at all.  Jus' sayin'.  : )   I think I'm often guilty of using there's instead of there're.  I remember taking the SAT and wondering when we should've learned all the grammar we were supposed to know.  Our composition instruction was great, but the grammar was definitely lacking.  Thankfully dd's grammar is much better than mine.

 

If I go back and read my posts, I will usually find something to cringe about. Often I am rushing to get my thoughts out in between doing other things and mistakes happen. I assume that other posters on the board may be in the same boat, except they know where to put their commas, while I seem to perpetually misplace mine.

 

ETA: :tongue_smilie: Can I say "cringe about?" That doesn't look or sound right.

 

See what I mean?

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SWB's suggestions are excellent, but sometimes it's more than a student can handle in the early stages to come up with a suitable topic and then to write a well-constructed essay. I think Julie Bogart of Bravewriter talks about this.

 

We work with prompts and without prompts, because sometimes a student needs to come up with an original topic and sometimes (often for testing) a student needs to know how to handle answering a prompt in all its parts. Students often lose points for not handling the whole prompt. Prompts aren't necessarily artificial either. A client can ask for information  regarding a project or you may need to deliver a presentation; if you do not read carefully and answer questions fully, it's problematic.

Thanks, Lisa. Good point.

 

My children are planning to take AP exams and we will need to cover answering prompts to prepare for those DBQ's. In addition, we will continue to use prompts for short answer questions. I am just hoping that the bulk of our "writing curriculum" can be accomplished through student originated (albeit with guidance) topics.

 

Thoughts are appreciated.

 

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Thanks, Lisa. Good point.

 

My children are planning to take AP exams and we will need to cover answering prompts to prepare for those DBQ's. In addition, we will continue to use prompts for short answer questions. I am just hoping that the bulk of our "writing curriculum" can be accomplished through student originated (albeit with guidance) topics.

 

Thoughts are appreciated.

 

I did find, especially for 8th and 9th grade, that reading Shakespeare evokes strong opinions in my children. Many of his plays are ambiguous and leave room for a variety of reactions. My oldest and youngest have a long-running argument with regards to Antonio, Shylock and the pound of flesh. The youngest has made a strong case for Shylock. He also wrote a basic paper against Kate's conversion at the end of The Taming of the Shrew. Last year, he revisited the topic, but by discussing how the setting the play in a trailer park and making Kate a boot-wearing, motorcycle-riding heroine, made her "conversion" even worse at the end. That was more challenging to prove.

 

It's much easier for students to come up with topics on their own if something kindles a strong emotion. Look for materials that inspire intensity. The students are then able to make an argument and support it. Once they have experience generating topics for subjects they are interested in, they'll find it easier to to do for topics of lesser interest.

 

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SWB's suggestions are excellent, but sometimes it's more than a student can handle in the early stages to come up with a suitable topic and then to write a well-constructed essay. I think Julie Bogart of Bravewriter talks about this.

 

We work with prompts and without prompts, because sometimes a student needs to come up with an original topic and sometimes (often for testing) a student needs to know how to handle answering a prompt in all its parts. Students often lose points for not handling the whole prompt. Prompts aren't necessarily artificial either. A client can ask for information  regarding a project or you may need to deliver a presentation; if you do not read carefully and answer questions fully, it's problematic.

 

This website from the University of Chicago states that even for college students the part of your quote in bold is spot on. http://writing-program.uchicago.edu/resources/collegewriting/high_school_v_college.htm

 

From the website:

 

A third kind of assignment is simultaneously least restrictive and most intimidating. These assignments leave it up to you to decide not only what you will claim but what you will write about and even what kind of analysis you will do: "Analyze the role of a character in The Odyssey." That is the kind of assignment that causes many students anxiety because they must motivate their research almost entirely on their own.

 

This tells me (1) it is worth it to prepare them for this type of writing and (2) I have reason to worry about pulling it off!

 

Thanks for the subsequent suggestions about starting with something that invokes a strong response.

 

I may just find myself researching writing curriculum again :)

 

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Brandy, I have an exercise to make you crazy. Listen to the radio, NPR or something similar or maybe even to your coworkers at the diner. See how many times in the course of the day you hear someone say "that's" when they mean "there are."

 

What's an example of this? I hear lots of mistakes in spoken English, but I can't remember ever hearing this particular one.

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This is an amazing thread. Thank you ladies.

 

Also, I did not know that software like Inspiration even existed!   My son is simply going to flip!  His physio therapist said, to use his computer to write because of the difficulties he has with a pencil, but my son is so visual it's scary!  I'm ordering it through Amazon, what I'll save in post-it notes with my teen and pre-teens will cover the cost of the software in a few short months.  Thank you!

Why amazon??  I bought mine as a download directly from the Inspiration website, cost maybe $25 on sale.  There's also an app.  You can move the files between them.  And yes, it's exceptionally good and highly recommended for people with any sort of organizational or writing issues.  

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What's an example of this? I hear lots of mistakes in spoken English, but I can't remember ever hearing this particular one.

 

:blushing: I wrote it incorrectly. An example would be "there's leaves in the gutter" as opposed to "there are leaves in the gutter." I think what happens is that when people use the contraction, it is easier to miss the subject-verb agreement. "There is leaves in the gutter" sounds awkward and you are less likely to make the mistake. I am not a grammar pro and make plenty of errors. For some reason, this particular mistake stands out to our family and we have fun catching each other out on it.

 

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