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RootAnn

WTMA Writing Classes - How's it going so far?

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We are roughly three weeks in for WTMA classes. Wanted to see how others thought about the classes so far, knowing that it is still very early in the year.

 

If you comment, could you include the class name if you are comfortable doing so, and whether the teacher uses the 'workshop model.' Also, if you are using the delayed option, that would be helpful to know!

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It's going good here. I have a Expos. Writing 1 student w/Hummel & an Expos. Writing 2 student w/Brian. 

 

The EW1 student is *loving* his class. He gets excited to hear what others have written & share his own writing. Mr. Hummel does a great job facilitating comments & the classroom seems productive. He sent out a workshop digest to sum up last week's main points & I thought it was a nice addition.

 

The EW2 student likes his class as well. The assignments, so far, have kept him super busy trying to keep up. Once he finds a rhythm I suspect he'll speed up & be able to manage his time better.

 

 

 

 

 

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DD is in 9th grade now, but I thought I would comment for those of you looking ahead to high school.

 

Rhetoric I, Ms. Richardson, live class, lecture format with discussion.  *NOT workshop*

 

Excellent fit for my dd.

The text is almost perfect.

She enjoys the classes and Ms. Richardson's teaching style.

The assignments are engaging. 

She appreciates the opportunity to submit her work early for feedback so revisions can be made.  

The class includes a little art and poetry.

 

We hope Ms. Richardson teaches a Rhetoric II class next year!

 

Which text are they using?

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DD is in EW1 with Kayla Meyers who is super responsive to emails (ahem, I had computer issues and level changes). She assigns one lesson per week and the rest of the week's lessons are done together in class. So far there hasn't been anything related to workshop discussions. She privately comments on DD's writing.

 

During the summer I tried hard to get through EW1, but DD had a writing class with attuneup.com which suited her creative side. DD did not like EW1 and without that enthusiasm, it was hard for me to teach it, so we did not even get to the half way point of the book.

 

It's much better now because Ms. Meyers is engaging, there are other kids in class, most of the week's lessons are done orally during class which means that kids can get immediate feedback from the teacher.

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EW 2 with Kayla Meyers is going well. She doesn't use the workshop model. They go over most of the exercises in class and turn in an assignment each week for personal feedback and grading. We picked this section because it starts at 9am Central Time so dd can get up, have breakfast and warm up her brain before class starts.

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DD is in EW1 with Kayla Meyers who is super responsive to emails (ahem, I had computer issues and level changes). She assigns one lesson per week and the rest of the week's lessons are done together in class. So far there hasn't been anything related to workshop discussions. She privately comments on DD's writing.

 

During the summer I tried hard to get through EW1, but DD had a writing class with attuneup.com which suited her creative side. DD did not like EW1 and without that enthusiasm, it was hard for me to teach it, so we did not even get to the half way point of the book.

 

It's much better now because Ms. Meyers is engaging, there are other kids in class, most of the week's lessons are done orally during class which means that kids can get immediate feedback from the teacher.

 

D12 (public school 7th grader) is in Exp W 1 with Kayla Meyers, Delayed  with the Mon-Wed live class.

 

D12 loves Ms. Meyers. She submits her assignments on the Sunday before the Monday class. She watches the delayed class when she gets home

 

from school on Monday and Wednesday. She is using the WWSI book. So far the course is going very well.

 

D12 hates to write , but so far, she is really enjoying the class.

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My daughter is in Intro to Rhetoric with Ms Brian (workshop method). She hates writing and won't put out quality product for me. She is also very shy in her online classes, so I'm sure her "workshop participation" grade is zero right now. There are several eager beavers in the class. The teacher will have to call on DD to get her to participate. There is extensive use of the chat box by many of the kids in the class.

 

DD has had zero feedback on any of the five assignments she's done so far as she has not been called on to 'workshop' her material. I think she'll probably be called on tomorrow since she hasn't been so far. The assignment for tomorrow wasn't at the top of her list to spend a lot of effort on since the teacher doesn't seem to look at assignments other than those picked to be discussed in class.

 

I have some preliminary opinions on the class & teacher that aren't positive, but my problem(s) may be ultimately come down to the workshop method not being a fit for my kid and my personal wish for more organization, structure, and personal feedback in the class. My kids do better with personal feedback rather than trying to extrapolate from the feedback during class. 

 

I've already thought about moving her to another class, but don't really have any good options other than pulling her out completely and I'm not doing that. DD asks daily if she can quit. I was just wondering how it was going for others (i.e., is it only her?).

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I'm almost speechless. Thanks so much for sharing. It's important to get honest feedback about the classes so people can make informed decisions. The workshop model wouldn't work for my DD either!

 

I hope you can work out an alternative!

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My daughter is in Intro to Rhetoric with Ms Brian (workshop method). She hates writing and won't put out quality product for me. She is also very shy in her online classes, so I'm sure her "workshop participation" grade is zero right now. There are several eager beavers in the class. The teacher will have to call on DD to get her to participate. There is extensive use of the chat box by many of the kids in the class.

 

DD has had zero feedback on any of the five assignments she's done so far as she has not been called on to 'workshop' her material. I think she'll probably be called on tomorrow since she hasn't been so far. The assignment for tomorrow wasn't at the top of her list to spend a lot of effort on since the teacher doesn't seem to look at assignments other than those picked to be discussed in class.

 

I have some preliminary opinions on the class & teacher that aren't positive, but my problem(s) may be ultimately come down to the workshop method not being a fit for my kid and my personal wish for more organization, structure, and personal feedback in the class. My kids do better with personal feedback rather than trying to extrapolate from the feedback during class. 

 

I've already thought about moving her to another class, but don't really have any good options other than pulling her out completely and I'm not doing that. DD asks daily if she can quit. I was just wondering how it was going for others (i.e., is it only her?).

 

 

How would that class work in the Delayed Course. I say that because (I know it is still early) but there is still a lot of "housekeeping" things taking up the beginning of class. Such as not submitting properly, also she gives the classes warning to too much chatter.

 

Having said that, D12 said that if she has a question that is not asked by another child (has not happened yet),  as all questions have been answered by kids in the live class, she can email Ms. Meyers. Ms. Meyers is very quick to respond to her emails.

 

So far the Delayed class as worked out very well for D12. So what I am rambling about, would a Delayed work for your daughter's class because it seems there could not be a workshop class for delayed.

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I believe the 'delayed class' for Intro to Rhetoric has a different teacher. I don't know how the different teacher conducts her classes as she was a late addition to the line-up.

I don't think any of the delayed options use a teacher who uses the workshop model, do they?

 

I'm assuming you'd have to get personal feedback via email if you had to?

 

We might end up scheduling a re-occurring office hours time for personal feedback. The hours don't really work for us, but I may have to make them work.

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Just in case people are worried about the chat box, Ms. Meyers does do the 3-strikes scenario and will close it down for two meetings. So far, during the last two meeting the kids have gotten 2 strikes. She has good control of the class. So if she sees conversation not pertaining to the lesson, she will comment.

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DD is in 9th grade now, but I thought I would comment for those of you looking ahead to high school.

 

Rhetoric I, Ms. Richardson, live class, lecture format with discussion.  *NOT workshop*

 

Excellent fit for my dd.

The text is almost perfect.

She enjoys the classes and Ms. Richardson's teaching style.

The assignments are engaging. 

She appreciates the opportunity to submit her work early for feedback so revisions can be made.  

The class includes a little art and poetry.

 

We hope Ms. Richardson teaches a Rhetoric II class next year!

 

I want to put my request in for Ms. Richardson to teach Rhetoric III next year!  Ds took her Rhetoric 1 class and love it!  She's great!

Hot Lava Mama

 

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RootAnn, I'm so sorry to hear about your DD's experience thus far. FWIW, the workshop method wouldn't be a good fit for my kid either. I hope a solution can be worked out for your DD. :grouphug:

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My son is in intro to expository with Mr Hummel. I didn't know it was going to be a workshop model, and I am not sure I would have known off the top of my head what that would mean with young writers. When I saw what was happening I held my breath because ds2 can be a bit of a perfectionist...there were a lot of ways for the workshop of his work to go wrong.  But it was fine, just fine!  The kids make useful, and very polite, suggestions and ds2 wasn't phased in the least when his piece was worked on.

 

There hasn't been a lot of chatter in the box, the teacher even commented on it. Overall, the class has been very polite and well behaved.

 

TBH, there hasn't been a lot 'invested' by ds2 in the work so far. The exercises have been very straightforward and haven't required a lot from my kid. I can't imagine that a teacher would have a lot of feedback to give at this point.  I have the teacher's book with the grading rubric and it's pretty basic. If the main points are covered and the grammar is correct, then it's fine.  I have already been through WWS1 with my older boy and I know it picks up as the year goes on. So, we'll see how it goes then.

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My daughter loves, loves, loves Mr. Hummel's workshop-formatted Expository Writing 1 class. Loves it. And she does everything completely independently and willingly. She has mentioned that it is a little easy for her, but I explained that the first 8-10 weeks will be pretty easy, then things will ramp up. She's a natural writer, but also thinks very sequentially/analytically like an engineer (she's a duck out of water in this house). I suspect WWS will be a perfect fit for her, even though she's a tad young for it.

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My daughter is in Intro to Rhetoric with Ms Brian (workshop method). She hates writing and won't put out quality product for me. She is also very shy in her online classes, so I'm sure her "workshop participation" grade is zero right now. There are several eager beavers in the class. The teacher will have to call on DD to get her to participate. There is extensive use of the chat box by many of the kids in the class.

 

DD has had zero feedback on any of the five assignments she's done so far as she has not been called on to 'workshop' her material. I think she'll probably be called on tomorrow since she hasn't been so far. The assignment for tomorrow wasn't at the top of her list to spend a lot of effort on since the teacher doesn't seem to look at assignments other than those picked to be discussed in class.

 

I have some preliminary opinions on the class & teacher that aren't positive, but my problem(s) may be ultimately come down to the workshop method not being a fit for my kid and my personal wish for more organization, structure, and personal feedback in the class. My kids do better with personal feedback rather than trying to extrapolate from the feedback during class. 

 

I've already thought about moving her to another class, but don't really have any good options other than pulling her out completely and I'm not doing that. DD asks daily if she can quit. I was just wondering how it was going for others (i.e., is it only her?).

I'm sorry that the class isn't working out as well for your DD. I know we had a long thread about this before registration opened and I'm hoping that you're able to come up with a workable solution without having to pull her completely.  It was really rough there for a little while when I thought that I wouldn't be able to put any of my kiddos into their writing classes.  I knew that the workshop model wouldn't work for my DC, so it was a huge relief when WTMA was able to add classes so that they could accommodate both teaching styles.

 

I have four in writing classes w/WTMA.  The DC in Intro to Expository Writing and Expository Writing 2 all have Kayla Meyers.  The older two had her last year and it was a wonderful experience so I had very little concern once I knew she would be teaching.  She is gentle and encouraging, but firm when needed, and she has excellent control of her classroom.

 

My oldest is taking Rhetoric I with Chloe Richardson.  I was hesitant because writing has been a big struggle for her for many years.  She loves Ms. Richardson and her teaching style.  I have not had to remind her about a writing assignment, and she is turning them in early so that she can get feedback and then do corrections.   :hurray:  If this continues through the year I will be begging Steve Otto to make sure that she is teaching a Rhetoric II next year.  

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My daughter loves, loves, loves Mr. Hummel's workshop-formatted Expository Writing 1 class. Loves it. And she does everything completely independently and willingly. She has complained that it is a little easy for her, but I explained that the first 8-10 weeks will be pretty easy, then things will ramp up. She's a natural writer, but also thinks very sequentially/analytically like an engineer (she's a duck out of water in this house). I suspect WWS will be a perfect fit for her, even though she's a tad young for it.

 

:iagree: My daughter is loving this class as well. I was concerned about the workshop method, but it seems to be a good fit for her and she is enjoying it. She feels like the material is a good fit. We were concerned it might be too easy, but looking ahead, feel it will be challenging, but not frustratingly so. She hasn't had much writing instruction, but writing seems to come naturally to her. She is excited about this class!

 

 

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Does anybody know if it's possible to join the Expository Writing 1 class mid-way through the year, assuming of course there are spots available? DS is on chapter 19 and I would love to let him start in January with the class instead of continuing on our own.

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My son, 16 years old and a 10th / 11th grader, is in Intro to Rhetoric, which covers Writing with Skill 1, 2 & 3.  The class is taught by "Katie", as she asked to be called (Kathleen Brian). As previously mentioned, she uses the workshop model in class. 

 

I could copy and agree with all of Root Ann's post.  However I am not brave enough to say even that on a public forum.

 

I have watched all the classes so far, since I still do not fully understand how students are supposed to improve from the workshop model.  I think that kids in the middle of the pack, as far as writing skills go, will benefit the most from the workshop model.

 

In my life before kids, I was a public school teacher in a low performing middle school. The English teacher taught using a "workshop model" that included much more teaching about the elements of a good sentence / paragraph / essay. Perhaps Katie's style comes from her experiences as a PhD student, instead of the sort of methods class that a teacher would take in college.

 

In addition,there is constant and distracting commentary in the chat box of this class.  I am surprised that she does not turn it off and make kids "raise their hands" to talk during important segments of the class.

 

RootAnn, do you think that if kids make an appointment with Miss Katie, she would be willing to give specific feedback on a particular essay?

 

Please feel free to PM me and I will answer questions more clearly - now or in the future.  And I can only hope that things will improve and I will have a better impression by the end of the year!

 

 

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Does anybody know if it's possible to join the Expository Writing 1 class mid-way through the year, assuming of course there are spots available? DS is on chapter 19 and I would love to let him start in January with the class instead of continuing on our own.

 

Last year, WTM Academy opened up their classes to kids mid-year for anyone who wanted to finish the year with them. I'm assuming that, space permitting, they will do so again this year. If you want to know for sure & check which ones would have room, I'd email the new Academy Dean and ask. You can use the email on the Contact Us page or fill out the contact form.

 

I'm so glad so many people are having a good experience. Please continue to post how things are going. I will update in a month to two & let you know how things are going for us. I'm going to be emailing the teacher this weekend to ask about (regularly) receiving personal feedback on the bigger assignments during office hours. (Some of the assignments are outlines or very small summaries. I'm going to inquire about receiving feedback on the 300+ word ones and possibly getting some early draft feedback on the bigger papers that will be 10% each of her final grade.)

 

ETA:  Wanted to include a link to the Finishing Well blog post by Mr Hummel on Why Workshop. It explains why he uses workshopping in his classes.

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Last year, WTM Academy opened up their classes to kids mid-year for anyone who wanted to finish the year with them. I'm assuming that, space permitting, they will do so again this year. If you want to know for sure & check which ones would have room, I'd email the new Academy Dean and ask. You can use the email on the Contact Us page or fill out the contact form.

 

I'm so glad so many people are having a good experience. Please continue to post how things are going. I will update in a month to two & let you know how things are going for us. I'm going to be emailing the teacher this weekend to ask about (regularly) receiving personal feedback on the bigger assignments during office hours. (Some of the assignments are outlines or very small summaries. I'm going to inquire about receiving feedback on the 300+ word ones and possibly getting some early draft feedback on the bigger papers that will be 10% each of her final grade.)

 

ETA:  Wanted to include a link to the Finishing Well blog post by Mr Hummel on Why Workshop. It explains why he uses workshopping in his classes.

Oops, I answered my own question. RootAnn, I will be looking to see your update!  

 

Many of the teachers that are using with the workshop model have a large number of classes, which might make personal feedback more difficult.  I did see that there is now a third teacher teaching EW1, but again, with the workshop model.  I will be watching for more feedback from all those with students in this model to see how it progresses through the year.  I sincerely hope that they are able to resolve some of the the problems, which appeared in some reviews of this model last year.  I also try to keep in mind that we aren't necessarily hearing from the parents of a child that may be excelling with this method.  I hope that those parents would also give feedback.  

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The delayed course my son is in is about a week behind the other two sections.  I'm having my own struggles at the moment, which I will be addressing with the instructor personally (waiting on some unanswered questions...since we're in a rather unique situation with regard to time delays, and now less flexibility in when he can log-in to watch lectures/turn in assignments).  I'm still not sure if they are following the same syllabus (which is what I had mapped out), and I need to change due dates to match what is happening.

 

We've had a busy few days since this thread began, but I will be discussing with my son tomorrow (he won't be home today until late -- and I know he won't be in frame of mind to give thoughtful responses to my questions.  He's done WWS1, so the first part will be rather easy for him anyhow).

 

 

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My DD is also in Exp writing 1 class with Ms. Meyers. She (and I) feel the classes are well structured and well managed. Homework is posted in advance and graded with thoughtful feedback and Ms. Meyers has been very responsive to questions and concerns. She also likes the WWS format that starts out slow with narrative summaries and outlines. I have to help her with close reading strategies but she works with homework independently. She tells me that class is well behaved because of the "3 strikes and chat gets shut down" policy. This is helpful because my kid is easily distracted and silliness in chat boxes can be a problem in online classes. Warmest regards. 

 

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Does anybody know if it's possible to join the Expository Writing 1 class mid-way through the year, assuming of course there are spots available? DS is on chapter 19 and I would love to let him start in January with the class instead of continuing on our own.

Yes!  Students can join year-long courses with room for additions at the start of the spring semester.  We will be announcing spring registration in November.

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Just an update to this: classes are going well & I'm getting a better feel for them.

 

EW2 w/Brian requires lots of hours of work on my son's behalf. Unfortunately, I think he's just going to have to pick up the pace. I don't think it's an unusual work load for this age group. 

 

I will say, his writing, and his confidence in his writing, has improved massively just since the start of the school year.

 

He makes thoughtful remarks on others' writing, & he says he receives thoughtful remarks on his. He says the students are good writers & put a lot of thought & effort into their work. He strives to put good quality writing up. There is NO chatter in the text box. Comments are on topic.

 

We had Myers last year whom we loved very much & I wouldn't hesitate to use her again. Her class times didn't match up to our availability this year.

 

I think there is value in different teachers & different models, so I was hoping this would be a great experience. 

 

The value of it is becoming more evident with each passing week.

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