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charlotteb

"Writing with Skill" for high school?

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Would the Writing With Skill program by Susan Wise Bauer be appropriate for a high school student who needs some writing intervention? I posted recently about needing to find a gentler program to use for my DD, who will be in 11th grade next year. We were trying to do IEW's Writing Research Papers this year, but it is obvious that is is way over her head and we need to step back a bit.   I want her to learn the high school level things like research papers, but she could probably also use help with other writing too.   Does anyone know if the Writing with Skill program includes a research paper? 

 

Edited by charlotteb

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Yes, I think WWS would be fine for situation you are describing; WWS level one does  include doing a research paper, and it does teach skills needed to do a research paper (how to cite sources, avoiding plagiarism, outlining, organizing thoughts before writing).  WWS is very good for breaking down those skills into chunks that are manageable. 

ETA: yup, the research paper is in weeks 35-36. 

Edited by Zoo Keeper
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1 hour ago, charlotteb said:

Would the Writing With Skill program by Susan Wise Bauer be appropriate for a high school student... I posted recently about needing to find a gentler program to use for my DD, who will be in 11th grade next year...


Yes, even SWB lists different progressions for her WWE and WWS series, depending on the student's needs:
   1st progression: 6th grade = WWS1  /  7th grade = WWS2  /  8th grade = WWS3
   2nd progression: 7th grade = WWS1  /  8th grade = WWS2  /  9th grade = WWS3
   3rd progression: 5th grade = WWS1 (half)  /  6th grade = WWS1 (half)  /  7th grade = WWS2 (half)  /  8th grade = WWS2 (half)  /  9th = WWS3
   4th progression: 8th grade  = WWS1  /  9th grade = WWS2  /  10th grade = WWS3

I'm sure you could start a progression even later with no problems, if that was when the program best "clicked" for the student.

Writing with Skill series is very formal, structured, and thorough. Not sure if I would call it "gentle", but it would be very step-by-step incremental. Check out the table of contents, which has a very complete break-down of what to do each day and each week: level 1, level 2, level 3 to see if that would be a fit for your DD. Perhaps in 11th grade she could do level 2, and in 12th grade do level 3? Or, start level 1 now, and go through the summers, which should allow you time to complete level 3 by the end of 12th grade.
 

1 hour ago, charlotteb said:

Does anyone know if the Writing with Skill program includes a research paper? ... I want her to learn the high school level things like research papers, but she could probably also use help with other writing too...


From what I can see of the table of contents / daily schedule, all 3 levels of WWS teach literary analysis and writing different types of essays, and all three practice research, note-taking, and writing from the notes (process needed for a research paper. Level 3 teaches citations for a research paper.
 

1 hour ago, charlotteb said:

... high school student who needs some writing intervention...


Just my rambling thoughts:
I have been teaching some homeschool high school Lit. & Comp. classes, and always have several remedial writers. What seems to help is starting off by making sure students understand what a complete sentence is, and then what kinds of sentences need to go into a paragraph to make it a complete paragraph. From there, we practice lots of 1 paragraph "essays" of different types, and then build up to doing some 3 paragraph essays, a few 5 paragraph essays, and then a multi-page (3-5 page) essay. Getting students comfortable with all the parts needed for a paper in the small scale of 1 paragraph first seems to help them then take the next step of expanding into more paragraphs. I also have found that giving them a very specific checklist or rubric of the writing process for each assignment, plus an example to look out (with the different types of sentences labeled so they can see what it looks like), helps as well.

When I teach the research paper, we take about 10 weeks to complete the process, and I have students turn in things at each stage for feedback, so they complete one stage of the writing process before moving to the next stage. And have them turn in the Works Cited page (MLA format) as a separate assignment for one of the weeks towards the end of the process.

BEST of luck in finding what best helps your student! Warmest regards, Lori D.

Edited by Lori D.
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Writing with Skill Level One does a research paper in weeks 35 & 36.  At that point, they have practiced all the skills with topics assigned from the text.  In these last two weeks of the year, they finally get to choose their own topic to use.  Other levels have more and longer research papers, using more of the "topoi" learned during the course.

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The issue I think you will have with WWS in this scenario is that the mentor texts chosen as examples are challenging and dense. If there are language processing problems also, you may want to find different mentor texts to use with the program. The writing assignments and skills themselves are valuable and set up well, but getting through those passages can be tough with a language-challenged student. It's just an incredibly wordy text. And it doesn't HAVE to be to practice the same skills.

Edited by FairProspects
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We liked Jensen's Format Writing.  Writing with Skill just didn't work for my big picture thinker.  For research reports, I found that Seton's Composition for High School did a good job.  Both were pretty gentle and very straight-forward.

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TWTMA offers a course that does portions of WWS1, 2 and 3 over the course of a year.  It was excellent for my oldest son (All of my others have gone through 1-2-3 in 7th-9th).  I'd say it's good that way, or 8-10th, too.  If you're trying to get them to a particular place, you could continue WWS through the summer and consolidate the time as well.

 

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