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Writing Goals for 2020

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DS enjoys storytelling / creative writing. He’s just shy of 7; halfway through 1st grade. He likes BIG projects, so this year he’s written a play & a short story (still in progress).

I’m happy with his penmanship & the volume of writing he produces (the sample below is 2-3 days’ work). I’d like to get feedback on his spelling / mechanics.

Next year’s goals are to work on paragraph formation, increase variety in word choice, learn to write a nonfiction “report” (one paragraph) & continuing to improve spelling. Is there anything else we should pay particular attention to? 

53F9D3C9-626A-48D4-87BE-4143FFDCAD46.jpeg

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That's pretty advanced for a 6 yo. The mechanics are also very advanced. The vast majority of kids this age cannot use capitals, commas, periods, and especially quotation marks with that much consistency. Obviously he could use some spelling work... but even that is very very good for his age.

Your goals are good... but I'd be careful about pushing too much on the mechanics. He's already way, way ahead of most kids his age. I would keep the focus on enjoying and growing this sort of writing. Even for gifted kids who are capable, pushing on the "rules" really hard can kill it for them.

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5 hours ago, Farrar said:

The vast majority of kids this age cannot use capitals, commas, periods, and especially quotation marks with that much consistency.

Your goals are good... but I'd be careful about pushing too much on the mechanics. He's already way, way ahead of most kids his age.

Thank you for the feedback!

I knew that quotation marks weren’t commonly used at his age - I taught him those because he was “getting lost” when re-reading his work - but I had thought that capitalization & end marks were pretty standard first-grade fare. 

I plan to focus primarily on spelling & word choice (he has recently begun expressing a desire to use “fancy / special” words) with paragraph formation being something of a stretch goal. I would like him to do some nonfiction writing, as that is something he has almost no experience with. I’ll be sure to keep a close eye on his enthusiasm level - if it wavers we can easily shelve the goals & focus on just the fun stuff 😊

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I think you have a child who is likely gifted. That doesn't mean you need to do anything differently necessarily... but it can skew your expectations of a student if you think that this is mostly on target for this age, as you seem to think. A few first graders write little stories that make sense, have lovely handwriting, and use half decent punctuation. Most first graders are still struggling to write a couple of sentences on their own, usually with spelling that is worse than this and often with very limited capitals and other punctuation. Many aren't ready to yet and are still firmly in copywork and not able to get their own words on a page yet. Your son has written a lengthy, organized, totally not nonsense, multi-page work with punctuation that honestly matches the level I sometimes see from middle schoolers. This is definitely unusual. Just the amount of focus to do that is unusual for a 6 yo.

Again, that's not to say you shouldn't introduce more lessons, more ideas, more everything. Your goals sound totally great and obviously whatever you're doing is working for him - he's thriving and that's great! And I can see from your sig line that you're using MCT, which is a good program for a gifted kid at that age, so that's perfect. But also, sometimes gifted kids can be uneven in how they develop. He might stay at this level of writing for a long time. Or he may seem to regress only to jump forward in a big leap. Or he may resist outside teaching in unexpected ways. All these are common of gifted kids. I guess I think the biggest danger here, because you seem to think this is all very normal, is that a year from now he won't have grown much as a writer and you'll think that this is a failure somehow when even a year from now, he'll still be miles ahead of most of his peers. I would just suggest that you read up on giftedness and possibly that, if you have the money or the insurance for it, that you even consider having him tested at some point. 

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28 minutes ago, Farrar said:

I think you have a child who is likely gifted.

We suspect as much, however he has not been formally assessed. 

29 minutes ago, Farrar said:

Your son has written a lengthy, organized, totally not nonsense, multi-page work with punctuation that honestly matches the level I sometimes see from middle schoolers.

For the sake of transparency, I do think I ought to mention that his work here is heavily scaffolded. He used NaNoWriMo’s YWP materials to design his characters / setting / plot in advance & I have helped him throughout with keeping his story focused & moving forward along that plot line. That’s not to say it isn’t a huge accomplishment, though - we are both very proud of his hard work! 

40 minutes ago, Farrar said:

And I can see from your sig line that you're using MCT, which is a good program for a gifted kid at that age, so that's perfect.

We actually never got to the rest of MCT this year, but he big-puffy-heart loved the parts we did last year! 

42 minutes ago, Farrar said:

I guess I think the biggest danger here, because you seem to think this is all very normal, is that a year from now he won't have grown much as a writer and you'll think that this is a failure somehow when even a year from now, he'll still be miles ahead of most of his peers.

I do acknowledge that this is advanced work. I’ll admit I was thinking 1 or mayyybe 2 grades advanced, & from your comments it seems I still underestimated. It can be hard when you don’t have anything else to compare to! My primary goal is just to keep things engaging enough that it continues to nurture his natural interest. ☺️

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