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annegables

The Writing Revolution

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Some of us were discussing The Writing Revolution and I wanted to dedicate a thread on it because I have found it so useful in thinking about teach writing strategies. I want to be very careful of copywrite and all of that. There is also plenty of info out there on this book/method if you google. A great place to start is thewritingrevolution.org. This is also referred to The Hochman Method. As a disclaimer, I am in no way affiliated with this company:). 

I am only about 1/3 of the way through the book (80 pages in), but I have found the info really helpful. The first thing I noticed is how the strategies are easily adaptable for homeschoolers. In fact, I think that homeschoolers have the upper hand in incorporating the strategies, because they can be done through conversation. I love that the book highlights the importance of thinking as a "writing" activity. 

The other thing the book does well is give ideas/strategies for "level one" vs "level two" writers, which just refers to writing ability and not necessarily to grade level. I think this book is used by some teachers trying to remediate poor writing in older kids. 

I love how the authors footstomp the importance of being able to write well at the sentence level before rushing on to the paragraph. I hate how quantity of writing seems to be valued over quality of writing, and this book is a strong push-back against that trend. The authors have many strategies for improving sentence quality. Some of these strategies are found in Killgallon's books, and possibly IEW, although I am not familiar with that one. 

I have used WWE and WWS1, and I think the strategies in this book provide a piece that I think is missing from those curricula (which I truly value). 

I will be posting more as I continue reading, in part because, as TWR says, writing helps us process what we read:). 

I will also say that I continue to be appalled at what is (not) taught in elementary ed majors, at least according to the different books I have read. I have read at least 5 "teaching phonics" books, and they all mention how few universities teach "how to teach kids to read" to el ed majors. And this book mentions "my undergraduate and graduate training hadn't included any preparation for teaching writing, as far as I can recall, nor had I been assigned to read any research on effective writing instruction." (p4) Good night. What in the blankety-blank are prospective teachers learning in college if not how to teach reading and writing??? Now that I think about it, this explains so much...

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I loved the ideas in WR so much I made my own WR-style curriculum that integrated writing and subjects we are currently learning. 

I hate that there is no support for homeschoolers. It is all PS-centered with $1k workshops and a costly annual subscription to gain access to worksheets OTHER TEACHERS have created by subject. So yeah, the author is not homeschool friendly at all. 

I do agree that homeschoolers could do a lot verbally which is a distinct advantage over PS. However, the point is to integrate writing into the subjects to help comprehension and improve writing skills. That’s lost if you only go verbal. 

WR plus The Knowledge Gap really helped me see more clearly that what I had done in my homeschool children’s elementary years was vastly better than what ps has been doing. I have classical and WTM to thank for that. 

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Just wanted to pop in and thank you for starting this thread!  I have thoughts to share, but will have to wait until I have time to sit down and write them out.  I’ll be listening in in the meantime🙂

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16 minutes ago, Plum said:

I loved the ideas in WR so much I made my own WR-style curriculum that integrated writing and subjects we are currently learning. 

I hate that there is no support for homeschoolers. It is all PS-centered with $1k workshops and a costly annual subscription to gain access to worksheets OTHER TEACHERS have created by subject. So yeah, the author is not homeschool friendly at all. 

I do agree that homeschoolers could do a lot verbally which is a distinct advantage over PS. However, the point is to integrate writing into the subjects to help comprehension and improve writing skills. That’s lost if you only go verbal. 

WR plus The Knowledge Gap really helped me see more clearly that what I had done in my homeschool children’s elementary years was vastly better than what ps has been doing. I have classical and WTM to thank for that. 

Thank you for this; so many thoughts...

YES to the bolded!!!

The Knowledge Gap was so eye-opening to me (it is how I heard of TWR). I fully agree with your assessment of your homeschool vs what the ps is doing. I had no idea that there was so little actual knowledge content being taught in elementary schools, and this seems to be on purpose. It is a feature and not a bug???

I agree about not going only verbal and thanks for clarifying that for me. My point was that to get my kids comfortable with "because, but, so" and other types of writing cues, I can teach and re-enforce the concept verbally without tiring my kids out to help better prepare them for the written work.

That is annoying about no support for homeschoolers. I sometimes feel when I read books that critique the current state of affairs in conventional schools, that they are also unfriendly about people going rogue and homeschooling. Um, if the local schools had been able to do it better, I might still be there. It isnt my fault that teachers are not only not teaching much content at the elementary school level, they also apparently have little formal training in how to teach actual skills. 

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APMReports and the related Educate podcasts have been covering the flaws in PS literacy policy for a few years now. It’s eye-opening. Hard To Read is the oldest podcast from 2017 and is about dyslexia and phonics. At a Loss For Words and the most recent podcast about the NAEP report are about the bad science of how they are teaching students to read. 
 

https://www.apmreports.org/educate-podcast

 

The author of The Knowledge Gap, Natalie Wexler, was on several podcasts to promote the book. You can get the idea of what it’s about before you get the book. 

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Something I have needed to learn with teaching writing is how much support to give. I have a hard time knowing what is supporting and scaffolding and what is doing the learning for my kid. TWR has been helping me get a handle on this. I have been throwing my young children into the deep end with less support than I could give them because I was afraid of helping them too much. 

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16 minutes ago, Plum said:

APMReports and the related Educate podcasts have been covering the flaws in PS literacy policy for a few years now. It’s eye-opening. Hard To Read is the oldest podcast from 2017 and is about dyslexia and phonics. At a Loss For Words and the most recent podcast about the NAEP report are about the bad science of how they are teaching students to read. 
 

https://www.apmreports.org/educate-podcast

 

The author of The Knowledge Gap, Natalie Wexler, was on several podcasts to promote the book. You can get the idea of what it’s about before you get the book. 

I dont know whether to thank you or not for this podcast recommendation😁. To quote Willy Wonka, "So much time, so little to do. Strike that, reverse it."

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Thanks for starting this thread! I just got the book from my library to look over, so I don't have anything to contribute yet. 

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I'm going to request the book as well.

I don't know what TWR advises but lately I've been wondering if it's a disservice to focus so much on tiny bits of writing such as staying at the sentence level for years. It's great to work on strong sentences, then strong paragraphs, then strong essays but I do wonder if the thinking/planning part of writing gets shortchanged before the student gets to the stage of improving paragraphs.

In other words, I wonder if it would be better to think/plan paragraphs or even longer stories/essays while still working on strengthening writing at the sentence level. Then when the student is ready to really focus on writing strong paragraphs the planning part doesn't seem like a huge jump, and meanwhile he or she could start learning to plan longer writing projects. It seems like oral narration helps with this, but not as much as someone sitting down and scribing a thought out plan for longer writings with a child occasionally.

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I mentioned this a bit upthread, but this book is really helping me with knowing how much and what type of scaffolding/support to provide. There are examples of teachers saying things like "improve this paragraph" but having no real idea how to go about doing that. And then the author gives detailed instructions for exactly how to "improve a paragraph". And shows how much support to provide for different levels of writers. I think for that alone, the book is worth the money. I have struggled so much with this piece of teaching writing. 

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2 minutes ago, Sarah0000 said:

I'm going to request the book as well.

I don't know what TWR advises but lately I've been wondering if it's a disservice to focus so much on tiny bits of writing such as staying at the sentence level for years. It's great to work on strong sentences, then strong paragraphs, then strong essays but I do wonder if the thinking/planning part of writing gets shortchanged before the student gets to the stage of improving paragraphs.

In other words, I wonder if it would be better to think/plan paragraphs or even longer stories/essays while still working on strengthening writing at the sentence level. Then when the student is ready to really focus on writing strong paragraphs the planning part doesn't seem like a huge jump, and meanwhile he or she could start learning to plan longer writing projects. It seems like oral narration helps with this, but not as much as someone sitting down and scribing a thought out plan for longer writings with a child occasionally.

The book talks about this. The authors start at the sentence level but it is partly because they are showing how writing a good sentence helps in writing a strong topic sentence to a paragraph. She talks about how to incorporate sentence-level activities while doing paragraph compositions. 

I am not at this part of the book yet, but I think the author encourages spending more time at the paragraph level instead of moving on to longer compositions. This is because (from what I have gathered) that if one can write a coherent paragraph (and she discusses how to do paragraph outlining), those skills transfer to longer compositions. And she comes down strongly on the importance of being able to outline.

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There are pacing guides at the end of the book that help explain what is covered and for how long. 

Pacing Guide Elementary

Pacing Guide Middle - High School

Here's some worksheet examples at that high school level from New Dorp High school,  New Dorp was featured in the book and The Atlantic articles. 

There are some tasks that will be familiar to most here on this forum. Summarizing has been turned into a worksheet with a space to fill in Who, What, When, Why, How and then lines to combine it all into one summarizing sentence. It's something that can be applied to any subject. The difference between WR's method and WWE is that WR is more explicit. WWE asks the questions and requires students to answer orally in complete sentences. SoTW has written reading comprehension worksheets that take it a step further but is still not as explicit as WR. WR is broken down to one word answers and then built up into one sentence. There are many kids that this type of explicit instruction would help.

It is a worksheet heavy curriculum. It took me a while to set up my own worksheet formats and then go through a unit creating my own writing unit. It can be applied to any subject, especially ones that you want to solidify knowledge and vocabulary. I found it worked really well with content subjects like history and science. 

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Here is my spring semester plan. My kids grades are 6th, 4th, and 2nd. My 6th grader is 2/3 of the way through WWS1 (we started in March of 5th grade). My 4th and 2nd have done some WWE and we do those types of assignments but self-created. My 4th grader spent the fall summarizing science info into a paragraph with a topic sentence, supporting details, and concluding sentence. He also does Killgallon daily. I consider myself a fairly good writer but I had limited skills in teaching how to write well. 

The first week or so after break, I am going to teach all my kids how to actually write a quality topic sentence. I have taught them to write a topic sentence, but could never figure out what all needed to be included in it to make it a well-written one. My plan is to do this all together. I now know how to scaffold this. 

Weeks 2-4 I am going to teach sentence-level quality writing, adjusting for writing level. We will focus on lots of because, but, so; question words, and transition words. We will also work on expanding kernel sentences. 

After this, I will have my 6th grader finish out WWS1 using what we just learned.

My 4th grader will move on to writing single paragraphs using their outlining suggestions, rough draft, revise, edit, final draft. This will be writing across the curriculum with a focus on Ancient Rome, as per his request.

My 2nd grader will also move on to single paragraphs with a dominant focus on outlining what we know and coming up with strong topic and concluding sentences. The focus will probably be on rocks/fossils, as per his request.

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On 12/31/2019 at 5:47 PM, annegables said:

Here is my spring semester plan. My kids grades are 6th, 4th, and 2nd. My 6th grader is 2/3 of the way through WWS1 (we started in March of 5th grade). My 4th and 2nd have done some WWE and we do those types of assignments but self-created. My 4th grader spent the fall summarizing science info into a paragraph with a topic sentence, supporting details, and concluding sentence. He also does Killgallon daily. I consider myself a fairly good writer but I had limited skills in teaching how to write well. 

The first week or so after break, I am going to teach all my kids how to actually write a quality topic sentence. I have taught them to write a topic sentence, but could never figure out what all needed to be included in it to make it a well-written one. My plan is to do this all together. I now know how to scaffold this. 

Weeks 2-4 I am going to teach sentence-level quality writing, adjusting for writing level. We will focus on lots of because, but, so; question words, and transition words. We will also work on expanding kernel sentences. 

After this, I will have my 6th grader finish out WWS1 using what we just learned.

My 4th grader will move on to writing single paragraphs using their outlining suggestions, rough draft, revise, edit, final draft. This will be writing across the curriculum with a focus on Ancient Rome, as per his request.

My 2nd grader will also move on to single paragraphs with a dominant focus on outlining what we know and coming up with strong topic and concluding sentences. The focus will probably be on rocks/fossils, as per his request.


Thank you for sharing this.  I have kids of similar ages/levels and it’s really helpful to hear how others are planning to implement this in real time.  Do you plan to continue the WWS series with your oldest along with TWR?

So far my plan is to start incorporating the because/but/so exercise within content subjects for my 5th and 3rd grader, as well as a daily run-on sentence remediation exercise for the kid whose writing needs to take a breath🙂 
 

We started the year with IEW (5th grader) and WWE (3rd), but I plan to slowly add to/modify/replace those with TWR activities as I get deeper into the book.  My goal is to be officially ready to strike out on our own by next school year, though I do have WWS1 waiting in the wings if I feel we need more.

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I plan to take a month off of WWS (we are on week 24) to hone in on teaching quality sentences. Then I plan on going back to WWS and continuing TWR exercises with other subjects, notably The Big History Project. 

 

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13 hours ago, annegables said:

I plan to take a month off of WWS (we are on week 24) to hone in on teaching quality sentences. Then I plan on going back to WWS and continuing TWR exercises with other subjects, notably The Big History Project. 

 

The sentence composing books are really good for helping writing quality sentences, as well.

The elementary one:

https://www.amazon.com/Sentence-Composing-Elementary-School-Sentences/dp/0325002231/ref=sr_1_5?keywords=sentence+composing&qid=1577987695&sr=8-5

Middle school, includes grammar, nice combo:

https://www.amazon.com/Grammar-Middle-School-Sentence-Composing-Approach/dp/0325009562/ref=pd_sbs_14_5/132-9038380-5742868?_encoding=UTF8&pd_rd_i=0325009562&pd_rd_r=5e719a71-82fd-428d-b230-02b2b7a73b2c&pd_rd_w=BcPyY&pd_rd_wg=QLZbg&pf_rd_p=7c0dad87-8a25-4c4f-9349-026039ea6cb3&pf_rd_r=FGSBV75T1PHG5E752KCR&psc=1&refRID=FGSBV75T1PHG5E752KCR

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Thanks for the thread; fortunately the local library system has this available as an ebook!

DS has been on a big writing kick this year and is beginning to want to “spice up” his sentences; we’ve been discussing expansion, the importance of a broad vocabulary, and the inclusion of phrases. I was already planning to incorporate both Killgallon and IEW, both of which it seems are referenced in the book or have a more-or-less parallel approach.

Look forward to discussing it with you all! 

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I have done some thinking and planning now. I read the last 11 weeks of WWS1 to get an idea of the skills taught. I am 80 pages in the Engaging Ideas, which is a formative book and I want to start a thread on when I am finished. Also, I installed Stayfocusd, to help me stop frittering away time on here, and it guilted me into only having 10 min a day! (I am writing this in a doc to copy into the forum).

Also, for those who asked, my limited experience with Killgallon is a drilling much deeper into some of the skills presented in TWR. So if you want more practice, Killgallon is great.

I wanted the kid’s writing assignments to teach skills, so I will be working closely with them on what follows.

For my 6th grader, he will start reading The Canterbury Tales retold by Geraldine McCaughrean. For his writing for the month (after we work on improving sentences), he will write a composition on this: “Argue which tale is the most Christian.” I chose this topic for several reasons (1. There are many different options, 2. Not super “my special thoughts and feelings” driven, 3. Forces a stance).

  1. By focusing on 1 tale, his scope is narrowed considerably.

  2. I want him to have some flexibility in developing a thesis. “Christian” will be allowed to be defined in several different ways, but he needs to settle on one (e.g. closely follows the pattern of one of Jesus’ parables; contains Christian doctrine; contains a Christian ethic; etc). 

  3. We go on long walk-and-talks and we can discuss this then and flesh out ideas.

  4. He will incorporate into this the fact that the travellers are on a Christian pilgrimage, which is central to the book.

  5. I will teach him how to outline his composition like they do in TWR. (BTW, so far, “outlining” means different things in WWS and TWR. WWS uses it as a way to condense info from reading - like how I took notes in high school. TWR uses it more to mean how to organize ideas from sources to make writing easier)

  6. He will have to use 2 sources to defend his position, the Bible and Canterbury Tales. I wanted to start fairly small. I will teach him how to site sources (covered in WWS1).

  7. I will teach him about plagiarism (WWS1 lessons) and the difference between common knowledge and info you need to site. 

  8. We will go through the outlining, draft, revising, editing, final draft stages.

We are in no hurry, so if this takes longer, that is not a problem. I will provide as much scaffolding as needed. 

For my 4th grader, there are several topics he is interested in studying this spring, so for writing purposes, I will have him narrow it to one (he can study the rest without a writing component) and have him come up with a topic sentence to write individual paragraphs that we will then incorporate into a cohesive whole through revising, transition words, etc.

For my 2nd grader, we will use “because, but, so” exercises to discuss some of the science things he is into and then flesh some of those sentences out with interesting detail and word choice.

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Yes I had the entire Killgallon collection and was using Paragraphs for Elementary when I first came across TWR. Killgallon is great for working on sentences and paragraphs using literature they are familiar with. What I appreciate about TWR is that it integrates writing into whatever they are already learning.

I found Killgallon and Easy Writing to be good placeholders while I worked on TWR. 

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I don't have anything to add, but The Writing Revolution is a wonderfully affirming book! I think everyone who teaches anyone anything that involves writing should read it. 

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On 1/1/2020 at 7:18 PM, maptime said:


Thank you for sharing this.  I have kids of similar ages/levels and it’s really helpful to hear how others are planning to implement this in real time.  Do you plan to continue the WWS series with your oldest along with TWR?

So far my plan is to start incorporating the because/but/so exercise within content subjects for my 5th and 3rd grader, as well as a daily run-on sentence remediation exercise for the kid whose writing needs to take a breath🙂 
 

We started the year with IEW (5th grader) and WWE (3rd), but I plan to slowly add to/modify/replace those with TWR activities as I get deeper into the book.  My goal is to be officially ready to strike out on our own by next school year, though I do have WWS1 waiting in the wings if I feel we need more.

This is where I wish there was an instructor's guide for WWS. I found it really useful to look at WWS1 to see what was covered and then modify my writing instruction to make sure that was covered. As I mentioned in the (for reasons unknown) ridiculously bolded post of mine from Jan 5, I saw that WWS1 is covering plagiarism and how to correctly reference sources. So I read those lessons, saw how WWS does it, and then planned it out for how to cover those topics within my writing assignments. Thus far, one week in:), this plan is working so much better. My son and I much prefer having writing incorporated into what we are already doing and learning, rather than as a totally separate activity. 

I will join @lewelma in recommending Engaging Ideas as a great book to help teach writing. It gives specific examples and goes into more detail in certain places than TWR. Both books have been enormously helpful in helping me see the big picture to know where I am headed. On that note, @8FillTheHeart Homeschooling At The Helm, was another helpful resource to see how to weave it all together as a ...unit study? I am still fuzzy on some of those words😁. Essentially, I took 8's ideas about how to look for resources (books, etc) on topics my kid is interested in, and then develop a course of study around them. I then took ideas from TWR and Engaging Ideas to help fit it all together for a scope and sequence. So my Canterbury Tales writing assignment is a starting point for the skills I want to develop over the next few months.

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On 1/11/2020 at 4:57 PM, annegables said:

This is where I wish there was an instructor's guide for WWS. I found it really useful to look at WWS1 to see what was covered and then modify my writing instruction to make sure that was covered. As I mentioned in the (for reasons unknown) ridiculously bolded post of mine from Jan 5, I saw that WWS1 is covering plagiarism and how to correctly reference sources. So I read those lessons, saw how WWS does it, and then planned it out for how to cover those topics within my writing assignments. Thus far, one week in:), this plan is working so much better. My son and I much prefer having writing incorporated into what we are already doing and learning, rather than as a totally separate activity. 

 

So if I'm understanding you correctly, it sounds like you are using WWS1 for your own reference as a scope and sequence of sorts?  That's a great idea, and one that could spare me from the temptation to run two programs at once (which over here, would likely result in two programs done poorly).  

Keep us posted on how this goes!  I'm particularly curious how well the two approaches mesh with one another.  

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18 hours ago, maptime said:

 

So if I'm understanding you correctly, it sounds like you are using WWS1 for your own reference as a scope and sequence of sorts?  That's a great idea, and one that could spare me from the temptation to run two programs at once (which over here, would likely result in two programs done poorly).  

Keep us posted on how this goes!  I'm particularly curious how well the two approaches mesh with one another.  

That is correct. I attempted to do both for less than a day, before I stopped myself from that insanity. I think it  could be done if you have children who are fine with the topics provided in WWS> But my kid wanted to do his own topics. So I took WWS scope and sequence and blended it with TWR to use on our own writing topics. 

My son is halfway through his rough draft and it is going really well. I will be posting it in about 2 weeks, i think. 

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Thank you for mentioning this book. I picked it up at the library and am finding it very helpful!  I've been pulling my own thing together for dd, and the way they articulate several of the ideas is making me think more clearly about the little steps to where we want to go. 

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So are most of you implementing what you can as discussion with no worksheets or paper work? I want to implement more of this into our every day work. It just takes a lot of prep to do so. 

I have one natural and one very reluctant writer. My reluctant one has been fine with reworking/rearranging sentences like in Killgallon and Easy Writer,  but struggles with writing original sentences and paragraphs. He’s my dyslexic and has come a long way. He requires a lot of scaffolding. He gets paralyzed when he doesn’t have a clear picture of what he wants to write. He struggles with spelling, which has improved with Megawords. He struggles with punctuation, which improved with Fix-it Grammar. He tends to type out his thoughts first and then worry about punctuation. He does better when he’s really familiar with the subject. He dislikes creative writing. 

How are you implementing TWR? 

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Here is the very rough draft of my son's Canterbury Tales composition:

The Pardoner’s tale: Death’s murderers is the tale in Canterbury Tales that has the most Christian ideas. Greed is one of the things Jesus warns against, and the characters Dip, Cut, and Grab get very greedy. In the beginning of the tale when the characters make their plan to kill Death, they are very prideful, and in trying to destroy death they are wanting to be like God. Insert concluding sentence.

Dip, Cut and Grab are greedy because they don’t want to share money with each other. Throughout Jesus’s ministry he warned against greed, ‘Then he said “Beware! Guard against every kind of greed. Life is not measured by how much you own.” Luke 12:15’. In the story Cut, Grab and Dip find a motherload of money which causes them to kill each other for it. This is another quote from the bible against greed, ‘Wealth is treacherous, and the arrogant are never at rest. They open their mouths as wide as the grave, and like death, they are never satisfied. In their greed they have gathered up many nations and swallowed many peoples’ Habakkuk 2:5. Dip, Cut and Grab get very greedy over gold when the bible warns against that.

In the beginning Dip, Cut and Grab are prideful because they think they can kill death willy-nilly. These are some verses that talk abought pride. ‘Pride goes before destruction and haughtiness before a fall’ Proverβs 16:18. ‘They will betray their friends, be reckless, be puffed up with pride, and love pleasure rather than God’ 2 Timothy 3:4. Don’t be prideful cause it will lead to bad stuff.

When Dip, Cut and Grab try to kill death they are trying to be like god because it will make them immortal. This is antichristian because the bible warns against that. ‘“God knows that your eyes will be opened as soon as you eat it and you will be like God knowing both good and evil” Genesis 3:5’ ‘“You must not have any other god but me” Exodus 20:3’. Dip, Cut and Grab try to be like God causing them to kill each other.

It is very ironic that the tail is against greed yet the pardoner is very greedy himself. This tale shows that greed, pride and trying to be God will lead to death and destruction. Because of this the pardoner’s tale has the most Christian ideas because Jesus warned against it.

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Obviously, it needs a lot of work. But, it has a thesis sentence and the rest supports that thesis. I told him the reading audience was familiar with the tales so write with that in mind. I did not want a summary of the tale. 

He read a highly abridged version of about 15 tales. He then wrote an outline of his composition. He then got this on paper. After that (probably should have done before the paper), we read the direct translated pardoner's tale, the part in the prologue about the pardoner, and a shorter poetry version of the pardoner's tale. He will use this info to help flesh it out. 

I told him that the outline is like a skeleton and a rough draft is the muscles and ligaments. Now we need to get skin and hair on this thing. This week we are working on transition words, orphan quotes, quoting from Canterbury Tales and not just the Bible, stronger word choices, and sentence variety.

The following week will be editing, citing sources, polished copy. 

He has never done anything like this before. We spent about 5 hours walking and talking through different ideas. It might not be the best rough draft, but he has learned so much from this assignment already and gotten a lot more out of the book!

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51 minutes ago, Plum said:

So are most of you implementing what you can as discussion with no worksheets or paper work? I want to implement more of this into our every day work. It just takes a lot of prep to do so. 

I have one natural and one very reluctant writer. My reluctant one has been fine with reworking/rearranging sentences like in Killgallon and Easy Writer,  but struggles with writing original sentences and paragraphs. He’s my dyslexic and has come a long way. He requires a lot of scaffolding. He gets paralyzed when he doesn’t have a clear picture of what he wants to write. He struggles with spelling, which has improved with Megawords. He struggles with punctuation, which improved with Fix-it Grammar. He tends to type out his thoughts first and then worry about punctuation. He does better when he’s really familiar with the subject. He dislikes creative writing. 

How are you implementing TWR? 

We come up with lots of thesis statements verbally. For instance, if we are watching a Crash Course: World History, at the end of the 10min episode, we will each come up with 2 thesis statements (e.g. "African slaves had slightly better working conditions in North Amercan than on sugar plantations, which led to more slaves being born into slavery vs imported." "While the Columbian Exchange provided some benefits for the Americas, it had an overall negative effect on those civilzations."). We then talk through supporting details. I then have my reluctant writer pick one idea that we talked about and put that thesis statement on a white board, which he copies. He then comes up with supporting sentences on his own, with me available to help. We then work on a concluding sentence, drawing from transition words, etc. The next day we revise it together and he writes out a polished copy. 

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Another way I differentiate: We are reading aloud The Last of the really Great Whangdoodles. Our writing prompt for Tuesday will be "In the book, The Prock is the protagonist..."

My 4th grader will have to turn that into a thesis statement with 3 supporting sentences and a conclusion. My 2nd grader will do a "because, but, so" on it. Actually, I might have my 4th grader do a "bc, but, so" and make the "because" a thesis statement with 3 supporting sentences and a conclusion, and the next day, do the same for the "but" sentence. Oh, I like this idea! I want to get them very flexible at understanding different perspectives in information.

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17 hours ago, Plum said:

So are most of you implementing what you can as discussion with no worksheets or paper work? I want to implement more of this into our every day work. It just takes a lot of prep to do so. 

 

 

Yeah maybe next year I can work it into the kid's work in a more formal way, but for now it's just something I selectively use as talking points when we're going over their writing. Especially for my oldest who now writes a rough draft and does revisions for a lot of what he's doing in school.

But even for things that he reads and then we go over orally with pre-fab questions (like in an MP guide for example)... he's always been required to answer these kinds of questions in full sentences* but now we'll occasionally--not always-- think about specific pieces of his writing in WR terms. It helps. 

 

*which I honestly think makes as much of a difference as anything else-- *never* allowing them to be lazy in answering. That builds up year after year in a really natural way. Even going years without ever saying anything more helpful (or nice ha) than, "that wasn't a good sentence... say it in a better way," my kids have taken to speaking, and thus writing, in coherent and interesting ways. Yes, I left them in the weeds a bit to figure out what "better" meant. But they did, with all that practice. Above rock-bottom standards is pretty much the thing. How's that for a thesis statement LOL.

 

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