Menu
Jump to content

What's with the ads?

Ordinary Shoes

Designing LA Curriculum - How Much Planning for Writing Assignments?

Recommended Posts

How far in advance do you plan writing assignments? Do you go with the flow and assign on the spur of the moment or have plans in place from the beginning? 

I have an idea of the kind of writing I would like to assign next year but I'm not coming with specific assignments at this time. I feel like I want the flexibility to make changes but on the other hand I fear that if I don't think of specific assignments things could get derailed during the year. 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
15 minutes ago, Ordinary Shoes said:

How far in advance do you plan writing assignments? Do you go with the flow and assign on the spur of the moment or have plans in place from the beginning? 

I have an idea of the kind of writing I would like to assign next year but I'm not coming with specific assignments at this time. I feel like I want the flexibility to make changes but on the other hand I fear that if I don't think of specific assignments things could get derailed during the year. 

 

It completely depends on the year.  I have done it the way you are describing for some years at all levels.  What I do is determine the types of writing we will cover and when.  So, Week 18 of school will be descriptive writing essay.  I always know what resource I"m using.  Then when we get to that week I look at what we are covering and make the assignment.  The description might be tied to literature if we are reading something with a compelling character, to history if there is a particularly interesting person or I let them choose a person they know or like from literature.  Having the date and resource keeps me from getting derailed.

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I do something similar to what @freesia said above--so like, I know that next year I want them to write an essay about Huckleberry Finn. I either let them decide how to write it when we get there, or a couple of weeks before I'll give them some options based on the topoi/skills they learned in WWS. "Write either a narrative summary + conflict analysis of H.F., or choose a character to write a Description of a Person about, or do some research and write a biographical sketch of Mark Twain."

I do the same with history--I know I want them to write 2 essays per "semester," so in October I'll tell them to choose one person, event, invention/discovery etc, that they've read about in Chapter 1-9 of the textbook, do additional research, and write an essay. (I remind them of the topoi, etc.) I know that the essay assignments will be in October, December, March, and May, and I know what general time period in history they'll be writing about. That's about the level of planning I do, and when the time comes I turn them loose on it and see what they come up with. I'm always available to help them think through their options, but I don't want to "prompt" them beyond telling them what book to write about or what period in history to choose their topic from. (If they felt strongly that they'd rather write about, say, Black Elk Speaks instead of Huckleberry Finn, I'd let them do that... but so far neither of them have felt strongly about it. Very stoic pair of kiddos 😄)

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In middle school I have my kids write about history, but I don't plan what they'll be writing ahead of time.  I've only had my older get through the middle school years (younger starts in August) but I had the general idea of doing a writing assignment every 2-4 weeks.  Some years we were also using a lit/writing class at co-op - those years we wrote about history monthly, while other years we did it very 2-3 weeks.  I would usually make decisions about what to do based on what we were covering and what kiddo found interesting.  Sometimes we'd do a timed 'you have 1 hour to write an essay/a report on topic we've been studying this week' which helped kiddo learn to get ideas on paper and is also prep for any possible AP/SAT/college exams that we may encounter in high school.  We also did longer assignments - sometimes we'd compare and contrast, sometimes it would be a report, sometimes an essay.  Knowing my kids, I'm guessing that younger will write about different topics even though we'll use the same books to learn history.  

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I select topics as we go.  I make decisions based on what they are currently studying and what I feel at that time is a topic I want them to explore more.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I only planned in advance for assignments for my Lit. & Writing gr. 7-12 co-op classes (one semester at a time in advance). And even then, I've adjusted the schedule and type of assignments more than once when it was quickly clear that the majority of students needed to work on something other than what I had planned for. So my answer: go with the flow, and even if you do plan, be prepared to be flexible in case your student needs to focus on something other than your assigned writing. 😉 

Edited by Lori D.
  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, egao_gakari said:

I do something similar to what @freesia said above--so like, I know that next year I want them to write an essay about Huckleberry Finn. I either let them decide how to write it when we get there, or a couple of weeks before I'll give them some options based on the topoi/skills they learned in WWS. "Write either a narrative summary + conflict analysis of H.F., or choose a character to write a Description of a Person about, or do some research and write a biographical sketch of Mark Twain."

I do the same with history--I know I want them to write 2 essays per "semester," so in October I'll tell them to choose one person, event, invention/discovery etc, that they've read about in Chapter 1-9 of the textbook, do additional research, and write an essay. (I remind them of the topoi, etc.) I know that the essay assignments will be in October, December, March, and May, and I know what general time period in history they'll be writing about. That's about the level of planning I do, and when the time comes I turn them loose on it and see what they come up with. I'm always available to help them think through their options, but I don't want to "prompt" them beyond telling them what book to write about or what period in history to choose their topic from. (If they felt strongly that they'd rather write about, say, Black Elk Speaks instead of Huckleberry Finn, I'd let them do that... but so far neither of them have felt strongly about it. Very stoic pair of kiddos 😄)

LOL  My kids feel strongly about writing about something else close to 100% of the time. Sometimes I let them, sometimes not, depending on the kid and what he or she needs.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We're spur of the moment here, too, depending on what we're studying. My kids generally choose what they want to write about, but in high school, I begin giving them more directed options.

The only thing I really plan is what kind of writing we're doing when - like how many written narrations per week, how many outlines, rewrites, when we'll do a history research project, etc.

Edited by hollyhock2
  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×
×
  • Create New...