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possible supplement for EIW level 7


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Hi,

I'm using EIW level 7 for my 7th grader and really liking it so far! We came to lesson 17, the first real writing bit, and my son is a bit stuck 😕 his writing needs a little help. I don't think he is quiiiiiite understanding from the lessons and I am having a hard time communicating what he needs to improve without just out-right telling him what to write! I was wondering if anyone who has used EIW  found that adding another program helped clarify some things and what programs they found to work well with this program.

I know this is a pretty specific question so even if you haven't used EIW and can think of a good supplement that would be great 🙂 his weaknesses seem to be coming up with good story flow, organizing, thinking of what to write... he has a good grasp on the figurative writing bits that the EIW program has taught so far I just think he has a few gaps in basic structure that need attention before we move on with this program.

I looked at Jump in! and think that might do the trick?

 

as always thank you for any advice and tips 🙂

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Thank you for the response 🙂 This section of the program is writing a personal narrative about an embarrassing moment that happened to the student. It actual starts back on lesson 15 and is broken up into a handful of separate lessons starting with brainstorming, organizing thoughts, drafting, revising, and then the final draft. The instructor does a great job explaining and I am happy with how it is taught but I think my son just needs it broken down even more. He had trouble with the graphic organizer but with help from me we got through that OK. Then he moved on to the rough draft and it is clear that he doesn't quite have a grasp on how to put things in good order and make the story flow well. Perhaps I am too critical though? He did OK in his LA class last year in public school so maybe I am expecting his writing to be better than a 7th grader is capable of? I just want to use this year to really help him understand and not just do it to get it done and move on so if we need to dive into certain lessons a bit more I am OK adding in more instruction if it will help. 

 

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45 minutes ago, mountains27 said:

Thank you for the response 🙂 This section of the program is writing a personal narrative about an embarrassing moment that happened to the student. It actual starts back on lesson 15 and is broken up into a handful of separate lessons starting with brainstorming, organizing thoughts, drafting, revising, and then the final draft. The instructor does a great job explaining and I am happy with how it is taught but I think my son just needs it broken down even more. He had trouble with the graphic organizer but with help from me we got through that OK. Then he moved on to the rough draft and it is clear that he doesn't quite have a grasp on how to put things in good order and make the story flow well. Perhaps I am too critical though? He did OK in his LA class last year in public school so maybe I am expecting his writing to be better than a 7th grader is capable of? I just want to use this year to really help him understand and not just do it to get it done and move on so if we need to dive into certain lessons a bit more I am OK adding in more instruction if it will help. 

 

What a coincidence! I just had my Writing class do a personal narrative essay a few weeks back. 😄 

A narrative is a story, and most stories can be told chronologically -- "this happened; then that happened next; and then this other thing happened". The one tricky part might be in adding details or dialogue to flesh it out, as that can sort of interrupt a student's train of thoughts.

One thing I have found is that students all *think* very differently, and writing comes straight out of your *thinking*. Perhaps the graphic organizer method was just not clicking for your DS as the way of brainstorming/organizing his thoughts? Because the goal of the organizing step of the writing process is to 1.) sort through the brainstorming and select the parts that fit together/set aside the ideas and bits that don't fit, and then 2.) arrange into some sort of logical order.

The rough draft should just flow straight out of the organization stage, without need of the thinking about how to put things into order -- ordering or structuring the essay should (hopefully) happen in the organization stage. If my students get to the rough draft stage and they either don't have enough material to flesh it out and have to brainstorm more material, or if the order of the ideas is not in a logical flow, I have them go back for another round of brainstorming (generating ideas) and organizing (sorting/arranging) until they have a "complete writing road map" to work from, so that the rough draft is simply turning each part of the "road map" into complete sentences and complete paragraphs.

Just in brief, the steps of the writing process -- it's a lot!

1. brainstorming = generating ideas
2. organizing = sorting through those ideas; then arranging the ones that fit together into a logical order
[repeat steps 1 & 2 until you have a complete outline, structure, or "writing roadmap" to write from]

3. rough draft writing = turning each part of the "writing roadmap" into complete sentences and complete paragraphs

4. revising = "big fixes"
#1st revision pass = add what is missing; remove what doesn't work, rearrange parts for smoother flow
#2nd revision pass = fix major sentence structure errors (like run-ons, fragments, grammatically incorrect sentences)
#3rd revision pass = style improvements -  improve word choices, vary sentence structures; and add a title

5. proof-editing = "small fixes" -- fix errors: typos, spelling, punctuation/capitalization, doubled/missing words; and formatting fixes


Don't worry -- this sounds VERY typical of a middle schooler. This is the age/stage where the logic and critical thinking portions of the brain are just starting to mature. And, logical, supported writing takes a lot of time and practice. You're in the early stage of working on the first "big" writing assignment -- unless you have the rare student who is a natural writer, this is definitely going to be a bit of a struggle to figure out what to say, how to organize your thoughts, and how to flesh out your thoughts into enough detail for a comprehensible essay.

Just to encourage you: Most of my 7th graders need a LOT of scaffolding for the writing assignments at this age, even when it's just writing ONE paragraph assignments, and the assignments are easier -- like, "how to" and expository paragraphs. Personal narrative essays are harder, and then persuasive/argumentative essays are the hardest of assignments. Many of my 9th graders are *just* at the stage where they are beginning to be able to think more analytically, logically, so they are just at that point beginning to be able to build an argument of support for their persuasive paragraphs and essays.

All that to say: it sounds like you're doing a great job of scaffolding your DS into writing his essay! If you still feel you'd like some more tips or ideas for explanations or for scaffolding, feel free to send me a private message, and I can share some of the things I do with my classes. 

BEST of luck in the writing adventures! Warmest regards, Lori D.

Edited by Lori D.
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Thank you! this was super helpful and I think we worked out some troubles today. I had him go back and re-do his graphic organizer and put things in order better. Than he used that to write out a rough draft that was rough but MUCH better than his first attempt! I will have him work on the revision tomorrow and see how that goes. 🙂

thanks for the help!

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1 hour ago, mountains27 said:

Thank you! this was super helpful and I think we worked out some troubles today. I had him go back and re-do his graphic organizer and put things in order better. Than he used that to write out a rough draft that was rough but MUCH better than his first attempt! I will have him work on the revision tomorrow and see how that goes. 🙂

thanks for the help!

Yea! That is super! And great job on your part of walking alongside with him, and helping to take a step back and get some clarity on his overall essay! Hope the rest of this process on the essay goes smoothly. 😄 

And for the rest of the year -- just be prepared that he may continue to need a good amount of scaffolding all year long. These are not skills that turn on like a light switch, but develop slowly, over time, and with lots of practice. 😉

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