aimee asked “Can you talk more about the Write For History program? I looked through the free e-book. We’re trying to get a game plan for our history and writing as well. Can you talk about what works about it for you and Sprite?”
First of all I should explain that I don’t use the Write From History curriculum. However, I really like that chart as an overall goal setting device for grades 1-6.
Sprite is in sixth grade, and my writing goal for her right now is to complete one finished piece per month. That piece ranges from a single meaty paragraph to a full essay. It means that she has gone through all the six steps in the writing process and has even typed up the final copy. It takes several days to complete, possibly even spanning a couple of weeks.
Her regular written narrations (notebooking pages) do not go through this complete process and I don’t count them as the monthly writing assignment. Those certainly have a level of planning. There is of course a penciled draft (usually just one). And then she makes some corrections. But I don’t hold those notebooking narrations to the same level of polish as the monthly piece.
I anticipate that at some point I will raise the standards for the notebooking narrations. But then again, her writing gets better and better as time goes on. So I think it will naturally evolve. I don’t want to be continually nit picking everything. That’s one reason I ask for that one perfected piece each month. That one gets nit picked.
Her topic may come from history (or science or literature) or it may be a more general or personal theme, something you would typically write about in language arts class. I try to keep it varied and just go with what seems to fit the month.
I like the idea of sharing our topics here, so I will come back and update them each month.
2010 Monthly Polished Writing Assignments
- August — description of an invention that repairs old toys
- September — summary and evaluation of the novel Blue Willow
- October — research essay about cats
- November — essay about animals in ancient Egypt (scarab, cat, and hippo)
- December/January — (We went through major transitions & didn’t to a lot of school.)
- February/March/April — essay on why I want to be a neurosurgeon (Slowly working back into a routine.)
- May — analysis of a Gauguin painting
If you want to read more on the topic of writing, here are two excellent sites: