Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Here is Sam's most recent writing assignment from US History-Based Writing Lessons Volume 1.  There are a few things that could have been improved.  For example, the title makes it sound like the story is about a message sent by King George when actually it is about a message sent from the colonists to King George.  That's ok.  We discussed that, but he got full credit because it met the requirements for a title: to reflect key words in the last sentence.

King George’s Message
In the chilly evening, on December 16, 1773, in the frosty air, the streets of Boston were crowded with hostile people like hundreds of pigeons on a roof, transfixed on the ships.  Within them was Paul, who was a ten year old child.  He was nervous. He was here because his older brother was a part of the Sons of Liberty. Excitedly, he told Paul something was going to happen.  Paul knew, by the sweet aroma of tea, it had to do with the crates of tea on the huge, rocking ships.
Naturally, it all started when the colonists bravely refused to buy the tea, which had been taxed by England.  They thought that England had no right to tax them.  By taxing the tea, King George provoked the colonists to anger.  They told England to send the tea back.  But the Royal Governor of Boston was annoyed and persevered to not let the ships sail back.  Bravely, he firmly said that the king would be obeyed and they would unload the ships by December 16, which was tonight.  Something would happen.
Suddenly, almost 100 superb, cunning, and strong “Indians” cut through the crowd.  These “Indians”, which were actually the Sons of Liberty, boarded the ship and then, hostilely, started chopping.  Chop! Chop!  Chop!  This was scary.  The tea was thrown overboard into the ocean. After the chopping, the crowd started cheering loudly.  “Rally Indians!  Bring you axes, and tell King George we’ll pay no taxes!”  Because of this, Paul knew that King  George would understand this message.

I started out with watching IEW's Teaching Writing: Structure and Style.  While it helped me understand how the program works, I didn't feel ready to teach writing off that alone.  It did, however, help me get passed the early stages where the output was horrible.  We also tried the Student Writing Intensives, but I didn't care for that either.  It didn't give me enough to go on grading-wise.  It wasn't until I found the US History-Based writing that I became truly enamored with the program.  The teacher book tells me exactly what I need to do without being cumbersome.  The student book walks them through each lesson and each assignment.  Together, it makes it so easy to teach writing and grade writing. 

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Michelle said...

I'm looking around for a new writing curriculum for my children. My oldest should be writing creatively a lot better than she does, but she has ADHD and Aspergers. We just went to the homeschool conference and i was impressed with IEW, but not the price tag. Can you tell me more about these history based lessons? Would a girl like it? My daughter can't even write as good as what is on this post. She can barely get a paragraph in and she's 12. It's so disheartening. Anyway, if you have any suggestions, I'd love to hear them and also the link to this writing curriculum too. I am using this book right now from Scholastic that uses a writing diamond (because good writing shines!) and that is helping somewhat. Writing Strands, narration/dictation, etc just has not worked for us at all.

JoAnn said...

That's the link to their themed-based lessons. They have ones based on history and then they have others: life science, Bible, Character, Fun and Fascinating, Fables/Myths/Fairy tales, etc. They are a lot cheaper than the DVD lessons and could probably stand on their own, though knowing how the program works helps a bit. If you can find someone local, they do allow owners of the TWSS to do showings as long as everyone buys their own syllabus.