Put That in Writing
Subtitled “Mastering the Paragraph,” this course teaches students how to write nine different types of paragraphs: descriptive, definition, narrative, process, compare/contrast, cause/effect, analogy, defending a position, and literary character analysis. As well as learning these different types of writing, students will also learn to evaluate paragraphs critically, the way teachers do. The text is set up to be a 36 week course, which includes cyclical lessons for the different styles of paragraph writing, a few introductory chapters on sentences, formal writing guidelines, the purpose of writing, writing process overviews, and a final test week. The book also lists outlines for a slower, two-year schedule and an accelerated schedule of 20 weeks. Some portions of the text (listed in the “To the Teacher” section) are reproducible for the teacher’s own use. These include useful lists, rubrics, and sample paragraphs for student evaluation.
How is writing in each paragraph style taught? A three-week rotation begins with students constructing an assigned paragraph, progressing to researching and preparing notes for a timed-write session in the second week of class, and finally, correcting and editing the paragraph from week one. Lessons are clearly laid out, with plenty of examples to illustrate the type of writing being taught. The answer key/test booklet is extremely helpful to have, as it contains answers for all of the daily assignments, as well as quizzes and a final exam. Another bonus to the course is its author, Shari Barrett, with a wealth of experience in the subject area and in the homeschool realm, having taught her own children at home since the 1980s, and other chidren as well. She holds a degree in secondary education, a passion for writing, and a real desire to teach - now that’s a great combination! ~ Zach