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Posts Tagged ‘writing’

Writing instruction in Evanston

January 21st, 2014

If you are in or around Evanston and looking for some help or inspiration in the writing department . . .

Susan Dickman is an experienced English teacher as well as a writer. She offers individual writing support and classes for students, as well as workshops for parents seeking to support their children’s written expression. Whether it is writing poetry, fiction, personal or nonfiction essays, research arguments, opinion pieces, or analytical analyses, she believes anyone can learn to brainstorm, draft, and revise, developing voice and giving structure to his or her ideas. Highly experienced and knowledgable about Gifted, Twice-Exceptional, LD/ED, and a former homeschooling parent.

Organization name: Write for Excellence

Email Address: writeforexcellence@hotmail.com

Author: admin Categories: writing Tags: , , ,

Na No Wri Mo

October 25th, 2012

Facebook Cover

Do you have an inner novelist just bursting to get out?

Or do you live with a hidden novelist?

November has become the National Novel Writing Month, and now is the time to let that little novelist out of hiding.

Here’s the original site for Na No Wri Mo (geared toward adults)

And, they have the event targeted toward kids in elementary school to high school as well.

This would fit in well with your homeschool curriculum and is perfect for this time of year before life gets nuts with the holidays, but fall sports have wrapped up and you need something to look forward to working on indoors with a hot cup of tea and fuzzy slippers.

The kids’ site has tons of resources and downloadable ebooks that will walk your kids through the process of writing their own novel in 30 days.

There’s information for educators, lesson plans, badges, forums, and tons of other cool stuff to get you motivated and help writers not throw in the towel half way through.

I have heard from many that gave it a try and couldn’t believe how many thousands of words their kids could write in a month when they just let the words fly and didn’t worry about anything but getting the story out. This year, we are going to give it a shot, at least some of us. Maybe even me. We’ll see.

Any Na No Wri Mo veterans out there? Anyone with a novel burning to get out?

Less than a week until the event begins, so now is the time to start thinking about where you are headed, dreaming up characters, and sketching some possible plots. Or, just wait until November 1 and just open your computer and see where your fingers lead you. Either way sign up so you can tally your wordcount and even if you don’t write a great novel, you can finish and say you did it.

Check out all their details and get ready to write.

Na No Wri Mo Young Writers Program: http://ywp.nanowrimo.org/

IEW webinar

June 25th, 2012

The more I use IEW the more I absolutely love it.

As part of a yahoo group related to Institute for Excellence in Writing I received this notice:

Tomorrow (Tuesday) night at 7pm Central, I’ll be a guest of Mark Hamby
<https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=747159042> , doing a webinar
entitled “Stories and the Moral Imagination.” It’s free and open to anyone.

I love Mark and know we’ll have a great discussion. Join us!

Register here:
https://www4.gotomeeting.com/register/971474903-so
<https://www4.gotomeeting.com/register/971474903-so>

Andrew Pudewa
Institute for Excellence in Writing
8799 N 387 Rd., Locust Grove, OK 74352
Tel. 800-856-5815 ext. 5001
Fax. 603-925-5123
andrew@excellenceinwriting.com
www.excellenceinwriting.com

ICHE summary

June 14th, 2012

Homeschool conventions have an amazing way of exhausting and exciting me at the same time.

Wanted to share some of the great resources and speakers I enjoyed this past weekend.

Not to overwhelm, we’ll tackle excerpts from two of them today.

First, the College Board rep gave a little lunch time talk on CLEP tests.

She offered lots of helpful info on CLEP exams that made them seem a little more within reach.

CLEP:

- offers huge savings over paying for college, even community college, tuition

- Recommended the book College without Compromise and the CLEP official test book that comes out each year and is available for Amazon.

- No penalty for wrong answers.

- No age restrictions (her kids have taken them as early as 7th grade — earning college credit in middle school!)

- Immediate results. Because it is computer based and you can take it at a variety of times throughout the year, you get an immediate result and know if you pass or not before heading home.

- accepted at 2900 colleges. However, as I was looking at some local ones, the extent they accept them does vary a bit. Some will only accept some of them as elective credits. Others require a higher score than the minimum. So, if you are CLEPping specifically to save on college tuition, do your homework ahead of time with potential colleges.

She gave great tips on actually taking the test including using the practice tests after you have completed high school course work in the subject area. She recommended when practicing to make sure to get two tests in a row with scores in the high 50’s before you attempt the actual test. And, celebrate pass or fail, your kids deserve a reward for all the hard work.

She has a website of her own as well, Credits before College

The official CLEP website has lots of info, or course.

***************************************************

Another speaker, Janice Campbell offered some great insight into grading pieces of writing.

Her website has a number of great resources that you might find helpful, especially in teaching junior and senior high students. She had tips for teaching writing as well as some general teaching tips.

Check out all her info and resources at Everyday Education.

Here are a few of the points that I appreciated from what she had to say:

- In order to evaluate and encourage better writing in your student you need a rubric (which you can find at her site when you give your email), a handbook (to reference specific rules that the student needs to work on), a thesaurus, and a dictionary

- When grading the rough draft you first grade only content. Don’t get bogged down in specific words and mechanics. The rough draft first needs to be adjusted to get the information in an orderly format that completes the assigned writing task. Later revisions will get into the details of style.

- The goal is to teach the student to edit and evaluate themselves (a rubric helps significantly with this because it makes grading so much more concrete).

She shared many more specifics about evaluating writing, but those were the big ones that stuck with me and will have a great impact on how I read and evaluate my kids’ writing.

Did you go to ICHE? Have a favorite workshop?

Essay contest

February 1st, 2012

Midwest Creation Fellowship, PO Box 952, Wheaton, IL 60187  PH: 847-223-4730

Have you entered the essay contest? A couple months still to get your entries in. Take advantage of being stuck indoors by having your kids do some writing with a purpose. All the details below and at Midwest Creation Fellowship’s site.

Here’s some info to get you started (but, fyi, I think their ages are switched on their categories):

Purpose:
To encourage the development of skills in research, analysis and logical reasoning through preparing an effective presentation of a thesis in a creation-oriented paper.

Prizes: Senior High Level (Ages 11-14*)

  • $250 First Place
  • $100 Second Place
  • $75 Third Place

Junior High Level (Ages 14-18*)

  • $100 First Place
  • $50 Second Place
  • $25 Third Place

* Entrants 14 years old on April 30 may enter either Junior or Senior division

Topics: must strongly relate to the subject of creation vs. evolution, from a creationist perspective. Suggestions:

  • Why do cultures around the world…
    …have the same star constellations?
    …have very similar legends, such as a gigantic flood?
    …offer blood sacrifices to their god(s)?
  • Reasons why I believe in creation
  • Vestigial organs: a vestigial argument
  • More topic suggestions

Contest open to homeschoolers

January 10th, 2012

An organization known as Creative Communication offers contests in the area of art and writing to students of various ages.

There is no fee to enter and they publish a book (which they then sell) of winning entries. This can be a fun motivator if just working toward a grade or even just to get an assignment finished is getting a little old.

From the coordinators:

We have three contests . . .  Each year we have several homeschoolers accepted in our
contests and we admire their impressive work.  The following is
information on each contest, if you have any questions please feel
free to contact me!

Here are the websites for more information:
Art Contest
www.celebratingart.com

Poetry Contest
poeticpower.com

Essay Contest
poeticpower.com

IEW Seminars coming to Chicago

July 7th, 2011
Institute for Excellence in Writing
Institute for Excellence in Writing Presents
Two Days of Writing Seminars with Andrew Pudewa
Chicago, IL area – August 3-4, 2011

Please forward this message to friends and colleagues!

Location:
Judson University
1151 North State Street
Elgin, IL 60123

Wednesday, August 3 – Student Workshops
Thursday, August 4 – High School Essay Intensive
Friday-Saturday, August 5-6 – Chicago Homeschool Expo (CHE), Andrew Pudewa, Featured Speaker
(Descriptions Follow)

To register or for more information about these events, go to www.excellenceinwriting.com/IL2011 or call 800-856-5815.

Contact us:
Institute for Excellence in Writing (IEW)
8799 N. 387 Rd.
Locust Grove, OK 74352
800.856.5815
info@excellenceinwriting.com

A day of workshops for students Grades 3–10, new to the IEW writing program.
  • Introductory Workshop*: Grades 3–5: 8:30 AM–10:15 AM
  • Introductory Workshop*: Grades 6–8: 10:30 AM–12:15 PM
  • Advanced Workshop: Story Writing – Grades 3–8: 12:30 PM–2:45 PM (Full)
  • Advanced Workshop: Research Papers – Grades 5–10: 3:00 PM–5:15 PM (Full)
Cost: $20.00 per student per workshop. Teachers & Parents may observe at no cost.

The Introductory Student Workshops are enjoyable, informative and motivating for the children who attend, but they are also meant to serve as demonstration classes. Parents are encouraged to remain in the room, observing and participating with their child. Please make arrangements for the care of non-enrolled siblings. Please register early as theseworkshops fill fast. Sorry, no enrollment accepted at the door for Student Workshops.

August 4: High School Essay Intensive

8:30 AM-3:30 PM
Get immediate experience and inside tips on how to do your best on the SAT or ACT essay. Also includes strategies for composing the college application personal essay.

Cost: $50.00/participant (accompanying adult, $25.00)

August 5-6: Chicago Homeschool Expo (CHE)

Andrew Pudewa will be a speaker!
His sessions include:

  • Teaching Boys & Other Children Who Would Rather Make Forts All Day (August 5)
  • Teaching and Evaluating Writing (August 5)
  • The Profound Influence of Music on Life (August 5)
  • Reaching the Reluctant Writer (August 6)
  • The Four Deadly Errors of Teaching Writing (August 6)
We will also have a booth, so please stop by.
More information here: www.excellenceinwriting.com/CHE-2011

TOS Crew Review — IEW

May 13th, 2011

Another day of middle school writing assignments. Another day of frustration, long hours at the desk, and very little accomplished. And, unfortunately this was not a new struggle. We had battled over writing on and off since he first held a pencil.

Sound familiar? My oldest child has really struggled with putting pen to paper. He is the math and science guy. He can pull apart an engine, put it back together and tell you how it works. But ask him to write down more than a paragraph, especially one that involves creative thought and you will think you just asked a snail to fly you to the moon.

Enter IEW. It gives concrete, practical tools for writing and writing well. My husband was home one day when they were watching their lesson for the day and he said, “I wish someone had told me how to write a story like that. That’s easy!” That sums it up pretty well. Andrew Pudewa takes what is nearly impossible for so many students, what is a source of major frustration and energy drain to teachers and students alike, and makes it easy.

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Product: Institute for Excellence in Writing’s Teaching writing/student writing intensive combo pack level C

Details: A combo pack that brings information for both parent and student. The two components can be purchased separately as well and include the 10 hour teaching writing workshop (Andrew Pudewa in front of an audience of parents) for the teacher and the student program (Mr. Pudewa teaching a writing workshop for high school students) designed for use over 15 to 30 weeks depending on how much time you put into it each week.

Price: $239 for the whole combo pack

Because there are two distinct components to this combo pack I will separate my review of these items. I don’t want the value of either of these parts to get lost in a lengthy list of pros and cons. To start with, I want to share my thoughts on the level C teaching writing intensive for students.

What we loved . . .

  • Great for the non-writer and the non-writing teacher or non writing-teacher. I love to write. It’s part of the reason that I got into blogging. Taking fingers to the keyboard is a natural outlet for who I am. Unfortunately, most of my children do not take after me in this way and they really needed a teacher that understood and didn’t just keep telling them to write something — or else. They really enjoyed watching the videos, my daughter even said she had a new favorite teacher (I tried not to be hurt by that, as she assured me she was just expressing how much she enjoyed the videos. Um, okay). We really needed a fresh face to lighten the mood surrounding writing.
  • Good for older students, but still a little flexibility in the age. IEW encourages you to pick a level based on your student’s age, not on their writing ability. Older kids, even beginning writers, can progress more quickly and handle reading passages with more difficult wording. The exercises in each level are designed with a certain age grouping in mind. Level C is geared specifically toward high schoolers. I did use this for my son (entering high school) and my daughter (entering 7th grade). They were both able to work at the level required. It was a challenge for them, but a good one. They both have strong reading and vocabulary skills, just not great writing skills. I have really seen them grow through the specific methods they now have in their tool belt for writing assignments.
  • Witty teacher. Andrew Pudewa has a dynamic teaching style. I found myself watching along just because it was an enjoyable lecture. He interacts naturally with the kids in the video’s classroom, and teaches with professionalism, a sense of humor, and a thorough understanding of his subject and writing method.
  • A full year curriculum. They say you can use this for 30 weeks or go up to twice as fast and finish in 15 weeks. I can easily see this taking a good chunk of next year to finish as well as we have just used it about half of this school year. There are plenty of supplementary exercises if you want to go slower and activities that you can easily skip if your child is picking up the steps more quickly. I know IEW is often taught in co-ops around here, but I really like the flexibility of doing this at home where they can work at their own pace and go more quickly through some weekly lessons and take their time to fully master others.
  • Gives kids concrete steps. Without stifling their individuality, IEW gives the student specific steps to take to complete a writing assignment. These steps will look different depending on the type of writing, but with this teaching they can write and follow the rules and know they will come out with a great product. My son likes things concrete, specific, clear expectations, obvious write and wrong in an assignment. IEW makes writing a more concrete subject for students like him, and he thrives under it. My daughter likes the freedom of writing, but never knew how to get started. IEW has helped her to get that boost to get the assignment started and then her writing ability takes over from there. IEW has helped them both in their own unique ways and helped them both to become better writers.
  • You can do it! Even if you are not a writing teacher you can easily use this curriculum at home. You buy the level, you can make copies of the notebook pages for each of your kids, and let the video do the teaching once a week, roughly, and you follow up the rest of the week. They break it down into very manageable size lessons that fit easily into our full homeschooling days. I was very pleased with the schedule that they set up for us to follow. Of course we did tweak it here and there, but it gave us a mostly useable starting point.
  • Covers all areas of writing. We still have some of the curriculum yet to finish, and when we are done my kids will be very comfortable with writing in many forms — lecture note taking, summarizing, research papers, essays, creative writing, and taking notes from references. They need to be able to do way more than write a story or narrate a lesson back to me. Writing will be one of the first impressions that they give to people throughout life and I definitely want them to be comfortable with it so they can present themselves well.

Some considerations . . .

  • Video doesn’t have clear breaks. I don’ t know why this bothers me so much, it is really a little thing. But, I just wish that the videos stopped or had a break when a lesson was done. When I first watched I had not paid enough attention to the timing and kept watching for almost three hours because I thought the end should be coming soon. Well, it had come and gone and come and gone and come and gone. After learning my lesson I would write down on a little sticky note what time the DVD player should say when we were done for the day. My kids did enjoy the reading lesson, but they don’t want to do more school than necessary on any given day, so they made sure it stopped where it was supposed to after that.
  • Still requires writing. To learn to write, they will need to write. My son definitely did less groaning with IEW than with other programs or assignments we had tried.  However, he it is not a magic pill that made him love writing. It did, however, enable him to do it. Now I can give him a writing assignment or tell him to write a summary of what we learned and he doesn’t first spend a half hour staring at a blank sheet of paper. Now he has the assignment done and turned in by then. That is a step in the right direction.

And, then about the teaching conference on DVD:

What we loved . . .

  • Comprehensive workshop for teacher/parent. Even though I am comfortable writing and teaching writing, IEW has a little bit of a different approach to writing and in order to best teach the approach to my kids and supervise their learning of it, I needed a little extra instruction as well.These videos helped me have a more thorough understanding of the what and why behind their methodology. This really helped build my enthusiasm for the program and I think that then rubbed off on my kids as they started into their own video series. I could tell them without hesitation that they would enjoy Mr. Pudewa’s teaching style and I was right on.
  • Can be watched a little at a time. I rarely have 10 spare hours at one time, probably not even in one month could I muster that kind of extra time. So, these videos can be watched a little at a time as your kids progress through the material themselves. If you have a chunk of time over the summer to watch them in a couple sittings that works as well, or you can choose to watch it in segments that apply to the lesson the kids are learning as well.
  • Suggested schedule. If you do want to use this all at once as a workshop (invite other moms over, too, and they can even order their own notebook to go along with it!), they give you a suggested schedule and some tips on making the most of it. I did watch some of this with a friend that was also getting started in it and it was a great motivator to walk the path with another real live person while we enjoyed the DVD presentation as well.
  • Anticipates questions and prepares you well. Obviously, no one knows that program like the creator. Sitting under the teaching of the person who put it all together was priceless. He knows why it includes certain components. He knows how to best utilize the resources included in each pack. He knows how to schedule the material into your homeschooling experience. He answered my questions and more and helped me feel confident and comfortable about teaching my kids at home using IEW.

Some considerations . . .

  • Video doesn’t have clear breaks. Again, this is the same as the kids’ videos, so I won’t repeat myself, but I found it distracting to have to watch the counter rather than being free to focus on the speaker as a session got close to an end.
  • Need to focus. It is really best to watch this without distraction. This was not a DVD that I could put on in the background while I cooked dinner or played a board game on the floor with the kids. I had to be sitting, facing the TV, notebook in hand, listening and taking notes to really absorb it. The material is practical and specific and you won’t want to miss it. Be sure to set aside a time when you can really listen and make the most of this great resource.

After having tried this program and having it so willingly received by my kids I am excited to check out more of their products. They have writing courses geared toward specific time periods in history (they run just $29 for the student book), and continuation courses for those ready to build on what they have learned in these courses (these can take up to two years to complete). I’m sure this won’t be the last we see of Mr. Pudewa in our living room.

For more TOS Crew reviews on this product, check out the TOS Crew blog.

Disclaimer: This product was provided to me free of charge through IEW as part of my participation in The Old Schoolhouse Homeschool Crew. I received no additional compensation and the opinions expressed here come from my personal experiences and sincere thoughts.



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Essay contest for mission trips

March 5th, 2011

From College Plus:

Global Encounters Essay Contest

Global Encounters Logo With exciting destinations this year like Ecuador, Peru, Mexico, Romania, and South Africa, there has never been a better time to go on a mission trip with Global Encounters!

Grand Prize: $1,200 Second prize: $500 Third prize: $300

Five honorable mentions: a Global Encounters hoodie and a $75 certificate!

Here’s how to enter:

Write an original essay in 500-750 words that answers the question “What is missions and how can you be involved?” Send your essay to contest@globalencounter.net by March 31st. Be sure to include your name, age, address, and phone number.

Winners will be announced April 12th.

Read the complete details here and join the fun!

Some Handwriting direction

February 11th, 2011

Debra Reed has a great website with lots of resource for the notebookers, and notebooker wannabes among us. I have enjoyed many of the resources that she has made available, many of them free!

She recently sent out this email with some links to a site with lots of homeschooling resources including a number of books specifically for handwriting and copywork.

Here is a snippet about the site and the family behind it:

Bogart Family Resources loves providing busy homeschooling moms with convenient, practical, multi-sensory, skill-building resources that save time while building Christian character.

Our popular Christian copywork titles are an excellent example of our approach of combining practical skills with character training and Bible memory work.

Read more about them and Debra’s article about their handwriting tools.

Everyone needs to learn how to write, so why not make is a little easier on yourself and take advantage of all the legwork that this family has done. Also, if you sign up for their mailing list they will send you a certificate for $5, basically a free book to get you started.

Did you need a reason to rationalize buying more curriculum? How about because it is free? Go on, check ‘em out.

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