Lower elementary students begin with writing fact-based information about themselves and subjects that they are familiar with. They also write many creative stories that help them to add detail and develop a fondness for writing. The majority of our focus at this level is towards sentence structure, correct use of vocabulary, proper punctuation, and overall clarity.
We want to encourage students to begin telling their stories through writing. In this class, students will work on multiple sentence responses, working towards correct spelling, grammar, and simple punctuation. Students will also start getting more detailed teacher feedback.
This class focuses on easy-to-understand grammar lessons with related essays that both review the previous weeks’ grammar lessons and work with the current week’s lesson. These writing assignments then receive feedback on the student’s proper use of grammar, mechanics, and overall structure.
Our intermediate level writing class is a pivotal point at which students start learning how to incorporate what they’ve learned into their essays. They begin by reading a nonfiction passage, from which they will learn some valuable vocabulary words. Then, they write an essay on a related prompt and receive feedback on their work. At this level, we also focus on student content and creativity. Students complete a final draft for homework.
After completing the intermediate level, students move on to nonfiction passages with more difficult vocabulary words in them. Again, student content and creativity are looked at, as well as the amount of detail that is used and how well the writing structure flows from one idea to the next. Students receive teacher feedback on their rough drafts. Students complete a final draft for homework.
Students in upper elementary grades will continue writing creative stories and will also begin writing expository essays to introduce them to the idea of explaining in greater detail. These students work on using more complex sentence structures and more varied vocabulary.
Middle school students will prepare for the rigors of high school writing by being introduced to the more formal writing structure that will be expected of them in high school. They will also experience the full writing process, with each step being outlined and explained so that students understand the importance of an organized writing process. Grammar, punctuation, and word choice will still be a large focus in order to make sure students are strong in these areas before entering high school.
This course goes over a total of 24 grammar lessons with everything from parts of speech to sentence types. At the end of each section (approximately every 4 weeks), students are given an in-class quiz to check their understanding of the grammar concepts they have been learning. Students will also write one essay per week that will help them practice and be mindful of that week’s grammar concept. They will receive teacher feedback on their rough drafts and will complete a final draft for homework.
In preparation for middle school and high school essay writing, it is important to review and preview the different writing styles students encounter and will be asked to write in school. We will be going over the 4 main types and will spend multiple class sessions discovering more about them, seeing examples of them, and writing some of our own. Rough drafts will be written outside of class and will be edited by peers and the teacher in class.
Here we return to the practice of incorporating what we’ve learned from a non-fiction passage into our writing. However, the focus here moves from simply writing a short response to paying more attention to the prewriting process (i.e., brainstorming, outlining, etc.) and writing true essays. Rough drafts will be started in class and finished at home. They will receive teacher feedback the following week and will be expected to complete a final draft for homework.
Each week, students will read about a current event (local or global) to help improve their reading skills and give them a starting point for their multi-paragraph essays. They will still be expected to use prewriting techniques to organize their writing, but they will work more independently on that part. Teacher feedback will include suggestions to improve writing beyond simply correcting errors in grammar, mechanics, or structure.
At this level, we focus on the various essay types used in high school classes. These types include expository, persuasive/argumentative, and analytical essays. Each new essay type is discussed and modeled before students begin brainstorming their responses to the topic, which allows students to have a clearer idea of the goal and see a good example. Students receive personal feedback on their writing and individualized coaching on the writing process. Students may also sign up for a writing class specific to SAT study.
In this creative writing class, students will begin working on pieces that require them to use their imagination. Although inspiration will be the main determinant of what students write about each week, students will also be guided by themes and specific writing exercises to help keep their creativity flowing. Peer evaluation and class discussions of each student’s work will play a major role in this class. In many cases, stories completed in this class will be eligible for entry into various writing competitions for students who are looking for an extra challenge.