Archive for the ‘Language Arts’ Category

FREE Wacky Revision Tactics Workshop!

FREE Wacky Revision Workshop Replay

If you didn’t catch the live workshop you can still participate!
(Scroll down for more info)

Whew! What a great Writing Workshop we had on Periscope! Given that one phone represented multiple people and we had 673 phones and computers tuned in, we easily had over 1000 kids and parents participating. A great time was had by all!

I focused on the cranky process of revision. I introduced two revision styles:

  • Wacky Revision Tactics
  • Serious Revision Tactics

Kids clipped and glued and revised on the spot and then had lots of inspiration for new strategies to try once the workshop ended. The flood of positive feedback following the workshop is still coming!

We’re looking forward to holding other free writing workshops via Periscope. For now, you can watch the replay (below) and get just as much benefit!

Check out some of the photos and comments from the workshop:

Writing Workshop Wednesday: Revision

The girls are excited to be a part of Julie’s revision scope!! ~Jennifer

Writing Workshop Wednesday: Revision

Loving the scope! ~Jodi

Writing Workshop Wednesday: Revision

What my kitchen table now looks like.

Thanks Julie Sweeney. My son took that boring little list he wrote, and is now imagining George Washington playing Minecraft in his underwear, but that was just his dream before he woke up. My daughter is telling a story about walking her cat to a sweet shop. And my 8 year old is imagining his dog cooking him breakfast. I’d say they had fun. I’m going to have to watch replay and take notes.

~Rebekah

Writing Workshop Wednesday: Revision

Julie, I watched your workshop with my homeschooling girls and we all enjoyed it. They each had two pieces of writing that they worked on one as the wacky Scramble for the free write and then took Thanksgiving papers and one chose the Lie option (6th grader) and the other chose to add dialog and add a couple of elements they had left out (8th grader).

Thanks for doing these periscopes and this workshop! I don’t have a phone to follow you on so we can’t comment but we do enjoy watching the scopes in real time (or on Katch when we miss) and feel a part of things.

My daughter, Ivy, was verbally responding to you a ton and wished she could type in comments or give you hearts. She also liked reading some of the other responses. My journal is filling up with notes from your talks!

~Venessa

Missed the live workshop? No problem!

GRAB your FREE Revision Guide HERE.

Do the prep work then watch the scope with your kids!

For a full four week course, check out our Groovy Grammar Workshop!
Groovy Grammar Workshop

Writing Workshop Wednesday is TOMORROW!

Writing Workshop Wednesday

Periscope is off the chains! We have 2000 followers already.

As a thank you for all that love, I’m giving a FREE Writing Workshop for your kids. We’ll tackle the tricky processes of revision. I promise to stand the whole notion of revision on its head so that it stops being a cranky process and turns into play.

You’ll need writing (by your kids) already written to revise so I’ve prepared a FREE guide for you to use with your kids. The preparatory writing will take about 5-10 minutes. Promise! Then you will type it up in a special way and you’ll all be ready to rock ‘n roll.

Tell your friends! This workshop is a great introduction to how Brave Writer sees writing and teaches it!

Download the Guide
so your kids can prepare!

The LIVE Writing Workshop is via
Periscope on Wednesday December 2, at 4:00 PM EST.

Real Life Grammar Instruction

Real Life Grammar Tips

Periscope fans, please order your free digital file here for the 5 tips to help you transform how you approach grammar in your family. There is absolutely no charge! You will be added to our email list so that you will be kept abreast of Brave Writer’s materials and classes. Thanks!

FREE: 5 Tips for Real Grammar Instruction

Resources mentioned in the Scope (affiliate links):

My favorite Grammar Program!
Winston Grammar

ENJOY THE SCOPE ON THIS TOPIC:

Image by Brave Writer mom Danielle (text added)

Revision is not editing

Miss A Writes a SongImage by Denise Krebs

In Brave Writer, we separate the ideas of revision and editing. Revision is “casting new vision” for the original piece of writing. It’s a “re-imagining” of the original content. You have what you want to say, now you are considering all the various ways it can be said.

Your freewrite/draft is the jet stream of thought. It’s all of it rushing out of the writer onto the page willy-nilly.

Revision is not, now, taking that freewrite/draft and fixing commas or identifying run-on sentences. It’s not addressing tone or spelling mistakes. Those practices fall under the category of “copy-editing.”

Revision is that drastic over-haul type work that literally changes the draft sometimes so completely, the original is hardly recognizable in it any more (except maybe some sentences or the germ of the idea). Revision is where you hunker down and look at specific thoughts expressed insufficiently in the draft, and then determine how to expand them, how to enhance them, how to deepen the content or insight or facts-basis.

Revision IS writing.

In fact, most writers would say that revision is the craft, is the heart of being a writer.

What I find in parents (and even in those who claim to be writing instructors) is a tendency to skip this part of the process. They move right to editing and call it revision.

When asked to give revision notes or support, they draw a blank or they praise what’s good or they give general comments like, “Be sure you think about your audience” or “It’s a good idea to make sure your points are in a solid sequence.”

This kind of general feedback isn’t helpful to writers. What helps is to become a child’s creative partner. What you want to do, what you need to learn how to do, is how to create a dynamic partnership of idea generation.

For instance, you might see a flat-footed opening line (note: they are all flat-footed in the first draft – it’s completely rare that the first line stays the same in well revised writing). Your job isn’t to point out that it is flat-footed or could be revised. It isn’t to assign the task of making it better to your child. It’s literally to brainstorm ideas for improvements. Let’s say the child is writing about white water rafting, you might try something like this:

“I wonder how we can make this opening line grab the reader’s attention. Let me think, let me think. What if we start with the experience—Let’s get in the boat. Are you in it? What’s happening now? Close your eyes. What do you see? Blue? What shades?”

You’re jotting things down as they come out of your child’s mouth.

Then you say, “How about the water? I can imagine there’s a spray. Is there? Yes? Where did it hit? What is a water spray like? Does it remind you of anything? Oh good one! The spray of a garden hose when your brother aims it at you. Good one! Yes! Let’s jot that down.”

You’re wool-gathering. You’re collecting images, experiences, thoughts, curiosities, comments, ideas.

You aren’t telling your child what to do. You’re helping your child think freshly about what is already on the page. You are providing the dialog partner the way you would in conversation—”Then what happened? Oh wait, how did you get there? That must have been amazing! What did your brother say?”

But now, you are focused on writing and you are providing the conversational partnership that your child’s writer needs. You are thinking in writing categories but having discussions about it (natural ones). You aren’t an English teacher. You are an interested friend, partner, ally.

Do you see the difference? Stop the generalizations and get into conversations. Help get those words out.

Then, when you go back to that opening sentence, you have a selection of things to choose from that might grab the reader’s attention. Together, you can find the one and write it in a way that makes magic.

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Guest Post: Six Proofreading Tips for Homeschoolers

Proofreading
Image by Julia Manzerova

The following post is by Nikolas Baron

(Note: this guest post is in line with Brave Writer principles, but we don’t necessarily endorse all of the author’s views or associations.)

‘I remember, the Players have often mentioned it as an honour to Shakespeare, that in his writing, (whatsoever he penn’d) hee never blotted out line. My answer hath beene, would he had blotted a thousand.’

Those are the words of 17th century playwright, Ben Jonson, about his friend, William Shakespeare. Shakespeare, famously, did not proofread his work, and Jonson was saying that if he had he would have been a much better writer!

All writers make mistakes, but they can’t all get away with them like Shakespeare did. So, though clear and colorful content come first, it’s important for students to know that correcting mistakes is part of the process and that successful writers have trained themselves to edit and proofread their work.

Young writers don’t need to polish every piece of writing they produce, but when they do want to take a story or an essay to completion, here are a few tips to keep in mind:

1. Use a dictionary. Maybe that sounds a bit old-fashioned today, what with all the online help available, but a good dictionary is invaluable and can greatly improve spelling and vocabulary. The same can be said for a thesaurus. The English language is rich in synonyms and using a thesaurus can improve children’s writing immeasurably, as well as increase their awareness of the different ways of saying the same thing.

2. Cheat a little. If children write on the computer, encourage them to use a spellchecker or other online programs that highlight grammatical errors. There’s nothing wrong with a little outside help, and kids can learn from the suggested corrections (emphasis on “suggested,” because it’s okay to break the rules, sometimes).

3. Print it out. Instead of reading a computer screen, print the text. Mistakes can be seen much better that way.

4. Read out loud. Students should read through their work, and the best method is not a silent read through. Our brains tend to see what we think is written rather than what is actually on the page, so the most effective method is to have budding writers read their work aloud. This helps them concentrate on their words in a way that a silent read-through never can. If a sentence runs on and on, children will literally run out of breath when it’s verbalized! They will also hear where those all-important full stops and commas go. Misspelled words will stand out, too. Plus if students have missed a word, or the word order is wrong then they will be able to hear that. English is a highly rhythmic language, so as well as spotting errors more easily, reading out loud helps students decide if their writing “sounds right.”

5. Pick one thing. Proofread for certain features: one read through for spelling, one for full stops, one for commas, and so on.

6. Leave it alone. After finishing a piece of writing have children put it away for a day or two then have them go back and read it through once more. They’ll spot mistakes they missed the first time round, and they’ll also be able to decide if the structure of the piece needs altering.

Using some or all of these techniques will help students polish their writing, and pretty soon they’ll be using them automatically every time they put fingers to keyboard or pick up a pen.

Happy proofreading!

Nikolas Baron is a freelance writer. He works for Grammarly.com –an online program that not only checks spelling but also gives useful advice about commas, full stops, and other tricky punctuation features.