Planning your writing for the year

One of the chief comments I get from moms is that they wish they had the creativity to think of their own writing projects for their kids. They feel like they “get it” about language arts (and they have proven it by enrolling in The Arrow and The Boomerang programs). They understand how to freewrite and do primary revisions.

But what if you want to branch out?

  • How do I direct my kids to write a comic strip or a dialog or a letter between Galileo and Copernicus?
  • What if my child trends toward story telling? How do I help that child to incorporate factual detail without robbing her joy?
  • What if my child is a serious non-fiction author? How do I help him or her to weave those fiction-style elements (anecdote, dialog, description) into the non-fiction piece to enliven it?

To respond to the crescendo of voices, I’ve got a plan. I’ll unveil it shortly. Until then, please use this space to share with me what you wish you could teach (what kinds of formats) that you don’t feel able to tackle on your own. The goal here is not to reproduce the typical “Here’s what a descriptive paragraph is” but to understand how a descriptive paragraph is tackled from within the Brace Writer philosophy and writing process. So let the brainstorming begin!

14 Responses to “Planning your writing for the year”

  1. Kellie says:

    Julie — I am absolutely interested in learning about your “plan.” Out of curiousity, when do you plan on having your plan ready to unveil? I am looking ahead towards next year’s writing class at my co op and brainstorming ideas for the kids to take on.

    So far, they have done mostly creative stuff straight from their brains like descriptive paragraphs, fictional and non fictional stories, etc. The older kids have done a historical fiction paper and also an article on an Olympic Athlete for a newspaper that we put together.

    I would love to point them in the direction of thinking more about what they write. I will have a couple of 7th graders next year. I was thinking of giving them the writing prompts for their freewrites to get them to think more and requiring a certain word minimum for those freewrites to make sure they are putting the effort in.

    I have some writing prompts I was looking at but welcome any and all ideas and suggestions.


  2. Jean says:

    I’ve got a son who wants to write playscripts (specifically musical theatre, but any playscripts really). I have no idea how to help him with that outside watching lots of live theatre and auditioning to act in plays.

    Waiting curiously for your new plan…

  3. Cindy K. says:

    I can’t wait for you to unveil your plan! While I admit that I have not finished reading TWJ, I feel like we got off to a great start and have now fizzled! They are doing copywork one day/week. One son is enjoying continuing writing “chapters” for his story, and doing the freewriting, but the other son seems “stuck” with that stuff. I am thinking of increasing his copywork for now until I can read more and figure out what to do with him. He keeps drawing blanks on his Friday Freewrites as well.

  4. Julie Bogart says:

    Wonderful! Great ideas.

    Cindy, you can help him with freewriting by creating a jar of topics. Print out the prompts in the Friday Freewrite archive here on the blog, cut into strips and stick them in a jar. Then he can just pick one per week and not have to THINK.

    I’ve got two ideas in the works (an online class version and a series of digital downloads for various projects that fit with the developmental phases of writing). So I’m working on those and we’ll see what we can come up with. The goal is to have the class in the summer and the products ready for fall use.

    Ack! So I had better get off the blog and back to work! 🙂


  5. Hope says:

    Plans are vauge… son likes to write stories based on pokemon and naruto and most of the time he does pretty good with the Freewrites. Though often he gets rather goofy and off topic. I want to start taking that to the next step (revising) and also guiging him to more organized/productive/longer/coherent writing. How to proceed? He’s a good writer, loves poetry. How to build on that?

    I had better get to reading your “jungle” book. 🙂

  6. Cindy K. says:

    Thanks, Julie. I will give it a try. I was also allowing them one day/week to work on their stories, but he actually made a comment one day (and denied it the next) that he would rather do copywork. So I guess I can have him do copywork on Monday and Thursday, and Friday Freewrites.

  7. Kellie says:

    I have another thought. I’m just starting to read “Writing to Learn” which I know you have promoted. I’m wondering if there is a way to tailor a writing project to a child based on their natural inclination. So a writing project that would fit well with the mathematical/science type kid. A writing project that fits better with the artistic/creative child. Etc. Maybe have one topic but show it approached from two different angles — or better help us understand how that can be done. Maybe this book will get into that as I’m only on the second or third chapter but I think this would be helpful to have a better grasp of.

  8. Cindy K. says:


    Is this book by William Zinsser? I am looking it up on the used book sites and want to make sure I am looking for the right book.

  9. Kellie says:

    Yes! That’s the book. Julie mentions it in the Appendix II section of TWJ which is how I found out about it. I got it from the library. I’m anxious to read through it as it has been wonderful just in the first couple of chapters.

  10. Kay says:

    We have been talking about short stories…. reading and writing them. Also talking about finding some good essays to read and then try writing our own.

  11. Lori D. says:

    I have to say that since getting The Writer’s Jungle and taking a couple of the online classes anything that I have tried has worked fabulously! I have a 14 year old who struggles with dysgraphia but now doesn’t complain at all with copywork or dictation and even Friday Freewrites….yeah!!! Of course Teatime is a must each week. We have done a couple of Arrows that he enjoyed as well. My plan for next year is to attempt a couple of the Partnership Writing projects and I also want to start building up his skills with note taking using listening to songs and jotting down the lyrics (another fabulous idea by Bravewriter). Also I have a 5 year old who loves writing already so I’m looking at the Jot It Down projects for him and I to do together.

    My question is how do I organize all this? I’m able to layout all my other hs subjects so that I can just do and not think about planning very often, I would love something more already laid out for me or at least what to do next. The yahoo group calendar reminders have helped – ok now I’m just rambling, I’ll stop now.

    Thanks Julie for all you do I SO love Bravewriter!!

  12. Cindy K. says:


    Any updates on the “Plan for next year?” Can you tell that I’m anxious to see it?

  13. Julie Bogart says:

    The basic outline right now is two-fold:

    1) Offer a tutorial language arts/writing planning program over the summer that tailor-makes your LA/Writing program to fit your academic/interests/courses of study over the year that suit the developmental phases of writing for each child, and

    2) Create “packets” of writing projects that go with each developmental phase that can give you some structure for how to do them each month with your child. Not sure yet how many per packet. I’m still sketching it all out.

    Does that help?


  14. Cindy K. says:

    Yes, taht helps tremendously! So over the summer, the tutorial program will be for the parents and will be one of your online classes? I might be able to afford that this summer!

    Thank you!