|Fundamentals of English Writing B (Grades 4-5)|
Class DescriptionThis 30-week course will review all of the Grades 2-3 fundamentals, above. It will also include the third California state curriculum skill, response to literature writing, as well as the fourth skill, persuasive writing, that is tested only in the seventh grade. Students will, therefore, take at least four practices California writing tests. Students will write critiques of articles and literature and essays required of middle school and high school students. (As with the Grades 2-3 course, this course can be repeated because the writing exercises are different each year.)
The “fundamentals” classes cover and/or review the same general topics. We begin with a review of sentence structure to verify that the students’ most basic skills are in place. We then move to the building blocks of all good writing: paragraphs. Using Write Now!®’s copyrighted templates, students practice writing several different kinds of paragraphs: the classic five-sentence paragraph with a topic sentence, three supporting sentences, and a summary concluding sentence; variations on the classic that include both supporting and countering points; bullet-point paragraphs; and both introductory and concluding paragraphs. The third step is to proceed from writing strong paragraphs to combining them into outstanding essays and other literary forms.
In the “fundamental” classes, writing exercises include school assignments (e.g., book reports, essay questions) and practical assignments (e.g., letters, resume), as well as creative writing projects. Of course, good writing of any sort benefits from creativity, the source of which is a heightened sense of awareness and, especially, self-awareness. Students are, therefore, encouraged to write about their own perceptions, feelings, and ideas. Students examine a grammar point and a style point in every class session. The classic writing handbook, The Elements of Style (Strunk & White), serves as the practical guide to better writing. There is a homework assignment each week requiring between 15 and 30 minutes of preparation at home. Each student receives a class notebook to be used to collect weekly handouts and the portfolio of writing assignments.
In the “specialized” courses, students work on more advanced skills. Most of these courses require the student to have taken one of the “fundamentals” courses, but that is not always necessary (e.g., the Vocabulary-Building and Writing Mechanics course), especially when the course does not involve much writing.
As students move to more complex compositions, organizational skills become more important. To build these skills, students practice using the practical tools of note taking, graphic organizers, and outlining. To sharpen their sensitivity to style, students read their works aloud to themselves and to their classmates. In more advanced classes, they make use of group “workshopping” techniques to provide constructive criticism to their peers.
For more information, contact:
Charles D. Bernstein, Ph.D.
Early Learning Institute
2800 West Bayshore Road, Palo Alto, CA 94303
Telephone: (650) 424-1155, X1; Fax: (650) 856-2778; E-mail: email@example.com