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Fundamentals of English Writing A (Grades 2-3)
Class Size: 11
Age Requirement: 7 - 8
Teacher: HeadsUp Hacienda
Class Time: 9:00-9:50am
Class Room: C207
Tuition Fee: 600.00
Textbook Fee: 10.00
Material Fee: 15.00
  

Class Description

This course will help willing students write better.  Even students who resist writing are likely to benefit because of its unconventional approach.
 
It improves writing through an appeal to the heart as well as the head.  One of its primary goals is to encourage students to take pleasure in writing.  By enjoying writing and taking pride in it, students will write better, write more, and write more often, which in turn will give them the practice that will lead to even better writing.  Of course, it has other goals: to build basic writing skills, to increase vocabulary, to become familiar with a variety of written forms, to write quickly when that is appropriate, and to take more time to edit and rewrite when that is called for.  However, to help ensure that writing students remain motivated to improve, the course’s preference is to point out what a student is doing right, rather than focusing on the errors, as occurs in many school-based programs. 
 
The 30-week course includes both expository (school-type) writing and creative (self-expressive) writing.  It begins with descriptions—of people and things, of places, and of actions—that is used in all writing, whether fiction or non-fiction.  It addresses all four of California’s state curriculum skills: narrative, summary, and persuasive writing, and responses to literature.  Students will write reports (e.g., book reports), letters, news accounts, and stories, and will take at least four practice tests similar to those administered in the fourth grade in California. 
 
The “fundamentals” classes for grades 2-3 cover many 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 three-sentence paragraph with a topic sentence, a supporting sentence, and a concluding sentence;  variations on that classic structure that include both supporting and countering points; and bullet-point paragraphs.  The third step is to proceed from writing strong paragraphs to combining them into outstanding essays and other literary forms.
 
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. 
 
This course can be repeated because the writing exercises are different each year.  Unlike the study of mathematics, where students are always moving on to higher and higher skills, the critical writing skills do not change over time.  In that sense, it is analogous to learning to play soccer, where players at any level are always working on dribbling, passing, and shooting.
 

The 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.
 
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: cbernstein@headsup.org