Why am I Writing this Blog?

I am very concerned about the growing level of illiteracy among our children. This blog is for parents who are homeschooling, parents whose children are falling behind at school and they don't know how to help them, teachers who would like to bounce ideas off an experienced teacher or get ideas to help student with problems. I will do everything in my power to help anyone in the areas of reading and writing.

In this blog I'll be using the original English spelling forms, so please make allowances if you're American or have been taught the American spelling form.

Please be understanding about the advertisements on the blog. It gives me the opportunity to earn a little to add to my pension.

Related links for teaching training, lesson plans and worksheets:

Fantastic Free Video series on how to teach handwriting:
by handwriting expert Nan Jay Barchowsky
by handwriting teacher Matt Nisjak

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED: http://www.handwritingebooks.com/
101 sheets of lower case and 101 of upper case letters, plus a bonus book on numbers and another on words for $5.95 for the lot - A great bargain.

Information on Education and Homeschooling
EducationBug: Education Directory - articles, directory, newsletter and profiles on schools

Free Worksheets:
Eastside Literacy
First - Schools

Lined Handwriting Sheets:
Handwriting For Kids

Making Handwriting Sheets:
Handwriting Worksheets
Ed Helper

Videos About Teaching Handwriting:
Teachers TV

Free Lessons and Ideas:
The Electric Company
First 55 Come Alive
Literacy, Families and Learning
ESL Partyland

Ed Helper - Spelling
Ed Helper - Reading Comprehension
Ed Helper - Vocabulary
First - School
Sites for Teachers
Sites for Parents
Clipart for Worksheets
The Teacher's Corner
Teaching Made Easier
School Express

Membership Sites:
Ed Helper
Reading A-Z
ELSIE: Reading 0-6

Inexpensive Handwriting Books
Staidens Homeschooling

Monday, May 26, 2008

Putting Thoughts into Words.

I'm sorry I haven't posted for some days. I've been away, with no computer access. I want to talk about 'thoughts' today. Putting them into words can be hard and writing them down can be even harder.

I've just spent an hour with a student. He was supposed to bring with him, something he'd written, so that we could work on his sentence structure, spelling, punctuation, grammar and so on. He hadn't and his lament was as old as written thought, 'I can't think of anything to write'.

You'll hear this from your children many times when they're asked to write something creative for homework or when you're homeschooling.

I asked my student to think of a word. Being a fourteen year old, he decided to be clever and give me the word 'word'. He laughed and started to try to think of another one, but I decided to run with what he'd given me. You should have seen his face. He thought that he'd joked himself into having to do something that was really hard.

We sat and talked about the word 'word'. What it is, what it's used for, what he likes about words, what he objects to when using words. As we talked, he became quite interested and took some notes. Below is what he came up with. It's not finished yet. The last part is still in point form. We'll finish it next week.

A word is a combination of letters arranged to describe things, objects, people, places, movement, thoughts, etc.

We join them together into sentences to communicate with each other. They can be as short as one letter eg: 'a' or even as long as 'antidisestablishmentarianism' (which is a real word). It has ... if you want the answer, count it yourself.

As well as talking, words are used for writing stories, songs, poetry, plays and even random things like this!

We do not just use words for communicating with people. We also use words such as 'no' and 'hello' when we are talking to our animals. If you say this enough times, they will learn the meaning.

People feel differently about words. Personally I don't like swear words, because I think that most people use them just because they can. People that use swear words in every sentence do not show that they are smart or clever, whereas people who use more creative words prove that they are different. Instead of being sheep and following everyone else, they show they are individuals.

I like words that are:
The word random
Funny words
And unique words

So the points here, in using the 'think of a word' method for writing are:

Don't expect the student to come up with things by himself. Talk about it with him. It's called brain-storming and all writers do it. Help him think outside the box.

Encourage him to take notes as you talk. If he's having trouble, help him to put his thoughts down on paper. Note taking is a skill that needs to be learned.

The endeavour doesn't need to be finished at one sitting. Keep the notes and add any ideas that occur during this time. If he has a good idea and hasn't time to get it down, encourage him to write it in point form so that he remembers it for the next time.

If he can't think how to continue, suggest a few different thoughts such as 'What is it? How d0 you feel about it?' Do you like/dislike it? Why?' The last question here is an important one, because it really makes the student think about the points he's making.

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