Saturday, January 7, 2012

English 1

Getting a special book as a gift
One day Dr. Who and I were reading a novel together and talking about the book.  You know, analyzing it and whatnot.  It occurred to me that this would be alot more fun if other people were in the discussion too.
English 1 was born.

I offered it as a class to our co op and it went over well!  We are reading novels, plays, poetry, Shakespeare, and prose.  We are writing poetry, paragraphs, five-paragraph essays, journal entries, personal blog posts, and, eventually, the two-page essay.  The class has become a wonderful part of each week.
On Wednesdays, the kids tromp over and hang out.  When class begins, we have a short writing prompt for our journals.  Then we have a lesson in grammar, writing, analysis, or other types of lessons.  We read poetry in class, public speaking, and reading our journals.
We have also had "film nights" when we have read books that have been made into movies.  These are pretty fun and include alot of hanging out, loud laughter, interested comments, and a more full understanding of the story.

It is a great group of kids who are, mostly, involved, prepared, and engaged.
One neat thing we did was this.  Everyone in the class went to and started their own blogs for middle-of-the-week lessons. The blogs are each unique and express each person in their own distinctive way.  One girl designed her blog to look like pie!  Another boy has penguins all over his blog, including sound!  Some of the titles are extremely clever and the designs are ingenious!  Hockey, writing, horse riding, playgrounds, funny titles, pictures, captions.  It's fantastic to see their creativity!
Using this venue, I can comment on assigned work and offer personalized suggestions for further skills work or just work for the fun of it.  The blog idea is a cool one because the kids have become better at organizing their writing as well as designing their own personal writing space.  The blog is, at this point, private, between each student, their parents, and me.

I give activities for reading and writing during the week and they post this work on their blog.  From these posts, the kids get very individualized critique from me AND a pretty neat way to express themselves in their own unique ways!  Using the blog, I can give extra work through the week and each student can work on writing ideas unique to their own goals.  Also, many of the kids write extra stuff on their own and offer it to me to read on their blogs.  It's a real honor to have such work shared with me.

Coming in a few weeks, I'm offering a writing workshop for kids from this group and other teens or adults as well.  We will do some fun writing activities and games.

Because the common wisdom is:  If you want to learn how to write, you have to WRITE!

This class is one of those activities that give our homeschool experience such meaning.  We created it, carried it out, and offered it to others.  I enjoy having the kids grow, try their wings, and offer glimpses of their genius!

The kids enjoy it so much, they have added a second part to the class that begins in February.  They have added One Acts, as an activity class where the participants will write, produce, and put on their own one act(s)!  The kids will be working out how the class goes, will find sets, costumes, and props, and will put on the show for our homeschool group.

Talk about seeing GROWTH happen!!!


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