AHL - Writing assignments (English + History)

cbollin

AHL - Writing assignments (English + History)

Unread post by cbollin » Sun Jul 18, 2010 5:11 pm

Kathleen wrote:HI! I am prayerfully considering having my son use the Ancient History and Literature for 9th grade. I am wondering if I could get a clearer idea of how the writing assignments are given. He has not really done this before. He is a great talker :-) but has not really overcome the "fear of the blank page"! I wonder if there are ways to accomodate this?

Also, is it too much of a work load to expect the completion of Writing Strands 4 along with the other daily work?
Thank you for any and all suggestions!
Kathy
Kathleen,

Welcome to the board! We've only done 2 weeks. You might find in the early parts of AHL with the first writing assignment (learning basics of an argumentative essay), it would be of great benefit to work alongside your son and help him out with ideas of what to say. Or, if he likes to talk, then you can let him talk, write down what he says (or type it while he is talking) and then let him copy his own words. He just might need a little more hand holding in the early going to get some confidence going.

is it too much to do WS 4 alongside? I would think that if he started in it several weeks ahead of the rest of school and did some intensive writing practice in the book with your guidance (almost a summer school course) and get through basic lessons with sentences, paragraphs, etc., then it might level out over the year to finish some lessons. You might want to call or email MFW office and ask to speak to a high school consultant to see what their specific ideas are to include that book for a 9th grader who needs more writing or has not done any writing.

The early weeks in AHL with writing will have student writing complete sentences to questions from Old Testament reading. We're talking 1-3 sentences to answer the question. And there is an introduction to Essay writing. It is very step by step in that first week And you'll have all year to grow in the skill. But that first week, they get to learn what topic sentences are, and what makes a good one. They get to learn about thesis statements and how to write 3 bullet points. It tells you step by step and says work with your parents. Then, we parents are given a check list of skills to look for and examples for grading. I remember my college freshman year with English Composition 101, we had a first essay that was baseline and we could really only go uphill from there. ;)

So, if he is a great talker and talks in complete sentences, let him speak. You write it down, let him copy it. Or let him talk out loud first for the answer and then you can watch him write his words. He might prefer to type in word processing.

-crystal

mom2boys
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Re: questions about curriculum

Unread post by mom2boys » Mon Jul 19, 2010 3:12 pm

cbollin wrote: does anyone else have these little freak out, eek moments in school? LOL LOL. I miss doing stuff like teaching K and 1st.
-crystal
I'm right there with you Crystal!! We won't start AHL until 8/2 but the first time I looked through the manual etc. it was totally eeeek! But after looking at it more thoroughly and talking to other MFW moms who have done it, I'm starting to feel a little more confident about teaching high school and just taking it one week at a time. And I get to teach K & 1st again with my youngest son so that will be refreshing. I remember loving K with my middle guy.

Glad you're a few weeks ahead so we can glean from your experience.
~Charlotte
loving my Hubby and 3 sons 16, 13, 7
Used MFW since 2004

DS4home
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Re: questions about curriculum

Unread post by DS4home » Mon Jul 19, 2010 11:47 pm

cbollin wrote:I thought i'd piggyback it on this one that is talking about writing in AHL. Tell me and my oldest a little bit more about the writing assignments from the Notgrass book such as week 3 thing? Did students do the "nation project" - how did that go?

I'm thinking right now for this week, we'll just do one of the other assignments like expanding on one of the lessons. But, I'm curious if anyone did that nation project writing thingy in notgrass book.
-crystal
Well, I'm trying to remember what my oldest did 4 years ago... I thought she did one or two papers for the nation project, but I can't remember what country she chose :~ But I do know that my 2nd dd did a few of them last year :)

She picked a country that she was interested in first. Then as those writing assignments came up throughout the year she always had a choice. She could do the paper on the subject suggested for the country, or do one of the history papers. She would go back and forth. Do a nation paper a couple of times, then a history paper, then back to another nation paper. Every nation paper is on the same nation she picked at the beginning of the year, just different topics. I always let it be her choice - from the ones listed in the Notgrass textbook.

So start with just picking a nation, "in case you should ever decide one of those papers sounds fun to do", kind of thing.
Then if/when it comes time to do one of those nation papers, they get on the internet or encyclopedias or something to find the info on that topic. Do a little reading on it, then write a little. Since this is kind of extra, on top of their other history reading, I didn't expect a lot. We kept it on the simple side when she did a nation paper. All of them were only one typed page (or 2/3 of a typed page). But she enjoyed learning a little more about a place that intrigued her, when she probably wouldn't have taken the time to do it other wise!

Does that help ease the EEKS? :)

Dawn
Celebrating our 29th Anniversary <3
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Julie in MN
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Re: questions about curriculum

Unread post by Julie in MN » Tue Jul 20, 2010 1:14 am

Kathy, I'm glad Crystal chimed in because she is just ahead of us, in the early weeks of AHL!

Personally, if I were to *add* something to AHL English, I think I might *sub* it instead, putting it in the grid to replace spots when extra reading is scheduled, especially early in the year, before you get to the Iliad. Just an idea, as I'm getting used to the manual before we start in September.

Dawn, Thanks for everything you share. I'm right there with the rest of those starting high school this year.

My own idea was to skip the nations option. Maybe because we just did ECC (and learned a lot about nations throughout the 5-year cycle), but the nations project doesn't seem as unique or as useful (in things like prompting kids to defend a position) compared to the other options in the Notgrass book. I'm thinking of crossing out the nations option?! Don't tell my ds :)

Julie
Julie, married 29 yrs, finding our way without Shane
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cbollin

Re: questions about curriculum

Unread post by cbollin » Tue Jul 20, 2010 6:29 am

Thanks Dawn. That helps to see the big picture of the year and the length of writing. the eeks! feeling will subside as the weather cools, I'm sure. It was one of those days over here with oldest. kwim? appreciate the insight.
Julie in MN wrote:My own idea was to skip the nations option. Maybe because we just did ECC (and learned a lot about nations throughout the 5-year cycle),
I agree. We've done the country report and ECC, and my daughter keeps up on current events, and then with her Rosetta Stone plans, she'll do a "written report" toward the year of the year. So, it gets there, so why duplicate it?
my daughter's response was "mom. it says optional. ok? I'll just write on the other topic or something. just tell middle gal to turn down that game she is playing! and make youngest get that lose tooth out b/c it is grossing me out!"

I like that the Notgrass writings can be "creative" in style.

definitely less eek this morning, but they are all still asleep.

-crystal

Kathleen
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Re: questions about curriculum

Unread post by Kathleen » Fri Jul 23, 2010 8:43 am

Thank you for the insight about the writing assignments. I think just knowing that there are other moms to correspond with will make all the difference. I really like the accomodation ideas! I have used them at times but not consistently enough, my thoughts about MFW is that it seems like the best around but it is not easy, so if I have a willing student who wants to learn from a biblical worldview perspective and also loves to read I think I could help him by writing down his words and consider that suffient for completing assignments.

I can tell from this thread that I will have more questions about individual assignments and it is really good to know there are others to follow!

THANK YOU :) :)
kathy

Julie in MN
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Notgrass History Writing Assignments

Unread post by Julie in MN » Mon Sep 19, 2011 11:01 am

kelly04 wrote:We are started wk #3 with year 1 highschool. I was wondering if anyone who is done with this year, or has some good input on it may help us out a bit. In the Notgrass manual it says ssomething , referring to this weeks writing lesson, that it will be somewhat of a on going writng topic through out the year.I am not sure I get all they are suggesting, Can someone fill me in a bit?
Also, as far as research on the computer, does anyone have a good website for this? Any tips?
Thanks Again,
KElly
I remember talking about that a little last year. Here it is: http://board.mfwbooks.com/viewtopic.php ... 035#p63577

Those Notgrass history writing assignments are "easier" than the formal argumentative essays in the writing supplement. Notgrass gives a few options. One of the options is doing a report on a country each time that the student is doing a Notgrass essay, so over the year the student keeps building on it. It's called the "nations project" I think.

My son didn't do a nations project on any of his AHL essays. He had just done ECC with country reports, so we went with some of the other options or used the freedom to write on something of interest. My son's week 3 essay was something about the Iceland volcano and how different people react to something like that, depending on how close it is. I think one of the options besides the nations project was to write about how a certain event would be viewed in different parts of the world. The Iceland event wasn't one of the choices, but I okayed it because I thought it matched the intent of the assignment well. So at our house, Notgrass essays just gave us a little opportunity to work on his writing organization and such, rather than being a big part of his history study.

Does that help?
Julie
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dhudson
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Re: Notgrass History Writing Assignments

Unread post by dhudson » Mon Sep 19, 2011 1:01 pm

Those are all great ideas.

I had my son pull out Writing Strands 6 (he only has a couple more lessons until he's finished with it) and go though more of those lessons for the Notgrass assignments. We did that for week three and are doing it again for week 6.
God Bless,
Dawn
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Julie in MN
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Ancient Literature Supplement

Unread post by Julie in MN » Wed Feb 29, 2012 8:14 am

karrie wrote:Week 3 of Ancients writing assignment says, "you do not need to follow the strict argumentative essay format taught.... You are encouraged to use other, more creative formats."
Help! What does this mean? I need strict guidelines and hand holding. What have other moms done with this?
I looked at it as a time to allow more creativity or individuality in the writing. When my oldest was a 12th grader in public school, the teachers were really working on getting kids to break out of the cookie cutter mold and have their own voice in their college admission essays and in-class essays and such. So I think it's nice to have a more flexible writing assignment on occasion.

But depending on your own child's needs, you may more-or-less be still working on some of the skills from the argumentative essay. After your student has produced his first draft according to the instructions, you may ask him to go back and edit for organization, grammar tidbits, having a point to make, or whatever you select to focus on in grading that work. In the end, I was pretty lenient in grading those, based on following the directions and my requests, as well as how much he invested himself in the assignment.

I'm not at home so I can't quote from any of my son's but I feel pretty sure no one would call them reports :~ . He's a youngest though, and I could see my oldest or even my middle as writers of short reports. I like giving them that freedom in the Notgrass essays, to write according to their own preference.

P.S. Last week, my son told me this story. His friend is an 11th grader at one of the more college prep public schools in our state. His assignment was a 5-page essay. When the friend turned in his essay, he said, "You're going to like this one!". The teacher asked why. Josh said, "It's a quick read!" Josh's 5-page essay was 1.5 pages.... and he got an A. Not a good lesson for my son, but maybe something I need to hear once in a while.
Julie, married 29 yrs, finding our way without Shane
(http://www.CaringBridge.org/visit/ShaneHansell)
Reid (21) college student; used MFW 3rd-12th grades (2004-2014)
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Travis (32) engineer; never hs

cbollin

Re: Ancient Literature Supplement

Unread post by cbollin » Wed Feb 29, 2012 9:55 am

yeah, agreeing with Julie.... I doubt anyone would call my dd's papers reports either. it wasn't an "essay" structure where you argue a point.

in my grading...we read over the options... but don't feel tied to thesis statement, 3 points, conclusion style...
some were "report" some information. some were journal a thought...
one was a 1 paragraph "report".
another was listings of sayings

cbollin

Quick ? about writing assignments

Unread post by cbollin » Wed Sep 19, 2012 12:13 pm

momxnine wrote:When doing the writing assignments in AHL for Exploring World History, how long is "2-3" pages? Does that mean single space? Double space? Thanks!
you're the teacher... it's your decision.

We decided it was double spaced in terms of length, and expectation for the assignments. However... the way it worked for us was that dd typed single spaced and dh made editorial comments using the comments features in word processing. Most of the reasons I've heard for double spaced assignments are able allowing it be easier to read and easier to make corrections/edit/suggestions. That wasn't a problem for us with single space and comments boxes.

We saw it as quality over quantity as long as it was more than a sentence or two, or a small paragraph only. (in other words it was 1 page single spaced, which is like 2 that are double)

It might be different in other mfw houses.(julie? anyone?)... and I could have done it all wrong and ruined my child for life. ;)

-crystal
Last edited by cbollin on Thu Sep 20, 2012 12:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Bret Welshymer

Re: Quick ? about writing assignments

Unread post by Bret Welshymer » Thu Sep 20, 2012 10:20 am

Good question. In our experience a good rule of thumb and what most high school teachers and college professors will expect is double space, times new roman 12, one inch margins all the way around.

momxnine
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Re: Quick ? about writing assignments

Unread post by momxnine » Thu Sep 20, 2012 12:13 pm

Thanks! Double spacing will definitely make him happy. :-)
Blessings,
Vicki in SW MO.

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Julie in MN
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EWH writing assignments in AHL

Unread post by Julie in MN » Tue Sep 25, 2012 9:45 pm

flackattack wrote:Quick question about the writing assigments from EWH in AHL. How long should those typically be? I am looking specifically at a question from Lesson 4: Write about one or more characteristics you admire in Abraham or Joseph. I could see my ds wanting to write one decent sized paragraph about that. :)
I would appreciate any guidance you could give on those assignments.
Blessings,
Katie
Hi Katie,
We just had a conversation about this that might have some helpful ideas:
http://board.mfwbooks.com/viewtopic.php ... 409#p91409

Now all this conversation made me curious. I can't tell which are EWH essays this late at night ;) but my son (not a writer) did this:
week 1 - barely onto page 2, double spaced
week 3 - same
week 5 - a full paragraph on page 2
week 6-7 - over halfway down page 2 %|
week 10 - same
week 12 - about 1.5 pages, with very large title taking up space :~

His Iliad essay was 2 full pages, and it says 444 words, so I must have made him do a word count (well, the computer does it), not sure if that was in the lesson plans or not. His Odyssey essay was a bit shorter, but we spent more time on the Iliad at our house just because we liked it better.

HTH,
Julie
Julie, married 29 yrs, finding our way without Shane
(http://www.CaringBridge.org/visit/ShaneHansell)
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cbollin

Re: EWH writing assignments in AHL

Unread post by cbollin » Wed Sep 26, 2012 6:22 am

hi Katie,

The essays/writing assignments from Notgrass count in the history portion of AHL. They are not intended to be full blown 5 paragraph. Format and length will be on a case by case basis even if they say "2-3 pages double spaced etc in the Notgrass book). You can allow for lot of individual work on these and room to be creative on these assignments.

it's early here and coffee is brewing.... so.. in my AHL, there was a week 6 assignment that is what you have described with the write characteristics you admire...
My oldest did one well developed paragraph for that assignment. It was single spaced in word processing and it was good enough to get a 4 out 5 points. She would have received 5 if it had been a little bit longer. But assignment was turned in on time, few errors and stayed on topic. She had one characteristic that she admired and was done writing. good enough.

-crystal

flackattack
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Re: EWH writing assignments in AHL

Unread post by flackattack » Wed Sep 26, 2012 9:26 am

Thanks so much, Julie and Crystal! That was exactly what I wanted to know... and hear! :-) Seems like my ds is right on track.
Blessings,
KT

donutmom
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AHL question

Unread post by donutmom » Sat Feb 02, 2013 3:46 pm

joyfulmom wrote:I have a question on week 3 - On Monday it gives a writing assignment from Exploring World History. On Friday it says "paper due". On Tues/Wed/Thurs of the grid all it says is "Reading". I assume my daughter is working on her writing assignment on Tues/Wed/Thurs as well - but since it is not listed on the grid I can see her not doing it. Was this a mistake in this edition? Am I missing something? Is there more detail in a newer edition? Please help - (I feel very ill prepared to teach writing so....)

Thanks for any input!
Lori
Lori,
I have a new manual, and it is the same as yours. It assigns paper on Monday & then shows it due Friday with nothing on the other days. I'm sure there's a reason for why they didn't write it, but I don't know it and have wondered.

I've had son add little boxes and write "writing" or "paper" or whatever he wants on those weeks so that he remembers to work on it.

-Dee

Julie in MN
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Re: AHL question

Unread post by Julie in MN » Sat Feb 02, 2013 5:39 pm

As for the assignment boxes, I was like Dee and put in some extra boxes for writing. I suppose the assignment grid is more like a college syllabus, which focuses on the due date, but I got the idea for extra boxes from an AHL online co-op and I liked the idea. You might find some other tips there, I can't recall except that I enjoyed hearing another person's experiences in detail:
http://homeschoolblogger.com/mfwexplorers/highschool-3/

Julie
Julie, married 29 yrs, finding our way without Shane
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Reid (21) college student; used MFW 3rd-12th grades (2004-2014)
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Julie in MN
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Question about AHL

Unread post by Julie in MN » Tue Apr 16, 2013 2:33 pm

KimberlyNC wrote:I have been using MFW, along with another Literature based curr., for a few years and need to make a firm decision about next year so I don't drive myself crazy again! My dd would be in 9th grade and I've looked at the AHL for her. I love the Bible portion, I love the history coverage, the Lit. looks 'okay' but I'm comparing it to what we've done up until now. My main issue is with the English part. This child has done Abeka since Kindergarten, quite easily (and poor thing, I even taught her cursive in Kindergarten!) and is doing it now in 8th grade. So next year, comparing the 2, makes me doubt. I know she's had MORE than enough grammar, we really need to take a break, but she loves to write. With Abeka, she's had many writing assignments of varying topics and really enjoys them.

Will there be enough writing in AHL to keep her engaged and to broaden her skills? As far as research papers, she's done one each year since 4th grade. All that keeps me from going with AHL next year is this English issue. Would love anyone's input. Thank you so much!
A couple questions for clarification.

AHL "writing" has, let me see,
- 6 less formal essays for history
- 5 formal argumentative essays, working on the main writing lesson for the year
- grammar-based essay editing for several weeks
- a Proverbs Project and a Psalms writing project

So first, want to be sure you have looked at what's there. The argumentative essay involves a lot of work on getting the essay organized so the reader can follow the argument, and on forming an argument and defending it well. In MFW, the argumentative essays in AHL have topics related to apologetics and comparing Biblical and other thinking, although there is always some leeway to choose your own topics. MFW only schedules a "research paper" in WHL and US2.

Then, as for what your dd enjoys, it sounds like she wants to continue what I'd call "creative writing," is that what she's thinking of? Things like writing stories and descriptions of settings and such? As far as creative writing, that's usually a separate elective in high school, often either done in the last 2 years when English tends to "specialize" or done as an extra elective during the first 2 years of high school. Does that sound like what she wants?

There is some creative writing taught in WHL, using Writer's Ink. I remember my son writing a short play and a letter to the editor, that kind of thing is taught and tried, so there is some of that along the way, but it's not a major focus, I think. Students can also take a topic, say a history topic in AHL, and make it into a unique creative piece if they like. I remember my oldest in public school changing an essay into a travelogue or a speech by a fictional character, and still getting the information across.

Hope that helps narrow down what you're looking for?
Julie
Julie, married 29 yrs, finding our way without Shane
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Julie in MN
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Nation Project in AHL

Unread post by Julie in MN » Thu Oct 03, 2013 11:18 am

rxmom wrote:My 9th grader is asking for more guidance in regards to the Nation Project paper due Friday. I have checked archived notes but wanted to see what others have done or are doing for this....only thing I saw was 1 to 2 typed pages....this topic is on the cultural aspects of people of the chosen nation. I suggested picking 3 different aspects ( music, food, religion)...maybe a paragraph each of whatever is most interesting to him..??
Thanks,
Delcey :-)
I am just going to chat to keep you company until someone who's done a nations project can chime in. We never chose that option because my son was coming right out of ECC, where he'd done country reports recently, so he chose other options. But I think you read this thread, where Dawn described theirs a bit: http://board.mfwbooks.com/viewtopic.php ... 826#p63577

One thing I wanted to emphasize was that these are "history" assignments and not "writing" assignments, so to me the goal is to learn history and social studies things rather than extensively work on writing. Although at my house of course we always work on writing :)

I'm thinking back to my ds's State Report in terms of how the history project would build over the year. The State Report had various sections from population to landmarks which were all pretty separate but built together to create a picture of the state. So it seems a little similar to the history project.

So, some things I remember about building a "state project":
- I think each topic varied a lot as to how much information was out there or how long it took to fully describe it, so one section might be a few sentences and another a page.
- We really emphasized having multiple sources, so that is something you could consider. Sometimes it seems like "facts are facts," but then you learn... they're not.
- I encouraged my son to find maps and graphs and illustrations when appropriate, to add to his presentation. Interviews are gems. think that reflects real-world presentations such as my oldest son does in his engineering field.
- Narrowing the topic as you describe is an excellent skill to build. As you describe, culture is a topic that could take hundreds of pages, but music/food/religion could be do-able. I think the amount of depth will depend on the student; one child might need to be encouraged to write more than one sentence, and another might need to be reigned in from rewriting the encyclopedia. I like your paragraph standard, and even that might need to be defined for some students (youngest ds claims a few words is a legit paragraph).
- I felt my ds needed help in learning to see "uniqueness." He didn't have enough life experience to know the things in his state that would be interesting and new to those from other states, or the things that his state considered precious or special. A high schooler will be better at noticing things about another culture that are "different" than his own, but might be encouraged to really look at his report as defining and celebrating that country's uniqueness.

Just chatting,
Julie
Julie, married 29 yrs, finding our way without Shane
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Reid (21) college student; used MFW 3rd-12th grades (2004-2014)
Alexandra (29) mother; hs from 10th grade (2002)
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rxmom
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Re: Nation Project in AHL

Unread post by rxmom » Sun Oct 06, 2013 5:21 pm

Thanks, Julie! :-)
Blessed beyond measure...Lovin' MFW in SW VA
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ds (12) 1st grade, ADV, ECC, CTG, RTR, EXP to 1850, 1850 to MT
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Julie in MN
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I need help adding more writing to AHL

Unread post by Julie in MN » Mon Nov 11, 2013 6:05 pm

Missy OH wrote:I am doing part of AHL w/ a junior and senior this year. We are using it for Bible and ancient lit because we have already complete world history using Notgrass on it's own a couple of years ago. We are beginning week 12 and most of the writing assignments are connected to history. I'm needing some ideas to add to the writing assignments as they were used to writing an average of two (2-3 page) essays a week. I'm thinking we could do some in Bible? or science? or maybe Government when we start that later this year. I am interested in anything I could do to add more oooomph!

What if I were to add in:
•Writing a Research Paper
•Do Hard Things
•Secrets of Great Communicators

Would this be easy enough to schedule in? Too much?
I think a research paper could take up 8-12 weeks, and somewhere in there you'd get a good idea of your students' weaknesses and where you might want to work on skills for the rest of the year.

My ds did his WHL research paper on medical careers and I had him interview a ton of different workers, all of whom seemed happy to share. I felt it was a good chance to do double-duty, in terms of writing plus looking at future career possibilities. I also am a big fan of interviews as part of research.

Whatever the topic, I think if they haven't done a good, long research paper, that would be a great thing to prepare them for college or even many careers. Be sure to have them document sources and practice creating an MLA "works cited" page. My 12th grader has been taking college courses and has had to do a lot of longer essays (6-12 pages) with works cited. Works can include books, articles, interviews, even the Bible.

Julie
Julie, married 29 yrs, finding our way without Shane
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Missy OH
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Re: I need help adding more writing to AHL

Unread post by Missy OH » Tue Nov 12, 2013 7:47 am

Yeah, my oldest has graduated and a freshman this year. I have looked through his English 1 book and we've covered everything in there. We did a research paper last year. I think doing another one is a good idea. I did not have them interview anyone and I think that would be a great addition to work on the weeks where there is assignments from Notgrass.

Julie in MN
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Joined: Mon Jun 28, 2004 3:44 pm
Location: Minnesota

Re: I need help adding more writing to AHL

Unread post by Julie in MN » Tue Nov 12, 2013 12:45 pm

Wow, how great to see that you've covered so much. If you've already taught writing quite thoroughly, I was thinking of taking a step up and including Power Point or other multimedia, have you done that? My youngest just participated in a presentation for his Bioethics class, and one piece of the group presentation was a Power Point (done by another student); my own son included portions of a YouTube video (specific minutes) as part of his presentation.

My oldest son actually has to do Power Point presentations on occasion as an engineer.

Just brainstorming with you.
Julie
Julie, married 29 yrs, finding our way without Shane
(http://www.CaringBridge.org/visit/ShaneHansell)
Reid (21) college student; used MFW 3rd-12th grades (2004-2014)
Alexandra (29) mother; hs from 10th grade (2002)
Travis (32) engineer; never hs

Missy OH
Posts: 69
Joined: Tue Jun 29, 2004 12:36 pm

Re: I need help adding more writing to AHL

Unread post by Missy OH » Tue Nov 12, 2013 2:08 pm

We've covered it but I wouldn't say we've mastered it.

Powerpoint is a great idea. Thanks Julie!

My oldest wants to be an engineer (mechanical). He's just getting started.

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