Category: Language Arts: Writing

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Note Taking and Research Skills in Our Homeschool

How are we introducing note taking and research skills into our homeschool? One skill that middle and high school students (and beyond!) need is the ability to take notes–either by picking out important key points from books and resources they read or from listening to a speaker or lecturer.  In the elementary years, I’ve slowly been trying to help the kids build these skills. I wanted to write this post...

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Writing Workshop: Conflict in Literature (Man vs. Man, Man vs. Self, etc)

We absolutely love our homeschool writing workshop. We don’t use any special homeschool writing curriculum, instead we’ve designed a writing routine that works really well for us. (In fact my reluctant writer now really loves writing! More about that in How/Why we needed a change in our writing program!)  Today, I wanted to share a mini-lesson series I did with the kids on the literary device, conflict.  I learned these...

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Writing Workshop MiniLesson #7 – Adding Details Exercise

This writing workshop MiniLesson really didn’t involve much writing, but boy did it drive its point home! It was all about adding amazing details. This is sometimes referred to as “Show, Don’t Tell.”  I wanted the kids to really understand how details not only add depth to the story, they can help drive the storyline.  That was my objective, though I didn’t tell the kids that when we started out!...

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Writing Workshop MiniLesson #6 – Alliteration and More

The writing workshop is more than just sitting down together and putting pencil to paper. This is also our time to learn about the writing process, to talk about different writing genres, and to  learn about different literary techniques.  During our writing workshop, we take the time to explore writing as a craft. About a year ago, I shared a number of writing workshop mini-lessons.  I wrote a series of...

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Back into the Routine – Writing Workshop Rules!

We had our first day back on Monday and it really went well.  The engineering activities I mentioned in the post on Monday morning were a HUGE hit and those activities will definitely be fun to share with you, but for right now I really wanted to write about our Writing Workshop. What I love and adore about our WW is that it virtually runs itself now. You would expect some...

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Writing Activity to Spark Kids’ Imagination!

This writing activity captured the imagination of my kids and definitely tapped into their creative sides! When we had a warmer day, we took our writing workshop outside.  I always try to wrap our activities in an air of mystery to try to build the kids’ curiosity and anticipation.  They were pretty excited about this one! The kids grabbed their writing journals and I then handed them each part of...

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40 Journal Writing Prompts (Free Printable)

In a blog post a few weeks ago, I talked about why we use the writing workshop and how it works. But this year, I also added in Journal Prompt Writing  as part of their checklist of things to do.  Here’s why.  ED started writing with us right from the start (even before she officially started kindergarten.) She enjoys writing, but her “stories” are always about a cat (or dog...

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Writing Workshop: What We’re Doing for Writing This Fall

In this post, I wanted to talk about writing in our homeschool this fall.  Last year, we shifted to a writing workshop model.  I had a reluctant writer and up until that point, writing was a chore for my son.  Well, after switching to a writing workshop… writing became one of his favorite subjects! So, what do I mean by a writing workshop? In brief this means: We have a...

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WWII Portfolio Project

I received several emails and a message from people interested in the WWII Portfolio Project I made for LD. So, here it is! My son is doing some research work on WWII. Except for reading some novels last year (like Number the Stars), we have not covered this topic at all… He has been doing quite a bit of reading and has watched a video before jumping into the project ideas...

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Animal Portfolio Project

The kids are starting on another independent research project.  Last semester the kids did a biography research project, but this semester they are doing a portfolio project. That’s just a fancy way of saying… a bit of this and a bit of that.  They’ll do both non-fiction and fiction writing selections, art projects, geography and habitat projects. And they’ll also watch a number of videos and/or movies.  You’ll get a...

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Writing Workshop Mini-Lessons Day 5 (Exploring Memories)

This was one of the best mini lessons we’ve had on writing.  The kids still talk about how much they enjoyed sharing their memories and writing about them. They’ve asked me when we can do this again.  I call that a successful day! If you’ve missed the previous posts in this series, I would suggest you go back and start with them, though honestly, you can do any of these...

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Writing Workshop Mini-Lessons (Day 4–Story Openings)

Day 4: Story Openings–Set the mood or feeling of your story You’ve set up a good writing space, have your supplies – pencils, journals, resource materials. Now what?!! This is the second in a series of 5 posts with lesson ideas to help young writers get started on their writing journey. Be sure to read the introduction to this series in last Monday’s post, Day 1. Here are some of our first mini-lesson topics....

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Writing Workshop Mini-Lessons Day 3: Creating Interesting Characters

Day 3: Creating Interesting Characters You’ve set up a good writing space, have your supplies – pencils, journals, resource materials. Now what?!! This is the second in a series of 5 posts with lesson ideas to help young writers get started on their writing journey. Be sure to read the introduction to this series in last Monday’s post, Day 1. Here are some of our first mini-lesson topics. I used mentor texts and picked...

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Writing Workshop Mini-Lessons Day 2 – Make the Story Come Alive with Details

Writing Workshop Mini-Lesson #2: Make the Story Come Alive with  Details; Show the reader what happened; Create images in the reader’s mind You’ve set up a good writing space, have your supplies – pencils, journals, resource materials. Now what?!! This is the second in a series of 5 posts with lesson ideas to help young writers get started on their writing journey. Be sure to read the introduction to this series in last Monday’s...