Why ALL Middle School Students Should Take a FORMAL Writing Course
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There are many different purposes for writing, both academic and creative. Students will find that a science lab report will have completely different expectations that a first-person narrative as well as a research paper for a history class will look vastly different than a literary critique; however, students need to be prepared for BOTH of these situations. Students will realize quite quickly that for each type of writing assignment they approach they will need to use various tools to complete. So, where do students get these tools? Students can learn how to approach various papers by taking formal writing classes AND middle school is the perfect time to begin learning!
Throughout high school and college, students will be asked to write various critiques. These critiques might be on literature or perhaps evaluating something more creative like a movie, art work, restaurant or recreational area. Yes, these are “real” assignments in high school! My daughter, who wrote for a school newspaper, often had to complete various reviews! Writing a critique is quite different than a formal paper. There are elements that go into critiques that do not go into any other types of paper. Your students will need to understand the unique format and structure to this type of writing.
Both during high school and college, students will write all types of essays. The big three are expository, persuasive and compare/contrast. Within essays, there is a certain expected structure. Dramatic Openings, background information, thesis and final clinchers are all part of the expectations. In a quality writing class, students will not only experience all three, more than once, but will clearly understand the difference of the three. It is important that before the student is asked to write one of these “when it counts” that they understand and have experience with the elements to make their papers the best it can be!
In college, students are required to take courses outside of their intended major. Many of these courses will have some type of research component whether it be a short research paper or a longer-term paper. Students will need to understand how to approach these types of papers with confidence. In a formal writing class, students will learn how to research, find quality source texts, evaluate the information within the source text as well as present the information to the reader.
In addition to learning the structure of five paragraph essays, a solid middle school writing program should begin to “train” students to learn various techniques that when mastered will help them find their voice. If students are not exposed to learning and practicing these stylistic techniques, how will they know what to use in various situations when the time is right. It is like drills for a sport, let’s say soccer. The players practice, practice, practice and then at the big game, they know what to use in any situation.
A solid middle school writing class will teach the students the required elements within 5-paragraph papers as well as teach them techniques to help them find their voice. Middle School is the best time to begin this process. Open Tent Academy director and writing instructor Eva Goldstein-Meola offers an amazing (and challenging – but that is ok – she challenges them with kindness and love) class appropriately called, Middle School Writing. Most students take this class twice. The first year to learn (and struggle) and the second year for growth (and mastery)! Don’t delay in registering as this is Eva’s most popular class. Make sure your child is ready for high school writing – and beyond!
Eva Goldstein-Meola is not only co-founder of Open Tent Academy, but an instructor as well as a former homeschooling mother. She has lived in New Jersey, Florida, Western Massachusetts, Northern Virginia and now resides just outside of Jerusalem. Eva holds a Master’s Degree as a Consulting Teacher of Reading and Writing, IEW certification and a Bachelor’s Degree as an Elementary Teacher. She has also been involved in education since 1986 as a Private Tutor, Teacher, Reading Specialist, Homeschooling Mother, Homeschooling Teacher and Business Owner of an Online Education Consortium.
Some other articles by Eva:
How to Make Students Care About Writing
Social Media for Homeschoolers
Navigating the High School Years
Maximize Success in Online Learning
Easy Ways To Use a Library While Homeschooling
Technology + Online Education = More Accessible Homeschooling
Hi-Ho, Hi-Ho, It’s Off to Work We Go
The Importance of Reading Out Loud – to ALL Ages!
First Day Traditions – Back to Homeschooling
Homeschool – In Less Than Four Hours a Day
Gap Year – Gaining Experience Before Higher Education
OTA – Helping You Homeschool Better
A Novel Idea – Teaching With Literature
Top Reasons to LOVE Online Learning
Top Ten Reasons for Learning a Foreign Language
Morning Routines: A Necessary Evil
It’s Never Too Early To Think About Summer Programs
Ten Ways To Improve Your Child’s Reading Skills