Rejuvenating Our Writing Curriculum - Eva Varga

March 8, 20113

Last week, while MeiLi was writing out her observations for a science lab we were doing, I noticed that her spelling was terrible. We’ve never spent any time learning how to spell words .. I have mixed feelings about the benefits of spelling tests .. and feel that one learns how to spell a word truly only when you begin to use the word.  As I looked upon her work, it struck me that she always asks me how to spell words she doesn’t know.  In the past, when I have tried to get her to write a sloppy copy … to guess at the spelling … it is a struggle.  She is a perfectionist and doesn’t want to write it down incorrectly.  This is also starting to become an issue in math … but I digress; this post focuses upon writing.

I realized then that I have been dropping the ball on this one.  Her limitations in spelling are primarily due to my own lack of follow-through and planning. I don’t require her (or her brother, for that matter) to do near as much writing as she should.  I need to make a more conscious effort to incorporate more opportunities.  We’ve thereby begun to implement a number of changes to our Language Arts curricula.

Recently, I was reorganizing … putting away … cleaning the piles of school stuff that have piled up in our office/school when I stumbled upon this folder of writing prompts I put together when I was in the classroom.  Within the file folder are four pockets .. one for each of the four major styles of writing:  Narrative, Expository, Imaginative and Persuasive.  Within each pocket are color-coded cards with writing prompts to help students begin to write.

It is a simple and inexpensive system to put into place.  Prompts can be gathered from a variety of places including Mailbox magazine and online.  Examples of each writing style are shown above.

My vision .. as we proceed .. is to assure that I integrate a writing activity into our daily lessons. Sometimes this will be easy .. written narrations [in response to Story of the World or other non-fiction story I read aloud or videos we watch together] and thank you letters.  Other times, I may struggle to come up with an engaging writing activity.  That is where the file folder comes in … I can allow them to choose a style (color) and prompt card of their own … or I can assign a specific style (color) and allow them to choose only the prompt.


  • musicalmary

    March 8, 2011 at 7:07 pm

    Thank you for the writing ideas. This is where I feel like I fall down in our homeschool. I am glad to have found you today – and now I’m following you, too!


  • Jennifer in OR

    March 10, 2011 at 12:47 am

    Love the folders idea! Simplicity helps ensure that I actually follow through on something, so this fits my style!

    Jen at

  • Traci's Teaching Times

    March 25, 2011 at 4:04 pm

    I had noticed that I needed to focus on writing with my children also so that was our main focal point for this school season. We are using Writing Strands 3, along with a couple of other books, like Simply Grammar & Proof Reading & Editing and they have tremendously helped my children’s writing ability this year. My children like Simply Grammar because we do it verbally and they like Writing Strands because you have an entire week to work on one particular lesson. They have 2 days to do most rough drafts & the remainder of the week to get their final done. I think the biggest pro with Writing Strands is they don’t have to write the entire paper in one day.

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