Sophomore English Writing: Week 1

Learn English Writing

Welcome to the sophomore writing class. Here is this week’s English writing plan.

Purpose of Writing Class

What are the English students going to learn in this class? What does it mean when a teacher says “improve the student’s writing”? What is good writing? These are all good questions.

The answer to these questions starts with the 6+1 Writing Traits. These features tell us what makes good writing. They also tell us the writing skills that students will learn and practice in this class.

Here is a pdf link.

Syllabus

Here is the syllabus for the English writing class. It describes the purpose of the class, the grading and other important matters.

Writing Activities

1 Word Choice and sentence fluency: the expanding sentence. A quick ESL writing activity to help students notice how easy it is to add more details to a sentence.

2 Before and After: measuring writing improvement. A one-semester writing activity that allows teachers and students to see proof of improvement without using a test.

3 Word Choice and sentence fluency: the expanding sentence. A quick ESL writing activity to help students notice how easy it is to add more details to a sentence.

4 The First Sentence. A three-part writing lesson that shows students different ways to open a story with a creative first sentence.

5 Add voice. We learned about the concept of adding voice to make a story more interesting. Here is a chance to put that knowledge into practice. Check out the writing exercise about a rafting trip.

 

Initial Writing Feedback

I quickly reviewed the summaries written about the video “The Piano.” Here are a few observations about the first sentences.

1 Many people started with a simple opening that states a fact. Blah. Here are a couple of typical examples:

An old man is playing the piano.

There’s an old man playing a beautifully sad song on a piano.

 

2 Here’s a better one. This first sentence gives us a hint about what why I should read the story by telling me something interesting.

The Piano Story is about a man’s life story.

A sad melody fills the room as an old man starts playing the piano.

Wrap Up

In a summary, the first sentence is important.

Don’t tell me what happened at the start of the story story (i.e. a list of things in order). Try not to start with facts.

We live in the world of ideas.

Give me a hint about the idea of the story – what happened – in the first sentence.

The Piano is a short video that reminds us life is like a song.