Writing Program (Journaling)
This year your student will have the opportunity to write several essays. However, the most effective way to develop writing ability is not the occasional essay, but daily writing. The most difficult part of the writing process is the FIRST PART—getting ideas onto paper—writer’s block. The best way to get your student past writers block is to get them to journal.
I believe that journaling is essential. Your student will be asked to journal for fifteen minutes each day, or about an hour a week. I will send home journaling topics each week that relate to the literature or topics we are studying in class. Sometimes journal topics will connect to current events, or the Bible. Sometimes, I will let students pick their own topic to write about. On weeks where they are working on an essay, I will give them less journaling assignments.
You will find the journal topics listed on the weekly homework handout AND on the class website.
The main thing is that they need to be able to write (without stopping) for 15 minutes straight. They must write without stopping to edit, correct spelling, or worry about if they are making sense. They need to let their thoughts freely flow out onto the paper. Journals must never be corrected or revised. They need to be accepted for what they are, an exercise.
As they continue to write, they will notice that it will be easier to get their thoughts onto paper, that they are becoming more eloquent, and that they actually learn what they think about things as they write.
The only thing that I need you to do as a parent is to keep them accountable. Please make sure that they are writing for 15 minutes straight for each topic, non stop. Yes their hands will hurt at first. It is okay if they go off topic if they run out of things to say about the topic. They are free to let their minds make connections with other topics that the journal relates to. They just need to keep writing.
Each week I will ask you to sign that your student has completed the assigned journals. The students will bring their journals to class each week and I will check them periodically. If your student is absent or sick, they are still responsible for every journal entry, and you will find them listed on our class website.
- Autobiographical Essay
- Expository Essay
- Reflective Essay
- Various Informal Essays
- Journaling—Students will keep a journal that shows their growth in writing from day 1 to day 180.
I am very strict about proper formatting on essays. I will teach the students how to format their papers on the first day of class.
I expect every essay, formal and informal to be typed, double-spaced, 12 pt. font (Ariel or Times New Roman), with a proper heading. I will reduce the grade for improper formatting.
You might need to help them at home, to learn it on your computer. But once they get the hang of it, it will make essays easier for everyone!
Here is a sample below from the Purdue University Online Writing Lab (OWL). Please feel free to go to the website for specific details!