Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Reason for Writing: Experience based writing

I find it so odd that children in public school are told to write on subjects they have no experience.  The teacher just grabs subjects out of her head hoping a large number of students can write on the subject.  I remember as child thinking to myself, the only way I can make these entries interesting is by making up details.  Making up details in the public system now a days can be dangerous.  False accusations and more can happen. Others struggle with writing because they just don't know what to say. First because of the lack of experience. They don't have the time to get out.  Their whole life is the public classroom, the kitchen table,  television or computer and a bed.  I knew I wanted to give my children real life experiences and understanding of the world.  I wanted them to learn about history not from a book but to walk similar paths.  For science, I didn't want them to read about the reactions in an experiment.  I wanted them to see and experience it as close and as safely as possible.  I wanted them to see the world and cultures through experience not a book.  Not only did I want them to appreciate the diversity of all the good that is out there, I wanted to give them a reason to write.

With that reason,  I wanted them to develop the vocabulary to express themselves.  They needed to have a voice and an opinion.  I knew that those people with smaller vocabularies have a harder time expressing, getting what they truly desire and are more easily manipulated or defrauded.  I also know that some people use explicatives because they don't have the vocabulary to really express the passion and feelings they really have.

With this need to truly communicate, understand others and express themselves,  I found that a safe journaling experience could give this and more.  I knew that they would forever have records of the memories and learning we experienced.  Thus here are my notes regarding my writing portion of playing with purpose.  There are so many learning opportunities out there.  Especially in Utah- go here to see the list I refer to on a regular basis or click on the field trips tab above to take a look at the opportunities. Keeping a record of them not only provides memories but shows progress in a very non intimidating way.

Much of what I teach is in the class but here are the slides for the presentation:

Explore and Journaling PRESO- quick time movie
Explore and Journaling- pdf

Graphic organizers for brainstorming:


  1. Kim, I attended the meeting in Highland last night. I am so grateful for your expertise and your time! Last night you mentioned something about a 3 year diploma. Could you please give me some more information about that? I can not find any "official" requirements from the state for that. Thank you, Camille kcschramm@yahoo.com

  2. A cohort is a group of students who enter high school and will graduate together. Utah calculates a cohort graduation rate required by the No Child Left Behind Act ( NCLB). Because the majority of Utah students are served by three-year high schools (10-12th grade) the schools are allowed by the United States Department of Education (feds) to offer a 3 year cohort rate diploma. The diploma is prorated for only three years instead of four. This isn't something the counselors are very familiar with. Typically how it works is a homeschool student entering the system will be assigned a cohort number. So a homeschool student entering 9th grade will be given a cohort number of 4 years thus needing to fulfill all the state requirements for an accredited diploma. WIth the Statewide Student Identifier (SSID) code, this is how the state tracks each student for graduation rates. A student entering at 10th grade can be assigned a 3 giving them the opportunity to graduate with a 3 year high school diploma. The classes are prorated to remove certain classes- usually it is an English and a social studies and a PE. They must have three consecutive years of math.

  3. Is startwrite.com supposed to be an online program or a purchase software? Thanks. Just posting as anonymous because faster. Jana

  4. Startwrite is a software that was available to me at the time. Now there are many free options for creating the dictation or handwriting practice pages you need or desire.


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