Thursday, August 2, 2007

thursday, yikes

Crafty tip for the day: avoid category nouns.

Simple, right? Yesterday I sat down with my oldest two offspring and presented a thirty minute workshop on how to construct an essay. I threw in some information on what words to avoid and why. I described category nouns then used one of their favorite songs, the Carrie Underwood saga about unleashing some revenge on a cheating boyfriend, as an example. The song does a wonderful job of not using category nouns. When I pointed out all the specific nouns, I saw light bulbs go off over their heads. Nothing like the specific images of a Louisville slugger, leather seats and souped up 4wds to make a point.

Not sure if I've helped their future writing attempts, but after learning they'd never been taught how to construct a classic essay complete with a thesis statement and supporting paragraphs, I had to take matters into my own hands. The book they are writing about: The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd.

Yes, I did manage to get back on track and wound up calling it quits at page 206 yesterday in Maddy Blue. Sixty pages and then some....also polished the short story. Today we have the oldest child's music lesson and soccer conditioning. We will also have a new addition to the family appearing today. Our neighbors, off to Utah on a family reunion, farmed their greyhound out to some church friends. Said church friends are now passing the dog to me as they are headed off to a reunion. Those LDS folk sure like their reunions.

Quite the potpourri of info today, I could write on and bore you with details of my 90 minute Friends meeting yesterday, but I'm still digesting the possible implications of our last minute discussions about funding staff development. Can't quite go there yet.


Dwight's Writing Manifesto said...


None of my kids were taught thesis sentences either. They were never taught the "tell 'em what you're gonna tell 'em, tell 'em, tell 'em what you told 'em" essay structure.

Grayhound, huh? Well don't let it get out of the house. You'll never catch it.

Liz said...

I'm not sure if the current crop of English teachers ever go over the essay structure I learned way back when. Not that the old tried and true can't be improved, but I do believe it gives students a place to start.

I also don't think they even broach the subject of term papers until sometime in high school, if at all.

I learned both beasties in middle school. Now the kids are evaluated on their writing, due to NCLB, but are never taught how to write.

kaycee said...

hey you... had to pop over and say hi. my blog is busy at the moment but look out when i return!