Monday, May 6, 2013

Geography Based Writing Lessons


Geography-Based Writing Lessons: Incorporating Beautiful Feet Books’ Geography Through Literature Course teaches writing by utilizing the Holling C. Holling classic books and complementing Beautiful Feet Books’ GeographyThrough Literature course. 

These lessons, which are geared toward emerging writers in the elementary grades, are designed to follow the classical system taught by the Institute for Excellence in Writing. The guide recommends that parents are familiar with the Institute for Excellence in Writing’s method through previous training. But parents who have previous language arts and writing knowledge will be able to use this guide on its own. 

A free download of the Student Resource Notebook is included with the purchase of this guide. Combined with the instructions in Geography-Based Writing Lessons, I find the lessons easy to understand and implement.

How to Use Geography-Based Writing Lessons

Parents are encouraged to read the Holling C. Holling books aloud to their children and complete the lessons with them:
Did you know that the two activities that most powerfully nurture competent writing skills in children are 1) reading aloud to them and 2) having them memorize poetry? (p. 5)
When used in conjunction with Beautiful Feet Books’Geography courseGeography-Based Writing Lessons will round out a year-long course in geography, history, science, and language arts. However, this course can stand on its own as a writing course, and does not have to be done in conjunction with Beautiful Feet Books’ course. If one lesson is completed per week, the entire course covers 37 weeks of writing:

Paddle-to-the-Sea
  • note taking
  • writing from notes
  • summarizing narrative stories
Tree in the Trail
  • summarizing one topic from a paragraph
  • writing from pictures
Minn of the Mississippi
  • research reports
  • formal essay
Seabird
  • creative writing with structure
Adapting for Various Ages

For younger students, parents can be more hands-on and help them with their outlines and writing, even serving as their “secretary” as they dictate their essays. Older students can work more independently. This course is very easy to adapt for different ages, and homeschool parents will find it easy to modify for use with multiple children at once. You are even given permission to skip, pick, and choose which lessons you would like to complete, with the exception of the research report and formal essay units using Minn of the Mississippi

Geography-Based Writing Lessons contains reproducible pages for students, including composition checklists and outline forms. Lessons address more than just the mechanics of writing and highlight the quality of writing:
As you read aloud expressively, help your child imagine the sights and smells of Michigan in the summer and autumn. Then create a key word outline together.Teach another clever way to dress-up a paragraph: -ly words. Words that end in –ly improve strong verbs by giving a reader sharper details. (p. 13)
The Holling C. Holling books provide beautiful examples of descriptive writing. My kids and I could hardly wait to follow Paddle’s journey to the sea or find out who was passing the tree in the trail next. 

The unique lessons will inspire students, improve their communication skills, and help develop their appreciation for the written word. The flexible structure of Geography-Based Writing Lessons will allow parents to incorporate writing easily and enjoy spending quality time together as a family.

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