After discovering a few weeks into the school year that writing wasn’t coming quite so easy for Caroline and that my relaxed approach to creative writing for the earlier elementary grades that worked great with Elliot wasn’t a good fit for her, I started hunting for a resource that would help her. I came across Classical Academic Press and their Writing and Rhetoric Curriculum and after seeing the first level (for grade 3 or 4) is based on fables, I knew it would be perfect. Caroline absolutely loves Aesop’s fables. Each lesson focuses on one fable and uses its example to teach various writing concepts such as figurative writing, amplification, etc. With each lesson there are small exercises focusing on things like adding detail or using more interesting words, as well as copywork and dictation. At the end of the lesson (lasting one week, ideally) there’s a bigger writing exercise where the student puts their own spin on the fable they’ve been focusing on. The student might be asked to change the characters or add different details, or other changes that make the fable new and unique. Caroline is finally creating her own writing without feeling stressed or experiencing writer’s block. This curriculum gets her started, using something she already loves, and then she’s off and running once she understands what she is supposed to do. We’re really excited about this curriculum and will probably continue using the next few levels until she’s ready to move on to Writing with Skill, around 6th grade.
She’s learning how to use the thesaurus for finding lots of great word choices, as well as the dictionary to look up exact meanings of words she’s unsure of.
Even though you can do all your writing in the book, she likes to put her big assignments on paper and create a cover with pictures.