Writing with Sharon Watson-Easy-to-use Homeschool Writing and Literature Curriculum

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5 Prompts on Current Events

5 Prompts on Current Events

HIGH SCHOOL PROMPTS

Looking for a way for your teens to think deeply about some of today’s issues?

This week’s prompts will give your teens a chance to look at current events, express their opinions, and practice persuading readers. Each one of these prompts has a link so your teens can read more about the issue.

Warning: You may want to check the sites out before your teens do. Though I am careful which links to include, inappropriate material may appear on the other sites after I’ve posted the links.

Ready? Let’s go . . .

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Fun with Outlines. No, Really.

Fun with Outlines. No, Really.

SHARON’S BLOG

Could your students use a little help creating outlines? And what does a bowl of salad have to do with outlines?

My husband tells me he always made his outlines after he’d seen what he had written. I imagine this is fairly common.

But is an outline necessary? Not exactly. You can read about my sticky-note method here.

What is important, though, is organizing the material, and that is where students have trouble. They do not want to take the time to organize their thoughts, ideas, or material before they write.

Personally, I benefit from even a casual outline. That way, I don’t have to start with the introduction and work my way down to the conclusion; I have the pleasure of beginning wherever I like, where I feel the most comfortable. Then I can fill in the rest of my article later by using the organized points in my informal outline.

Whether your students use sticky notes or a more formal outline, they’ll benefit from these fun writing prompts.

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Holocaust Remembrance Day

Holocaust Remembrance Day

HIGH SCHOOL PROMPTS

May 5, 2016 (April 23, 2017) is Holocaust Remembrance Day, the day we remember those people—most of them Jews—who were exterminated by the millions in World War II by the Nazis.

Maybe you’ve read The Diary of a Young Girl (or The Diary of Anne Frank), a real diary of a young girl just turned thirteen. In it, she chronicles her days of hiding out with her family and another family in an annex (an unused portion of a building, like an attic) in Amsterdam. Why are they hiding? Because if the Nazi soldiers find them, they’ll be sent to a concentration camp and likely be killed.

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Word Choices: From Boring to Glowing

Word Choices: From Boring to Glowing

SHARON’S BLOG

 

Our word choices can have a huge impact on our readers. Or the words can muddle them. Let me give you an example.

If I write that a toddler is a good eater, I suddenly have a communication problem. The word “good” is not specific enough. Does “good” mean that the toddler is neat while eating? Does it mean that the child eats a large quantity of food or perhaps a variety of food without complaining? My readers will not have a clear idea of my meaning.

Your middle school students will learn this in the first writing prompt. I’ve written a very boring paragraph about something that seemed exciting to the student, but the words I selected were flat, overused, and not specific enough.

Teens will have fun with the second writing prompt as they practice using specific words and phrases to put a point across or create a focused mood.

Ready? Let’s go . . .

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Connotations: Illegal Aliens

Connotations: Illegal Aliens

HIGH SCHOOL PROMPTS

The Colorado House of Representatives voted to remove the words “illegal alien” from their state laws and substitute them with “undocumented immigrant” or “foreign national.”

Stephen Lebsock, the Democratic Representative behind the bill, says that “aliens are from other planets. We should not be referring to human beings as aliens,” according to the Denver Post. And the radio station K99 in Colorado quotes him as saying that the term “illegal alien” is “outdated and hurtful language.”

 

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Prompts about the Grand Canyon

Prompts about the Grand Canyon

SHARON’S BLOG

Burros, tall tales, and fears: You can find them all in the Grand Canyon. In 1893, the Grand Canyon was made a Forest Reserve and then later a National Monument. It became a national park in 1919, just three years after the National Park Service was formed. Which prompt about this amazing formation will your students enjoy?

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3 Types of Poems for Poetry Month

3 Types of Poems for Poetry Month

SHARON’S BLOG

Would you like to give your students some practice in writing poetry? With these guided prompts, your students do not have to “sit down and write a poem” but will surprise you by creating something fun and maybe even memorable. Here goes . . .

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Repentance

Repentance

HIGH SCHOOL PROMPTS

There are many gut-wrenching parts to the death of Jesus and his resurrection.

One is how Judas, a “friend” for three years, hands Jesus over to his enemies—with a sign of affection.

Another is when Jesus willingly steps into a rigged trial, one He knows he will lose.

Another troubling part of this account is when Peter, Jesus’ right-hand man, denies knowing Jesus even after he’s been warned that he will deny him. You can read about this in Mark 14:27-31 and Mark 14:66-72.

Jesus knows what Peter is doing. In fact, the Bible says that while Jesus is being mistreated in the house of the high priest, he turns and looks “straight at Peter” (Luke 22:61 NIV). At that point, Peter remembers the warning Jesus gave him, and he runs out of the courtyard and weeps “bitterly.”

The amazing part of Peter’s betrayal is that

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Invisibility

Invisibility

HIGH SCHOOL PROMPTS

Invisibility—is it a blessing or a curse?

According to Irish legend, wearing green makes you invisible to leprechauns and their pinches and tricks.

But wearing green is not the only way to become invisible. The scientist Griffin, in H. G. Wells’ The Invisible Man, makes himself invisible by experimenting with formulas and light. At the beginning of his experiments, he thinks invisibility will be a great gift to mankind. However, as he uses it more and then has a series of misfortunes, he plans to begin a Reign of Terror on the countryside. His invisibility has become a selfish means to revenge.

Those who put on the ring in The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien become invisible. This comes in handy when

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Sibling Rivalry: Give Advice to a Friend

Sibling Rivalry: Give Advice to a Friend

HIGH SCHOOL PROMPTS


The comedy team The Smothers Brothers struck a chord when they capitalized on sibling rivalry in their routine “Mom Always Liked You Best.” People laughed because they understood the family tensions in Tom and Dick Smothers’ silliness.

When children, even adult children, feel as if one parent loves a brother or sister over them, it can cause trouble and incite fights between the siblings. Children become competitive, always vying for parental approval, constantly wanting to be better in some way than their brothers or sisters.

Children judge themselves on their

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