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

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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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Do Monsters Exist?

Do Monsters Exist?

MIDDLE SCHOOL PROMPTS

Hundreds of thousands of tourists visit a particular site in Scotland each year, hoping to see a monster. What are they looking for?

It turns out that tourists are not the only ones looking for something. Operation Groundtruth has begun a search for the Loch Ness Monster (“Nessie”), a monster some claim they have seen. They are using a marine robot equipped with sonar to search the depths of the loch.

Nessie, if she exists, is thought to be a marine reptile, perhaps a plesiosaur, left over from the age of dinosaurs.

What has Operation Groundtruth found so far? The steep sides of the loch, the deep trench of the loch, and even a World War II airplane lying on the bottom of the loch. No Nessie. Yet.

 

 

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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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Symbols of Easter

Symbols of Easter

MIDDLE SCHOOL PROMPTS

Eggs have long been symbols of spring and of Easter. They represent new life and new beginnings.

So does Jesus’ resurrection. Death has been conquered! There is new life in Jesus.

You are hiding Easter eggs of various sizes for young children to find.

Inside each plastic egg is a jelly bean and little objects that represent parts of the Last Supper, trial, crucifixion, and resurrection of Jesus. In other words, they stand for different parts of the Easter account, like these: events, people, food, places where the events took place, truths, and so on.

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Explore Green on St. Patrick’s Day

Explore Green on St. Patrick’s Day

MIDDLE SCHOOL PROMPTS

We celebrate St. Patrick’s Day on March 17, the day the patron saint of Ireland died.

Many like to wear green on St. Patrick’s Day, but where did the tradition of wearing green come from?

Some say that leprechauns cannot see the color green; therefore, you are invisible to them and cannot be pinched.

Others say it is because green is worn in Ireland by Catholics and orange by Protestants. Or could it be that Ireland is called the Emerald Isle? Or that green is one of the three colors in the Irish flag?

Whatever the reason, we’re going to have some fun with the color green.

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Write an Introduction: The Benefits of Owning a Pet

Write an Introduction: The Benefits of Owning a Pet

MIDDLE SCHOOL PROMPTS

What are the benefits of owning a pet?

I’m sure you could list a few benefits off the top of your head. Good. Keep those in mind as we learn about an essay’s introduction.

When you write an introduction, you’ll want to include a few key items:

1. An intriguing first sentence to capture your reader’s attention. It’s called a hook.
2. A clear idea of what the article or essay is about (its topic).
3. A sentence that is the main idea (thesis statement) that will guide the rest of the article.

Here’s an example of an introductory paragraph about the TV remote. Although it seems serious, this student is actually poking fun at the idea that the TV remote has affected society:

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The Story Behind Dr. Seuss and the Grinch

The Story Behind Dr. Seuss and the Grinch

MIDDLE SCHOOL PROMPTS

You know about Dr. Seuss, and you know about the Grinch. But do you know the story behind the story?

When Ted (we know him as Dr. Seuss) was 53 years old, he was fed up with Christmas. He was tired of the noise, the constant activity, and the busy-ness, and he wished everyone would get along with each other.

His desire was that people would celebrate the joy and peacefulness of Christmas without all the hoopla detracting from it.

So what did he do? He wrote a story about it. He created a Scrooge-like creature who hates the noise and celebration of Christmas. Ted writes this in the story:

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Tenacity

Tenacity

MIDDLE SCHOOL PROMPTS

“Let me tell you the secret that has led me to my goal. My strength lies solely in my tenacity.”

This quote is from Louis Pasteur, a famous scientist who lived in the 1800s and proved that it was not “bad air” that caused some diseases but actually microorganisms that we categorize as germs today. He also developed a vaccine for rabies, and his name is given to a method of killing germs in milk: pasteurization.

So, his secret is his tenacity, but what is it?

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Exiled

Exiled

MIDDLE SCHOOL PROMPTS

What does Jesus’ disciple John have in common with Napoleon Bonaparte? I suppose the image below gives it away, but, yes, they were both exiled—banished from the homes and countries they loved.

John was exiled to the Isle of Patmos in AD 95 during Roman persecution of Christians. While banished to the island, John wrote the book of Revelation. Vistas of the Mediterranean Sea may be beautiful from there, but the island itself is only 30 square miles and very rocky and sterile.

Napoleon Bonaparte, the former emperor of France after the French Revolution, was actually exiled twice. The first time,

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