This bundle option is designed for 4-7th grade students who want to take both Readers in Residence – Sleuth, a literature class which meets on Wednesdays at 1:00–2:00 p.m. ET, and Creative Composition 1: Beginning Writing course that meets on Wednesdays at 2:00–3:00 p.m. ET.
Readers in Residence
Program author Debra Bell’s life’s work has been teaching students how to give voice to their experiences and ideas through the written word, and how to understand the writer’s craft.
Based on Volume 1 of Bell’s Readers in Residence, Sleuth curriculum, this class will serve as a literature circle and guided study group for your students. As such, students become part of a community of readers, sharing quality literature and fun projects. This course provides the unique features of one-on-one instruction from a “Resident Language Artist”, offering professional writing/reading coach guidance, and facilitated group discussions. It will also provide an audience where students can share and celebrate their weekly work and unit projects, or wrestle with new or difficult concepts in a collaborative environment.
This class provides students with a community setting for developing and practicing new comprehension skills, discussing literature, and utilizing expanded vocabulary learning in creative and interactive ways.
The course instructor provides guidance and classroom support in understanding the author’s craft and literary elements and equips students to become analytical readers, critical thinkers, creative writers with rich vocabulary, and excellent peer reviewers. This class is geared toward middle-grade students who are able to write/read fluently with little struggle, and older novice or reluctant writers/readers. Its focus is on maturing students in both skill and confidence.
The objectives of this class are as follows:
- Study six books in three genres of narrative fiction, with weekly group discussions.
- Become an active, critical reader who studies the author’s choices and intentions in writing, through close analysis of the author’s craftsmanship in each select book.
- Engage in class discussions around analytical reading assignments, alongside fun, interactive, and engaging skill builders.
- Use fun, small-group activities to reinforce weekly learning, and to increase reading comprehension, as well as new vocabulary.
- Recognize the overarching patterns of a story through character development, plot, and theme, while inspecting an author’s style and voice, and learning to read for inference, connotation, and figurative meaning.
- To provide guidance and help students demonstrate their learning through fun-tastic unit projects and personal book reviews.
- Share the joy of reading and discuss the same books with friends made all over the country.
Creative Composition 1: Beginning Writing
This 32 week, live online creative writing class for elementary and middle school students is based on Debra Bell’s Writers in Residence, Volume 1. Beginning writers learn to “keep their readers reading!” That’s the number one goal of writing. Through creative, low-stress, personally meaningful writing assignments, students will discover and develop their own voices on paper, while engaging their readers from beginning to end.
Based on Debra Bell’s curriculum, Writers in Residence Volume 1, Apprentice, students learn to build strong, descriptive sentences and clear, focused paragraphs, constructing them into interesting and informative 5-paragraph essays and fantastical short stories. The variety of writing assignments and genres are what make this course so rewarding for the students. They can start this course never having written more than a paragraph and will finish this course having written creative stories, an essay, and biographies.
Our weekly online class meetings will serve as a writers’ group, where budding writers will learn and grow in their writing skills through lively group discussions, virtual skill-builders, and thematic games. Our writers’ group meetings also develop students’ presentation and public speaking skills, as writers are encouraged (never forced) to share their work with one another in this positive, encouraging, and safe environment.
Assignments are posted weekly on our course page, with daily reading/writing homework given (approximate homework time is 30-45 minutes per day). A weekly writing assignment is due the day before our next class meeting.
Homework is given each week after class, with assignments to be turned in the evening before the next class. Students can expect feedback on their work by Friday evening, the week it is turned in (Monday, for larger assignments). Final grades are based on class participation, weekly homework assignments, and major projects. I will send out a mid-year evaluation and end of year evaluation with additional parent communication as needed.
A highly recommended but optional add-on to this class has been created to assist students with writing, grammar, and vocabulary skills. To participate in this extra learning opportunity, students need to register separately. See Language Arts Lab CC1 for details and to register.
Who should enroll?
These classes are for 4th – 7th graders.
- 4th-5th grade students who are able to read fluently with little struggle
- 6th-7th novice or reluctant writers/readers, or those with little to no formal literature/writing instruction/training
- It is a perfect fit for creative and/or artistic students, or students who have previously struggled with a strictly formulaic writing program.
- High speed, broadband Internet
- Headset and microphone (for live sessions)
- Streaming video capabilities to watch recorded lectures
Evaluation and Feedback
Parents can elect for their student to receive a letter grade or certificate of achievement at the end of these classes.
While students will not receive official letter grades for their reading assignments, I will provide instruction and guidance, as well as targeted feedback on each phase of all assignments. As your student’s literature guide, I’ll help students through the process of evaluation, utilizing the rubrics in each text. Emphasis on all assignments will be on developing the individual’s strengths, and improving weaknesses of each student’s work, encouraging personal progress and overall growth in the language arts.
Students will receive specific feedback on their writing work the Friday following each class meeting. While students will not receive letter grades for their writing assignments, each weekly assignment is marked as complete or incomplete, and given a numbered score provided on a reviewer’s rubric for each final draft of projects for your records.
As your student’s writing coach, I will provide individualized instruction and guidance, as well as targeted feedback on each stage of the writing assignments to ensure that assignments are completed to mastery for each student’s individual skill level. Emphasis on all writing will be on the strengths and weaknesses of each student’s work, encouraging personal progress and growth, with the final result being a strong writing portfolio which demonstrates excellent composition achievement for the year.
I provide feedback on every written assignment, grading them within one week of their due date. All parents are encouraged to join us in Canvas as observers. My response time for student’s or parent’s email questions is within 24 hours.