Thursday, September 02, 2010

The Lost Tools of Writing -- Intro & Lesson 1

The journey has begun . . . last week we did the Introductory Lesson. All of the kids participated enthusiastically. The Introductory Lesson starts by asking the students to talk, tell about their many problems with writing -- any and all. Well, actually, we did a couple of other things before getting into the lesson: some introductions and we spent a bit of time talking about writing in general. I let them come up with ideas on why writing might be a good skill to learn. I wrote down all of their ideas on the board.

We also spent a bit of time talking about working together and the role of a mentor. I wanted to establish a relationship with the students in that manner, and make sure everyone was "on board."

Then we got down to the problems. Based on ancient Rhetoric, LToW has the instructor list the many problems on 3 separate sheets or boards -- of course, the instructor knows what the 3 main problems are. After the students have exhausted their list, you then have them look at the 3 boards to see if they can determine how the items on each are alike. What you arrive at are the 3 canons of writing: Invention, Arrangement and Elocution (yes, Rhetoric actually has 5 -- be we leave out Memory and Delivery as they belong to speaking).

This week, with Lesson 1, we began with Invention. The program is very incremental, leading the students step-by-step, first helping them to recognize that they make decisions every day and that writing is also a decision-making process. They learned how to turn a question into an "issue" -- essentially a 'yes or no' question. From there, we generated an ANI chart with Affirmative, Negative and Interesting columns. So all of the 'pro' reasons go in the A column, the 'against' in the N column, and anything interesting in the I column. We did this together; then they did it individually, and now they will do it at home on their own.

Next week, we will take the data from the ANI chart and work on the canon of Arrangement.


homeblessings said...

Would love to hear more about your class and how it's going.

Sandi said...

Thanks for the feedback . . . more coming soon!