Kristin feels that improving writing skills requires diligent practice and the utilization of a multi-faceted approach. No matter the grade level, she focuses on preparing students for future rigorous high school English courses, and recognizes that many school English teachers today do not assign actual writing tasks, for they don't have time or the desire to edit the work. This approach leaves students with an underdeveloped skill set. Thus, students who enroll in Kristin's writing classes can expect to:
- Complete class and homework assignments related to grammar, vocabulary, editing, and more.
- Write essays such as: Response to literature, persuasive, descriptive, expository, and more.
- Read engaging, grade-level novels, short stories, poems, and other works, then participate in lively discussions.
- Complete weekly current event summary and analysis write-ups.
- Improve critical thinking skills.
- Receive edited work and continue to submit corrected versions until finalized.
- Work hard and have fun!
Details about my group writing classes:
- I see writing as a life skill. No matter what field a student chooses, he or she needs to be able to communicate effectively.
- I look for long term students, as there is no "speedy" way to improve writing skills. Many of my students have been with me 4-5 years; some as long as 8. I don't lock clients into anything; each student is a personal investment.
- To me, writing is one big ball of wax. From grammar to vocabulary to structure and spelling, none of it can be taught in a canned fashion because all of it is related. I start teaching the TIQA style writing format (used in high school) in 6th grade, because it takes a long time to master. I don't give timed packets or busy work; a sampling of homework from my writing classes includes vocabulary, grammar, journals, essays, short writing tasks, long writing tasks, reading comprehension questions, and so on. Students typically turn in a long essay every 2-3 weeks. My summer classes run in the same fashion, but are entirely novel based (as opposed to short story based), run at a faster pace, and require even more work. The skills I teach are the ones I used in college and law school.
- I have students from eight different local high schools, so I know what is assigned and save the tasks every year.
- We correct every assignment and quiz until it is completely free of errors. I'm relentless about receiving corrections; otherwise the class is a waste of time and money because students turn in things with mistakes, never fix them, and learn nothing. Each week, I email a group update after the class with a general run-down of the homework and what's going on. If someone is missing something, they get a separate email and I copy parents on it.
- I try to make my classes a lot of fun and I think most students truly enjoy them--but I'm a stickler when it comes to the work getting done.