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  1. #1

    Default 4th Grade writing

    Does anyone have a good resource for me to gauge how well DD is on pace with her writing skills? It is such a challenge to get her to do writing, and several weeks ago, I told her it was going to be daily now.

    Her penmanship is fine, her spelling is pretty good, and she's WAY ahead of grade level on reading and vocabulary in her speech. But I get the sense that her writing might be behind, and it might be that we're just not doing enough.

    Any thoughts on how much is a reasonable amount for a 4th grader to be writing each day?

    Thanks in advance!
    Working mom homeschooling DD (10) who is working on a 4th-6th grade level and keeps me hopping! SimpleMoney is my new venture. www.simplemoneypro.com

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  3. #2

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    Maybe post a sample of her writing if you're open to it?

    I think this is really hard to say. In many public schools, kids are pushed to be writing research papers and even DBQ's at that age. They have to write a lot, but it's often very formulaic. Like, I've seen recent stuff from 5th graders that was deemed fine and I was not especially impressed. I think they're not focused on voice, vocabulary, or even grammar. It's more like churning it out and making sure it fits these particular rubrics.

    In other words, it's so hard to say if a child who can't do that stuff is "behind." Like, in one sense, yes. But in another sense, she'll catch up without having had to do that nonsense, if she has good vocabulary and a good sense of language. Those are things the other kids may lack.

    For volume... I'd say a 4th grader should be writing something down every day, even if it's just on worksheets or a sentence for this or that. I'd expect an on track 4th grader to be able to write a paragraph without too much prodding, even if it wasn't a great one.
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  4. #3

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    You can simply google "4th grade writing sample" and smth like this will pop up:
    https://www.greatschools.org/gk/arti...e-non-fiction/

    I also just looked at our local schools' websites. I was curious too how my 3rd-grader's writing compares to an average 3rd-grader's in school. One of the local 3rd grade classes posted all of the kids' "My Favorite Vacation" writing assignments. It gave me quite a picture!
    mom to 3 girls: DD10, DD9, DD6

  5. #4

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    Those samples make me roll my eyes so hard, honestly. It's clearly all about the volume on every one of those assignments. Look how high we can force our word counts, no matter how rambling the student's summary. Also note that most of those are typed so you don't have a sense of whether or not they really wrote it themselves with zero help. Not that I necessarily think kids should write with zero help (I don't at all really - help is a good thing in scaffolding writing) but it doesn't give you a gauge of how it looked in the first draft. Nor does that set of samples give you a range of abilities. Those are clearly all top third of their class kids without a doubt.

    Basically, just be careful with the online samples. They tend to be more like exemplars and less like representative samples.
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  6. #5

    Default

    I guess the answer is, it depends. I have a 4th grader and we are definitely not where the public school kids are at the moment. I am not that worried about it as long as we are making progress.

    What can she do now?
    Does she do any writing on her own? (Any kind, stories, poetry, diary?)
    Does she understand the concept of a sentence? a paragraph? an essay?
    Does she like writing?

    What are your writing goals for her? Is there a plan for her to go back to formal school for middle/jr. high school?

    I think that the answers to those questions can help you decide on how much you need to do or how much you need to structure what she is doing.
    A mama who teaches college writing, as well as help her 12-year-old in
    choosing his own life adventure. Using Global Village School to support our desire to develop a sense of social justice and global awareness.

  7. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by farrarwilliams View Post
    Those samples make me roll my eyes so hard, honestly. It's clearly all about the volume...
    That was my impression too. Extremely low quality, and a giant push for quantity (pure plain word count). But seeing those samples did calm down my fears that we are not doing enough with writing.
    mom to 3 girls: DD10, DD9, DD6

  8. #7

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    She likes writing in fits and starts. Mostly, if she thinks up something, she will write without complaint. When it is assigned, however, she will often balk, complain, and sometimes do a half-ass job. I sometimes ask her to write "essay" answers (just a few sentences) to some history assignment we're working on, or I might ask for a journal entry about a topic of her choice.

    For longer assignments, I'll ask for an essay - I give her 2-3 possible topics (some very specific, some very broad). I have taught her essay format - intro paragraph, 3 supporting paragraphs on 3 points, closing/summary paragraph.

    Sometimes I ask her to handwrite, sometimes print, sometimes cursive, or I'll ask her to type. She has gone through Dance Mat typing and knows where the fingers go, but she's still slow. She started to type up a story about dragons, and we worked some on how to punctuate dialogue recently.

    I'll try to upload samples now. I agree that some of those samples online are fishy.

    Thanks for your input and help!
    Working mom homeschooling DD (10) who is working on a 4th-6th grade level and keeps me hopping! SimpleMoney is my new venture. www.simplemoneypro.com

  9. #8

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    4th Grade writing
    Here is one she wrote a month or two ago on snowmen.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Working mom homeschooling DD (10) who is working on a 4th-6th grade level and keeps me hopping! SimpleMoney is my new venture. www.simplemoneypro.com

  10. #9

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    4th Grade writing
    This is maybe 1-2 weeks old.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Working mom homeschooling DD (10) who is working on a 4th-6th grade level and keeps me hopping! SimpleMoney is my new venture. www.simplemoneypro.com

  11. #10

    Default

    Starkspack

    The short answer, I think these look fine. They are well organized and thought out, which is frequently the problem.

    In my opinion, writing on a daily basis is helpful, but it does not have to be essays. Journal writing, poetry, stories are all options. You could create a jar of writing ideas that she helps put together. Or it can be using things like story dice and use those to base a story or use other ideas. She could write about the most interesting thing she learned (or the most boring).

    Does she do prewriting activities to brainstorm for her essays? You could experiment with those. I count those as writing.

    If you haven't done so yet, she looks likes she is ready to start writing different kinds of essays. There is an excellent book, Building Writing Skills from Critical Thinking Co. that goes through the whole process of writing a narrative (personal and story), opinion, and informative/explanatory essay. It starts with prewriting activities and goes all the way through to the final draft.

    Also, she looks like she is ready to be taught how to edit her work. The book Editor in Chief (from Critical Thinking Co. too!) is great for learning grammar and punctuation in context and learning how to proofread for the errors.

    Both of these books are in a series. I would just start with the first one.
    A mama who teaches college writing, as well as help her 12-year-old in
    choosing his own life adventure. Using Global Village School to support our desire to develop a sense of social justice and global awareness.

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4th Grade writing