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The Oxford Learning Beat Writing Program Part 3


Using Beat Writing

Beat Writing is designed to teach both grammar and writing skills. It is not to be used as a singular program. You must use it with other Oxford Learning materials as per the Program Manual.

Beat Writing teaches —

  • how to recognize complete sentences
  • how to punctuate
  • how to write grammatically correct sentences, including subjects and predicates; sentence fragments and run-on sentences
  • how to use parts of speech, including nouns, pronouns, conjunctions and verbs
  • how to use words
  • how to use verb tenses.

Remember too, the study skills that we teach with every page; the application of SQRCRC, the numbering of rules and directions. As always, we teach so much more than any work sheet ever asks for.

Students who finish all the pages of Beat Writing will have an excellent basic knowledge. They will know the basic parts of speech and how to use them, as well as how to recognize the most common mistakes and, more importantly, how not to make them.

The Beat Writing Idea Bank contains 30 playful suggestions and story ideas for students to use while practicing their newly developed skills.

Use Your Skills

You will have to use your skills as an Oxford Learning teacher to help kids stay motivated. This program probably contains completely new material for our students. They may never have done anything like this before. It may seem hard to them; however, the results are more than worth the effort.

Don’t forget — it is not a long program. When these pages have been mastered, the students will be writing well, and, better yet, will have a firm grasp of the structure of our language.

Creativity

Let’s talk about creativity. There is much criticism of structured writing programs these days — they are out of vogue. Teachers want it to be “more fun” for kids. Claims are made that structure retards creativity, that programs requiring discipline retard creativity. Imagine that!

If you could ask Einstein, Michelangelo, Newton, Margaret Lawrence or Picasso if creativity required discipline, you would not be surprised at their answers. The most creative and talented humans on earth all agree; first you master the skills until they become automatic, and then you become creative.

Let us stop asking the cart to pull the horse. We must learn to use our teaching skills to teach creatively and motivate our kids while they work through this material. Once these few pages have been mastered, these kids will be able to express themselves verbally.

The Challenge

Do not begin to teach a writing program by asking kids to write, write, write. They do too much of that in school already and just entrench their mistakes. Current research shows that new cognitive patterns can sometimes be formed by very few repetitions. This means that repeating mistakes may create an automation of the task, thus burying the instructions in the subconscious. This makes it harder for the student to change.

You must begin Beat Writing at the beginning — the free form creative writing comes later. Complaints about “boredom” usually come from two sources — kids who are challenged by the precision of these new ideas and from teachers who are themselves bored. Ignore these plaintive calls and invest in making the activities fun for kids and in helping them to understand why they are learning to write correctly.

Lord Chesterton, in a letter to his son, said, “Whoever is in a hurry to finish shows that the thing he is about is too big for him.” This is apt.

Let us do this correctly by building the foundation and then freeing the spirits. Writing is an extension of the voice of the speaker. Since children sense their littleness and want to be larger and more potent, the idea that through writing, they can make their voices reach much further can be very exciting to them!

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