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How to Start a Writing Club

How to Start a Writing Club

I am leading a Writing Club this year at True North Homeschool Academy and to say I love it is an understatement. I love words, teaching people how to use them effectively and watching the enthusiasm and joy young writers take in expressing themselves and sharing their creation. Happy Sigh.

Have you ever wanted to start a writing club? Check out True North's easy steps for forming, and leading, a fun and engaging writing club.

There is still time to join our fantastic writing club (we have new members joining us this week) but if you’d like to start a Writing Club where you are at, here is a simple format to get you started.

First, set goals and time frames.

Set goals for the group or have the kids set their own individual goals. In our group, our students set their goals for the year and then share their writing/reading goals (because writers are readers) for the time between now and the next time we meet.

Set a clear structure for the club so the kids know what to expect and how to prepare. The very nature of a club is less structured than a formal class, but creating set time ensures that you keep moving forward and as many students as possible have a chance to read and share their writing.

Next, add writing prompts to your Club

Start with a writing prompt. The kids love this time, regardless of age or ability. Set a timer- not too long, not too short- 5-15 minutes. Read the prompt and then let the kids write. No talking, just writing. When the timer goes off, give everyone time to read their response to the prompt.

Sit back and revel in how amazing the kids are! You will be blown away at the diversity, ability, and creativity! No critique or formal feedback, though you’ll probably notice that often the kids will give each other unsolicited encouragement and support and cries of “Wow! That was amazing!”

Where can you look for writing prompts?

  • Pictures from all time periods
  • Memes
  • Scripture
  • Famous Quotes
  • A sentence or two from a book
  • A snippet from the news
  • A few lines of poetry
  • Snippets from other subject areas
  • Math formulas
  • Science facts
  • Graphs
  • Funny photoshops

The sky is really the limit. Last week our prompt was from the news, “This storm can kill!” and the week before a quote, “Absence of faith is not lack of faith, but control.”

Focus on skill building in your Club

I am a poetry writer, reader and advocate from way back, so I often bring in poetry forms and tropes as part of our skill building. Many great writers include poems and songs to develop their characters, and I want the kids to have these tools available to them.

Other ideas include working on dialog, tropes, sentence structure and variations, plot devices, characteristics of genres, humor, applying literary analysis to one’s own writing and so much more! I usually allow for about 20 minutes on this section because I’ll present the skill and then give them time to work on it.

Next, write and share feedback.

Take time to have 2-3 kids share 5 minutes of their writing each week (the writing that they are doing on their own- apart from the writing prompts) and have everyone listen well. Then, allow the class to give feedback and assessment on the writing. I set clear parameters for the kids on this as our goal is to give each other constructive feedback and information that will allow each person to grow and excel as writers.

I teach kids about the “sandwich” method of giving feedback (2 positives, one critique, one positive) and encourage them to find both strengths and areas of weaknesses in the writing- offering possible solutions. This feedback teaches how to give and receive feedback, simple literary analysis, and how to listen well. We also work on presentation skills, and the kids know that they’ll have to introduce themselves and their work to contextualize for the audience before they begin.

Book reviews are also great!

Because good writers are good readers each student shares a book they’ve read, gives a brief critique, what the liked or disliked about the book and gives it a 1-5 star rating. We’ll be publishing our books lists each semester, so stay tuned!

Finally, have plenty of extra resources for your Club

For our Writing Club, I also make sure the kids know about resources like NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) as well as writing and reading contests.

Our writing club has kids ranging in age from 12 to 17, some have written very little, and some have written a couple of books already. What we do have in common in a love of words and a desire to hone our ability to craft with words.

Start a local Homeschool Writing Club, but if you don’t have the time or inclination, we’d love for you to join ours! (you can join any month of the year). Or, if you have a local group, we can work with you too.  We are partnering with co-ops and class days to bring quality education TO you, regardless of where in the world you are! We have special prices for groups. And if you don’t see something you are looking for in our catalog, be sure to let us know – we can work together to make it happen!

Have you ever wanted to start a writing club? Check out True North's easy steps for forming, and leading, a fun and engaging writing club. #homeschool #writingclub #TrueNorthHomeschoolAcademy

Organizing Your Writing II

Organizing Your Writing II

Organizing Your Writing II will focus on teaching students in grades 6-12 to write with competence and ease. Different forms of writing can be a hard and frustrating task for struggling students. This course will help students approach their drafts and published writings with confidence. Students often need encouragement and guidance to articulate their thoughts while expressing ideas on paper. Students will learn the basics of simple essay writing in a non-stressful environment.

Sometimes our struggling learners find it difficult to write a complete paragraph.  Sometimes they can tell stories but not put them down on paper. Other times, they can write informally in journals but lack the skills to organize an academic paper.  What is the solution? Organizing Your Writing II will help students learn how to write academic papers.

Our class will focus on the following:

  • Writing a complete paragraph  (1-2 weeks)
  • Organizing thoughts
  • Selecting three areas of a topic to discuss
  • Thesis statement
  • Transition words

Other topics will be addressed as needed for each class, including but not limited to:

  • Run-on sentences
  • Punctuation
  • Word choice
  • Using adjectives and adverbs
  • Including examples and expanding papers
  • Direct quotations
  • Introducing appropriate vocabulary for a topic

Required Resources: All Things Fun and Fascinating

How is Organizing Your Writing different from tutoring?

Tutoring is a form of reteaching or breaking down learning into smaller steps to help someone who struggles. Our classes go beyond that, evaluating where each student is on a concept, and helping them be successful as they learn the concepts.  We use questions to guide students through the learning process, and to help them understand and correct mistakes they are making in the math processes.

Classes for our special needs students, including Organizing Your Writing II, are formatted as a cooperative environment where students see how other kids process the information and discuss how we think through games and questions. Our teachers create a safe place to discuss and think through the information.

The end result is that our students are able to see how they learn best and to apply that to other areas of their academic lives.

Full Year Course – 1 Credit: The class will be taught and graded by your True North Homeschool Academy teacher. The coursework your child will complete in this high school level course is equal to one credit hour which may be awarded by your homeschool upon completion of the course. If you need help determining your students’ credits or creating a transcript, check out our Academic Advising.

Check out our Catalog if you are looking for online private tutoring, other courses, or Academic Advising. Organizing Your Writing pairs perfectly with Literature at the Movies as well as Adapted Social Studies.

Middle School Writing Creative Writing

Are you constantly coming up with story ideas and need a place to share your poetry or song lyrics?  Would you like to improve your writing style in a fun and energizing atmosphere or co-create your own English class and credits?

This club is for you!

Students set their own yearly and monthly writing goals, which vary from writing novels and poetry, to winning contests and finding an editor to publish, to starting a blog. We provide regular accountability and support along with weekly writing prompts, a place to read your writing and have it assessed, information on contests and writing opportunities, writing challenges, weekly skill-building, group readings and helpful and positive critiques! Break-out rooms add to the camaraderie as we work together to write! Skill-building may include but is not limited to:

  • Poetry Forms and Meter
  • Sketch Comedy Writing
  • Figures of Speech and Tropes
  • Dialog
  • Lyrical Writing

Each week students share book recommendations briefly describing major themes, characters and plot. The teacher guides students in basic literary analysis and presentation skills. We publish our Creative Writing Recommended Book list each semester. This club is a perfect tie-in to other English courses and is an ideal fit for those who want to hone their writing and creative skills, for those considering writing as a career or for those who need an extra credit in English. The Jr. High Writing Club is available to motivated students grades 6 an up. This course is a perfect tie in to Speech as well as Civics!

Organizing Your Writing

Organizing Your Writing

Organizing Your Writing is a course for struggling learners that will focus on teaching students in high school who are struggling with organizing their thoughts and writing to complete academic papers. Students will learn the basics of simple essay writing in a non-stressful environment.

Sometimes our struggling learners struggle to write a complete sentence.  Sometimes they can tell stories but not put them down on paper. Other times, they can write informally in journals and free-writes, but can’t organize an academic paper.  What is the solution? True North Homeschool Academy’s Struggling Learners Department is now offering a writing class to help students learn how to write academic papers.

Organizing Your Writing will focus on the following:

  • Writing a complete sentence (1-2 weeks)
  • Organizing thoughts
  • Selecting three areas of a topic to discuss
  • Thesis statement
  • Transition words

Other topics will be addressed as needed for each class, including but not limited to:

  • Run-on sentences
  • Punctuation
  • Word choice
  • Using adjectives and adverbs
  • Including examples and expanding papers
  • Direct quotations
  • Introducing appropriate vocabulary for a topic

Why are the class sizes so small?

  • Classes through our Struggling Learners program are kept small in order to facilitate a true cooperative learning environment with our students’ needs kept foremost in mind. 
  • Classes are individualized according to the needs of the students.
  • Activities progress according to the progress and needs of the students.
  • Smaller groups allow for interaction and support.

Our students are successful in this safe, fun learning environment.  Higher-level thinking skills will be developed and supported in this interactive, small-group instruction that encourages problem-solving, and works on meta-cognition, an important executive functioning skill related to study skills in all academic areas.  Classes are warm and inviting, in an atmosphere where anxiety is reduced and thinking is maximized.

How is Organizing Your Writing different from tutoring?

Tutoring is a form of reteaching or breaking down learning into smaller steps to help someone who struggles. Our classes go beyond that, evaluating where each student is on a concept, and helping them be successful as they learn the concepts.  We use questions to guide students through the learning process, and to help them understand and correct mistakes they are making in the math processes.

Classes for our special needs students are formatted as a cooperative environment where students see how other kids process the information and discuss how we think through games and questions. Our teachers create a safe place to discuss and think through the information.

The end result is that our students are able to see how they learn best and to apply that to other areas of their academic lives.

Full Year Course 1 Credit Course: The class will be taught and graded by your True North Homeschool Academy teacher. The coursework your child will complete in this high school level course is equal to one credit hour which may be awarded by your homeschool upon completion of the course. If you need help determining your students’ credits or creating a transcript, check out our Academic Advising.

Check out our Catalog if you were looking for online private tutoring, for other courses or Academic Advising.

This class is appropriate for 6th -12th-grade students who struggle with writing and may be added to the Struggling Learner’s Bundle for savings.

Note: This course is available as a full-year course but check back because it may also be offered as a single semester class during the Spring and Fall.