Essentials in Writing
Essentials In Writing was founded by Matthew Stephens. He was a middle school English teacher in the public school before creating Essentials in Writing. He has taught at almost every grade level and is an excellent teacher!
Grades 1-6 contain two sections: Grammar and Composition. Grammar section is identification and application (where applicable), but I tend to focus much more on application than dentification. In the composition section, I always start with sentence structure and move to composition. The
compositions in these grade levels are usually paragraph, personal letter, personal narrative.
Grades 7-8 focuses more on composition. There is a grammar review that is video only that students can view at any time. This doesn't mean that I don't teach grammar. I still teach a lot of grammar during the revision stage. Plus, I do focus on sentence structure as well. In the composition section, I start with sentence structure, then move to a comprehensive
approach. I cover paragraphs, personal letters, business letter, essays, and research paper.
Grades 9-10 is only composition starting with sentence structure, paragraphs and then moving to essays. The focus in these two levels is structure and the process. I want students to be able to do the process for essays without even thinking about it. I also want the structure of an essay to be second nature.
Grades 11-12 teaches the same as 9-10, and while I do teach the structure, I tend to focus more on writing with voice...especially 12th grade. In 12th grade, I teach how to write a 60-minute essay.
Research papers: In early elementary grades, I focus more on making it a project and then move to a paper in 7th-8th. I do teach students of the
importance to paraphrase and give credit, but the technical side of a works cited/bibliography is not
required until 9th grade.
The Essentials in Writing strategy involves several components:
1. Students watch Mr. Stephens as he teaches/reviews each concept in a methodical, step-by-step approach. Then students proceed with worksheet activities or writing assignments.
2. Mr. Stephens presents content and writing assignments in small "chunks" to help students understand, apply, and retain concepts.
3. Writing assignments are modeled by Mr. Stephens. After a new or reviewed concept has been taught, he actually "shows" students HOW to apply the new concept in writing.