A Taste of Things to Come: Prep for Middle School Writing

$15.00 now, and $15.00 every Sunday

In these upbeat and fun writing classes for 4th, 5th, and 6th-grade students, we work on critical writing skills, including grammar, while keeping it fun so that learners are ready and raring to go for secondary English language arts.

First payment: February 5, 2023


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Timezone: America/New_York

Section A

  • STARTS: Jan 16, 2023
  • COURSE LENGTH: Every Week
  • LIVE CLASSES: Mondays 02:00 PM - 02:45 PM
  • TEACHER: Ali Marie
  • CALENDAR: View Entire Calendar

Section B


Ready? Set! Go! Elementary school will soon come to an end, and it’s time to prepare for the writing they will do in middle school English language arts! As a secondary teacher, Mrs. Lemons has always wanted to design a curriculum for the upper elementary learners in order to hit the ground running when they hit middle school writing. This class is designed so students understand various genres and how their writing should change based on their purpose and audience. They also receive explicit grammar instruction through sentence combining, strengthening their foundation of sentence writing and becoming more sophisticated.

Why This Course?

These classes stand apart from other writing classes because of the explicit instruction, modeling, and authentic, thoughtful, and constructive feedback from the instructor. Learners will practice with different writing genres each week, a mix of creative, expository, argument, research, poetry, technical writing, and more. Using Google docs, learners get more practice typing and formatting their papers digitally. They then revise and edit, based on feedback from the instructor, which greatly increases learning. All of this is just like we do in upper-grade levels! Feedback and evaluation will be provided in class and when students turn in work.

Course Type

This is a Live Subscription Course, which means you are charged every Sunday for the week’s class ahead. You can go into your account and stop your subscription anytime you need. It’s flexible for your schedule!

WEEKLY SCHEDULE: Pop in and out as you like!

Week of Jan 15: Just the Facts! The Straight News Article. Students will learn the elements of a straight news article, read examples, and sort details according to how important they are. Then they grab their reporter’s notebook and watch a surprise event unfold. Their job will be to write their own straight news article with organized and sorted facts and without any bias.

Week of Jan 22: The Op-Ed. After reading examples, they jump right in as editorial journalists. They learn how to see both sides of an issue, introduce facts and evidence, and refute the opposing argument in their own opinion article. The topic is high-interest and many students have passionate opinions!

Week of Jan 29: Email Etiquette. Is email a dying form of communication? Certainly not, especially in education and business. Students learn email etiquette, such as having the right attitude, using professional words, choosing the correct style, and including the proper parts of a professional email. Keeping their audience and purpose in mind, students learn how to deal with a problem by addressing it head-on in a polite email.

Week of Feb 5: The Better Book Review. Book reviews are everywhere, and students read them a lot! They read them on amazon.com, on other websites, they hear from friends, and they have to decide if they want to read the book. We will look at various book reviews from different places to see which book reviews are good and which ones are not; students will come up with a list and outline for writing their own book reviews.

Week of Feb 12: It’s Greek to Me! The Drama. It’s time to break out Greek mythology! Students will read a short drama, learning how dramas are written. They will rewrite the ending to one drama, practicing with the unique structure.

Week of Feb 19: Technical Writing, Simplified. Have you ever heard of Wikipedia Simple? While focusing on technical writing, integrating precise instructions, content-specific vocabulary, and a clear process, students will write a Wikipedia Simple page explaining how to do something they’re good at: mounting a horse? Tap dancing? Shooting a hockey puck? Playing a video game? It’s a hard genre of writing but they will learn to break down a sequenced process and communicate in writing.

Week of Feb 26: The Personal Narrative. What is the meaning of life? We probably won’t discover the answer to that question, but students will think of a significant memory in their own lives and pull out the deeper meaning, reflecting, thinking, remembering, and then will write a memoir, a personal narrative. While doing this, they learn to blend important narrative elements such as dialogue, thoughts, feelings, action, and descriptive writing.

Week of Mar 5: The Response to Literature. Writing a response to a piece of literature is more than just saying whether it was good or not. Students will read a piece of literature and learn to use textual evidence to answer a question. This is forming a foundation of argument writing and literary analysis, and the practice of this genre of writing prepares students for the most difficult writing they will do in secondary English classes. I break this down for students so they understand the difference between an argument, evidence, and analysis, but in age-appropriate terms.

Week of Mar 12: The Blog. Based on a real-life travel experience or on a virtual field trip, students become travel bloggers, detailed, casual, and with great personalities. We explore the genre of the blog and how different it is from formal pieces of writing. Students learn to write to a specific audience and how to modify their writing stylistically so that their blog is informal and interesting to read. This opinion writing teaches students to use specific details in their writing as well. I always travel to Bermuda, my favorite place on the planet, in my mind and in my model blog, and students can go anywhere they want virtually!

Week of Mar 19: Elaboration Techniques in an Expository Paragraph. Have your kiddos ever said, “I don’t know what to write?” They stare at a blank page or a blinking cursor on the computer as their mind draws a blank. They need to be taught how to elaborate, or write more, much more. Students will use information and data to write a well-developed, fully elaborated main idea paragraph. They will learn how to ask themselves elaboration questions to guide their thinking and writing so that they have rich, specific details, descriptions, and reasoning in their paragraphs.

Week of Mar 26: Create it, Write it, & Sell it! Learners become inventors and advertising executives as they develop their own products and then write ad copy to sell it. While doing so, students will learn elements of persuasive writing and create an advertisement with convincing techniques. Will they create a magical mini-dinosaur that does their homework? Or will they create flying shoes that will take them through the air to a friend’s house? Their imaginations can run wild!

Week of Apr 2: The Imitation Poem. Have you ever placed a piece of tracing paper over a picture to learn how to draw something? This is sort of what we’re doing in these two classes. Students will study classic poems while learning about poetic devices (metaphor, personification, & rhyme). Then we place that tracing paper, or rather, we imitate the poems but use new ideas. This helps students look deeply and analytically at a poem while trying their pen at using the same poetic devices and techniques.

Week of Apr 9: The Imitation Poem, Again. More practice for a hard skill. You do not have to have attended the week prior.

Week of Apr 16: The Argumentative Piece. It’s time to stake your claim! This is the beginning of argument writing. After brainstorming two sides to an issue, students stake their own claim and then support it. Elaborating by asking three important questions help learners generate ideas. Additionally, they learn how to consider the alternate side of an issue and then how to refute that argument.

Week of Apr 23: The Literary Analysis Piece. We will use short sketches, which students love, to learn literary terms, then we will write an analytical paragraph as a class. They will practice doing it themselves for homework.

Week of Apr 30: The Literary Analysis Piece. Is it a reading class or a writing class? It’s both! Learners will read a piece of literature, learn a couple of literary terms, then write an analytical paragraph as a class. They will practice doing it themselves for homework.

Week of May 7: The Elevator Summary. After learning the important plot points in a narrative such as exposition, inciting incident, rising action, etc., students will learn how to succinctly write a summary of a narrative without rambling, giving away too many details, and missing the main idea. I call this the elevator summary because it has to be short enough that you could say it in the time it takes to ride the elevator up one floor! This is a literature and writing combo class.

Week of May 14: The Elevator Summary, Again.

**IF YOU WERE IN CLASS DURING THE SCHOOL YEAR, THE CLASSES NOW START OVER** You can keep going here, or you are now ready for one of these two classes:

Middle School English Language Arts: The Essentials (full ELA semester)

Foundations of Essay Writing (live writing course)

Essay Essentials (self-paced writing course)


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