So, this is an important discussion. I really did think the 5-paragraph essay had been torched and buried long ago. However, during my last writing unit I found that’s exactly what I was teaching. This is what happens when you feel compelled to follow a script, even when you know better! So, how not to do this or how to teach this as one of many ways to write an essay? That will be part of the classroom research I am planning to do this semester as I plunge into our next unit on argument writing with research. By teaching the 5-paragraph essay as one way, though not the best way, to write essays I can cover myself AND still teach my students well. I will be writing alongside my students, which will be an eye-opener. I am hopefully going to stay one step ahead…I am planning to blog about it starting this week, so if you’d like to start a conversation with me come over to my blog at . This comment may well be my first post about this topic. Thanks, Brian for getting the conversation started.
This program is very systematic in its teaching. It was like having a step-by-step to do list. Where all other programs failed because they were too conceptual, this program worked because of the easy step-by-step process. My son is in high school now and his writing is acceptable. He’s not a natural writer, so I don’t think it will ever be exceptional, but it is good now. Even though Pattern Based Writing is intended for younger children, it is great for a remedial program at the middle school level. I just moved faster at the earliest stages. What I found was that the simple explanation of things makes this program wonderful for a child who is struggling with writing. You get the “Oh, that’s all you wanted” light bulb going off.