The writing program I am using for Monster is worth its weight in gold. We used it briefly last year but I'm really diving into it this year and I'm quite pleased. Here is Monster's first writing assignment for this term and I'm pretty pleased.
Basically, the idea of the program is that you break down the process of writing and teach them certain elements, all the while giving them the topics to write about so they don't have to worry about being creative, and instead can work on the writing itself.
We have started with non-fiction. You pick a paragraph of 5-7 sentences on any topic of interest. I was thrilled to find this paragraph about jigsaw puzzles as Monster LOVES putting them together.
Monster works his way through the paragraph, one sentence at a time, picking three key words from each sentence and writing them in outline form.
Then we put away the original paragraph and Monster rewrites it in his own words, using the key words he jotted down on his outline. Then, together, we went through what he wrote, sentence by sentence and added a "dress-up", in this case -ly words, or adverbs. I had a HUGE list for him to reference and as he picked what he wanted I wrote the adverbs into the correct place for him (the light blue pen you see above). We also worked together to make some grammatical corrections and we underlined the verbs to help us pick good adverbs.
Finally, Monster took his rough draft, complete with revisions and corrections, to my computer and printed it into final copy form. He and I are both pleased with his work this week. As this process gets easier for him, he will add more dress-ups, and do more of the work independently. I will also begin to incorporate topics from his other areas of study, so expect to see history, geography and science topics incorporated into his weekly writing assignments.