I am excited to share that I’ve been working with the Institute for Excellence in Writing to put together a Canadian History-Based Writing Lessons book. Using the approach taught by the Teaching Structure and Style workshop by Andrew Pudewa, this book gives your child the chance to practice their writing skills while using Canadian history as their subject.
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Before I share more about the book, I would like to explain 2 important things.
#1. This is not a Canadian history program.
This book was not designed to be a primary text for learning about Canadian history. It’s a writing program. A writing program that uses Canadian history as its source texts. It is a great add-on to your history studies, or a review of what you’ve learned already, though and even offers some suggestions for Canadian history living books that you can read alongside the writing.
#2. This book assumes you are familiar with the Structure and Style approach that IEW uses.
Mr. Pudewa has a seminar that he holds to show parents how to teach their children writing. It is available either in person or through a 12 disc video series called Teaching Writing: Structure and Style that you can buy from IEW.com. If you haven’t taken the seminar, I believe that you can still do the book, however, you will need to make sure you carefully read the teacher’s guides and student lessons more closely. You probably will find it more challenging and a bit confusing as the book uses some of the language and jargon specific to the training.
About Canadian History-Based Writing Lessons
This book is designed for students in Grade 6-8, as it’s a level B program. Its goal is to practice learning how to write well, following a set of guidelines and checklists of things to include in quality writing. It also helps students develop skills like summarizing, using strong verbs, learning how to combine information from multiple resources, etc.
There are 9 units divided into 30 weeks of lessons. Starting with learning to make key word outlines from a source text about the First Nations peoples through to writing a formal critique of Anne of Green Gables – this program touches base on some of the key moments in Canadian history, along with some Canadians who have made a difference.
The Student book has all the information a student will need: a daily work plan, instructions on what they are learning, source texts and examples, practice activities, and a checklist to follow to make sure the work is done properly. This workbook will be written in so each child should probably have their own copy in order to do this successfully.
The Teacher’s Manual gives you as a teacher more information for each lesson. It essentially shrinks a student page smaller and then adds additional text around the edges in greyed out boxes so you can understand what your child is learning. These include suggestions for activities, what parts of the Teaching Structure and Style seminar that lesson is from, tips for helping students through their work, and more.
Both books offer rich appendices, including information about the MLA format, a polished draft checklist, examples of finished student work for each unit, a list and short description of the 7 recommended additional fiction books, a literature response sheet, as well as vocabulary resources – like lists and quizzes, (plus printed cards you can take out and use for review).
What did I have to do with this program?
I was the Canadian voice. We worked together to create a timeline of some key Canadian historical moments and the people we felt should be included. I also wrote most of the source texts included in the book. This has been a very exciting project to see unfold and I’m thrilled that my name is on the front cover as co-author. This program is a terrific one and I’m happy to have been a part of it.
Where can you get a copy?
This book is not available through the IEW website, but instead, is being distributed through Canadian companies like Classical Education Books.