EARLY WRITING PROGRAMME
A RESEARCH-BASED, LEADING WRITING PROGRAMME (YEAR 1 – YEAR 5)
MindChamps Writing is a proven programme that complements and enhances the English Australia National Curriculum. Designed to work hand-in-hand with what the child is learning at school, the MindChamps Writing programme focuses on the understanding and creative aspects of writing, rather than attempting to force a mechanical approach, before the child has internalised the all-important desire to write.
The MindChamps Writing programme approach breaks down the barriers to writing, by providing every child with unique stimulus and development tools, based on actual professional writing processes, and by reminding children that writing is fun.
Research shows that writing plays a critical role in a child’s success in school and beyond. Yet, like the majority of adults, most children have never been taught the true Craft of Writing. Surveys worldwide reveal that the majority of adults – even those with degrees – do not enjoy writing. Therefore, they do not make good, competent writers. The old-fashioned ‘drill and kill’ strategies we all grew up with alienate many children from the joy of writing, making it a stressful and boring chore.
The programme is designed by Brian Caswell, multi-award-winning author of over 300 books for readers of all ages from preschool to adulthood. Brian is internationally renowned, not only for the quality of his writing but also for his long-proven expertise in combining the twin arts of writing and teaching. For 40 years, he has shared his passion for and vast knowledge of writing with tens of thousands of people.
MindChamps Writing Programme Overview
The MindChamps Writing programme is specially catered and designed for Year 1 to 5 children. Children who are introduced and exposed to the MindChamps Writing Toolbox will be able to increase their writing capabilities by focusing on the following::
- Develop the passion and self-confidence for writing, with focus on authorial writing
- Acquire proof-reading and editing skills through regular exposure and refinement
- Improve their writing standard across a mixture of genres, whilst developing higher order thinking and analytical thinking
- Through our unique Enhancement tools, students will learn 5 core skills including ‘Writing to Show, not to Tell’, ‘Emotive Writing and Developing Empathy’, and ‘The Use of Feeling Words’
- Actively understand what style of writing is appropriate for specific writing tasks
- Fully engage in the creative process to inculcate a love for language
What to do Next:
Before your child commences in the MindChamps Writing Program, we will conduct a complimentary Literacy Assessment to ensure that they are entering the Program at the right level. This free Literacy Assessment will assess your child thoroughly and show you and your child what can be done for immediate improvement. The assessment is done in a conducive environment – just like all our classes. Just come by with your child and we’ll take care of the rest.
Term Dates & Schedule for 2019
Term 2: 29th April to 6th July
Term 3: 22ndJuly to 6th September
Term 4: 14th October to 21st December
Learn the craft of writing early and succeed in Life!
The MindChamps Writing Toolbox consists of 6 compartments that unite to become the 21 tools to help your child unravel and master the mysteries of writing. These strategies distilled from a lifetime of experience have been crafted by master writer, educator and educational researcher, Brian Caswell.
Children who attend the MindChamps Writing programme will be equipped with a comprehensive set of writing tools to excel throughout their school years.
The MindChamps Writing Toolbox
The most basic of writing skills are composition skills – the ability to put words into order so they make sense. The 6 syntax construction tools are designed to help children master those skills.
- Constructing Sentences
- Verbs and Agreement
The Language Enhancement Tools enable children to take their written communication to another level by carefully scaffolding on previously mastered concepts.
- The Art of Effective Description – Adding detail
Observation and description games during the lesson will free up the imagination and encourage the use of ‘generative’ questions to create detail when describing objects and actions.
- Emotive Writing – Developing Empathy
The focus on the characters’ feelings draws out empathy and social awareness, building EQ or social/emotional awareness. For a young child, imagining something can be as real as experiencing it. So, lessons learned in the fantasy world of fiction carry through to their real life – and this is particularly true of the fiction they create themselves.
- The Use of ‘Feeling’ Words
Children will learn to write and develop how a character feels in a given situation. The aim is to use feelings and give life to the characters.
- Writing to Show, Not to Tell
This follows naturally from the previous tools, because while telling lets us know what is there, we feel distant from it. On the other hand, showing makes us feel a part of it. Children will learn to write descriptions in different ways during the draft process.
- Figurative Language
Regular exposure to figurative language in fun situations gradually informs the child’s written expression. Through games and activities, children are introduced to similes, common metaphors, idioms and proverbs as models for creating figurative language in their own writing.
Each piece of writing has a goal. The Planning and Structuring Tools in the programme have been distilled from decades of writing at the top level. Children will make meaningful context and relate it to high-interest stimulus situations when writing.
- Genre Writing
Genre Writing allows children to understand the different writing genres and the ability to identify the elements necessary to write in different forms . Children will experience the following genres – Narrative, Poetry, Instructional/Informational, Descriptive and Opinion.
- Organisation & Story Structuring
Organised ideas and structured information is crucial in story writing. Part of the process includes brainstorming ideas, asking the right questions and organising them in the most effective form. It is through games, activities and group-writing exercises that children learn to structure these events. This is one of the key elements in story structuring.
Children will develop the ability to create imaginary characters by adopting the perspective of an imaginary character. They will also be able to build on the character to do the same as real people do, and therefore develop empathy and social skills.
The strategies for creating good characters are an important part of the programme, Children are taught how to create interesting and engaging characters in their stories through the technique of asking the right ‘what if..?’ and ‘who..?’ questions and adopting the perspective of an imaginary character.
- Difference in Perspective
Children will be taught specifically on how to write from the perspective of another person, or perhaps of an animal, an inanimate object, and subsequenty choose first or third person perspective (P2 and above)
Learning to write dialogue forces children to speak with voices other than their own, and this is great training for understanding the views – and needs – of others. They are taught the use of ‘speech marks’, the layout of speech in writing, language of speech, and how it differs from prose.
The Polishing Tools allow students to follow structure and edit their work to make their ideas come to life. They can tell the story, yet not change the meaning of it.
- Drafting and Editing
Drafting is the process of putting down our ideas, then gradually shaping them so that they communicate our intention.
Proof-reading eliminates mistakes in grammar, spelling, punctuation and expression, so that the child’s ideas shine through without distraction.
In all areas of writing, from the generation of ideas to the planning and execution and the choice of language, the higher order thinking skills are intimately involved. These skills allow children to develop the quality of expression.
- Critical Thinking
As a child chooses what to include and what to leave out, when he/she questions a character’s motivations, or the wisdom of their decisions, they are is indulging in critical thinking. Higher order thinking skills are not taught – they are absorbed from our experiences. Writing gives us the opportunity to gain such experiences – in our imagination.
- Analytical Thinking
Children will be taught to plan, research and execute a piece of writing though various processes of analysis thinking. Some of these included: self-reflection, peer feedback and rewriting from different perspectives.