Pinecone Writing Program
The Pinecone Writing Program presents the basic elements and strategies of writing in a step-by-step sequential manner. Like the Pinecone Math and Reading Programs, the material is presented in manageable pieces, with lots of practice for the student to fully understand each concept. For example, basic sentence structure (subject/predicate) is covered first. For students already in the Pinecone Reading Program, this will be a handy review of their work in Grammar. (The Grammar portion of the Reading Program will also be an integral part of the Writing Program.) Later, Choosing a Topic is preceded by first learning how to identify topics in various paragraphs. Students also learn to identify statements that do not fit in a paragraph.
To help students brainstorm for ideas, they are first given practice in categorizing topics. Tools are introduced here such as the Story Web and Prompter Card to help students with the prewriting phase. Next, in the writing phase, students are introduced to several elements to help them expand their ideas. In addition to topic, the concepts of sequence, characters, feelings, settings, problems, and conclusions are systematically presented and practiced. During this rough draft stage, students are not expected to focus on spelling and grammar, but rather to focus on getting ideas and details down on paper.
The refinement stage teaches students how to organize a paragraph, how to use details and how to avoid over-used words. They are asked to think about the five senses in their writing. More tools are presented including the Five W’s of who, what, where, when, and why. They are given lots of examples of boring versus interesting sentences and paragraphs. The Synonyms Chart can be helpful here. Also, the Content Checklist will provide a review of concepts learned and serve as a guide for checking what has been written at this point.
It is the editing phase in which students will likely use their Grammar skills most. The Editing Checklist is a handy guide to help them fine-tune their grammar, spelling and paragraphs. This is the phase also in which students are taught about choosing a title, writing a concluding sentence, and creating a page about the author. Different formats are also briefly introduced here: friendly and formal letters and writing ads.
The goal of the Pinecone Writing Program is to provide students with the skills, motivation and confidence to write for enjoyment or for a specific purpose and to produce a final product that is clear, focused, and interesting.