Program Approach for Writing & Grammar
BJU Press middle- and high-school writing and grammar product line systematically reviews and applies English grammar conventions to the real world. The practice of writing—using grammar to craft clear and effective communication—is essential for helping students to understand, analyze, and craft an argument. Students also need to develop effective research and study skills that will enable them to manage large assignments and to find relevant and useful information. We have given teachers the tools to help their students craft effective written and oral communication that engages with and contributes to culture. To accomplish our vision for students, we have laid out a series of goals for our program, activities, and teaching strategies.
Mastery of English Grammar & Mechanics
Standard English conventions in grammar form the basis for clear and effective communication. However, learning grammar rules in isolation only helps students to memorize rules rather than applying or understanding why those rules matter. To encourage students to master English conventions, BJU Press middle- and high-school writing and grammar courses teach grammar at the point of application as well as in independent practice and review. As the students progress through each grade level, they will
To reach these goals, grammar chapters in Writing & Grammar 7, 8, and 9 include several Practice, Use, and Review the Skill pages in the lessons. Teachers can use these pages for in-class or independent practice, or they can use them on review days. Grammar workshop pages in middle school courses give students a chance to see how grammatical concepts and rules affect writing. Additionally, each BJU Press teacher edition includes suggestions for teacher modeling so that teachers can show students how to work through activities. Handbooks, available in the back of the Writing & Grammar 7 and 8 student worktexts, review common errors and problems the students will need to review.
Connecting Mentor Texts to Grammar Instruction and Writing Activities
Mentor texts give students a starting point for analyzing the grammatical structures of sentences. In each BJU Press student edition, students will find mentor texts and writing activities that promote understanding not only of the function and value of grammar but also how to structure written pieces. Student activities afford students the opportunity to analyze each mentor text to learn from it. Teachers can use these texts to prompt analysis of how sentence structure and word choice influence communication, and how the writers of the mentor texts might have changed what they meant or said by using the language differently. From these mentor text activities, teachers can direct students to analyze how they use standard grammar conventions in their own writing and communication. Students will also learn writing strategies, how to diversify word choice, persuasive techniques, and more.
Using the Writing Process in Real-World Contexts
BJU Press Writing & Grammar programs lead students through the five stages of the writing process:
These stages effectively walk students through the process of creating written works of varying lengths and genres. Every writing project follows the writing process, giving students instructions and important questions to ask at each point. Writing projects are age- and grade-appropriate and relevant to the students’ lives and interests. For example, the capstone project for Writing & Grammar 8 is a multigenre project. Students may choose their topic and the types of writing they will do, in collaboration with a group of other students. The students choose a significant person to write about, craft a timeline and biographical essay, create four original genre pieces (informative, narrative, argumentative/persuasive essays or poetry) based on significant events in the timeline, prepare a works-cited page, and conclude with a personal reflection on what they learned or experienced from the project.
Drafting Writing That Is Truthful, Virtuous, Logical, and Empathetic
By teaching students how to be good writers, teachers are also encouraging them to be good communicators. Good writing is clear, accurate, and considerate of its audience. As a building block for clear writing, grammar conventions give students a foundation for writing without confusing errors. Students can use grammar tools to improve their communication. Research and study skills support young writers in developing truthful and virtuous writing by teaching them to find, understand, restate, and properly cite information sources to build or defend an argument. These skills give authenticity and merit to their writing. Ultimately, most writing is designed for the benefit of the reader, not the writer. To that end, we equip teachers to help their students better understand the needs of their audience. Throughout each course writing instructions, teaching notes, and writing checklists will regularly remind students to consider their audience and the appropriateness of their word choice and usage.
Mastery of Study, Reference, and Research Skills
In addition to mastering grammar conventions, students need to know where to look for useful information, how to categorize and organize it, and they need to understand it well enough that they can reuse it in their own words. Study skills enable students to understand how they learn and process information so that they are better equipped to use that information later . Student researchers need to be able to process and categorize the information they encounter. In addition to learning effective research skills, students will also need to master effective study skills. The BJU Press Writing & Grammar program teaches study and research skills regularly in each course, including how to recognize credible sources and how to ask good questions that lead to a better understanding. The handbooks in Writing & Grammar 7 and 8 and the Study Hacks feature in Writing & Grammar 9 offer detailed reviews of relevant study skills, such as how to schedule study time, suggestions for memory work, and strategies to improve reading comprehension.
Improvement in Collaboration, Listening, Speaking, and Viewing
Teaching strategies throughout the program direct teachers to lead in a variety of collaborative projects and assignments. Many projects include oral presentations that require both speaking and listening as students present and peers evaluate presentations. Teachers can lead visual analyses of infographics and full-page visuals that inform students about the topics for that chapter. Projects that include oral presentations also help students learn how to develop and give PowerPoint presentations on a topic of interest to them. As they engage in writing projects and practice their research skills, students will expand their digital and media literacy. Writing projects and presentations often require students to work with word processors or presentation software to develop an effective presentation. In these presentations, they will improve collaborative skills in group projects and through peer reviews of their writing.