Journal Entry – Thursday 29Oct09

Today was all about working on his fish picture essay (from the Spectrum workbook), and finishing up the Great America essay. In working on fish essay, Jack used some of the vocabulary from Image Grammar: “Mum, should I zoom in on that idea and talk about it some more?”. He was talking about adding some red (explain, example) to the one yellow sentence that had nothing else with it, but I found it interesting that even with the bit of eye-rolling he did with starting Image Grammar, he’s starting to incorporate it into his mental tools for writing. I also told him that his turning the focus of the essay on coral reefs was interesting, and made it more compelling. We worked on adding some more explanations to his other key concept ideas, and even put in a participial phrase for a shark sentence, which Jack thought didn’t go with the factual nature of his paragraph (he had said previously, “This is turning into a real fact-filled piece”), so I might have to get out some non-fiction lessons from Fletcher and another book I have (Image Grammar does have some non-fiction examples) to show that these brushstrokes work for both fiction and non-fiction. Jack can be a little slow about coming up with red sentences, he will use my comments instead, so I need to not do that! Actually, slow isn’t accurate, it is more that he is so deliberate and careful in coming up with sentences, as if he’s thinking and judging at the same time, and is discarding most of what he thinks without even saying it out loud.

After working on the fish picture essay, we tried to work on the Great America essay, but discovered Jack hadn’t typed in the revisions from our last sessions (there were a lot), so he went and did that instead.He also did a page or two in Megawords.

On our walk (it was just him, me and Luke, since Chance had to walk to Latin), I asked him about wrting the D&D story, was it just an adventure for a game or a full story? He said that it was an in between story, at which I commented that he could still use some of the strategies from the Image Grammar book.
“Oh, I can’t use the strategies”.
“Why not, we’ve been using them and you have been using them just fine”
“Yeah, but I don’t write that well”, which I think means that the brushstrokes are too out of place with the rest of his writing? He continued:

“It is like that Chance can write a crap sentence, and then look at it later and decide he needs to change it or improve it, but I just cannot do that. It needs to be good before I put it down on paper, I don’t know why”. I didn’t push him on that at all, just commented that learning to write well takes time and practice.I actually talked to John later on, and he totally agreed with that feeling, and he does the same thing.

Jack also did some Megawords and Sentence Composing
He also read some of Mr. Bowditch and asked to start a great book, so we found Summerland for him, which is by Michael Chabon (we had to take Don Quixote back to the library, will get it back out, especially since Jack asked for it without prompting from me. He and Chance also worked on their post-lab report for Biology (made the graph, basically) and started on the pre-lab for next week (he and I will need to do some biology work this upcoming week).
Finally, we started the Botany of Desire documentary on PBS that was extremely interesting and educational, I’ll have to see if Jack wants to read the book!

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