Tutorial B (Friday), Week 1

Week 1

We had a brisk and busy first day! Your boys are bright and fun and seemed to get along well. Here’s a list of “assignments” for the week, though it’s up to you to decide what and how much you’d like your son to do.

  1. Choose a nom de plume for blog publishing (see Riverside boys’ blog for examples and ideas)
  2. Complete Revolutionary War soldier writing assignment in folder (details below).
  3. Complete the grammar exercises in folder.
  4. Complete one field journal entry (details below).
  5. Encourage your son to write something for the blog (okay if he needs to dictate it to you) and e-mail it to me (explanation below).
  6. Work on memorizing the following (they have a memorization progress chart in their folders on which you can date/initial to pass things off, or I will during class each week):
  • Name the 8 parts of speech (see if your son can do the chant we learned in class)
  • NOUN definition
  • Psalm 100 (first 3 verses)
  • Ooey Gooey
  • Jabberwocky (first 3 stanzas)
  • Definitions of acute (sharp), countenance (facial expression), languor (weakness), and manifest (obvious)

We will do a review game each week in which any of the grammar or vocabulary terms I’ve introduced will be fair game.

If they need a break from writing and memorizing, encourage them to draw their version of that burbling and manxome foe, the Jabberwocky, to share with all of us next week!

Field Journals:

We made some observations together outside, then each boy chose a particular area (or very specific item) of the yard to focus on. The front half of the composition notebook is their field journal, with a template on the back of the first page to give them focus to their outdoor observations. We will do this each week in class, but feel free to have your boys complete an additional page or two during the week. This can be as simple as having them record observations about a houseplant or pet! Sketches can be done right in the notebook (or on unlined paper and pasted in).

Writing Assignment:

We will spend the first six weeks writing short pieces in a variety of styles and voices. This week’s assignment is to write a few diary entries as a Revolutionary War soldier under Washington at the Battle of Trenton, based on the text, “Capturing the Hessians” (there is an alternate text about the “Green Mountain Boys” listed on the sheet I sent home in their folders if they would prefer). The link to the source text and explanation of assignment is also in the folder, and the boys copied down our brainstorms of vocabulary and quality adjectives into their notebooks. We did a key-word outline for a few of the paragraphs of the Hessian story, so doing the same for the remaining paragraphs together with your son will give him a bank of key words and ideas to work with for each of his entries (there is a great explanation of how to do this here). To familiarize the boys with the microphone and software we will be using to record the radio show, I plan to compile these diary entries and have the boys record them into a voiceover with pictures from the battle next week. I will try to keep these weekly assignments simple, with specific instructions. They can be handwritten into the composition notebook or typed. Feedback from parents about the do-ability of these assignments is appreciated!


The blog is a venue for the boys to write about their passions and interests, without specific instructions for content or style. Discuss with your boy a “role” he would like to take on for the blog. Examples would be:

  • information reporter (writing a simple expository paragraphs about a topic he is excited about–i.e. medieval battles, survival skills, Greek mythology, machines, armed forces, etc.),
  • serial storyteller (a longer fictional story, broken up into shorter installments)
  • book reviewer (he can submit a short book report on each book he reads),
  • sports reporter (can report on a national or local game),
  • personal profiler (articles can be based on interviews conducted in real life or with a historical figure or mythological hero encountered in a book),
  • science, nature or technology reporter (animal profiles, computer/programming explanations, etc.),
  • lifestyle reporter (could include a local restaurant review, a recipe with instructions, or a travel/destination recommendation),
  • poet

Discuss with your son a goal for how frequently he’d like to post on the blog. Submit to me via e-mail anything he’d like to post, and I will either post it as is or give feedback to him via e-mail or at the next week’s class. See Riverside’s blog, By the Riverfor ideas of what I hope for this to be.

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