Difference Between Writing Curriculum & Writing PromptsPosted In Writing | Posted By Kristy Robins
Homeschool teachers may wonder, “What is the difference between homeschool writing curriculum and writing prompts?” While the two are related, there is a difference. Writing curriculum is a broad term that applies to a set of materials used to teach a writing course in a traditional school or a homeschool. A writing prompt refers to a type of teaching and evaluation tool within the writing curriculum.
What is a Writing Curriculum?
The term “curriculum” is used to describe the academic content and learning activities of a particular course. Within a homeschool writing curriculum, one would expect to find:
- * learning objectives that state what students should know about writing (academic vocabulary, grammar rules, writing genres, components of a paragraph, etc.) and/or be able to do at the end of the course (usually involves applying knowledge to produce some type of writing product)
- * plans for lessons and class activities used in sequence to teach and reinforce student learning (reading, lectures, note taking, videos, discussions, learning games, group work, etc.)
- * assignments that allow students to apply and practice what they’ve learned (worksheets, journaling, graphic organizers, free writing, written responses to practice writing prompts, etc.)
- * assessments that evaluate student learning (quizzes, tests, projects, written responses to writing prompts, presentations, etc.)
Writing Curriculum Pros
- * provides a logically sequenced learning pathway for teacher and student
- * includes both learning activities and assessments that are aligned with learning goals
- * is aligned to a student’s grade level or ability level
- * can be modified or used with accommodations for students with learning challenges
- * allows for flexibility in pacing and teacher selection of activities
- * saves time and energy for the homeschool teacher
- * makes it possible to collaborate with other homeschool families who use the same curriculum
What is a Writing Prompt?
Writing prompts are an important tool within a writing curriculum. A writing prompt is a question or statement that provides a starting point and directions for a piece of writing. During a unit of study, writing prompts are used to practice writing skills. As the unit comes to a close, a writing prompt can also be used as an evaluation tool to measure student progress. Writing prompts have important uses outside of a writing curriculum.
They are commonly used in courses other than writing to enable students to demonstrate their learning of many different types of content, including science, social studies, literature, and even math. In addition, many standardized achievement tests and college entrance exams include writing prompts to evaluate students’ understanding of content and students’ writing abilities.
Here are a couple of examples of writing prompts:
- * “Some people in life come and go. Think about a person in your life who has had an impact on the person you are today. Write a five paragraph expository essay, with an introduction, three body paragraphs, and a conclusion, to people your age explaining how this person has impacted you in a positive way. Develop your ideas with specific details and examples.”
- * “Write an essay explaining the chain of events that led to World War I. Your multi-paragraph essay should be between 500-750 words.”
Writing Prompt Pros
- * gives students a starting point for a piece of writing
- * helps students generate writing ideas with ease
- * provides clear directions
- * makes it possible to measure student learning of specific writing skills and content objectives during a unit so that the teacher can make adjustments/reteach as necessary
- * allows the teacher to understand the student’s thought process to a much greater extent than multiple choice or short answer questions
- * can be used as an evaluation tool at the end of a learning unit
For a complete homeschool writing curriculum, consider giving Essentials in Writing a try! With EIW, you’ll get the complete package: engaging video lessons, student-friendly text examples and explanations, practice activities, and of course, expertly-designed writing prompts with accompanying rubrics and checklists. Offering curricula for grades 1-12, EIW makes at-home writing instruction a breeze for parents and a pleasure for students. Check out our level wizard to find the curriculum that best fits your child’s needs.