Saturday, June 1, 2013

Welcome to Harmony Pen!

Welcome to my blog, Harmony Pen!

My name is Valerie Harmon, and I teach writing classes in Utah County. I started this blog as a way to collect the best writing from my students and to make my writing class information more accessible.

First, you must know that I believe the Institute for Excellence in Writing has created the best essay writing curriculum I've ever seen! I wish I had learned the pattern as a Freshman in college--then it wouldn't have taken me a year and a half to figure out an "A" essay pattern on my own. And yet the pattern is so clear, I can teach it to an 8 year old. I am a HUGE fan of IEW and that is what I use in my essay writing classes.

Second, which IEW books (out of the many) do I recommend? I recommend All Things Fun and Fascinating for an Introductory Writing class and U.S. History Volume 1 Student Manual for an Intermediate Writing class.

I've taught the Medieval-themed text and really enjoyed it. It's a good follow up book to ATFF but easier than the more intermediate US History text.  I did not enjoy and cannot recommend the Bible Writing-themed text (the IEW pattern encourages re-writing and "dressing up" a text, and I did NOT feel comfortable re-writing the Bible).

Third, if you want to use the IEW curriculum, I highly encourage you to watch Andrew Pudewa's parent training dvds (you can buy the set or rent it from Love To Learn) or come to one of my parent trainings ($20 for a four hour session). Although the pattern is clear and fabulous, there's a learning curve to know how to teach it, and you'll be far more successful if you take some training. Don't skip the training!

Fourth, if you order All Things Fun and Fascinating, or U.S. History from Love to Learn, use the code "Valerie" and you'll get FREE SHIPPING (I don't earn any money off the sale, I'm just letting you know of a good deal)!

Fifth, I have taught novel writing from IEW before, and I found the text How To Write A Story
useful as a teaching supplement but not as a student text. Instead, my formula was a short 10 minute lecture on an aspect from How To Write A Story, and then Writing Races (write for 15 minutes, count up the words, the winner gets a sweet). My students also set writing goals for the week that they get a sweet if they accomplish. The most important thing I teach my students is to Finish The Story. Each of my students has novel ideas that are publishable. The biggest difference between them and a published author is a finished story. I'm not saying it has to be polished yet. But it has to be written all the way to the end (and then edited), and yet that is the biggest obstacle for a novelist.

I wasn't going to teach Novel Writing this coming year, but my 12 year old son wants to finish his novel, and he's so encouraged by a writing group that I just changed my mind.

Best writing wishes to you and enjoy my blog!
~Valerie Harmon

No comments:

Post a Comment