Masterpiece Ink

Where Good Writers Become Great Writers


What Matters?

The Holiday Season / 2023-24: A text I enjoy sharing with older students is “On Self-Respect,” a 1961 essay by Joan Didion. This essay faces off with some of the deepest but rarely articulated concerns of young people, i.e., Who am I really? and How do I bring my best self into the world? Didion …

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Storytelling is a Writing Skill!

December, 2023: Families: Practice sharing stories around the dinner table or in the car. Ask: What happened today? Limit everyone to 4-5 sentences. When you tell a good story efficiently, you are exercising your writing muscles and learning something new about the presenter! Sentence 1 (The Setting): Where and when did the story take place?Sentence …

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A Word About Vocabulary

November, 2023: The educator/writer Peter Johnston devotes his book, Choice Words,  to a discussion of the connection between language and learning.  As students develop an increasingly expansive vocabulary, their ability to become more sophisticated in their actual thinking grows commensurately. Parents: At home or on the road with the family, take note of interesting words …

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A Writer’s Super-Power: If you can support your opinion, you’re right!

September, 2023: Recently, a student wrote an essay about Cleopatra of Egypt, noting  many of the accomplishments of the great queen: Cleopatra could speak at least seven languages including Greek, Egyptian and Latin.  She reformed the monetary system and traded with Eastern nations which vastly increased Egypt’s wealth.  She allied Egypt with Rome, preventing Egypt …

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