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Andrew Holyfield

Hi everyone! My name is Andrew. I graduated Summa Cum Laude at UC Riverside in 2016, with a B.A. in Creative Writing. While there, I completed the Honors Program, published a thesis, was an editor for both the campus Research Journal and Honors Program literary journal, joined the Writing Program as a Teaching Assistant, and completed three MFA courses, all with a 4.0 GPA.

Tutoring started for me in the campus Writing Program, in which I tutored eighteen students per week. Around that same time, my younger brother, diagnosed with Aspergers,  started college. I tutored him during his four-year journey to receive his Paraprofessional Certificate.

Nerdy as it sounds, I love Grammar and read often (in-between Netflix binges). Until my time at UC Riverside, I abhorred reading and preferred the trusty summaries from Spark Notes. I know English and writing can be both challenging and boring, but perhaps all a struggling student needs a little help and positive reinforcement. If that sounds like you or your kid, I'd love to help.

I’m a published songwriter with 20+ years experience in the music industry.

Grammar & Writing

Homework:  Yes!  Homework is REQUIRED in this class.   Writers need to write to become better writers!

Ages:  9-11

Objective:  To have a fundamental understanding of grammar and paragraph structure.  There is no literature component to this class - this is a purely writing class!

Prereqs:  Students do not need to be able to complex sentences, but they should be writing simple sentences prior to this class.  Students need to be able to type to complete the homework and do the necessary revisions. 

Homework:  YES - please be ready to complete 5 sentences for homework in the fall, moving to completing 5 paragraphs in the spring!  Depending on the student, this can start out fairly easy for over the length of the year, homework will likely take at least an hour each week.

Fall:

In the fall, this class will review and practice fundamentals of grammar (parts of speech) & syntax (sentence structure) as they pertain to academic writing. The core of the unit will be focused on the following four areas of writing basics.  To achieve mastery in these areas, we will be reviewing or learning these fundamentals, and then practicing them by creating our own sentences using our new grammar rules, sharing our creations and helping to make our sentences even better through group collaboration!

- Comprehension - making sure that we understand how sentences can be put together to give the reader more meaning.  We're moving away from "The house is white." to "The house was aging and falling apart, with black shutters outlining empty windows, and a large white door inviting us to come closer."

- Retention - Do we remember our grammar rules from week to week?

- Identification - Can we identify not only the parts of speech, but what each part of a sentence is doing for us?

- Implementation of writing basics - Can we not only identify parts of a great sentence, but create them on our own?

Great sentences are the foundation for great writing!  We'll make sure that we're leaning into fabulous sentences that will soon become part of a fabulous paragraph and essay!

Winter:

In winter, students will focus on the tenets of writing paragraphs. This unit will focus on sentence variety, quality of sentences, focus, & clarity. Students should be able to clearly express concise ideas within a given time limit in 5-10 sentences.   Paragraphs have a structure!  We'll learn to have a topic sentence that guides and controls the creation of our paragraph.  We'll practice editing out sentences that don't pertain to our topic sentence, or alternatively, changing and broadening our topic sentence so that the paragraph makes sense!  Before the end of winter, we'll be writing concluding sentences so that our paragraphs strongly communicate what we're trying to say.

Spring:

In spring, students will utilize the previous two units and begin expanding ideas into multi-paragraph essays, learning to use transitions . Essays should be using paragraphs so that each works to build and support an argument (thesis).  We'll work on different types of essays from Narratives to Compare and Contrast, using time in class to share out work and receive feedback on how to make improvements.

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