I speak at middle schools about creative writing. That means I know a few sixth graders and recently I learned not all writing programs are created equal. Why was I surprised?
One of my sixth grade friends asked for help with a paper. The writing was pretty good, but there was a problem. The thoughts were not cohesive. My friend was more concerned with making sure his paragraphs started with First, then, then, etc and a rhetorical question following the first sentence than he was worried about anything else. His teacher would take points off if he didn't follow the rules.
What? Who's teaching this stuff? These kids aren't learning how to string a thought together if they're worried about where the rhetorical goes over making a point clearly. Ideas have to flow like a river running down hill.
What do we do? First, you can have me come in and talk to your students. (I started my sentence with "first!" Maybe my sixth grade teacher is still at work. Just kidding. No one panic.)
Seriously, tell me your ideas on fixing the problems with the way young people write. I have a few of my own.