Get your reluctant middle schooler writing with some really gross language arts lessons!
It’s no secret that middle schoolers have a “unique” sense of humor. They love all things gross.
Even the sound of the words they like to joke about are… well, “eewww.” Why not capitalize on their fascination with all things yuck? Designed especially for the reluctant writer—or any middle schooler who wants the freedom to write about the things that interest them the most—these language arts lessons from the Hifalutin Homeschooler may just be what you are looking for.
Why Be So Gross-ish?
If you’ve ever had a student who hates to write, then you know the sense of frustration and general unpleasantness even the thought of teaching language arts can bring. The groaning, the procrastinating, the whining… from the kids and not just you. It’s just so much fun.
But sometimes an unexpected approach can be the key to turning it all around.
As moms we usually try to discourage our kids from talking about the gross things from toilets to boogers. Why are they so fascinated with it all? Why the giggling and need to say words like “poop” or “fart”? Whatever the reason, it seems to be a universal trait of middle schoolers. Especially boys.
It’s time we use that humor against them and get our revenge. It’s time we make them WANT to do language arts.
Introducing a Sometimes Disgusting & Always Hilarious Curriculum for Middle School Language Arts
Jennifer Cabrera, aka The Hifalutin Homeschooler, understands what it’s like to have a reluctant writer—she has three boys. She’s dealt with the battle to get them to write or even “string a few words together in a sentence with a capital letter and a period.” As she says in the introduction to her writing curriculum, Revolting Writing,
“Desperate times call for desperate measures. A child who hates the idea of writing is likely to be found moaning and wailing on the floor if asked to write an essay about what kind of tree they would be or their favorite family outing. But a miraculous thing happened when, at my wits end, I asked my son to write about the contents of the toilet.“
And so it began.
She took the things that make middle school boys laugh (and some girls too!) and turned it into a writing curriculum. This laugh-out-loud, comical curriculum brings the fun back into writing. And her new book Gross-Out Grammar makes the perfect companion. Sometimes revolting, a little gross, and a lot of fun… who wouldn’t want to learn to write better when that’s the option for doing it?
Revolting Writing: For Boys …and Girls Who Dare!
Writing, vocabulary, and even drawing come together perfectly in this “gross” journal. Actually… it’s not even all gross. Students will also get to write about other interesting things besides toilet-based fun and roadkill. From video games to “how to get your sibling in trouble,” there are many different topics to explore.
And you’ll love all the benefits of using it.
No more whining about writing. Yeah, you may not love the word fart, but the whining about writing isn’t really any better, is it? Sometimes when we just let go of a few things it becomes less of a big deal with them, too. You can still tell them, “Hey, let’s not talk about your writing assignment when Grandma stops by, okay?”
Flexibility. You’ll find lessons for eighteen weeks, making this perfect for one semester. Or, your students can use it for a full year if they want to spread it out. Maybe you need a fun summer writing journal or want to supplement another resource. It is completely flexible. Jennifer shares several suggested schedules so you can make it work for your child.
A variety of writing experiences. This books gives students the opportunity to explore descriptive writing, several different types of the most common forms of essays, a narrative, and even some poetry. You’ll also find vocabulary exercises they’ll actually want to do and will remember. Bonus: They get to illustrate each writing project. So now you’ve not only covered language arts, you’ve checked off incredible art as well.
Gross-Out Grammar: Because Grammar… Yuck!
Grammar doesn’t have to be boring. These grammar exercises make the perfect companion to the Revolting Writing journal and will also benefit your reluctant, or not so reluctant, writers as well.
Teach multiple ages at the same time. This workbook is designed for grades fifth through eighth. It’s flexible enough to be used with multiple ages of kids at the same time. You can make copies of the lessons for your family (Jennifer gets being on a budget), but you may want to consider getting one for each of them. The time you save, the added cost and inconvenience of printing in color so everyone’s looks the same, and the fact that you may want to keep this bound together as a keepsake—for yourself, not Grandma, of course—might make it worth getting a copy for each child.
Once again, Jennifer gives examples of how you can schedule this book along with how to combine it with Revolting Writing.
Covers a variety of topics middle schoolers need to know. Divided into nine chapters, the workbook gives students plenty of exercises on the following topics. You’ll LOVE the easy explanation of each and so will your students!
- Sentence types
- Sentence punctuation
- Sentence structre
- Compound words
- Commonly confused words
Contains everything you need to figure out if your kids actually “get it.” Assessing whether or not your children understand the concepts is easy with this resource. It includes a midterm review that can be used as a test, fun challenge, or “open-book” review of their skills. There’s also an answer key and tips about grading or not grading—whatever works best for your family and situation.
Bring Laughter to Language Arts Studies
I really wish these two books had existed when my boys were in middle school. But just so you know: Each of these books does have a disclaimer that goes along these lines…
“This book contains words and phrases using potty humor such as, but not limited to, “poop, loogie, fart” etc. Please review the contents of each chapter and use it at your own discretion.”
Yeah, potty humor and gross stuff may not be your family’s thing. But there’s so much more to this curriculum. They may get hooked by “the gross,” but they’ll also love thinking about topics like the world’s best video game, the weirdest creatures on earth, designing a disease, and figuring out how to get a sibling in trouble. If your kids, and especially your boys, are reluctant to do language arts, it may just be worth trying.