Every summer, Emerson School of Palo Alto and
Hacienda School of Pleasanton open their doors and
offer their innovative programs in a camp-like setting
to outside students who want to share in the summer
Students discuss literary, film, and music "texts,"
produce a series of writing products in response to
them, and respond to ideas and concepts our teachers
introduce in conversation. At key points throughout
the day the faculty provide students with individualized
coaching in thinking, conversing, writing, revising,
and presentation skills.
THREE DIFFERENT COURSES
Three courses are offered during the summer of 2016.
"Expository Writing" focuses on writing mechanics and
prose forms used in school assignments. "Creative
Writing" encourages the development of self-expression
and imagination. "Presentation Techniques" develops
public speaking skills, with an emphasis this year on the
use of persuasive appeals, tools, and techniques.
HELP STUDENTS LOVE WRITING
The goal of the Write Now! program is to encourage
students to love writing because the more they enjoy it, the
more they will write and the better at writing they will
become. This is done four ways:
by (a) engaging students in intriguing material, (b) writing
quickly, (c) writing a lot, and (c) only sometimes focusing
on the mechanical flaws of punctuation and spelling. The
absence of letter grades also helps students enjoy the whole
writing process. At the end of each day, students have an
opportunity to go back and complete unfinished pieces as
well as rewrite pieces they like. These works are then presented
to the whole group in the "Authors' Workshop."
Parents are invited and, indeed, encouraged to attend these
PARENTS ARE ASTONISHED
Many parents are surprised by how much their students
enjoy writing when given a chance to do it in a Write
Now! format. In the formal evaluation that students turn
in as their last writing assignment, almost all students say
they would recommend the camps to a friend because they
feel that their writing has improved significantly. Parents
are also surprised by the high level of interest students
express in very sophisticated ideas and concepts when
given the chance to exercise their analytical skills fully.
Rather than simply being a summer diversion for their students,
enrollment in a Write Now! course is a gift that will
last a lifetime and might even alter the course of a life.
Students of the Expository Writing and Creative
Writing camps produce a "Literary Review," a compilation
of the students' favorite writings, that is published at the
end of each week. Every student is given a copy of the
review without charge.
Students are separated into three groups: lower elementary
(grades 2-3), upper elementary (grades 4-5), and
middle school (grades 6-8). Though there are whole-group
presentations, as well as group instruction on techniques
and rules, much of the work is done in smaller groups (e.g.,
five to eight students) that are conducted in the same way
as graduate-level university writing workshops.
PROFESSIONAL TEACHERS AND HELPERS
Since the Write Now! program is part of the regular
curriculum at the year-round Emerson School and
Hacienda School, the regular teaching staff are available
during the summer. They are supplemented by former students
of the two schools who are outstanding writers and
competent to assist during the summer camp program.
The average ratio of helpers to students is roughly 1:8.
FREE EXTENDED CARE
The actual camp program run s from 10:00 AM to 4:00
PM. Extended care from 8:00 AM until 6:00 PM is available
at no extra charge.
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