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Why does Heart of Dakota use different writing programs each year?

Dear Carrie Heart of Dakota Writing Programs
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Dear Carrie

Why does Heart of Dakota use different writing programs each year?

Dear Carrie,

I just wanted to ask why Heart of Dakota uses different writing programs each year? I like all that I see in Heart of Dakota, and I’m quite a researcher!  However,  I was wondering what the benefits are of using different sources from one year to another? Write With the Best, IEW, The Exciting World of Creative Writingthey are all so different. I just wondered why one writing program isn’t chosen to continue with year after year?  Thanks in advance for answering my question.


“Ms. Wondering Why Use Different Writing Programs”

Dear “Ms. Wondering Why Use Different Writing Programs,”

You are correct!  We have purposely chosen to use different writing programs from year to year in Heart of Dakota. Writing has a definite progression of skills and certain types of writing that are easier to accomplish than others. So, we keep this in mind as we move through the guides. Various writing programs also have different strengths and appeal to different types of learners, which is something that should not be overlooked. Can you imagine if all of our great writers had been exposed to only one particular writing “program” that they all were required to use year after year?  Would it produce as much variety as we see in great writing, or could it instead feel stifling to some writers?

Writing is a highly creative and personal process.

It’s important to remember that writing is a highly creative and personal process. While it does have certain skills that need to be taught, it also requires much more individual expression and output. Thus, it requires a different approach than subjects like math or English, where a certain set of skills are taught and an exacting output is required. In math and English it makes perfect sense to stay the course with a single program. Yet, in writing, it is true that “variety is the spice of life” (and the spice of writing)!

Different writing programs have different strengths.

Having the freedom to choose among the different writing programs available, let’s take advantage of the strengths within each program. Students then can be exposed to a variety of writing experiences and writing approaches. Yet, students can still maintain solid skill progression when formal writing programs are integrated with the writing across the curriculum as scheduled in the HOD guide. Our approach also allows us to be better balanced in seeing the writing program as just one piece of the HOD puzzle each year. This helps us create a puzzle that is put together piece by piece, year by year, so one cohesive picture emerges.

The result? Each student’s own beautifully crafted puzzle. Not the same exact puzzle as another student’s puzzle. But rather a uniquely personally crafted puzzle, with different pieces taken from different writing programs that when put together, create one original masterpiece. Then, a writer is born. So, let us start putting together the pieces of the puzzle to make some new ‘masterpieces’ today!


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