Over the last few years, we’ve come to think of The Lost Tools of Writing as more than a “program”. In fact, we’re not all that interested in it being called a writing program at all. We prefer “curriculum”. The word “program” carries with it connotations that we believe fail to truly characterize what it means to write or to teach writing. It sounds scientific, like something from a government manual or a system by which business is accomplished. Certainly each of these things have their value – to varying degrees and in specific contexts – but when it comes to writing, well, they’re about as helpful as a fork at a soup-only dinner.
Good writing isn’t accomplished by following a system. There is no formula for it, no secret or break-through method that will make your students good writers or you a good writing teacher. Rather good writing is the product of dedicated practice developing key skills. To write well one must look at it like an art, like a craft, that demands careful attention and persistent hard work. In fact, learning to write well is not so much different than learning to play the piano or sculpt a human figure or even shoot a three pointer. Learning to write well – and to teach writing well – is a process, one that will extend far beyond the Monday through Friday school week, far beyond individual essays, and far beyond the giftedness of specific students.
That’s not to say, however, that there aren’t exercises that can help us become better writers. There are. But in and of themselves they are more less meaningless. They are useful inasmuch as they build upon one another like elements of a community that work together, inasmuch as they provide structure and guidance for the hard work every writer must pour in to become skilled at the art of writing.
This is what The Lost Tools of Writing strives to be – a series of exercises and tools (a curriculum, not a program or system) that will help guide you and yours students as you pursue the great goal of becoming skilled writers.
It is with this in mind that we are proud to announce that the 4th edition of The Lost Tools of Writing, Level 1 will be available the first week of March (and is now available for pre-order).
As you can see from the banner image at the top of this post, we’ve changed the curriculum’s tagline from “Better Writing, Better Thinking, Better Teaching” to “Rediscover the Craft of Composition”. We believe this new tagline more fully captures the ideal that the program sets out to attain and that it reflects the truth that writing is a craft that is perfected with diligence and hard work.
But that’s not the only change we’ve made. We’ve re-arranged the materials so their central organizer is the lesson sequence rather than the canons. So now the Workbook and the Lesson Guides (what used to be Module Guides) are organized by lesson rather than divided by canon.
Speaking of the Lesson Guides, they are now a part of our new and improved Teacher’s Guide. Now nearly 300 pages, this Teacher’s Guide provides tools for lesson planning and in-class presentation for each and every lesson, skill, and exercise.
Also included in the new Teacher’s Guide are:
:: An expanded glossary
:: Self-edit checklists by which students can revise their own work (also found in the Student’s Workbook)
:: An expansive index
:: A chapter dedicated to providing guidance regarding how to use the Lesson Guides
:: Sample completed worksheets
:: Complete set of outline templates
:: An updated chapter and tools for teacher assessment
Additionally, we’ve re-organized, clarified, and re-formatted the Student’s Workbook so that it is now organized according to lesson instead of according to canon and the 4th edition Student’s Workbook now comes spiral bound rather than in a binder.
And, finally, we’ev updated the CD set to correspond with the new material and to help the teacher become more familiar with the materials and ideas presented in the curriculum.
We are certainly very excited to offer this revised – and, we believe, stronger – edition of The Lost Tools of Writing and we hope that you find it as useful in your teaching as we have found it enlightening to create.
THE NEW LOST TOOLS OF WRITING WEBSITE
With the launch of the new edition we’ve also launched a new web-hub for the program, losttoolsofwriting.com. Here you’ll find, among other things, our new Lost Tools Blog, the all new Lost Tools of Writing Online Store, demo copies of both 4th edition books, a schedule of upcoming workshops and events, FAQs, and a curriculum overview. We’re very excited to be able to offer this new website and all of the tools that go with it. Our goal is for this website to be a central place for all things Lost Tools, a place where questions can be answered, classical composition can be celebrated, and the craft of writing can be developed (that said, our Yahoo! Group, The Mentor is going nowhere. It will still operate as it has the last few years, so keep bringing your questions). We hope to see you there as together we continue to cultivate wisdom and virtue.
PLEASE NOTE: The complete set for this new edition will be include a Teacher’s Guide, a Student’s Workbook, and the new CD set.
A NOTE ABOUT UPGRADING: If you’re interested in upgrading from the 3rd edition (or earlier) to the new edition please contact us via firstname.lastname@example.org.