About The Denim Beret
Like many writing programs, The Denim Beret Writing Program progresses through beginning, middle, and advanced composition skills. Unlike other writing programs, however, this program teaches students common habits and techniques of professional writers and authors, such as keeping a writing notebook and staying attentive to a potential audience. The Denim Beret is also highly structured and strictly focused on composition skills. It is not designed to integrate with other subjects. Although integration can be useful, The Denim Beret keeps topics personal and familiar, so that students are able to focus completely on the development of their writing skills. For that reason it can be a good fit for students who find writing intimidating or overwhelming.
At the core of the program are the "Six Traits of Excellent Writing". These are the qualities common to all excellent writing, no matter what the genre or reading level may be. The "Six Traits" are introduced in level 1 but remain in the background until level 3 as the students develop basic skills. Once these skills are in place, they are ready to think like authors do and pursue truly excellent, polished work.
Specific types of papers are also an essential component of each level, all designed to prepare students for the rigors of upper high school and college. By the end of the program, students are well-prepared to face any kind of non-fiction writing project in school and beyond. Fiction and poetry, while very important in themselves, are not taught in The Denim Beret Writing Program.
Finally, this program takes a mastery-learning approach. Students do not advance to the next lesson until they have sufficiently mastered the current lesson. Also, instead of receiving letter grades, students receive a grade that states their level of mastery, along with constructive feedback that will help them develop their skills. Those who need letter grades for transcripts may receive them upon request at the end of each course.
How the Program Works
The Denim Beret Writing Program follows a hybrid approach of independent study and teacher interaction. Using the Google platform--including Gmail, Classroom, Meet, Hangout, and Drive--students read a lesson independently (usually about 2,000 words per lesson), complete assignments, and submit them for grading. They have unlimited teacher access through email and private comments in Classroom, and they have regular teacher-student video chats to ensure understanding and progress.