Deuteronomy 6:6-7

And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. ~ Deuteronomy 6:6-7

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Write Shop

It wasn't until I was well into my adult years that I learned, really learned, how to write well. I can't offer a specific reason for this, whether it was lack of motivation on my part, or the manner in which I was taught, or that I simply slipped through the cracks of the school system.
It really matters little now I suppose, but I do hope to lead my daughters onto a different path as it relates to this subject.

Writing well is so important, and the curriculum I had the opportunity to review over the past few months has proven to me as well as to my children, that it can and should be, a creative and enjoyable experience.

We reviewed Book C, which is the third in a series. I'll mention here that each of the books may be used independently, we actually began with Book C. You'll probably want to take advantage of the company's assessment test to determine your child's placement.

The Schedule:

There are a few options in adding Write Shop to your studies. You might choose a 1, 2, or 3 week lesson plan schedule. The 3 week option is the most typical choice, and the plan we chose. Using it in this way will allow you to complete the book in one school year.
Each lesson is divided into activities, and there are 8 possible activities to complete. Divide them up into an days you want, as for us, we worked on our writing on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays.

The goal of Write Shop is to make the subject fun! The creators continually urge the teacher to keep the lesson time short- about 15-20 minutes. Writing should not become a tedious task, and this helps in that regard.

How the activities are divvied up:

Activity 1: Begin with an Activity Set Worksheet - There is one for each lesson, and they cover a variety of fun writing projects. The first one looks like this...

Activity 2: Guided writing practice- You will write as your child dictates ideas for a specific theme. For younger readers, this would be the place where you might read a picture book or play a game.

Activity 3: Brainstorming- You know what that is :)

Activity 4: The real writing begins here with the first draft of the lesson,

Activity 5: Editing the first draft.

Activity 6: Guided writing practice.

Activity 7: Final draft

Activity 8: Evaluate the project.

The teacher guide for Write Shop is fantastic! It breaks everything down so beautifully, and for every lesson, the activities are written as Activity 1:1, 1:2, 1:3, and so on. You always know which activity you're working on.

There is a lot of guided writing practice involved, and while I didn't note it on all of the activity examples above, it is intended to be done most days. There are many reasons for this, with a prominent one aimed at teaching the student a variety of writing styles and ideas without frustrating a younger writer with more than she can handle.

I gave you the general schedule, now I'll show you what our first real lesson looked like.

Activity 1. We talked about "story ingredients" i.e Who? What? When? Where? How?, and  what is necessary in completing a good story. We completed a worksheet that put this information to use, which included coming up with a (very) short story.

Activity 2. Using a paper plate, we made a story ingredients wheel and referenced it as we looked at a cookbook, which showed us that, just as a recipe needs certain items to make a good product, a story also needs certain ingredients to make it interesting.

Then, we wrote a story featuring time- the lesson's theme, and talked about our Awana night, using the story wheel to help us along.

Activity 3. We wrote another story for guided writing practice, this time about an upcoming dance recital. We identified the beginning, middle, and end of the story.

Activity 4. Today was fun because we made paper magnifying glasses( see photo above) which were labeled with the story ingredients on each one, and allowed us to become "story detectives"...woo hoo!
We started brainstorming about possible story ideas. My daughters have some crazy and wonderful imaginations! Then the girls began to write.

Activity 5. More editing and revising. We made minor corrections, but the stories looked good.

Activity 6. We did little but review the main ideas of  a story, as this day was set aside to complete the worksheet if we had not already, and well, we had.

Activity 7: We made story puzzles :) I purchased some blank puzzles at the store and the girls drew a picture representing the story on it, and then had fun taking it apart and putting it together. Yo could do this by simply using a piece of paper or cardstock too.

Activity 8. Evaluation Day! Today we fine tuned it all, checking and rechecking.
We decided we liked our work and called it a day.

Our thoughts...

We loved it! I really had no expectations with this resource, but the girls have loved writing and brainstorming and doing all of the various activities. The creators encourage short lessons, but often the girls wanted to exceed that limit by quite a bit. I would encourage anyone to give this writing curriculum a try.

If this sounds like something you would like to check out, Write Shop is offering a 15% discount code good for Write Shop Primary and Junior products in the write shop store . Use coupon code  CREW15 when you check out. This offer s good through June 15, 2012.
See what other crew members thought of Write Shop here .

Write Shop
Primary Book C
Price: $32.95 Print Copy
Ages: Elementary

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of Write Shop Primary Book C in exchange for my honest review, with no additional compensation.

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