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Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Review–WriteShop (TOS Review)

WriteShop Review
WriteShop Review

We always struggle in the writing department, so I was grateful to be able to check out WriteShop.  After looking over the website and placement guide I decided that WriteShop Primary: Book B Set would be a good fit for my almost 8yo. He is an advanced reader, but writing is not his ‘thing’. 

We received digital copies of both the Teacher’s guide and Student Worksheet Pack.  I printed out the Student Pack and used the Teacher’s Guide on my iPad to follow along.

WriteShop Review

WriteShop ReviewWriteShop Review

This is not an open and go curriculum, there was some prep work before we could start, as well as some prep work before lessons.  This part was hard for me, with several kids the prep work was a bit daunting.  However, it seems that if you start with book A you do most of the required prep work needed in B as you go along, otherwise there was stuff you had to do for B before you even started.  One of which was the rhyming flowers book (pictured below).

2014-05-15 10.45.34

Another preparation was a writing center.  I really liked this suggestion.  I made an area from plastic drawers with paper, pencils, a dictionary and the rhyming words book.  The Teacher Guide has lots of suggestions for things to use for the center, and doesn’t necessarily require any specialty items or purchases. 

My favorite thing about this curriculum was the side by side (Guided Writing)modeled writing exercises.  This was one aspect my son DID enjoy about this curriculum, and something that I will definitely try to continue as we work on writing.  The side by side writing exercises served as a way to model proper writing techniques to your child while discussing and talking through the process.  Your child doesn’t write during this time (which is why my son liked it so much).  It was a great one on one time to work on writing with him, which I also enjoyed.

The program is very flexible in meeting the needs of a wide variety of levels in writing.  They offer several schedules to follow based on the level of your child.  I found this helpful, ideally, I would have liked to have moved through the program quicker, but we fit the slower schedule nicely.  It took pressure of me, as a parent, to feel the need to meet the scheduling expectations of the program (though I try not to stress about that, it sometimes happens).  They also offer scheduling suggestions for working with multiple children on different program levels. 

We used the three week lesson plan, spending 3 weeks on each lesson, working 3 days a week. This was a nice fit for us. At the same time 3 weeks on one writing project and my son grew bored, condensing it made it more difficult of a task for him.  So it’s a toss up. 

Lessons also include the use of picture books (no specific books required, subject matter was suggested).  This was helpful for my son as he was having a hard time coming up with things to write about.  For instance, one of the assigned topics had to do with space.  We read a picture book about space and it helped get his imagination going.  It also was a great example to him of how a story should flow. 

The Teacher Guide also includes suggested dialogues, questions to ask your child to help get their creative juices flowing!  This was another very helpful tool!

This program introduces the writing process – Brainstorming, Rough Draft, Revision and Final Copy.  It focuses on punctuation, different types of writing (letters, stories, poems, etc..), vocabulary, spelling (and spelling tools).  The curriculum uses a wide variety of methods to make learning more fun (as opposed to just pencil and worksheets).  Spelling words are written in multi-colors and songs are sung, to name a few.  It aims to be a multi-sensory approach to writing, and succeeds. 

I have mixed feelings about the program.  It has a lot of really good aspects.  The prep work makes it a difficult curriculum for me.  I have so much prep to do already, that adding more was a bit much for me, I felt a bit overwhelmed (especially in the beginning).   I also like writing programs to incorporate grammar, which this program doesn’t (that I could tell). However, the multi-sensory approach, the hands on learning, the flexible scheduling are all pluses!

My son claims he didn’t like the program, but he really doesn’t like any writing exercises (this is a constant struggle).  I do feel that this program helped improve his confidences in writing a bit.  He was able to complete two stories while using this program, which is quite an improvement!  We will continue to dabble in the program from time to time.  When it comes to fighting about writing, I choose to not fight, so it won’t be an all the time thing.  Many of the processes introduced in this program will definitely be sticking around our home school!

Write Shop has programs for grades K-6th.  Level B is

  • Ideal for students in first and second grade.
  • May also be used with reluctant third graders.

The Primary Teacher’s Guide Level B is available in print for $35.95 or $29.50 for PDF.  The Student Worksheet Pack is an additional cost of $5.95 for print or $4.50 for PDF. 

Find them online:
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/writeshop
Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/writeshop
Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/writeshop/boards/
Instagram: http://instagram.com/kimkautzer
Google+: https://plus.google.com/+Writeshop/

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1 comment:

  1. A good review! I like that there was little prep for each lesson as I prefer the open and go...


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