Saturday, May 19, 2012

Write Shop

Write Shop, Primary Book C
Teacher's Guide: $32.95
Activity Sheets: $ 4.95
E-book versions are available if you prefer

WriteShop Primary teaches the skills of the writing process at the very simplest level through activities, crafts, and picture books. It accommodates pre-writers as well as beginning and developing writers, so your youngster needs no previous reading or writing experience. Slowly and gently, the child is asked to help with the actual writing, first in simple words and later, through copywork. And by turning these stories into a little craft, he will have a project to proudly share with others.
When we were offered this review, I decided to try the Write Shop Primary Book C with the Principessa who is in 4th grade. I forget exactly WHY I did that now, but when I was looking at the placement chart, I think there were some holes in what she had previously done, so I thought it would be better to go down, rather than up. We received the print edition of the Teacher's Guide and an Activity Set Worksheet Pack (these are reproducible activity sheets that are a integral part of the curriculum).

The Teacher's Guide is CHOCK full of information. First, there are suggested schedule plans for completing each lesson in either 1, 2 or 3 weeks. We originally tried doing a lesson a week, but that seemed to be A LOT of writing assignments at this season of my life for our family, so we backed down to the 3 week schedule. In the 3 week schedule, you are doing writing 3 days a week for about 15-20 minutes a day. This seemed to be a good pace for us. The Principessa broke her wrist during this review and this pace did not seem to be too much for her, even with a cast on...I did do some of the writing for her as well.

Next, the Teacher's Guide suggested creating a writing center...I thought about that for about 15 minutes, but that really was not practical in our home. I loved the idea of it and it may become a possibility at another time, but I just couldn't do it right now. We do not have a lot of extra space, but that wasn't the issue as much as gathering the supplies to use in it...Different types of charts, tablets, easels, pocket charts and sentence strips, etc. I was not able to get these supplies, so we worked around that.

Then there is a section that explains how each lesson is set up and broken down into each activity. Quite a bit of time is devoted to talking about the Guided Writing Practice activities...this is a huge focus in Write Shop because they believe that the best way for children to learn to write well is to have good writing modeled for them. I agree with this, but in the actual practice, this time was hard to get uninterrupted. I did not find a solution to that yet, but knowing that writing is such a short time period in the school day, we just kept working around our interruptions.

Once aspect that I KNOW many writers do not enjoy is the Editing and Revising Stage. I really appreciated that this was in the program as a that from a young age, you are editing and revising, making your writing better...I HOPE that the Principessa will not have so many issues with this point in her writing as she gets older. My teen boys DO NOT like to go back and would seem that as my daughter gets older, she would just come to expect it as a part of the process rather than dread it as unnecessary busy work.

Another part of the Write Shop curriculum that I appreciate is a section called, "Want to do more?" If you have a student that is an exceptional or highly motivated writer, they can dig even deeper.

Look at samples of the Primary Lessons here and Scope and Sequence are here

So, what did we think?
I love the thinking behind this curriculum...I love that the teacher's guide is so scripted that all I have to do it open it up and read. Having said that, there is some prep work you need to do before many of the parts of each lesson. For instance, under lesson 2.2, you need to prepare a Super Speller before Guided Writing, for lesson 2.3, you need to prepare some sentence strips or index cards for the Brainstorming section and under lesson 2.8, you need to gather some things you will be using as if you were a spy. Now, there are Advance Prep notices in the book that give you a slight heads up, but for me, these were writing road blocks...they didn't stop my daughter from writing, but we had to stop and prepare the items or come back when we had everything we needed. While I loved how they enriched the lessons, it was a stumbling point for me. I am going to continue using this curriculum because I love how it teaches writing, but I am going to try to have a prep day, looking ahead and having everything ready to go beforehand.

Write Shop has also given us an extra bonus for those who would like to try one of their products for themselves...a coupon code for 15% off..Just enter CREW15 to get your discount....but hurry, this offer is good until June 15, 2012.
See what my fellow crew mates have to say about Write Shop here

Disclaimer: I received this item for the purpose of writing a fair and honest review. I received no other compensation. All the opinions expressed are my own.

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