Saturday, June 21, 2014

Writing with Sharon Watson

Writing with Sharon Watson
The Power in Your Hands
Student Book: $39.98
Teacher's Guide: $14.98
Grades: 9-12

You know that song, "I've Got the Power" ?  Well that is going through my head right now (and most likely yours too!) as I am thinking about this tool for writing.  Writing has been the ONE THING that I have had quite a few issues teaching our children (well...and Math...oh yeah...and Science...).   Where do you start?  How do you teach it? How do you evaluate if it is good or not...and on and on.  Well, we have a new tool in out toolbox.  Writing with Sharon Watson.  I have only worked with "The Power in Your Hands", but already, I can tell...I WILL be buying the other two sets.

From the website: With The Power in Your Hands: Writing Nonfiction in High School, they’ll learn what they need to know for high school and will be prepared for college writing. First, they’ll write five different persuasive essays, including an SAT essay. Next, they’ll navigate a comparison-and-contrast essay, a biography, a literary analysis, a research paper with MLA documentation, and much, much more. In addition, students will master description and narration essays.

And let me tell you...this is just the TIP of the iceberg!  What this doesn't say is that she walks  you through BABY STEP BY BABY STEP through how to write.  She begins with short assignments to get the students applying the lessons they are learning, without the ESSAY looming large over them and the pressure of writing something serious while they are learning.  I LOVED this aspect.  Throughout the Before You Write chapters,for example, the student keeps revisiting the question of , "Should Teens Have Credit Cards?" until at the end, they have written an essay giving three points with their opinion on that question.
Some of the lessons covered in The Power in Your Hands are:

          SAT Essay

          Position Paper
A Devotional
 Newspaper Writing
Literary Analysis
Personal Testimony
There are over 100 daily lessons to work through in this writing program...and here is the best part...It is written in a conversational tone, so  your student could work through this on their own.  Don't check out completely though...they will need some feedback on their writing to improve. This is designed to be a two year program, but there are tips on extending it to three. I really cannot say enough good is a sample for you to get a feel for the program.

The Teacher's guide has a LOT of tools to guide you through "teaching" this class.  The guide begins with about 60 pages of content for your grading toolbox.  Things like How to earn an A, B, C, D or F, Proofreading Marks, Practical Helps for Reluctant or Unskilled Writers, pages that cover the Student's toolbox and so much more.
One of my favorite parts of the Teacher's Guide are the 14 minute Power Surges.  The 14 Minute Power Surges help students get those juices flowing and just write.  These are categorized by month and give 4 suggestions for each week for each are just a few to whet your whistle: You are in a job interview.  Describe yourself to the interviewer.  Define a beautiful person. Tell any portion of the Christmas story without using the letter t.  What's the most important thing you know? Write the five minute script for a children's TV show segment that teaches them to wash their hands.Write a sermon on peace. Theorize why reality shows are so popular.  These are really fun topics and can be a writing curriculum on it's own.  They are intended to be used daily for four days, without any corrections and then one is selected by the students to complete.  These are NOT supposed to be used when you are working through the student book.  I LOVED doing these.  We worked through a few of these.  It was hard for my children to write for 14 minutes at first, but as they progressed a little more through them, it became easier. Teacher's Guide Sample

The back portion of the Teacher's Guide has answers for the student guide.

I began using The Power in Your Hands with both my 16 year old son and my 12 year old daughter.  I quickly found out that it was beyond my daughter's abilities at this time.  I think this is DEFINITELY a high school program. I plan on getting Jump In for her to work through in the fall.  I think that will be a good fit for her! Jump In Student Sample

Well, to sum up, we REALLY LOVED The Power in Your Hands.  I thought it was well written.  I appreciate that it is mostly for the student to work through alone.  Although we have not gone too far into the book yet, I have already seen some positive progress in my son's writing.  I look forward into digging in this fall.  
If you have a student who LOVES writing fiction, then Writing Fiction might be a great fit for you! Student Fiction Sample

Check out what others have to say about Writing with Sharon Watson

1 comment:

Sharon Watson said...

Hi, Carrie! Thanks for your complete and positive review of The Power in Your Hands! I hope you and your son have lots of fun with it next year, and, please, let me know how it works out.