Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Review: Write Shop C

Of the three R's, the one we struggle with most in our home is 'Riting.  My son has an active imagination and he's orally shared dozens of his own Hank the Cowdog stories with me, but he's loathe to put pencil to paper.  WriteShop may be just the product we need--it actually encourages parents/teachers to write alongside or take dictation from their kids in 15-minute long lessons. 

We used level C which is geared towards 7-8 year olds, but can be used with 9-11 year olds that struggle with writing.  There are 10 lessons that can be done on a two week (4 days/week) or a three week (3 days/week) schedule. 

The e-book Teacher's Manual begins with a 36 page introduction to the philosophy and methods of the WriteShop program.  The bookmarks on the left hand side of the screen allow direct access to each lesson individually.  The lessons list the Objective, Advance Preparation Needed, and Materials to be Used.   Next comes step by step instructions on how to present the material to your child including sample dialogues. 

WriteShop Primary's lessons are divided into six sections:

1. Guided Writing--you teach and model new skills. In lesson one this was a circular chart that teaches the ingredients of a good story are like the ingredients in a recipe.

2. Pre-Writing--Fun Warm-ups that point toward the writing project.  With every lesson we will read a picture book of our choosing.  We then made a "detective file"  filling in the blanks of our story ingredients for that specific book.

3, Brainstorming--planning and organizing the writing project.  We used paper cut outs of magnifying glasses (continuing our detective theme) with the Who, When, Why, etc. written on them.  Then we wrote notecards answering those questions and developing the ingredients for our own story.

4. Writing Project--the main focus of every lesson.  The child writes the story based on the brainstorming activity.  This isn't a major work of fiction--just 7-12 sentences.

5. Editing and Revising--making simple improvements to the writing. Correct spelling and grammar errors and add any new details that the child would like.

6. Publishing the Project--creating the final draft.  In this case (a little more detective lingo) we cut the final draft up into puzzle pieces so any future readers would have to work to discover the story.

Schnickelfritz didn't balk at the short lessons or my writing help.  Some of the additional activities seemed babyish to him--analyzing the poem "Hickory Dickory Dock" for example.  We entirely skipped the learning to tell time activity because he's known how to read a clock with dials for year's now.  I realize this material is geared to younger children where the nursery rhyme and click activites are age appropriate.

The downloadible format of the Teacher's Manual retails for $28.95, the Student Worksheet set is $4.50 (hard copies are $$32.95 and $4.95 plus shipping).  But there's a special offer until June 15th!  Use the code CREW15 to save 15% on any Primary and Junior products in the WriteShop store.  

Be sure to check the Homeschool Crew Blog.  Other members had other levels of the program to review.
Disclaimer: I received free e-versions of the Level C Teacher's Manual and Student Worksheet set for the purpoase of completing this review.  There was no other compensation for my honest opinions.

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