Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Writing with WriteShop (plus other cool stuff)

I have a love-hate relationship with writing. While I generally like writing, I have a hard time teaching it to my kids. This past year I realized that what I was using as writing curriculum for my older two children was not going to work for my then 9 year old. I needed to find a curriculum that would be comprehensive so I knew I wasn't skipping concepts, a curriculum that walked my daughter through the process, and a curriculum that was easy enough to implement and teach. I turned to WriteShop Junior Level D to see if this would work for us. {There is a fun announcement, a freebie, and a giveaway at the end of the post! Scroll down to see}

There are several components that make up this curriculum:
Teacher's Guide
Student Activity Pack: includes brainstorming sheets, forms, and other worksheets and the Level 1 Fold-N-Go Grammar Pack
Time Saver Pack: ready-made props for many Book D activities. This is optional, but I loved that I didn't have to stop and make anything for the lesson.

These are all available in either print or e-book versions.

Getting Started with WriteShop Junior Book D:

What is the age-range for WriteShop Junior Book D?

Book D is recommended for 3rd, 4th, or reluctant 5th graders. Each WriteShop book can be used independently. You do not need to complete previous levels in order to start Level D.

When I received my new curriculum, the first thing I did flip through the teacher's manual. The front portion of the book explains how to schedule the lesson, various lesson components, and what you will need for each lesson (Don't skip these pages! They explain what will be going on in future lessons.) I used a Post-It note to highlight pages I would need to refer to often (like the editing page). Once I understood how the lessons were structured, I spent some time gathering and organizing materials.

There are 10 units in the curriculum, which is a full year's worth of lessons. I made a folder for each lesson and then filed the student pages and any time-save activity pages in the correct folder. This way I'm not searching around for papers when I start the lesson.

I also set up a writing center bag. This houses all the materials needed for my daughter to write plus the Grammar Folders (both the ones we have completed and the ones we still need to complete).  You can click on the link above to see exactly what is in our writing center bag.

The Lessons:

Each unit contains an overview, materials needed, and eight activities. A unit can be completed in two weeks or three weeks, depending on which writing schedule you choose. The teacher needs to read through the lesson before starting.You do need to have a general idea of where the lesson is going before starting. I thought the lessons gave me enough information, examples, and verbiage on how to present the topic to my daughter. You can find examples of the lessons here: WriteShop D examples.

What We Thought:

We have completed 2 units so far in WriteShop D. No tears have been shed during the teaching of these units by either me or my daughter. :) My daughter is enjoying writing. Each lesson is broken down into just the right amount of information for her to digest. Having games and brainstorming sheets has helped her not be afraid to write. We both like the approach to grammar via the grammar folders. During each unit a grammar folder is made which then becomes a reference tool.

As the teacher, I thought the curriculum does a great job helping me teach. Once I got everything organized, it was easy to implement.  I love the various brainstorming sheets and checklists for the students, games and hands-on examples. WriteShop presents writing as something that can be fun!

WriteShop offers writing curriculum for all ages-- kindergarten - highschool. I am planning on having my other children transition to WriteShop for next year.

Some Freebie FUN:

WriteShop is going to be having a Twitter Party and you are invited! Join @WriteShop on Tues. April 17th at 9:00 pm EST for some prizes and fellowship! Follow the hashtag #WriteShopParty

Here's a special party favor just for you! Print out a 4x6 photo prompt for some creative writing inspiration! (Lego scene created by my son.)

You can collect the other three writing prompts by visiting: In Our Write Minds, Wonderfully Chaotic, and Bowmania.

That's not all...

We're hosting a pre-party giveaway! You can win your choice of WriteShop Primary Level Writing Curriculum A, B, or C ( e-book version). Enter via Rafflecopter below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure: I was given WriteShop D to review. Opinions in this post are mine.

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Blogger Heather Mac said...

I find that teaching the editing process is the most difficult to teach...Could this be because it is my own LEAST favorite step in the writing process? Hmmm...:)

April 10, 2012 at 7:18 AM  
Blogger Amie said...

I am just beginning to think about teaching writting so for me the challange is finding a curriculum that we like to start out with.

April 10, 2012 at 9:03 AM  
Blogger Amie said...

I am very interested in using WriteShop Primary A. I will have a 1st grader and a Kindergartener I think it will work for both of them a good start in writting and the lessons look really fun which is always a plus!

April 10, 2012 at 9:07 AM  
Anonymous danielle @ RLR said...

I love love LOVE the writing center idea! Why didn't I think of that?! :P



April 10, 2012 at 9:11 AM  
Anonymous danielle @ RLR said...

I'd get WriteShop Primary A for my budding author. :)


April 10, 2012 at 9:14 AM  
Blogger The girl who painted trees said...

I love teaching writing. When I was a classroom teacher, this was my strength. However, I have recently been looking at various writing curricula for our homeschool journey so your post is timely. I love how you use 31 bags for organizing homeschool.

April 10, 2012 at 9:19 AM  
Blogger The girl who painted trees said...

I would get either Level A or B. I will have to go look at the samples carefully to see which will fit my daughter better. I'm leaning toward A just to know I haven't missed anything:)

April 10, 2012 at 9:27 AM  
Blogger The girl who painted trees said...

I'm leaning toward getting A, but would have to make sure by looking at the samples that it would fit my daughter.

April 10, 2012 at 9:28 AM  
Blogger Jennifer Lambert said...

I would need to begin with Writeshop A for my two girls. One struggles to put ideas to paper and the other doesn't want to write at all!

April 10, 2012 at 9:58 AM  
Blogger Beach Mama said...

I would love to get Writeshop Primary and WriteShop 1. I have had this curricula bookmarked for next school year.

April 10, 2012 at 10:07 AM  
Blogger Beach Mama said...

I find the hardest thing is to motivate my 13 yo old son. He doesn't want to write, therfore, he makes it more difficult on all of us.

April 10, 2012 at 10:14 AM  
Blogger Brenda said...

I'm starting to homeschool next year, and I fear teaching writing because I think it would be easy to keep putting it off.

April 10, 2012 at 10:55 AM  
Blogger Brenda said...

I would love to get Writeshop Primary A since we've got young ones here. I've had my eye on this for a while.

April 10, 2012 at 10:56 AM  
Blogger Rachel said...

Great giveaway, my friend! Writing {Even though I write daily} is one of the hardest things for me to teach. I think that's due to the subjectivity of writing.
I'd love to try Writeshop -- sounds fabulous!

April 10, 2012 at 11:13 AM  
Blogger Rachel said...

I'd take any product, my friend! Having multiple children means that almost all work. Honestly, though, I'd love to start with the beginning with some of my littles and I'm looking forward to trying this awesome program with them!

April 10, 2012 at 11:27 AM  
Blogger Ashley said...

I would love to try A. I just don't know where to start with writing. My son doesn't have the dexterity to write yet (to hold a pencil properly) even though he's finishing Kindergarten now. I really would like to try this to see if it will help!

April 10, 2012 at 11:32 AM  
Blogger Rebecca said...

My son told me last night he does not like what we are using this year for Grammar...he is now making his own curriculum using some books we have around the house (which I love)...but just spent an hour looking at Writeshop

April 10, 2012 at 11:39 AM  
Blogger Heidi said...

I would love to get Writeshop Primary A since that will be the first writing curriculum I will be needing. I had never heard of this curriculum before, but it looks very promising.

April 10, 2012 at 11:42 AM  
Blogger yabby said...

We have and LOVE WriteShop A, so I'd really want to get B.

April 10, 2012 at 11:43 AM  
Blogger Heidi said...

My concerns with teaching writing is being able to get the kids to actually like writing. I love writing and teaching writing, but I am worried that I can't get my kids to love it as much as I do. Fingers crossed that I can make it fun for them.

April 10, 2012 at 11:43 AM  
Blogger Rebecca said...

I am undecided between the A-D....would really need to figure out which one we would need.

April 10, 2012 at 11:43 AM  
Blogger Ashley said...

I answered both of the questions in one post lol! My challenge is figuring out how to get my left handed kiddo to hold a pencil properly and carefully make the right shapes right now.

April 10, 2012 at 11:43 AM  
Anonymous Kim Kautzer said...

Here's a placement guide for WriteShop Primary: http://www.writeshop.com/blog/2010/02/01/writeshop-primary-more-help-with-choosing-a-starting-level/

April 10, 2012 at 11:52 AM  
Blogger Wendi said...

If I could get any WriteShop product it would it be Level A and then their Write Shop material for grades 6-8.

April 10, 2012 at 12:27 PM  
Blogger Wendi said...

My concerns or challenges in teaching writing is the grammar part, teaching the nouns, predicates, adjectives...

April 10, 2012 at 12:30 PM  
Blogger Jen (aka: Photojenic) said...

My 7, almost 8yr old, son HATES to write. It's always a struggle so I haven't done much with him. WriteShop Primary looks like a great program to ease him into writing, and actually enjoying it! :)

April 10, 2012 at 1:42 PM  
Blogger susanne said...

I would love to get Writeshop Primary A this would be the best to use for my kindergarten kids.

April 10, 2012 at 2:20 PM  
Blogger GAHCindy said...

Right now I'm just concerned that my oldest boy ever has the attention span to put pencil to paper long enough to write more than one sentence at a time!

April 10, 2012 at 2:52 PM  
Blogger Ticia said...

Staying systematic with this, because let's face it, I'm not the most organized person in the world.

April 10, 2012 at 4:20 PM  
Blogger Ticia said...

oh, and because I don't want to mess up the entries with extra comments, let's hope I'm not doing it this way, but I hit enter too soon.

Love how your organizing this!

April 10, 2012 at 4:21 PM  
Blogger Ticia said...

Now, see if I'd just finished reading the contest entry rules I'd of saved myself some trouble and seen I had a second reason to comment........

I think level A, it's almost too easy for my kids right now, but I think it's probably the right level. There's still some skills they haven't covered.

April 10, 2012 at 4:27 PM  
Anonymous Meghan said...

I am SO lost about teaching writing and would LOVE to try this curriculum!!

April 10, 2012 at 4:50 PM  
Blogger Mozer said...

That's my dd! This program has been a tremendous help.

April 10, 2012 at 4:51 PM  
Anonymous Meghan said...

I'd really want the original "Write Shop" for my 9th grade son :)

April 10, 2012 at 4:59 PM  
Blogger Michelle said...

I would get level C because I already have A and B! ;)

April 10, 2012 at 5:12 PM  
Blogger Stefanie said...

My biggest problem is finding a program that doesn't elicit a lot of complaining from my daughter.

April 10, 2012 at 5:12 PM  
Blogger Stefanie said...

I'd like to get level A so I could use it with my youngest one day.

April 10, 2012 at 5:18 PM  
Blogger cceeyore said...

I am thinking Primary level B or C for my 7yo. Fantastic story-teller, not so much into writing!

April 10, 2012 at 5:26 PM  
Blogger CINDY said...

My 3rd homeschool student has dyslexia/dysgraphia and teaching writing doesn't seem to be as straight forward with him as it did with my first two. I'm looking to Write Shop.

April 10, 2012 at 6:31 PM  
Blogger CINDY said...

For my son who hasn't done much writing due to dyslexia/dysgraphia, I'm thinking to start with Level D Junior program.

April 10, 2012 at 6:35 PM  
Blogger Tabitha (a.k.a. Penny) said...

My daughter hates to write. PERIOD. That's a HUGE obstacle.

April 10, 2012 at 7:35 PM  
Blogger Robyn said...

I would like to have WriteShop book D. My son struggles with writing and this would be the right fit to help in this area.

April 10, 2012 at 7:40 PM  
Blogger mommyto4duckies said...

I'd love either WriteShop book B, C, D or Wordsmith Apprentice.--I've got a kid in each level :) My oldest did Wordsmith Apprentice this year and LOVED it!
Jasmine sugarplum2526@yahoo.com

April 10, 2012 at 8:19 PM  
Anonymous Donyel said...

We have A now and LOVE it!

April 10, 2012 at 10:23 PM  
Blogger Trisha said...

My 3rd grader hates to write. I really need something to engage his brain. He gets bored easily and I need something that will keep him interested.

April 10, 2012 at 10:35 PM  
Blogger The Zookeeper said...

My problem is not being consistent with the writing process. Im afraid Im goint to hurt them and pick enough that the process isn't going to be fun enough...

April 11, 2012 at 11:09 AM  
Blogger The Zookeeper said...

If I could get any product from writeshop I would choose the new level d... xoxo

April 11, 2012 at 11:15 AM  
Blogger Anne Burris said...

I would like Write Shop Primary and A

April 11, 2012 at 11:17 PM  
Anonymous PK @ Knee Deep In Grace said...

We are just about ready for Book D. The graphics turned out so well!

Thanks for the Twitter Party.



April 11, 2012 at 11:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I would get primary A or B. I have 3 kids I would want to use it on :)

April 12, 2012 at 1:06 AM  
Blogger Terri Fisher said...

I would get primary A or B to use with my soon to be second grader next year!

April 12, 2012 at 12:57 PM  
Blogger Heather Brandt said...

Always my concern is finding a motivation for writing for my student...

April 12, 2012 at 2:09 PM  
Anonymous Karyn Hostetter said...

I would get the Primary A or B to use.

April 12, 2012 at 3:41 PM  
Anonymous Karyn H. said...

I have a struggle to get my kids to write anything.:)

April 12, 2012 at 3:42 PM  
Blogger Cassie said...

I really don't know where to start with teaching writing to my kids.

April 12, 2012 at 4:21 PM  
Blogger Amanda said...

I can't settle on a curriculum to use to teach writing!

April 12, 2012 at 4:32 PM  
Blogger Amanda said...

What has been your favorite part of homeschooling?

April 12, 2012 at 4:37 PM  
Blogger Angie said...

If I had to pick just one Write Shop item to order, it would be a toss up between the Primary B and the Storybuilders. Both look great!

April 12, 2012 at 5:51 PM  
Blogger Jen said...

I have a beginner writer, and although she's very creative, it's tough getting it down on paper. this sounds like a fun approach.

April 12, 2012 at 5:51 PM  
Anonymous Jenny Kurtz said...

My daughter just turned 7 this Jan., we haven't done any writing yet. I am scared to teach it without a curriculum guide. Writting is not an area I am strong in. This curriculum would be great for me to be able to teach her all the different rules of writing.

April 12, 2012 at 6:28 PM  
Anonymous Jenny Kurtz said...

I would choose Primary level A, since my daughter is new to writing.

April 12, 2012 at 6:32 PM  
Blogger Jen said...

I would buy the primary b Write shop item.

April 12, 2012 at 7:33 PM  
Anonymous kp said...

My greatest challenge in teaching writing is with my 7 year old, who has difficulty with fine motor skills.

April 12, 2012 at 9:15 PM  
Blogger Michelle Spahr said...

I am just beginning to teach writing in the primary grades - K. I would love to check out this curriculum. I have no idea where to start.

April 12, 2012 at 9:34 PM  
Anonymous kp said...

If I could choose any product... Write Shop Junior would be great!

April 12, 2012 at 9:38 PM  
Blogger Michelle Spahr said...

If I could get anything, right now I would most definitely get Write Shop Primary Book A Teacher Guide. I will begin homeschooling my oldest in Kindergarten this fall and writing is definitely an area I want to encourage and have fun with from the start.

April 12, 2012 at 9:47 PM  
Blogger jroush said...

I am just starting out homeschooling my three children, ages 7, 5, & 3, and I would love to start out by trying the WriteShop Primary Book A!

April 12, 2012 at 10:58 PM  
Blogger crysta said...

Would love to try this!

April 13, 2012 at 9:01 AM  
Blogger crysta said...

My biggest concern is trying to find something that is comprehensive and will cover everything for my kids to be creative and motivated writers!

April 13, 2012 at 9:02 AM  
Anonymous Kim Kautzer said...

My favorite part of homeschooling was the unit studies we did as a family. I loved being able to study a topic through reading, history, geography, science, writing, and life skills. It made a wonderful impact on my children.

April 13, 2012 at 6:25 PM  
Anonymous Kim Kautzer said...

Whether you use WriteShop Primary, another curriculum, or come up with your own writing ideas, it's always wise to share the writing with a reluctant child who struggles with the simple act of holding a pencil. I explain the concept a bit more in this blog post:


April 13, 2012 at 6:29 PM  
Blogger Jessica said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

April 13, 2012 at 7:42 PM  
Blogger Jessica said...

THe product I'd like most is Write Shop I for my older boys. We haven't done a ton of writing so far, partly because they don't like writing. I think this program would be good for the students and their teacher!

April 13, 2012 at 7:44 PM  
Blogger Alisha said...

I would love to get this for my kids. I love to write but I really don' know how to teach it.

April 13, 2012 at 10:09 PM  
Blogger k balman said...

I would get the A kbalman@gmail.com

April 13, 2012 at 10:11 PM  
Blogger jesschakey said...

I would love the WriteShop Primary Book C and A for my children.

April 13, 2012 at 10:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have so much difficulty teaching writing because neither of my children like to write that much. I wish I could find a curriculum that would get them more interested in writing.

April 13, 2012 at 11:06 PM  
Blogger Okaasan said...

I worry that I'm not teaching my child to hold the pencil properly!

April 14, 2012 at 12:11 AM  

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