Over the past couple months, my daughter and I have really enjoyed using WriteShop. Have you seen my two other posts? Check them out here:
WriteShop a nutshell:
This is an incredibly detailed, comprehensive writing program. As I mentioned in my previous post, it most reminds me of my experience with All About Reading. I say this because everything is here. The program is completely laid out in the high quality Teacher's Guide and comes with everything you could possibly need to successfully teach/experience the curriculum. (Don't you love that...?)
In the past, my 'Join us for a Lesson' posts have been really enjoyed and I'm glad many of you have found them really helpful in understanding a curriculum. (See my Join Us for a Lesson posts for All About Reading Level 1 and All About Reading Level 2.)
I think they help with really seeing the program or curriculum in action, and isn't that we all want from a review?
So, I decided to invite you to join us for a lesson of WriteShop Junior Book D. Hope this helps you truly visualize and experience WriteShop so you can better make decisions about what kind of writing program would work best for your child (and for you!)
Here is our pile of resources for WriteShop Junior Book D - the Teacher's Guide, Activity Pack, and all our Fold-N-Go Grammar Packs (folders).
Alright, the first thing I want to mention is this - these 'lessons' are not meant to be completed in one day!!!
The lessons in WriteShop are stretched out over many sections called Activity Sets. Lesson 1, for example goes from Activity Set 1:1 to Activity Set 1:8 (takes up from page 39 to 67 in the Teacher's Guide). There is a TON of information and lots to do.
The lessons take us about 2 weeks to accomplish.
Let's walk through Lesson 1 together.
Lesson 1 focuses on writing a letter of invitation with correct punctuation. The objective is for the child to learn to write a letter of invitation, practice punctuation marks, and also be introduced to journal writing.
A look at a page from the Teacher's Guide.
We start with the Punctuation Marks Fold-N-Go- we read through each page together.
These Fold-N-Go folders are the formal grammar component of the program. They are colorful, fun to use, and engaging. Some kids may require that you split the Fold-N-Go activity over two days (or two lesson time slots, if you know what I mean). There is a lot of information presented and some fill in the blank style activities at the bottom of each page.
For Lesson 1, the Fold-N-Go was focused on Punctuation and included: Quotation Marks, Apostrophes, Commas, Periods, Exclamation Points, Question Marks. For each of these pages, there are examples of how each are used and then a couple questions asking the child to properly use the punctuation marks. (For example, for Quotation Marks, they fill in the appropriate marks in a sentence with dialog.)
Inside the Fold-N-Go Grammar Packs
Next is the Model and Teach section where we 'model and teach' a Letter of Invitation.
First, we discuss the parts of a letter, using a sample letter found in the Activity Pack. The parts include: Date, Salutation, Body, Closing, and Signature. In the Teacher's Guide, there is a huge section that includes possible dialog between you and your child. Some Moms love this layout, others don't need or use it. I'm of the group that doesn't even use it - but can can be useful for seeing how you can effectively present a topic or an idea.
After you've discussed the parts of a letter, you move into the Pre-Writing Activity: Invitation Mix-Match.
This is a hands-on activity to decipher the parts of a letter. The letters are included in the Activity Pack. I cut them up so that each part of a letter was a separate piece of paper. There were three different letters represented. One from a King inviting his subjects to a joust, another a Commander of Secret Operations, and another a from an owner of a ski resort inviting people to a competition.
Audrey then practiced matching up the correct dates, salutations, bodies, closings, signatures, etc. It was fun because there were certain hints that pointed to the right answer and reinforced the idea of these separate components of a letter. The letters presented were engaging as well.
Pre-Writing Activity: Invitation Mix-Match
More shots of the Pre-Writing Activity: Invitation Mix-Match
The next step was review with a Skill Builder.
After this we move on to Journal Writing Practice -Writing a Letter of Invitation.
There is a journal writing page found in the Student Worksheets. This is a writing prompt "As owner of the new dinosaur amusement park, Jurassic Trails, I invite you to...". Kids are invited to then spend some time writing a corresponding entry.
We actually didn't use this prompt because it didn't interest my daughter. (I'm sure it would interest lots of kids, but she had other ideas.) Instead, she practiced writing letters to me and a friend of hers in her writing book. I was thrilled with this because she initiated it and wanted to write these letters.
WriteShop offers tons of "do"s for journal writing, including giving children freedom, letting them pick alternative topics, limiting journaling time, praising their efforts, not worrying about spelling, etc.
Here are examples of Audrey's journal entries for letter writing:
Next, we move on to Brainstorming.
This is where we start really thinking about our final project. For Lesson 1, this will be a beautifully written and designed letter of invitation. Here, we used a print-out from the Student Activity Pages (shown in the photo below on the left). This page was laid out like a cake and gave space for each part of the letter. I had Audrey sketch in (with help) what she would include in each section. This took two days of 'writing' lessons to complete together.
After Brainstorming is The Writing Project step where we are taking our Brainstorming and turning into actual sentences.
This is alike the 'rough draft' of the project. This step was done on basic paper and took a couple days to complete together.
Editing and Revising is next.
Here students are working on the "Said It, Read It, Edit Bag". This is a bad that has all the editing tools a child needs to edit his or her own work. We didn't make a bag because we have a huge caddy with highlighters, pens, markers, pencils, erasers, and everything else we need for editing on our homeschool table. Here we are working together to find any problems with spelling, grammar, structure, etc. and also revising any content Audrey might change her mind about.
Now we are ready to Publish the Final Project.
This is the fun and very rewarding part of the Lesson where we really see the fruit of our labor. *smile* This is also the part Audrey loves because she gets really creative and has fun with design. For this project, I encouraged her to type out her Letter of Invitation, which is something we haven't really done before. Part of this is because I want our kids to have a bit more exposure to typing to build their skills. You could choose to have your child print or cursive write their invite as well. It's up to you.
For the last step in the Lesson, we are encouraged to Evaluate the Student's Work.
Audrey's final project was awesome. I loved it! It reflected her personality as well as what she had learned about writing a letter of invitation. She wrote a letter of invitation to Chicken Appreciation Day, which is creative and fun. I was impressed with her work, how much she learned, and her enthusiasm towards the project. All in all, a huge success.
Brainstorming sheet on left, final project on right.
Adding color and design to her final project.