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Jul 11, 2014

WriteShop B ~ A Review

WriteShop Primary is for students in grades K-3.  It was designed to teach younger children to plan and then write a short story.  We are reviewing WriteShop Primary Book B set which includes the 214 page soft cover, spiralbound WriteShop B Teacher's Guide ($35.95) and the Activity Set Worksheet Pack for students ($4.95).

WriteShop Review

WriteShop is a parent involved program which works well for families with students who enjoy parental interaction and fun preparation activities.  The program has a very thorough teacher's guide which includes an introduction to WriteShop's methods.  The materials needed, how to set up if you did not start with WriteShop A, how to get the most out of each section of the lessons, and using the activity pack will all be explained there.  The appendix has a list of picture books suggestions for each lesson.  If you don't have any of the books for that lesson, just search out books in your home or local library which fit the topic for the lesson.

WriteShop Review

WriteShop B is designed for children in 1st or 2nd grade, as well as reluctant writers in 3rd grade.  I don't know of many children more reluctant than Mal.  You'll find three suggested schedules for one to three weeks per lesson, five to three days each week.  I chose to use the three week per lesson schedule.  The punks aren't keen on writing (as in copywork or even writing their names), let alone writing, so I didn't want to push a heavier schedule on them.  This program made things fairly painless and even a little fun.  Creativity is highly encouraged.

We wrote personal letters in Lesson 1 and the suggested book theme was a trip or vacation..  We wrote several versions of our friendly letters before we were ready to send them.  I liked that spelling was not a concern for the first draft, that content should be the focus without limiting what your writer might say because they couldn't spell a word.

Lesson 2 was a bit more exciting (by our homebodies' standards), with a theme of space.  The lesson focus was on spelling and this is where we created rhyming solar systems.

The theme for Lesson 3 is holidays and we are learning about acrostics.

New skills were learned and utilized during each lesson, such as guided writing, brainstorming, editing and revising, and "publishing" the project for the lesson.  There are also optional Want to Do More? activities.

I thought the editing buddies would be a fun addition to our language arts lessons.  Editing buddies can be any stuffed animal or action figure your child wants to use.  You and your student read the current writing assignment to the editing buddy, check the assignment for errors in spelling, punctuation, and for content, and then your child reads the revised version to the editing buddy again.  My boys weren't terribly interested in including a buddy with our schooling, but I thought it was a cute idea and I'm sure many children would love that. 

I was surprised that there was only one double-sided sheet per lesson in the Activity Set Worksheet Pack, especially when I looked at the sample lesson plans which ran from one to three weeks.  Then I realized most of the lesson involved regular writing and revising lessons.  We set up a notebook for each of the punks to use for the other writing work.

WriteShop Review

A Primary Writing Skills Evaluation Chart is included in the pack.  With this chart, I am able to keep track of improvement or areas of struggle as we progress though the ten lessons in the book.

Xav's Evaluation Chart
 The Activity Set Worksheet Pack contains 20 activity pages which can be reproduced for single-family use.  I did get a second pack locally, just because we always seem to be having some sort of trouble with the printer.

Some prep was necessary since we have never used WriteShop before.  If you start with A, a lot of projects will be made then.  We used file folders to create a Super Speller! for each of the boys.  This is just a place to keep words that they are having difficulty spelling.  The drawback with this one is that the words are not alphabetical.  I haven't started a spelling dictionary yet, but I plan to.  It will make it easier to find a word if they are at least sorted by first letter.

My Garden of Rhyming Words was from WriteShop Book A.  Not being a terribly flowery couple of boys, they helped me make...  SOLAR SYSTEMS!  This one was the most fun.  I used a huge punch for suns and a smaller circle punch for planets, lots and lots of planets.  When we thought of new words and had run out of circles, I just wrote them on the back of the folders.

Your young writer does not need to actually be writing to use WriteShop Primary, as it is a program which can utilize dictation.

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