Wednesday, July 9, 2014

TOS Crew Review WriteShop Primary :Book C Set 

Writing is an area that I truly lack confidence. Teaching writing intimidates me even more. Unfortunately, I feel that my lack of confidence and intimidation of writing has affected my children’s writing skills. I feel very inadequate to teach it to my kids and I am always looking for a solid writing curriculum. When an opportunity came available to review WriteShop I was eager to get started.  I decided to try WriteShop Primary: Book C Set with my 8 year old son.

What comes with the WriteShop Primary: Book C Set?

WriteShop Primary: Book C: Teacher’s Guide is $35.95 and the Primary Activity Pack, Book C is $5.95.   WriteShop Primary Book C Set is for 2nd -3rd graders and remedial 4th graders. You can also purchase these as an e-book as an alternative option. WriteShop is a writing program is for K-6th grade.
They also have other products that go up to 12th grade.

The Teacher’s Guide is a spiral bound book which lays flat. You don’t have to fight with the book staying open when you are teaching.

The first part of the Teacher’s Guide starts out with a basic overview of the levels and how to choose the right one. Also the guide has some basic instructions and overview of the curriculum. The next part will give you a list of materials and supplies, writing centers, and then teaching the lessons. Then it goes into detail of how to use the “Activity Sets”.

Next, they lay out a schedule for teaching. It gives you several options from three to one day a week planning.

In the back it has an Appendix that has the supplies you will need for each lesson. This was very helpful for me.

Also, in the Appendix are additional publishing ideas to make the published story fun and more hands on. More like lapbooking or notebook pages, shape books, and possibly a diorama.
There is also 3 pages of picture book suggestions provided.

This is not what I call and open and go curriculum. It requires planning on your part to prepare for the lessons. Also, this is not a curriculum that your child does alone. It requires the parent being active in the teaching process. There is a lot of scripted dialogue for us parents who lack confidence in teaching writing.

How does it work?

WriteShop Primary:Book C has 10 lessons. Each lesson is then broken down in 8 “Activity Sets” which is basically 8 days of work. It’s very repetitive with each lesson but, I think it builds a solid foundation for writing that engrains the writing process and creates a habit of the writing process.

In each lesson, there are eight Activity Sets:

Activity Set 1-Activity set worksheets

Activity Set 2-Guided writing practice, Pre-writing activities

-Picture book to read out loud

-Related Warm-up games or exercises

Activity Set 3- Guided writing practice, Brainstorming

Activity Set 4-Guided writing practice, The writing project

-Writing the first draft

-Smaller steps (reluctant or younger writers) or

-Flying higher (fluent or advanced writers)

Activity Set 5- Guided writing practice, Editing and Revising

Activity Set 6- Guided writing practice

Activity Set 7- Guided writing practice, Publishing the project

Activity Set 8- Guided writing practice, Evaluating the student’s work, Want to do more?

-Writing across the curriculum

-Computer Capers

Primary Activity Pack, Book C is basically the student package of worksheets. The worksheets can be reproduced within your family use only.

How did I use WriteShop in my homeschool?

First let me add that WriteShop recommends that you be flexible to your child’s need. That is a very big plus for me and our busy lifestyle. I did this with my 8 year old son 3-4x’s a week. We did more than one Activity Set some days as I wanted to get a full feel of the curriculum.

I did experience some tears with this program as my son wasn’t so thrilled working on a writing program in the summer. For the most part when we got going with the program he found that it is not so bad and the writing is not overwhelming. I did do some dictation for him a few times. The lessons are meant to be kept short and we did 15-20 minutes a day.

One aspect that we both liked was the Detail Wheel. It was used often and came in handy when putting a story together. It was easy to take with use on the road. Each lesson is pretty repetitive and if I felt Little Man got the concept we then skipped it. I reviewed it with him from time to time to make sure it was still a concept he knew enough to explain it to me.

Some of the other hands on activities didn’t fit into our weekly 7 appointments a week schedule. I was able to be flexible with WriteShop and make it fit our needs.

I wasn’t able to create a writing center so I put the supplies in a pencil box. (Pencils, markers, stickers, eraser, glue sticks, scissor, tape, and other recommended supplies). I also put construction paper, magazine cuttings, sentence strips, and other material in a large brown envelope that fit in our backpack.

I also adapted the story idea center and used some flashcards of animals, space, plants, and insects for our brainstorming story ideas. I also used a 3-ring folder for our Portable Word Bank instead of making a decorative manila file folder.

I was amazed at how easy and structured WriteShop is. It made me feel less intimidating teaching him. Little Man wasn’t always thrilled with the activities. His favorite was Lesson 2: Writing a Mystery. It turned out to be quite a crazy story that only a boy can imagine.

One activity he wanted to change the theme of a particular lesson. He had borrowed a book from the library on eagles and he wanted to base the lesson of his interest. He was pretty excited. It was more of a research paper but, I wasn’t about to smash his zeal over the assignment and jumped ahead to lesson 10 for him.

Some areas I felt I should of started with Book B and it was a hard choice as he had more skills that placement chart had him in Book C. He did struggle in a few areas. I am going to order Book B and go over something’s with him. Overall, he had some nice writing abilities that impressed me. He wasn’t a big fan of the writing involved. (It’s not too much he just had other things he would rather be doing).

Step by Step instruction

Lessons are short

Lots of hands on projects to fit anyone’s style



Not an open and go curriculum

It requires prep work to do the lessons

I was extremely impressed with WriteShop. I like that it teaches the writing process in small steps. It’s a pretty user friendly writing curriculum for a mom who isn’t confident in her ability to teach writing. It’s laid out in a way that I can understand it and it walks me through each lesson. It was much easier than I imagined.

The prep work is a draw back to me with our crazy schedule. I plan everything in the summer with other subjects by week and put everything together before hand. We do a lot of hands on projects in our homeschool which I prepare in advance. I don’t see why I couldn’t do the same for WriteShop.

I would highly recommend WriteShop .It is a solid elementary writing curriculum that I can do with confidence. 
Don't forget to look at the other reviews from the Crew as some reviewed different levels.

1 comment:

  1. So glad to see that WriteShop Primary helped you feel less intimidated about teaching writing. Thank you for your review!

    Kim Kautzer


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