In the fall, I listened to an mp3 of Kim Kautzer at WriteShop and began reading her blog, In Our Write Minds. I found a lot of great tips there and began using some of her suggestions. I looked at WriteShop and thought if I were to write a curriculum for writing, it would look a lot like this. So, when she put out the call through a newsletter that she was looking for folks to beta test a 5th grade program, I jumped at the chance to try it out. We've been using WriteShop Junior Level E since February. It's been a great time! I use it with my three oldest kids though it is designed for 5th grade. I think it's right on target and I'm very happy to report that the coaching I've been doing all these years has paid off! Even my 3rd grader using a 5th grade program is doing very well without missing a beat.
|This week is a concrete poem- so the kids got to choose a shape.|
|And paste the words in their shape to make a poem.|
|We do a modeling of the assignment together. This is our poem on The Sword.|
Each lesson topic lasts two weeks and is very predictable in terms of the order of the activities. My hands on girl loves the variety and she has been producing a lot of great writing. I already mentioned that I love the editing process. It has given me more concrete ideas for improving their self-editing skills which has made a difference.
I am more convinced than ever that a formal program of writing and grammar has not been necessary! I'm not sure what's in store after this semester. I will likely return to coaching and daily writing with our younger boys. E12 will definitely be using the One Year Adventure Novel next year in 8th grade (with a return to it in 10th or 11th grade). I'm not certain what R10 will do for 6th grade next year. I do own WriteShop I and we will likely give that a go. One thing I love about WriteShop is that it breaks down the writing process without leaving behind the authenticity. It is very easy to relate the types of writing we learn to very familiar books that we have experienced together. It has been a great experience to work with Kim and her WriteShop materials. I'm sure you will hear more about our process before we finish up in June. We are about half way through this beta program at the moment.