Entries Tagged 'WriteShop Primary' ↓
March 31st, 2014 — Teaching Writing, WriteShop Primary
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I’ve been writing and blogging for a while now. Yet no matter how many times I’ve read the rules for using hyphens between adjectives, I never got the hang of it. Until last Thursday, that is. That was the day I explained hyphens to someone else.
“No matter what you’re studying, when you turn around and teach someone else, and the sooner the better, you deepen your understanding of the subject.” –Deb Peterson, learning and training consultant
Homeschooling moms are often just one step ahead of the kids as we learn new facts and concepts to teach them. Yet don’t you find that when you prepare a lesson and explain it them, the information becomes implanted in your own mind in deeper, more lasting ways?
Just think how much your kids could benefit from similar opportunities to teach someone else what they’ve been learning!
Older Students: Teach Younger Children
When homeschooling multiple ages, it often makes sense to ask your high schooler to tutor a younger sibling in one or two areas. If 16-year-old Greg is a math whiz, why wouldn’t you want him helping 8-year-old Krista? This teaching time can build brother-sister relationships if you as the parent are careful to foster a spirit of mutual kindness and respect.
But what if that math whiz still struggles with writing and grammar concepts (hyphens, for instance)? You can still ask him to teach a grammar concept to his little sister. It will probably benefit him more than it will Krista—but that’s okay! It’s a great way to cement a concept in his mind as he introduces something new to his younger sibling. While you might not assign this “teaching time” every day, you may find huge benefits in scheduling it once or twice a week.
Mom: Krista, as part of your grammar lesson, Greg’s going to explain something new about punctuation. I need you to be a good listener, okay?
Greg: I’m learning how to use this little punctuation line called a hyphen. You use it between two adjectives sometimes. Adjectives are words that describe things.
Krista: I know about adjectives!
Greg: Good. Just making sure. So, sometimes you have a sentence with two adjectives in front of a noun, like this: “I wore a warm winter coat.” Do you think we need a hyphen between “warm” and “winter”?
Krista: I don’t know.
Greg: No, because nothing changes when those adjectives work alone. You can either say “warm coat” or “winter coat.” They’re both right. But, if I changed it to “I wore a button-down shirt,” then you would need a hyphen. That’s because those words can’t work alone to describe my shirt. You wouldn’t say “button shirt” or “down shirt.” That doesn’t even make sense!
Krista: I still don’t get it.
Greg: Okay … the hyphen’s job is to make two words work together as one adjective. Pretend you have a blue striped dress. What are your two adjectives?
Krista: Blue and striped.
Greg: Right! Now, if you want to explain that the stripes—not the dress—are blue, you would use a hyphen and write “blue-striped dress.” The hyphen makes the “blue” and “striped” work together. They become one adjective that describes your dress.
Krista: Hyphens are confusing!
Greg: That’s okay. It just takes practice. How about if we practice with a few more examples? I’ll write down some phrases. I want you to read each phrase, but leave out one of the first two words. If the meaning of the whole phrase changes, we’ll know we need to add a hyphen. Try this one.
Krista: Chocolate covered marshmallow … chocolate marshmallow … wait! The marshmallow isn’t chocolate. It’s white!
Greg: Right! And “covered marshmallow” doesn’t make sense either! That means it needs a hyphen: chocolate-covered marshmallow.
Which of these examples need hyphens?
1. peanut butter cookies 2. three hour flight 3. windy autumn day 4. yellow cotton socks 5. funny looking clown 6. sunny Saturday morning 7. brown haired girl 8. forest green paint
(Answers: 1–yes; 2–yes; 3–no; 4–no; 5–yes; 6–no; 7–yes; 8–yes)
Younger Children: Meet Your Editing Buddy!
WriteShop Primary Book B introduces the idea of using “editing buddies” to encourage young children in the writing and editing process. Choose a small doll, stuffed animal, or action figure that only makes an appearance when it’s time for your first, second, or third-grade child to edit a writing project. Any kid can step into the role of teacher when an editing buddy is there to listen!
Girls are often all too happy to “play school” with their dolls. With a child-sized chalkboard, your daughter will spend hours teaching Saige or Princess Anna how to write reports, poems, or friendly letters. She can also sit side-by-side with her doll as they “work together” to edit a story.
Your boys, however, might resist the idea of playing teacher. You’ll have to think outside the box to make “teaching time” fun! Perhaps your son loves playing army. Ask him to wear camouflage when it’s time for a writing assignment, and surprise him with a G.I. Joe action figure standing at attention on the school table or writing center. Explain that G.I. Joe has been slacking with his writing lately, and the country needs your son to hammer this soldier into shape!
Mom: Can you tell G.I. Joe why I underlined these three words in your writing assignment?
Child (in a tough, military voice): Because those words are BORING!
Mom: What should G.I. Joe do about that?
Child (yelling like a drill commander): Change them to words that aren’t BORING!
Mom: I’ll let you work on that for a few minutes while I’m on KP duty.
Child: Yes, Ma’am!
Have you ever used editing buddies in your writing lessons? Have you asked your kids to learn by teaching? Share your experience in the comments below!
Daniella Dautrich is a WriteShop alumna and a graduate of Hillsdale College. She and her husband fill their home with books on writing, literature, and computer science. Daniella also blogs at www.waterlilywriter.com.
January 23rd, 2012 — WriteShop Primary, Writing Games & Activities
“The kids loved the Friendly Letter Boogie—that was a fun entertaining way to make the lesson stick. I still catch them doing it.” –Jennifer, NC
The early elementary years are the perfect time to introduce children to writing a friendly letter.
Part of writing a letter includes learning to format it properly. With all those headings and greetings and signatures, this can prove complicated for young children, who are still just learning about writing sentences and paragraphs.
That’s why mnemonics, songs, fingerplays, and motion activities are so valuable at this age—they reinforce trickier concepts, aid children in learning new skills, and help with recall.
Doin’ the “Friendly Letter Boogie”
Your children will enjoy this movement activity to help them remember the parts of a friendly letter.
Heading. At the very top of a friendly letter is the heading. The date goes here. Ask your child to pat her head to remember that the heading comes first.
Greeting. Second comes the greeting, such as “Dear Grandma.” Extend and shake hands to “greet” each other.
Body. Third is the body of the letter. Invite your child to wiggle her body to remember that the body of the letter comes next.
Closing. At the bottom of the letter is the closing, where she’ll write: “Love,” “Your friend,” or “Sincerely.” Tell your child to close her feet together for the closing.
Signature. To help your child remember to include her signature at the bottom of the letter, have her sign her name on the floor with her foot.
Isn’t this a fun way to practice and remember? Each day that you work on writing letters together, have your children do the Friendly Letter Boogie. In no time, they’ll have mastered the steps of formatting a basic letter!
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WriteShop Primary, an early-elementary writing curriculum for homeschoolers, is filled with games and activities such as the Friendly Letter Boogie—fun ways to help you introduce important skills to your youngest writers.
Photo credits: Karah Fredricks. Used by permission.
May 25th, 2010 — Encouragement, Reviews, WriteShop, WriteShop Primary
It’s always so encouraging to open up my inbox each day and find a glowing review or happy testimonial from a homeschooling mom who’s been using WriteShop with her children. It’s been nearly ten years since we first published WriteShop I and II, and believe me, I never dreamed the results would be so far-reaching.
I’d love to share some of these comments with you. Be blessed!
WriteShop I and II
“Thank you so much for a fabulous two years!” ~Mindy
“Kudos to WriteShop! I have found your program to be the most clearly laid out program that I have ever used. My son and his friends went from whining about a writing project to being capable of producing a great essay in a short period of time. Best of all, they now see themselves as writers. I simply cannot believe the difference.” ~Kristel
“Write Shop has been a wonderful program for us. I don’t think my dyslexic daughter would have ever learned to write without it!” ~Dena
“I’m using this program with my 13-year old son. I used it with my freshman-in-college son also. I believe WriteShop gave my oldest son amazing writing skills; in fact, he aspires to be a writer. Thanks for putting out an amazing curriculum!” ~Roseann
“We have used your products for three years and love them!” ~Lisa
“Let me tell you what a wonderful writing program you’ve created in WriteShop I & II. I used it with my son, who received a journalism scholarship to Samford University in Birmingham, AL … Your material covered every reasonable thing he needed to know about sound, solid writing and enabled me to objectively assess his work. I recommend WriteShop to everyone who talks to me about writing skills.” ~Mary
“WriteShop is a Godsend to us…Thank you so much!” ~Linda
“I love your program! I have taught in the public schools, and I have also homeschooled, so I have seen my fair share of writing curriculum, but this is the best. It’s not hard to teach from the teacher’s point of view, it’s not hard to learn from the student’s point of view, and—it’s fun! Plus, thank you for the twenty-two pages of word lists—they’re fabulous! …Your program has answered many prayers.” ~Sharon
“You should call this program Writing for Children Who Have Mothers Who Didn’t Pay Attention in High School. It’s just so easy to teach!” ~Becky
“My son and I have already dived right into Book A—he’ll be starting Gr. 1 in the fall. I have been very impressed so far at the fun we’re having and how well this has been put together.” ~Dianne
“I am working through your WriteShop Primary Book A with my 2nd grader. He loves this program. He told me that it is his favorite subject. He loves the creative part of dictating the story and illustrating it each day.” ~Tami,
“This is the best writing experience my kids and I have ever had. They are writing!!! My little one (Kindergarten) is writing as well as my 2nd grader and both are doing so much better than I ever expected.” ~Mia
“A special thanks to the dedicated staff at WriteShop for a wonderful curriculum! We really enjoyed using WriteShop [Primary] together. It was challenging and rewarding, and also held his interest because of the subject matter and creative way that it was presented.” ~Julia
“My son progressed in his ability to organize his thoughts before starting to write, and he learned the importance of choosing the right words to express his thoughts…. I love the way the curriculum guided him through the writing process in small steps, and the way it offered me lots of options to tailor it to him.” ~Debbie
“My daughter, who has always loved to write, feels like she has gotten much better at writing paragraphs. I would agree with her! She’s never lacked confidence, but just needed some guidance and this program has helped her tremendously…. She loved this program so much that she has been writing paragraphs on her own during her free time!” ~Beth
“I am thrilled with my 10 yo’s progress…. This last project was so encouraging!! It was a ‘Yes! This is why I am homeschooling’ moment…. Now he is much more OK with writing on blank page—once we stop and do the brainstorming! Since I’ve used your other products I must say—you do such a great job of breaking it all down—making the end project attainable. It’s fun to see kids even at this level able to make so much progress!” ~Sharie
Read more testimonials here.
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Visit our website at writeshop.com to learn more about WriteShop I, WriteShop II, and WriteShop Primary.
Photo of boy © 2009 Kim Kautzer. All rights reserved.
May 11th, 2010 — Grammar & Spelling, WriteShop Primary
Another question from the WriteShop mailbag . . .
Q: I am very interested in WriteShop Primary. I love the layout of the lessons and the help you offer the parent. I see that it has a spelling component, but would I need to supplement that?
A: Spelling is taught in both WriteShop Primary Book B and Book C. WriteShop Primary encourages individualized spelling. Instead of focusing on a prescribed list of words from a spelling book, your child will learn to spell the words he tends to use in his own writing. This is a more natural, practical approach to spelling. You don’t need a separate spelling curriculum when using Books B and C.
Young children often spell “by ear” as they try to write phonetically. Books B and C introduce them to simple reference tools and spelling games they can use to check and practice spelling.
Here are a few examples:
The Super Speller! helps your child become more aware of familiar sight words and other words he uses frequently. You can think of it as his own personal spelling reference. As you work closely with him, you’ll spot the words he can and can’t spell correctly. When you note a misspelled word, you can add it to the Super Speller! To reinforce the importance of using standard spelling, your child will be directed to use his Super Speller! throughout Books B and C.
Can of Words
This is a fun Book B activity that helps the child practice his spelling words.
Labeling Household Objects
In Book B, you’re encouraged to write common words on index cards and tape them around the house: door, lamp, floor, rug, desk, book, etc. This helps your child become familiar with the spelling of these everyday objects.
Spinner Spelling Game
Introduced in Book C, this is an engaging game with variations that gives children spelling practice.
The child will make a personal spelling dictionary in Book C. This is yet another tool we use to reinforce standard spelling.
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Spelling tools and games are among the many fun and creative activities WriteShop Primary uses to reinforce simple writing skills at the primary level. Learn more by visiting www.writeshop.com.
February 1st, 2010 — WriteShop Primary
No matter the curriculum, whether math, penmanship, or writing, picking the best starting level for your child can challenge the most seasoned homeschooler—especially when said child doesn’t exactly fit a grade-specific mold.
WriteShop Primary is no exception—you may need more help picking a starting level than the placement chart offers. The following lists identify specific skills within a range of ages, making it easier for you to choose the very best place to begin the program.
Start with Book A if your 5- to 7-year-old is not yet able to:
- Identify beginning, middle, and end in a story.
- Complete predictable sentence starters.
- Identify and use punctuation marks at the end of a sentence.
- Begin a sentence with a capital letter.
- Choose an appropriate title.
- Think of simple ways to improve a story.
- Read and write color words.
- Recognize words that rhyme.
NOTE: Reading and writing skills are NOT required for Book A students. All work may be done orally.
WriteShop Primary Book A (print version)
WriteShop Primary Book A (e-book version)
Start with Book B if your 6- to 8-year-old is not yet able to:
- Identify or use paragraph form and indentation.
- Use graphic organizers to plan a story.
- Include a beginning, middle, and end in his story.
- Figure out how to add more details to a story.
- Organize a story to include a problem and its solution.
- Choose story endings.
- Write or dictate a friendly letter.
- Write or dictate about something that has happened to him.
- Retell nursery rhymes and fairy tales in his own words.
- Identify the parts of a friendly letter.
- Identify words that rhyme.
- Use standard spelling tools such as a dictionary.
WriteShop Primary Book B (print version)
WriteShop Primary Book B (e-book version)
Start with Book C if your 7- to 9-year-old is not yet able to:
- Plan the main ingredients of a story before beginning to write.
- Ask who, what, when, where, and why? in order to add story details.
- Organize story details.
- Write entries in a personal journal.
- Use descriptive words in his writing.
- Write a short nonfiction article.
- Summarize the contents of familiar books.
- Collect research facts about a specific topic.
- Write a simple, short report with introduction, body, and closing.
- Use standard spelling.
- Check his own work for correct spelling and punctuation.
WriteShop Primary Book C (print version)
WriteShop Primary Book C (e-book version)
October 20th, 2009 — WriteShop Primary
At long last, we’re excited to announce the release of the final book of our WriteShop Primary series. Yes—WriteShop Primary Book C has arrived!
About WriteShop Primary
WriteShop Primary introduces young children to the steps of the writing process using engaging activities, crafts, and picture books. The program creates an environment that promotes a joy of learning in young students and helps them experience success as they develop the ability to write. Whether you have a more advanced child or one who is just beginning, this program is flexible so children can work at their own level.
Who can use Book C?
Book C is recommended for second and third grade, but many of our test families also used it successfully with reluctant fourth, fifth, and even sixth graders. Parents also appreciated being able to use the book with children who learn with difficulty.
In Book C, children learn to:
- Plan, create, and publish simple stories, articles, and reports with parent help.
- Choose the main ingredients of a story before beginning to write.
- Learn to ask who, what, when, where, why?
- Use different graphic organizers to plan a story.
- Write entries in a personal journal.
- Describe an object, a person, and a place.
- Write a nonfiction article.
- Write a book report.
- Learn to use research to write a short report.
- “Publish” stories through projects or crafts.
Other skills introduced in Book C
- Using standard spelling
- Identifying describing words
- Using a simple self-editing checklist
- Summarizing contents of familiar books
- Collecting research facts about a specific topic
- Using computer publishing software
Here’s what parents have been saying about Book C
“The lessons were simple enough to build my son’s confidence,
yet challenging enough that he was always learning something new.” –Tammy, Florida
“I appreciate that I could teach three of my children at the same time and see each one’s writing improve. It’s beneficial for students with a wide variety of writing skills—non-writers, reluctant writers, disorganized writers—even enthusiastically prolific writers!” –Beth, South Carolina
“I am amazed at the progress my son made in such a short time. His ability to put his thoughts together in an organized way has improved dramatically. WriteShop Primary was very easy to teach. I loved that the lessons were easy to adapt to different learning styles.” –Bonnie, TX
Exclusive Introductory Offer for Blog Readers Only
Between October 20-31, you can order Book C, purchasing either a physical copy or the e-book version—and get 10% off!
Just leave a comment below and we’ll send you a coupon code by email entitling you to a 10% discount on Book C and the accompanying Activity Pack for Book C! (Good only at WriteShop. Offer ends October 31. )
Buy the physical book (print version)
Buy the e-book (PDF download)
July 5th, 2009 — WriteShop Primary
Today is the last day to pre-order WriteShop Primary Book B and get a 10% discount. Offer ends at midnight Pacific time. Hurry!
Get your coupon code here.
February 26th, 2009 — WriteShop Primary, Writing Games & Activities
Reading books with simple story lines can help your K-3rd grader become a better writer. Every story has certain key elements: character, setting, problem, solution, beginning, middle, end. But how can you help your child remember these elements and translate them to her writing?
Try tossing some pepperoni!
I’m not talking about a food fight, but a fun writing game for primary kids you can play with two or more players. Here’s how.
Toss the Pepperoni
Prepare the Game
Make the game board: Decorate a large piece of poster board with paint or markers to look like a giant pizza. Cut out the round pizza.
Make the game pieces: Prepare “pepperoni slices” as game pieces to toss onto the pizza. For each player, cut out seven 4-inch circles from sturdy cardboard. To keep the pepperoni pieces separate, use a different color cardboard for each player. (Alternatively, each player can color one side of his game pieces or mark them with a sticker. )Label each set of pieces with the following words, one word per piece: character, setting, problem, solution, beginning, middle, end.
Read a Picture Book
Choose a picture book to read to your child. Make sure there’s a storyline, not merely words or phrases. When finished:
- See if your child can identify the main character of the story.
- Ask her to describe the story’s setting—when and where the events took place.
- Ask her to identify the problem and solution.
- Discuss the beginning, the middle, and the end of the story.
Play the Game
Play a game together with your child to help her remember the important parts of the picture book you just read: character, setting, problem, solution, beginning, middle, and end.
- Place the giant pizza game board on the floor. Use a jump rope or piece of yarn to mark a line where players must stand when attempting to toss their game pieces onto the pizza.
- Take turns tossing game pieces like Frisbees. Before tossing a “pepperoni,” the player must read the word on the circle and give an example from the picture book that corresponds with the word. For instance, before your child tosses her game piece that is labeled “character,” she must name one of the characters in the story.
- The player with the most pepperoni slices on the pizza at the end wins the game.
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“Toss the Pepperoni” is just one of the many fun and creative activities WriteShop Primary uses to reinforce simple writing skills at the primary level. This game appears in Book B.
September 25th, 2008 — Publishing Project Ideas, WriteShop Primary, Writing Games & Activities
Publish Your Child’s Stories
ONE OF the most encouraging and rewarding experiences for a young author is to see her work published. As a second and third grader, I remember how much I loved to find my own little stories and poems published in our school’s newsletter.
WriteShop Primary gives your student the opportunity to publish her writing project as a book or other art form that she can share with others.
She might make a story kite to fly around the house as she “reads” it to Daddy; create a paper-plate face book; or turn her story into an accordian-folded train. (Visit our website for more info about WriteShop Primary, our delightful parent-guided writing program for K-3rd graders. It’s filled with fun, engaging activities to promote a love for writing!)
Make a Story Pocket
Featured in Book A, story pockets make wonderful publishing tools, and they’re perfect for storing and displaying a child’s early stories and drawings. Here’s how to make one.
Short Pocket: Use one paper plate. Cut it in half. Place both pieces face to face and staple together around the curved edges. The top straight edges remain open to form a pocket.
Tall Pocket: Use two paper plates. Leave one plate whole. Cut the second plate in two, discarding one of the halves. Staple the half plate to the full-size plate to create a tall pocket with a high back.
- Allow time for the child to use crayons, markers, paint, or stickers to decorate the paper plate so it matches the theme of the story.
- Fold the story and store it inside the pocket.
- (Optional) Have your child draw a picture of each object in the story on cardboard, poster board, or tagboard. Cut out the tagboard pieces and store them in the pocket along with the story.
- Encourage your child to read her story to family members or a friend, pulling out the corresponding pieces from the pocket and placing them on the table as she shares.
- These pockets also make great holders for holiday greeting cards!
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Copyright © 2008 Kim Kautzer. All rights reserved.
August 11th, 2008 — Reluctant Writers, Teaching Writing, WriteShop Primary
Young children in grades K-2 are usually considered “pre-writers”—just learning to write letters, words, and groups of words. Their writing experience should be fun! After all, isn’t our goal is to help our primary-age children build confidence as they gain the ability to write?
Daily Guided Writing
Because children learn best by example, take time to model good writing techniques to your child. Let her narrate her words to you through a daily time of guided writing. This gives her that predictable, shared writing experience that’s so important to her development.
For beginning readers, the predictable patterns and easy sight words build confidence. For more confident readers, narration gives daily practice in reading and writing harder words and sentences.
Most importantly, this time of guided writing gives kids the freedom to put together ideas and create word patterns without the limitations and fear of having to write them down. So even if your child already knows how to write simple sentences, you can often get more from him if he is allowed to dictate his words to you rather than write on his own.
How to Elicit Narration from Young Children
Together, you and your child can write several short sentences about simple, familiar topics such as animals, friends, the weather, or upcoming events. Sounds easy, right? But if you ask your son to tell you all about friends, for example, he’ll probably say, “I don’t know.” It’s an awfully broad topic, after all, and his little mind may be all a-jumble. Most kids need direction, but some will need more help than others to formulate their thoughts into simple words.
So how do you get your child to dictate to you? It’s all about asking questions! For the youngest or most reluctant kids, begin by writing three to five predictable sentence starters, such as:
A friend is
Friends like to
Friends are special because
Next, discuss various options for ideas on how to complete each of the three sentences. Ask questions to lead and prompt your little one and to keep the dialog on track. Here’s one idea:
You: Let’s think of some words that tell us about friends. I’ll go first. A friend is funny. Now it’s your turn.
Child: A friend is happy.
You: A friend is important.
Child: A friend is kind.
You: These are all great. Which one should we choose for today?
Child: A friend is kind.
You: Let’s write that. A friend is kind. Here’s the marker. Can you help me write the word kind?
You: What do friends like to do together?
Child: Play games.
You: Let’s use complete thoughts. Friends like to play games together. Say that. “Friends like to play games together.”
Child: Friends like to play games together.
You: Great. Let’s write it down. Friends like to play games together. Can you help me with the marker?
You: Tell me—why are friends special?
Child: Because they share their toys?
You: Yes, that’s a very important reason. Can you finish this sentence to make a complete thought? Friends are special because ____.
Child: Friends are special because they share their toys.
You: Good job. Now let’s write that down. Friends are special because they share their toys.
When you’re done, you might end up with something like this:
A friend is kind.
Friends like to play games together.
Friends are special because they share their toys.
Not only have you modeled thinking skills to your child (by asking questions like who, what, and why), but you’ve also demonstrated simple techniques of beginning with a capital letter, ending with a period, and using a complete thought. See how a simple five-minute dialog can go a long way in teaching basic writing skills?
Copyright © 2008 Kim Kautzer. All rights reserved.
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This dialog comes from Lesson 4 of WriteShop Primary Book A. WriteShop Primary is filled with dialog examples to help you prompt your child during daily guided writing times. Book A is now available in our store. Book B should be released later this year.