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WriteShop Junior Book E is here at last!

WriteShop Junior Book E is officially launched! You'll love this stellar upper-elementary homeschool writing program!

Quotation Marks“WriteShop Junior is the most complete, fun and effective writing program we have found, and it makes teaching writing ‘do-able’ for me!” –Shyla, British Columbia

WriteShop Junior Book E

At long last, please join us in welcoming the newest baby to the WriteShop family! Even though WriteShop Junior Book E, our top-notch upper-elementary homeschool writing program, made its secret debut in our store over the weekend, today we’re sharing the news of its official release. Are you as excited as we are?  

(Scroll to the bottom for our Intro Special)

Book E is recommended for 4th and 5th grade, but many of our test families used it successfully with 6th and 7th graders as well.

Moms and kids alike love Book E!

Quotation Marks - gray

“I used to feel so unprepared to teach writing and was frustrated when my son didn’t get it. With the tools offered in Book E, he’s now equipped to take on many kinds of writing.” –Krystin, Kentucky

“After using WriteShop Junior, my children no longer fear the ‘Great White Blank Paper.’ What was once overwhelming has become a manageable, step by step process.” –Hanlie, Michigan

About WriteShop Junior

Four components make up the WriteShop Junior Book E program. Two are required and two are optional.

1. Teacher’s Guide

WriteShop Junior Book E | Teacher's Guide The Book E Teacher’s Guide holds your hand as you lead your kids through the writing process. Each lesson follows a consistent format, but the varied and interesting activities mean your children will look forward to each day’s work.

Helpful schedules break the writing process into bite-size chunks that are easy for you to teach and easy for your kids to understand and master. Whether you have reluctant or motivated writers, this program offers flexible options so they can work at their own level.

Book E has 10 lessons (chapters). Most homeschoolers prefer the schedule that spreads each lesson over three weeks. Working three days per week, you’ll complete Book E in one school year. Here’s a peek at the Table of Contents:

  1. Fables (Character and Voice)
  2. Humor (Humor and Dialogue)
  3. Adventure (Scene and Setting)
  4. Science Fiction (Blending Fiction with Scientific Fact)
  5. Mystery (Elements of a Mystery)
  6. Concrete Poetry (Creating a Shape Poem)
  7. Personal Narrative (Intro to 5-Paragraph Writing)
  8. Descriptive Narrative (Describing Three Items or Events)
  9. Book Report (Responding to Literature)
  10. Nonfiction Report (Collecting Facts)

2. Activity Pack

WriteShop Junior Book E | Activity PackAn essential part of WriteShop Junior Book E, the Activity Pack is actually two workbooks in one! It contains both the Student Worksheets and the Level 2 Fold-N-Go Grammar Pack:

  • Student Worksheet Pack: Includes 87 activity pages your child will use to complete portions of each lesson. Games, word banks, worksheets, and graphic organizers introduce children to lifelong writing skills such as brainstorming and self-editing.
  • Fold-N-Go Grammar Pack: Make 10 grammar and writing guides, each devoted to a different skill. Simple rules, engaging examples, and practice exercises make learning or reviewing grammar fun!

3. Time-Saver Pack (Optional)

WriteShop Junior Book E | Time-Saver PackInstead of creating and assembling your own game cards, spinners, and other tools to teach creative writing, busy moms like you will appreciate the Time-Saver Pack’s durable, ready-made props for many Book E activities.

The print version contains 20 sturdy pages printed on white and colored cardstock. Instructions for using each page may be found in the Book E Teacher’s Guide.

The Time-Saver Pack is completely optional; if you prefer to make your own props and cards, you’ll find instructions in the Teacher’s Guide as well. 

4. Junior Writer’s Notebook 1: Fun with Story Planning (Optional)

A writer’s notebook helps young writers develop stronger, more interesting stories and reports.

This special notebook is often called a “seed bed of ideas.” Some of these “seeds” will sprout and grow to become stories. Others will remain ideas that your child might explore and develop at another time. Junior Writer's Notebook 1 | Fun with Story Planning

WriteShop’s Junior Writer’s Notebook pages not only help improve writing skills, they make writing even more fun! These printable worksheets may be used:

  • Alongside any writing program to enhance the writing experience
  • As an optional resource that specifically coordinates with lessons in WriteShop Junior Book E

 

I just wanted to take a moment to thank you. “My son is very challenging to homeschool so I am very surprised by his response to this curriculum. He LOVES it! The creativity WriteShop adds to each lesson is a plus for our family. Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!” –Michelle M., Florida

“Love, love WriteShop. I think it ‘fits’ every child … even my high-functioning special needs boys. Excellent product!” –Deborah, Texas

Value Pack

WriteShop Junior Book E Value PackWe’ve assembled a Book E Value Pack for easy shopping! It contains all four components of WriteShop Junior Book E and is available in both PRINT and DIGITAL (PDF) formats.

Download a sample lesson from WriteShop Junior Book E

If you would like to share this lesson sample with others, link to this post. Do not link directly to the PDF file. Feel free to print this PDF file for your own personal use. Please do not sell or host this file anywhere else. 

Do you have younger children? Check out WriteShop Primary (K-3rd) and WriteShop Junior Book D (3rd-4th).

Garden of Rhyming Words

Reinforce spelling and reading skills with rhyming word activities.

All year, you’ve watched your child’s vocabulary grow like a garden of wildflowers. You’ve watered, weeded, and spread plenty of sunshine with family read-aloud times, spelling lessons, and writing games. This week, help your child display what she’s learned with a colorful “garden” of rhyming words!

Kindergarten or First Grade: Word Family Flowers

A word family is a set of words with similar sounds and spelling patterns, such as set, jet, bet, and met. To help your child make a word family flower, you’ll need to gather a few supplies:

  • A blank sheet of white copy paper
  • A stem and leaves cut from green paper, and a circular flower center cut from yellow paper
  • Flower petals cut from bright or pastel paper
  • Glue sticks

Together, write a word family ending in the middle of the flower, such as -at. Now, choose simple rhyming words like rat and cat that will fit in this family. (Rhyming picture books are a great place to help your child find words!) Help her write one word on each flower petal. Finally, help your child arrange the pieces into a beautiful flower on the white paper, and glue it all in place.

The -at word family flower is now ready for display! Wouldn’t this be a pretty addition to your schoolroom or writing center? I’m confident your little gardeners won’t want to stop with just one flower. Make more flowers with word endings such as –en,–ot, –ike, and–ill.

When the flowers are completed, display them on the wall. Alternatively, three-hole punch each page (or slip pages into sheet protectors) and store them together in a notebook. Let your child decorate a notebook cover page with the title “My Garden of Rhyming Words.”

First, Second, or Third Grade: Rhyme Gardens

As your children develop their reading and spelling skills, they might start to notice that some rhyming words are spelled very differently. Help them visualize the relationship between these homophones with a rhyme garden. First, gather:

  • A sheet of white paper
  • Tulip flowers cut from brightly-colored paper
  • Crayons, markers, or colored pencils to draw stems and leaves
  • Glue sticks

Your child will enjoy arranging the tulips and adding greenery on the white paper. For this first rhyme garden, choose a familiar ending sound, such as –ate. Help your child write a variety of rhyming words in the garden, one word on each tulip, such as late, eight, great, straight, and wait. Other word families include –o (go, row, hoe, though, and sew) and –air (hair, where, bear, stare, and their). Remind your kids to practice pronouncing these words out loud while they are writing or coloring.

These rhyme gardens can be added to the child’s three-ring notebook, or used to decorate the refrigerator and bedroom closet doors!

Variation

Give your kids a long sheet of white butcher paper. Every twelve inches or so, start a new rhyme garden with different color flowers. For instance, use

  • yellow tulips for show, go, and toe;
  • orange tulips for score, roar, and door;
  • purple tulips for bird, word, and herd; and
  • blue tulips for threw, blue, and do.

Encourage your children to keep adding to their “flower field” as they encounter and master new words.

WriteShop Primary Book BThese rhyming word activities come from WriteShop Primary A and B by Nancy I. Sanders. If you like what you see, be sure check out the entire WriteShop Primary series. Complete with Teacher’s Manuals and Activity Packs, this writing curriculum is full of kid-friendly activities that will leave your youngsters asking for more!

If you’re considering WriteShop Primary as part of your homeschool curriculum for next year, find out what other parents are saying. As always, we would love to hear your feedback as well!

Kids can learn by teaching others!

Make writing lessons more effective by asking your kids to "teach" others what they're learning!

This article contains affiliate links.

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.

Example:

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?

Krista: 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!

Example:

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 DautrichDaniella 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.

Photo: Carissa Rogers, courtesy of Creative Commons

WriteShop Junior Book E – Coming soon!

Coming Soon! WriteShop Jr Book E: engaging, hands-on creative writing program to guide 4th-6th graders through the writing process

Quotation Marks“One of the best things about WriteShop is the confidence built through small steps, ‘line upon line, precept upon precept!'” –Tammy, Florida

WriteShop Junior Book E

Have you been eagerly awaiting the second level of the WriteShop Junior series? Though we’re not quite ready to start taking pre-orders, we did want to announce that Book E’s release is right around the corner!

Exciting news! But we need to be honest and say we don’t have a definite date yet. Originally, we thought Book E would be ready a year ago. Then we hoped to publish it in time for the current school year. With all its myriad pieces, the project has taken much longer than anticipated, and believe me, it’s nice to be nearing the finish line.

Details, Details

Where, exactly, are we in the publishing process? The Teacher’s Guide will be going to print in the next few weeks. The Student Activity Pack (over 130 pages) is still in various stages of final editing, but (hurrah!) it’s mostly finished. Our wonderful illustrator, Deborah Thomson, and graphic designer, Becky Thomson, have created top-notch worksheets you and your kids will just love. (Scroll down to download a FREE lesson!)

[UPDATE: Book E is now available in the WriteShop store]

Quality is important to us. This means spending hours poring over details, proofreading and tweaking to make Book E a pleasure for moms to teach and a joy for children to use. If you can be patient for just a while longer, you’ll be rewarded for the wait with a stellar upper-elementary homeschool writing program. Author Nancy I. Sanders has done it again: WriteShop Junior Book E is absolutely incredible!

Parent Testimonials

Don’t just take it from us. The moms who test-drove WriteShop Junior Book E can say it way better:

Quotation Marks - gray

“My own feelings of inadequacy in the area of writing quickly faded away. Heartfelt thanks for creating WriteShop for moms like me!”
–Tammy, New Mexico

“My son says, ‘I love WriteShop! If you learn to do it right, writing’s not so scary.’ I don’t know what that says about my instruction in the past, but I know it says a lot about
WriteShop Junior!” –Jennifer, Illinois

“I am amazed at the progress my daughter has made
in her writing. Her confidence has increased, and it shows
in other areas, too.” –Hillary, Indiana

About WriteShop Junior

Appeals to Different Learning Styles

WriteShop Junior is a creative writing program that appeals to many learning styles. As with all WriteShop products, Book E helps you guide your kids through the steps of the writing process. To keep it fun for everyone, every lesson includes visual, auditory, and kinesthetic games and activities that teach and review key writing and self-editing skills. The best part? Your children will learn to love writing.

“I am so pleased … This was a great program—better than anything we’ve tried. It kept her engaged and interested. I think WriteShop Junior
is amazing!” –Mary, Pennsylvania

“My 5th grader really gained confidence in editing her own work. She also exclaimed often how much she loves WriteShop. This is a girl who really has not enjoyed writing before now.”
– Heather, New York

Appeals to Different Ages and Skill Levels

Whether you have a more advanced child or one who is just beginning, the program is flexible so children can work at their own level. Book E is recommended for 4th and 5th grade, but many of our test families used it successfully with 6th and 7th graders as well. Parents also appreciated being able to use the program with children who learn with difficulty:

I just wanted to take a moment to thank you.
“My son is very challenging to homeschool so I
am very surprised by his response to this curriculum. He LOVES it! The creativity WriteShop adds to each lesson is a plus for our family. Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!” –Michelle M., Florida

“Love, love WriteShop. I think it ‘fits’ every child … even my high-functioning special needs boys. Excellent product!”
–Deborah, Texas

What Kinds of Writing Does Book E Teach?

Book E has 10 lessons (chapters). Most parents choose the schedule that spreads each lesson over three weeks (so, 30 weeks to complete Book E). Lessons 7-10 introduce 5-paragraph writing.

  1. Fables (Character and Voice)
  2. Humor (Humor and Dialogue)
  3. Adventure (Scene and Setting)
  4. Science Fiction (Blending Fiction with Scientific Fact)
  5. Mystery (Elements of a Mystery)
  6. Concrete Poetry (Creating a Shape Poem)
  7. Personal Narrative (Intro to 5-Paragraph Writing)
  8. Descriptive Narrative (Describing Three Items or Events)
  9. Book Report (Responding to Literature)
  10. Nonfiction Report (Collecting Facts)

Want a sneak peek? Download a Sample Lesson from WriteShop Junior Book E. (If you would like to share this lesson with others, link to this post. Do not link directly to the PDF file. Feel free to print this PDF file for your own personal use. Please do not sell or host this file anywhere else.)

. . . . .

Are you looking forward to seeing Book E? We’d love to hear your thoughts! 

Choosing a writing program for teenagers

In choosing a writing program for teenagers, look for lessons that walk students through the writing process from brainstorming to final draft.

Recently, we peeked at WriteShop Primary and WriteShop Junior for elementary ages. But if you’re homeschooling for junior high or high school, you’ll want to consider WriteShop I and II, a writing program for teenagers.

WriteShop I and II – Middle and High School

The flagship WriteShop program sets teens on a course for success, guiding them through each step of the writing process.

I can’t begin to tell you how wonderful your program is. The improvement in my daughter’s writing is phenomenal.” —Sandy, North Carolina

Teacher’s Manual for WriteShop I & II

Award-winning WriteShop takes the guesswork out of teaching writing. The Teacher’s Manual helps you teach writing with confidence.

Containing daily lesson plans and schedules for both WriteShop I and II, the Teacher’s Manual offers tips for editing and grading, answer keys, student samples, and supplemental writing activities, as well as dozens of essay topics for WriteShop assignments.

I love WriteShop. I used to feel so inadequate teaching writing but now I am confident they are learning all the tools they will need for High School level writing.” —Heather, Montana

Student Workbooks

Assignments give students a chance to practice various kinds of writing, including creative, expository, and narrative.

  • WriteShop I gives your 6th-10th grader the basics of descriptive, informative, and narrative writing.
  • For grades 8-12, WriteShop II introduces descriptive narration, point of view, narrative voice, persuasion, and essay writing.

Lessons focus on clarity, conciseness, colorful vocabulary, and sentence variety, with a strong emphasis placed on the editing process. With each lesson, students learn and practice new skills, apply them to their current writing project, and edit and revise the composition several times.

The consumable workbooks contain Skill Builders, word banks, detailed lesson instructions, editing checklists, and grading forms. TM required.

First-timers should begin with the Basic Set or Starter Pack.

Someone asked me what I didn’t like about the program, and I couldn’t think of anything.” —Lynée Ward, iCHED

WriteShop also makes a great writing program choice for homeschool classes, co-ops, and private schools. As you consider curriculum decisions for the upcoming year, let us know how we can help!

Photo credit: Karah Fredricks. Used by permission.

Choosing an elementary writing program


FOR MANY homeschoolers, summer is the time of year to scour websites and homeschooling catalogs in search of just the right curriculum products for your children’s varying needs. So many subjects, so many choices! What to pick for science, math, history, language arts?

As you consider your purchases for writing and composition, here’s a brief overview of WriteShop— products that can help you feel more equipped as a teacher while giving your kids a leg up in the success department!

WriteShop Primary – Grades K-3

An introduction to early writing skills, WriteShop Primary gives young children tools to experience success as they develop the ability to plan and write stories.

Whether you have a more advanced child or one who is just beginning, this program’s flexibility lets your young students work at their own level. Pre-writers can even do all the activities orally!

Taylor has already asked if we can buy the other two books in the series … This really just speaks volumes for this program.” –Chris, Armyof5

Teacher’s Guide

Gently introduce writing through guided writing practice, favorite picture books, hands-on activities, and crafty writing projects. Extra challenges appear throughout each lesson to keep the interest of a more advanced child.

It’s also fun! Most writing programs seem kind of boring to me, but Write Shop Primary includes fun games, visuals, activities, crafts and books that help to enhance the writing experience.” –Erica, Confessions of a Homeschooler

Activity Set Worksheet Pack

WriteShop Primary Book BIn addition to your Teacher’s Guide, you will need a reproducible Activity Set Worksheet Pack to round out the program. Illustrated activity pages introduce or reinforce writing skills taught in each lesson. The pack also contains Evaluation Charts for tracking your child’s progress.

Not all children need to begin with WriteShop Primary Book A! We can help you choose the best starting level

WriteShop Junior – Grades 3-5

WriteShop Junior eases your upper-elementary students into writing. Engaging games and activities teach and review important writing and self-editing skills while keeping it fun for everyone. (Note: Only WriteShop Junior Book D is available at this time.)

Book D was so easy to teach, I couldn’t possibly fail! The lessons were concise and fun, which made my reluctant writer start to come out of his shell. His writing skills have come a long way—and so have mine.” –Kelley, SD

Teacher’s Guide

Easy-to-use lesson plans and schedules help you lead and guide your children through the steps of the writing process. WriteShop Junior exposes them to genre, fiction and nonfiction writing, and journal writing and introduces exciting new brainstorming and editing tools that truly motivate young writers!

Activity Pack with Fold-N-Go™ Grammar

Each 2-pack contains BOTH the Student Worksheet Pack AND Fold-N-Go™ Grammar Pack.

Student Worksheet Pack: Activity pages your child will need to complete portions of each lesson. These worksheets introduce WriteShop Junior Activity Pack w/Fold-N-Go Grammar, Book D - Print Editionyour child to writing skills such as brainstorming and self-editing.

Fold-N-Go™ Grammar Pack: Fun reference tools with simple exercises that introduce or review grammar rules and essential writing skills. Printed on brightly colored paper, pages are assembled inside a file folder to form 10 large flipbooks, one for each lesson in each WriteShop Junior book. {The Level 1 Fold-N-Go Grammar Pack is also available to purchase separately.}

The Fold-N-Go packs are really what I loved the most about the student part of this curriculum. It was the ‘hook.'” –Christina, I Have Been Blessed

Time-Saver Pack

For parents and teachers who appreciate shortcuts, the {optional} Time-Saver Pack includes a number of sturdy, ready-made props for activities featured throughout Book D, such as game cards and spinners.

If you prefer to make your own, that’s okay too! You’ll find instructions for each activity in the Teacher’s Guide.

WriteShop Junior SUMMER SPECIAL!

Get a FREE Time-Saver Pack ($14 value) when you purchase both Book D Teacher and Student books! Visit our virtual booth at HomeschoolConvention.com and look for the Summer Special banner. Hurry–Summer Special ends soon (offer valid thru August 15, 2012).

 

. . . . .

Now that you’ve had an overview of our younger-level writing programs, come back tomorrow for a look at WriteShop I and II for junior high and high school!

Photo credit: Karah Fredricks. Used by permission.

Teaching the Friendly Letter Boogie

For added fun, try teaching the Friendly Letter Boogie! Kids enjoy this movement activity to remember the parts of a friendly letter.

“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”

For a memorable kinesthetic activity, try teaching the Friendly Letter Boogie! Children enjoy this movement activity that helps 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!

. . . . .

WriteShop Primary uses engaging activities such as the Friendly Letter Boogie to teach writing concepts to young children.

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. The Friendly Letter Boogie appears in WriteShop Primary Book B.

Copyright 2012 © by Kim Kautzer. All rights reserved.

Page copy protected against web site content infringement by Copyscape

Photo credits: Karah Fredricks. Used by permission.

WriteShop Junior Book D giveaway!

The long, long, L-O-N-G wait is almost over. Yes! WriteShop Junior Book D is at the printer, and we’ll begin taking preorders in just a few days. But before that happens, we want to do a fun giveaway and give you a chance to share the excitement.

A Peek at WriteShop Junior

Author Nancy I. Sanders has done it again! After creating the amazing WriteShop Primary series, Nancy has now written WriteShop Junior for upper-elementary students.

First in the series, Book D eases your 3rd-5th graders into writing. It exposes children to genre, fiction and nonfiction writing, and journal writing, and introduces exciting new brainstorming and editing tools that truly motivate young writers!

“To say that my sons were reluctant writers would be an understatement… [but] they progressed from ‘once upon a time, the end,’ to completing stories with a beginning, middle, and end.” –Rolayne, IN

“Book D was so easy to teach, I couldn’t possibly fail! The lessons were concise and fun, which made my reluctant writer start to come out of his shell. His writing skills have come a long way—and so have mine.” –Kelley, SD

Start with Book D if your child has not yet grasped punctuation or grammar skills and still needs help planning, organizing, and adding details to a story. (More reluctant 3rd graders should probably start with WriteShop Primary Book C.)

WriteShop Junior Components

1. Book D Teacher’s Guide (Required)

Easy-to-use lesson plans help you lead and guide your kiddos through the steps of the writing process.

2. Book D Activity Pack (Required)

This clever and convenient 2-pack* contains both the Student Worksheet Pack and the Level 1 Fold-N-Go™ Grammar Pack.

*Student Worksheet Pack: Activity pages your child will need to complete portions of each lesson. These worksheets introduce your child to writing skills such as brainstorming and self-editing.

“My son is enjoying the process, having fun, and looking forward to doing the activities each day. That’s a giant step for him!” – Teresa, WA

*Fold-N-Go™ Grammar Pack: Fun reference tools with simple exercises that introduce or review grammar rules and essential writing skills. Printed on brightly colored paper, pages are assembled inside a file folder to form 10 large flipbooks, one for each lesson in each WriteShop Junior book.

“Fold-N-Gos have been a wonderful opportunity to review and learn grammar concepts. If that weren’t enough, they’re fun and something my daughter looks forward to. I love that!” –Heidi, NY

3. Time-Saver Pack (Optional)

For parents and teachers who appreciate shortcuts, the Time-Saver Pack includes a number of sturdy, ready-made props for activities featured throughout Book D, such as game cards and spinners. If you prefer to make your own, you’ll find instructions for each activity in the Teacher’s Guide.

“Thank you so much for designing the cards and spinners. The less time I have to spend in prep, the more time we have for learning!” –Sandy, Texas

Enter the Giveaway!

We want to give one lucky winner a complete WriteShop Junior Book D curriculum package. Simply leave a comment below telling why you (or your children!) need Book D.

Details

  • The giveaway will be open until midnight EST Thursday October 27, 2011. Winner will be announced Friday October 28.
  • Share the love! You can get up to 3 extra entries by posting on Facebook, blogging, or tweeting a link to the giveaway. You must leave a separate comment for EACH entry (4 entries max per person). Winner will be chosen at random using random.org.
  • This giveaway is offered to US & Canada residents only.
  • This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook.
  • IMPORTANT: In order to enter the drawing, you must leave a comment on THIS post. To leave a comment, scroll to the bottom of the post. (If you are reading this via RSS, you will need to visit the actual blog to post a comment.)

Pre-order Book D and Get a FREE Gift!

Later this week, we will send a newsletter announcing pre-orders for Book D. WriteShop News subscribers who pre-order through the link in the email will receive a valuable BONUS item: the Book D Time-Saver Pack ($13.95 value)! Not a subscriber yet? Sign up for our newsletter here.

Learn more about Book D

WriteShop Junior book covers: Everything’s a process!

The children who are beta testing the upcoming WriteShop Junior series have been learning about the writing process:

  • Brainstorming
  • Rough draft
  • Editing and revising
  • Final draft

They’ve enjoyed watching our book covers go through this process too, and it’s helped them realize that everything worth doing takes time.

So let’s follow our talented artist, Deborah Thomson, as she designs a book cover for us!

Brainstorming

At the initial concept stage, we toss around ideas and settle on a “woodland animals” theme. Deborah throws together some sketches.

The characters are cute! But they’re also a little young for our target age. So we talk about tweaking the drawings so that they’re more suitable for older elementary ages.

Mixed Reviews

The reviews are mixed. Some of our test families love the sketches, others think they’re still too young-looking. We talk with Deborah about creating characters that reflect some of the genres we’re teaching, and she goes back to the drawing board.

Rough Draft

The excitement is starting to build! The animals have taken on an older look. There’s detective rabbit for our mystery theme. And a mad-scientist goose for our science fiction theme. We’re ready for more feedback, so we run these by the families who are beta testing WriteShop Junior.

The verdict? We’re getting warmer! It’s time for a concept cover!

Editing and Revising

Final Draft

Bingo! We have a winner! We give Deborah the go-ahead and she creates the full-color final cover for WriteShop Junior Book F (the third book in our series).

And here’s a peek at the cover for Book D.

And Book E!

I’m wild about our new book covers! Aren’t you?

We would love to publish the first book, WriteShop Junior Book D, within the next couple of months. Praying every detail falls into place!

WriteShop and the 6 Traits of Effective Writing

From time to time, parents ask us whether WriteShop aligns with the Six Traits of Effective Writing.

6 + 1® Trait Writing is a model for teaching and assessing writing. Originally, it was intended less as a teaching tool and more as an evaluation tool to help teachers identify student strengths and weaknesses.

Although WriteShop wasn’t developed according to the Six Traits model, our products do offer comparable tools to teach, edit, and evaluate your children’s writing. After all, our goal is to help you become a more effective teacher, and these skills and tools just make sense—no matter what name they go by!

Creating Good Writers

Students become good writers through modeling, discussion, and plenty of practice. But most parents—even those who are intuitive writers—need specific guidelines and rubrics to help them teach writing systematically and effectively, including:

  • Explicit instruction for how to teach the writing process (along with specific writing skills).
  • Guided writing (modeling) and discussion. 
  • Step-by-step student directions.
  • Practical application of grammar and spelling to writing.
  • Checklists, rubrics, and other tools to help edit and evaluate writing.

WriteShop and the Six Traits

Though our products may not fully align with the Six Traits model, both WriteShop I & II and WriteShop Primary give you the instruction and guidance you need to teach writing with confidence!

However, two favorite WriteShop tools—the Writing Skills Checklists and the Composition Evaluation forms—do meet many criteria of the Six Traits model.

The elements of the Writing Skills Checklist allow you to give your junior high or high school student valuable suggestions and a chance to improve his or her paper. And the Composition Evaluation form provides a rubric for effective, accurate grading.

Each of the Six Traits (listed below) is followed by specific elements WriteShop I and II look for in a composition.

Ideas

The main focus or purpose for writing

  • Did the student follow directions for the assignment?
  • Did he include lesson-specific content?
  • Did he support his ideas with details?

Organization

The internal structure of the writing

  • Did the student use appropriate topic and closing sentences?
  • Did he use transition words when necessary?
  • Did he communicate clearly?

Voice

The sense that the writer is speaking directly to the reader

  • Did he write in the correct narrative voice for the assignment?

Word Choice

The use of concrete, colorful, precise vocabulary to communicate meaning

  • Did the student use vivid, active, colorful words?
  • Did he avoid vague, repeated, or overused words?
  • Did the student limit use of passive voice (“to be” words)?

Sentence Fluency

The flow and readability of the text; effective use of sentence variations

  • Did the student communicate clearly and avoid awkwardness?
  • Did he use a number of interesting sentence variations?
  • Did he use his tenses properly?

Conventions

The mechanical correctness, including spelling, punctuation, and grammar

  • Did the student adhere to conventions of form?
  • Did he correctly use punctuation, capitalization, and grammar?
  • Did he spell correctly?
  • Did he use correct sentence structure?

WriteShop Primary materials for kindergarten to third grade also align well with the Six Traits model, both for teaching and evaluating. For more information about WriteShop products, visit www.writeshop.com.

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