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TOS Review: WriteShop Junior Book D


As part of the TOS Crew Team, I was given the opportunity to review one of WriteShop's new items, WriteShop Junior Book D. I was thrilled because it would be perfect to use with my two middle boys Caleb (5th grade) and Brent (4th grade).

WriteShop Junior, is geared toward grades 3-6. It can also be used for 7th grade with a child who hasn't had any prior writing experience. If you have a 3rd grader with limited writing experience or writing at grade level, WriteShop Junior Book D would be a good place to start. Both my boys have used copywork, dictation and narration in the past, but have had no creative writing experience.
WriteShop is an incremental, step-by-step program, meaning, previously taught skills will emerge and be taught again in later levels. Keep this in mind when placing your child.

You can purchase WriteShop Junior in an eBook format or Printed Edition:
*Teacher Guide in eBook format $34.95 & Printed Ed. $39.95
*WriteShop Junior Activity Pack eBook $29.95 and Printed Ed. $39.95 (this includes the Fold-N-Go Grammar)
*WriteShop Junior Time-Saver Pack eBook $13.95 and Printed Ed. $13.95 (this is optional, the Teacher Guide has the instructions to make and play the games but it IS a Time-Saver!)
*Level 1 Fold-N-Go Grammar Pack eBook $11.95 and Printed Ed. $19.95
For this review I received the Printed Ed. but since I was using the program with two students I purchased the Level 1 Fold-N-Go Grammar Pack eBook. This made it easier to copy and make a second set of the Fold-N-Go Grammar file folders for Brent.

What kind of writing assignments will be covered in WriteShop Junior?
*Letter of Invitation
*Humor
*Adventure
*Science Fiction
*Mystery
*Haiku
*Folktales
*Historical Fiction
*Personal Narrative
*Expository Writing

What about Grammar? With the Fold-N-Go Grammar pack your child will cover:
*Punctuation Marks
*Self Editing
*Nouns
*Pronouns
*Verbs
*Adjectives
*Adverbs
*Prepositions
*Capitalization
*Learning to use references

I like the concept of the Fold-N-Go Grammar pack, it contains pages to be assembled using file folders. Each child will need to have their own Fold-N-Go Grammar file folder to refer to when needed.
In the Teachers Guide you will find lesson plans to help you pace and organise your weeks.
WriteShop makes preparing for your lessons painless. Before each Daily Lesson Plan, the Teacher Guide will list the objectives, Advanced Prep and Materials Needed (student pages, reading log and such). 
You'll even find a list of supplies separated by lessons. This includes things like construction paper, post-it notes, highlighters etc.
Each lesson can take two to three weeks depending on which schedule you choose. Once you decide if you will use WriteShop 3, 4 or 5 days a week you can figure out what schedule will work for you and your child. I chose one of the Two Week Plans and I was able to schedule WriteShop four days a week.

Here is what my schedule looked like, Week 1:
*Monday~Fold-N-Go Grammar
*Tuesday~Pre-Writing Activity and Model and Teach
*Wednesday~Review and Skill Builder
*Thursday~Brainstorming
Week 2:
*Monday~Writing Project
*Tuesday~Editing and Revising
*Wednesday~Publishing Project
*Thursday~Evaluating the Students Work

This schedule left some wiggle room for us, so the boys could still complete their weekly written narration writing assignment.

Each lesson took about 30 minutes, with them filling out their reading log during their own time.
{sample pages from the Time Saver Pack}

When evaluating your students work, WriteShop  uses A=All of the time, M=Most of the time, S=Some of the time, and N=Never to fill out the Evaluation Chart. I thought this way of evaluating the child's work more friendly than letter grades (A, A+, B-).

{click image below to enlarge}
{sample Self-editing check list}
I was pleased to see WriteShop utilize 'Reading Logs' because this got my boys reading more. They would read a certain amount of pages, record it in their Reading Log and write a short summary or the main idea of what they read that week, so that was a big plus for me.

I also liked that this program uses a variety of ways to capture the child's attention, for instance, one of the the Pre-Writing Activity was to help the child visualize how to make a broad and general topic more focused and specific. This was accomplished by making an Incredible Shrinking Machine.
{click to enlarge}
The instructions to make the Incredible machine are in the Teacher Guide (as shown above) but I decided to use a Robot instead and found one online that I could print.
 We started with the word 'Pet', fed it to the machine, and out came 'Rabbit', we continued until we had a specific topic to write about.
What did I think about WriteShop Junior? I loved the Teacher Guide. As a busy mom schooling six children, having a well organised teacher manual is a must! With WriteShop, preparing for the week was simple. Sunday night, I'd look over the weeks lesson, pull the worksheets that would be needed for the assignments, and gather any supplies needed. The step-by-step instructions again, made the program user-friendly.

The boys have enjoyed the program too, especially the Incredible Shrinking Machine lesson. One activity had us laughing because we the boys were instructed to write something funny. It could have real people and unreal events. It ended up being about Caleb, riding a unicycle, with him playing an online game using a laptop, and going down a hill. I'm picturing in my mind a very comical scene of Caleb, my very reserved son, riding the unicycle. It was good seeing Caleb laugh at a story made-up about him.

My TOS Crew Mates, reviewed different levels of WriteShop, click HERE to read more.
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**Disclaimer: As a member of the TOS Crew, I received this product, at no cost to me, in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are mine.

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