WS - Praise & describe how it works

Copywork, Cursive, Dictation, Grammar, Handwriting, Letter Writing, Memory Work, Narration, Read-Alouds, Spelling, Vocabulary, & Writing (many of these topics apply to other subjects such as Bible, History, and Science)
Julie in MN
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Location: Minnesota

WS - Praise & describe how it works

Unread post by Julie in MN » Fri Aug 24, 2007 1:29 pm

Concerns about teaching

Hi Christy,
Here is a quote I wrote a while ago about why I like Writing Strands. I still agree that for us, it is just enough & not too much. Whenever I pick up a different writing book, I seem to open to the page that says, "Write 500 words on XXX." I close the book right away & run back to Writing Strands :o)

  • Although WS sometimes is imperfect, I do like it. My older dd could write a decent sentence so I just thought I could teach writing myself. But the directions she went in with my attempts free writing, journaling, & such just weren't very productive. I probably should have organized some specific lessons, but I was a newbie.

    WS has been a great improvement for my younger ds. It gives him a direction. They teach perspective, tense, description, logical sequencing of a plot, and so on. This has been helpful to me. And the lessons aren't too huge.

    Also, I try not to chain myself to the curriculum -- we adjust it as needed. Sometimes I bring a WS assignment to the gals on the boards & get a fresh perspective (thanks Tina!)!

    Writing is a hard skill to teach, because true writing can have no answer key. Writing Strands gives me just enough guidance in real writing -- not too much controlled workbook that never transfers to real writing, and not too much freedom that doesn't develop new skills. But I am sure there are other good things out there that work especially well for particular children.

    Just thought I'd share from the good experiences with WS camp :o)
    julie
We will start level 5 this fall.
Julie, married 29 yrs, finding our way without Shane
(http://www.CaringBridge.org/visit/ShaneHansell)
Reid (21) college student; used MFW 3rd-12th grades (2004-2014)
Alexandra (29) mother; hs from 10th grade (2002)
Travis (32) engineer; never hs

sewardmom
Posts: 44
Joined: Thu Mar 09, 2006 3:51 pm

Re: Concerns about teaching

Unread post by sewardmom » Wed Aug 29, 2007 7:25 pm

I had a similiar experience in thinking I could hand over the book to my children and they would write well. I have since purchased the Evaluating Writing book and iIt reminds me of how to approach my children's writing (attitude wise...) and helps with balancing my expectations.

Taking a week (or a few days sometimes) so I could think about and pray about critiquing their writing projects has been a good thing for us.

One line I remember reading several times now that has stuck with me was : don't expect your children's writing to be perfect right away - remember how long it took us to be perfect? Ouch! - Unfortunately, I need those reminders! LOL

Seriously, the book has been a blessing to me and helped me not to 'be afraid' of evaluating their writing.
Terri
Currently US1and US2 High School
Completed ECC, CTG, RTR, EX1850, AHL, WHL, US1
Nebraksa MFW fan since 2006



May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing....

dhudson
Posts: 320
Joined: Thu May 10, 2007 5:46 pm

Writing Strands

Unread post by dhudson » Thu May 22, 2008 11:48 pm

Posted: Tue Jan 29, 2008 2:39 pm
I have found that Writing Strands, which is not included in the package but recommended and available through MFW, has been great training for writing. It is not too difficult but trains the student to know how to write.

Jenn in NC
Posts: 144
Joined: Fri Jun 23, 2006 2:00 pm

Writing for 11 year old, 8 year old

Unread post by Jenn in NC » Thu May 22, 2008 11:50 pm

Julie in MN wrote:I value Writing Strands because it just focuses on particular writing skills that may not be caught by free writing or other writing within a curriculum.
Posted: Thu Feb 07, 2008 8:13 am
I really appreciate this particular aspect of the WS curriculum. My son really needed the very specific instruction provided by WS.

Julie - Staff
Moderator
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User friendly?

Unread post by Julie - Staff » Thu May 29, 2008 10:04 pm

Michele in WA wrote:Is Writing Strands user friendly for both teacher and student?
Posted: Tue Apr 01, 2008 by cbollin
The key thing with WS is to not hand the book over to your child for independent learning. Read it to your child and coach them. Some parts of the book will seem a bit odd because you might think "why do we have to do this assignment???" Don't let your kids hear you say that of course. When that happens, just remind yourself that the lesson has a bigger reason behind it than might be obvious at first.

One such lesson has the child listing furniture in a room in a very organized way. The lesson is mostly about practicing writing a description so that your reader can see the room even if they are not there or have been to your house. There is actually a similar writing lesson in [LLFT]. So it's a good exercise, even if you scratch your head while teaching it. It's about getting details as well as organizing a paragraph into a report.

WS level 4 --- very user friendly. I personally skipped lesson 1 in that book b/c it was odd. But the rest of the book is great.

WS is a very structured program to practice skills of writing. I call it the Karate Kid of writing programs. Remember that movie? Daniel had to do all of these odd jobs (wax the car, paint the fence, sand the floor) and it made no sense to him to learn Karate. But then his mentor calls out the moves and it all made sense. Writing Strands Level 3 is like that.

And with any writing, it is ok to help our students as much as they need to learn the skills.

MFW schedules WS about 2 days per week so that you can get through a level in a year. Usually the book is not on the same day as ILL so you aren't doing too much writing in one day. But there will be times that you'll adjust an ILL lesson. That way you hopefully won't be too bogged down in the week.

-crystal

Julie in MN
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Joined: Mon Jun 28, 2004 3:44 pm
Location: Minnesota

User friendly?

Unread post by Julie in MN » Sat Jul 19, 2008 12:18 am

Posted: Tue Apr 01, 2008 6:17 pm
Another thing that is user-friendly about WS is that the lessons are usually very specific and narrowed down. I've picked up too many writing books and opened them right to the page that says, "Write 500 words on..." My ds would never recover...! There are exceptions but you can adapt as needed or ask for help over here on the boards in those few cases.

Oh, and we had a little fun with that furniture lesson. Ds would describe something & I'd draw it on the marker board using every misunderstanding I could -- drawing things on the ceiling etc :o) "Point taken, mom, the chair is on the FLOOR!"

Julie - Staff
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Book 4

Unread post by Julie - Staff » Sat Jul 19, 2008 12:20 am

Posted: Sat May 17, 2008 10:45 am by cbollin
I call Writing Strands the Karate Kid of writing programs. Daniel-son didn't want to do Wax on, Wax Off, or paint the fence or Sand the floor. But it was really helping him all along. I've been happy watching my oldest in the past few weeks enjoy writing a short book in the "fan fiction" genre. I smiled and almost cried with joy from reading one paragraph where she really developed the characters' thoughts. I knew that lesson had come from the practice that we had in WS, and at that point I didn't care what was misspelled. The content was there -- the mechanics, she'll revise it later.

(more mom "brag" time here..... It's a joy to watch our children progress in skills, isn't it?)
And there was a lesson in WS 4 with book reviews/reports that really made my daughter have to stay on topic and get to the point. Oh my goodness -- she enjoys telling us all about her favorite TV show, but can't get things across to us. And that WS 4 book report lesson became a model for her to learn. I know she struggles with organizing thoughts and all of that.

Posted: Sat Aug 09, 2008 9:13 am by cbollin
Writing --- Well, I really like Writing Strands. Book 4 is really good. I like book 3 too, but book 4 clicks (even lesson 1 isn’t as bad as people think.) I like that it made my daughter have to do stuff on her own and be creative while learning things such as writing a 5 paragraph essay. We were able to use WS 4 in a very logically and orderly method to make her brain do it. But more than that, it pushed her to *have* to follow rules. We used IEW’s SWI program for a while and it was too much structure and too much rules to follow, and didn’t allow her creative side to emerge. She could easily follow all of the rules --- but it was a short term fix for us. When we went back to Writing Strands, we got the mix needed.

Writing is a process that will be learned over time. Our children need to learn to talk about what they read and hear. Then learn that they need to retell it. Then write about it. Usually writing skills will be "lower" than their oral story telling skills, even with advanced nerdy kids :-) My dh didn't really take off with his writing skills until high school level. Then in his post graduate school days he became a well respected writer for getting grants and such for the university. so -- hang in there, a little at a time, even our types can do this.

No matter what you use for writing instruction and assignments, it will take practice and time to develop those skills in all kinds of writing assignments.

-crystal

Tracey in ME
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Location: Litchfield, Maine
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Re-trying Writing Strands

Unread post by Tracey in ME » Tue Sep 09, 2008 11:31 pm

Posted: Mon May 12, 2008 12:33 pm
Well...we, too, set down Writing Strands (3) because my 12yo dd didn't care for it. I purchased another writing program, and she has been doing pretty well with it. After I read something Crystal had said, though, I just couldn't get my mind off of it (Holy Spirit nudging? I think so :o)

I picked it back up yesterday and started reading where we had left off, and all I noticed was how similar it was to our new writing program. "Why did I buy a new program?", I thought.

I think I may be letting my 12yo dd have a little too much decision in her schoolwork choices. I do want her to have a say...but I think I've been giving in to her "this is boring" too much. :o)

I stopped using SO many things just because my daughter wasn't thrilled by them. I even SOLD God and The History of Art...what a dope! I am going to buy it again. Even if the children destest the lessons, the education in that book is great.

Please understand, if my children ever got REALLY upset about a particular homeschool product we were using then I would definitely rethink it. However, I can't expect them to LOVE everything and every part of everything either, ya know? I mean, they don't LOVE brushing their teeth, but hey...tough tooties. They don't LOVE cleaning, but hey, neither do I! You get the point. Many times the unpleasant things can be rewarding in the future. :o) I don't even believe that God & The History of Art, Writing Strands 3, Streams of Civilization, or The Children's Homer (I was going to subsitute ALL of those, can you believe it!?) are unpleasant at all.

Anywho, just wanted to comment about that. I've got to go and get ready to sell a few items now. Bye! (giggle)

TurnOurHearts

LA (Writing Strands) archive thank-yous

Unread post by TurnOurHearts » Fri Sep 26, 2008 12:47 am

Posted: Sun Apr 27, 2008 1:13 pm
Well ladies, I have just spent a little time in the Language Arts archives. As I begin to think about our next school year, the only thing I'm intimidated by (besides pulling off the OT feasts, which my buddy Brae is helping get over!) is Writing Strands. My oldest , as many of you know, is very math-minded and is a perfectionist. When I think about doing writing lessons with him, I get a HUGE knot in my stomach! While I have looked through the WS book a bit, I didn't do it while looking at any suggestions from Marie that may be there.

But, as I was doing a bit of perusing here, I thought, "Hmmm...I'll just look at the LA archives." I'm so glad I did! There are too many to remember or name ~ THANK YOU for taking the time to relate your experiences with Writing Strands. I feel soooo much more confident heading into next year. Bless you, bless you, bless you!!!!!!

Gratefully ~

cbollin

Save time by teaching all grades with the same book?

Unread post by cbollin » Thu Nov 27, 2008 9:03 am

LA in Baltimore wrote: would it be better to switch them all into WS level 3 so we are all on the same page?-
Well uh... that's good question. Not sure I have a good answer.
WS 3 can be used with children up to about 7th grade. Writing is an art that you can expand expectations based on skill level and age.
If you have all of them in the same book, it might be better to have the oldest work ahead in WS and not be tied to the pace of younger kids depending on the dynamics of your crew..

Given their ages, Writing Strands will *not* be best used "independently" with those ages (in my opinion and experience). One of the problems that people run into with using WS is this idea that it is supposed to be handed over to a student and done by themselves. (well, I'm guilty of that at any rate.) It is written toward the student, but it works better when you think of that writing toward the student as a guided script to help you coach and explain the assignments.

I really like WS now. ;)
Part of the WS approach involves parent as encourager along the writing process especially in the earlier books. My 7th grader can work more independently in WS 5. Even then, we still coach her and act as "editor" for her writing.

WS 3 covers the following kinds of writing skills for children in about grades 4-7 age range. (I don't guarantee this is a complete list, though)
*basic sentence structure and how to expand a sentence
*basic paragraph structure
*putting together multiple paragraphs to have a long research paper based on things in your house instead of based on a social studies assignment. (The so called dreaded lesson 7 in WS 3.)
*adding description to your writing
*organizing your writing (including some fundamentals of outlining)
*short story development, liking character, events, dialogue writing, etc.
*tenses
*point of view (1st and 3rd person and that stuff)

-crystal

cbollin

I am not confident

Unread post by cbollin » Tue Jun 23, 2009 8:21 am

sandi wrote:Is this hard to grade and teach? I am not confident with my ability to grade my childrens writing assignments. Maybe its just fear on my part that I won't teach them the correct way to write. My English teachers did a terrible job preparing me for college writing. I had to figure it out myself. I don't want that for my kidos. It makes me think I need to go with a writing program that I can send off to be graded. I do know that mfw recommendations are awesome though. Maybe, I should just give writing strands a try and stop stressing out so bad about it?
With all due respect to programs where you send in assignments and let some other homeschooling mom "grade" it...... (for mega bucks a year) You can do this Sandi. (((hugs)))

If you go with Writing Strands, consider buying Evaluating Writing or a parent resource: book 1 of Igniting Your Writing.

now, that's better than spending $300 a year to have someone do that for you.

Time for my usual links to 2 of my favorite articles on Coaching Writing:
The 4 Deadly Errors of teaching writing: common mistakes and options for teachers, from thehomeschoolmagazine.com
and
It's so Awkward!, from thehomeschoolmagazine.com
[links broken]

In high school time, MFW will have necessary "hand holding" for us and our students in those high school writing assignments.

-crystal

Julie in MN
Posts: 2925
Joined: Mon Jun 28, 2004 3:44 pm
Location: Minnesota

Re: writing strands

Unread post by Julie in MN » Tue Jun 23, 2009 9:02 am

I agree with your thinking -- kids need a person to help them with writing. In other words, it's impossible to hand kids a workbook & expect them to become better writers. That's the first thing -- they need one-on-one adult guidance.

The second part is whether Writing Strands will give *you* enough guidance. Of course the standard answer is that it's inexpensive, so why not give it a try before you decide (knowing of course that the Hazells recommend it).

I'd like to give you a "preview" of how it works. My son is in the middle of Level 5, so this isn't an exact comparison, but WS really cycles through skills at gradually higher levels, so when you do Level 3 assignments they will be something similar but easier I guess you could say.

Ds's last lesson in WS was lesson 10. It was very short (3 days). Here's how *I* looked at it:

1. Carefully read together the things he will "learn" in this lesson. They're listed very clearly at the top of the page... "It may take you three days to learn..." This lesson is about writing dialogue and changing tenses.

2. Then we read the lesson. The first day is often just reading. There is time to discuss both of your interpretations of what you will be working on in the days to come.

3. The lesson pretty much always includes sample writing. A timid writer can basically imitate the sample. Don't be afraid to let your child almost copy it. Some kids will need to follow models for a long time. A fearless writer like my youngest can take the sample and change it to his heart's desire. He can change it even more than the book seems to "allow" -- as long as we can look back at the goals we read at the top of the first page and see those in his writing. Believe me, I've had both types of writers in the same family!

This particular lesson gave a "picture" of a specific situation (an airport with a time zone line through the middle) and the tense would have to change back & forth a lot of times (past, present, & future depending on where he's standing), and it would be all dialogue so we could work on how to write direct quotes and all of that. However, my youngest had his own "picture" in his own little mind, so he changed things around in the assignment. This was fine as long as (a) he kept the tense changing idea so we could work on tense and (b) he kept the dialogue situation so we could work on punctuating dialogue (and continue working on the skill from the previous lesson, where he learned that more advanced writing rarely uses "he said" or any other identification of the speaker, and yet it must be clear who is speaking at all times).

4. When I am evaluating his writing, I have several resources in WS:
a. Always go back to the little list of things being taught in the particular lesson -- at the top of the page.
b. You will be aware of what lessons have been previously taught (even in previous levels), and can provide reminders about those skills.
c. There is almost always a sample piece of writing in the lesson. Remember that the sample is there to help you "picture" what your child "might" do with this lesson. The book can be used with several different grade levels. The sample isn't there to criticize or intimidate. Use the sample to help you teach. And again, don't be afraid to let your child almost copy it, or to let your child swing far and wide away from it -- as long as the focus list at the top of the page is still being worked on.
d. In the back of the WS guide is info on writing problems. You can skim those pages and maybe choose one which your particular child could use some work on. Read through that one together and ask the child to edit their work with this skill in mind.
e. If you're still afraid you're under-teaching or over-teaching, WS does have a book called "Evaluating Writing" which gives examples of many different levels of writing & possible parent conversations about them.
f. There are tons of WS users on the MFW boards who love to chat ;)
Julie, married 29 yrs, finding our way without Shane
(http://www.CaringBridge.org/visit/ShaneHansell)
Reid (21) college student; used MFW 3rd-12th grades (2004-2014)
Alexandra (29) mother; hs from 10th grade (2002)
Travis (32) engineer; never hs

dhudson
Posts: 320
Joined: Thu May 10, 2007 5:46 pm

Re: writing strands

Unread post by dhudson » Tue Jun 23, 2009 12:51 pm

Just a quick note to say that I agree with the ladies. WS is a complete writing program and has done great things for my son's writing. They are guided assignments and help the student to learn to evaluate their own writing.

Posted Thu Sep 30, 2010 11:40 am by dhudson
We actually love Writing Strands here. I have seen great improvement in my kids writing using the program. My 5th graders are in WS3 and my 8th grader is finishing up WS5. We like the small bite size pieces each day and the step by step process. My 8th grader is turning into a great writer and I know that Writing Strands has helped us to be consistent in our writing instruction.
God Bless,
Dawn
http://www.shiningexamples.blogspot.com
blessed Mom of three - 16, 13 & 13
happy user of MFW since 2002

Julie in MN
Posts: 2925
Joined: Mon Jun 28, 2004 3:44 pm
Location: Minnesota

Writing Strands

Unread post by Julie in MN » Fri Aug 28, 2009 5:40 pm

For anyone who grapples with trying to understand the Writing Strands system, there is now a free audio on their website that you can listen to. It's a whole convention speech by the author of WS (who is now deceased).
I actually asked them to offer one of his speeches for sale, in order to help folks understand the goals and methods of this program. They didn't have one, so I sent them a convention tape that I had ;) They went to the trouble of finding a way to convert it to MP3 and have provided it for free on their website.

I felt this particular speech would be a bit risky, because he does tell silly jokes about his family & shares personal views which some might not agree with (for instance, I warn you that he doesn't like formal grammar :) ). But my hope is that the whole "method" of using WS will shine thru. The author has "strands" that he is building, and perfection is not the goal so much as building the skills along those strands. I personally think his books do this in a very efficient way and I'd love for more folks to feel comfortable teaching writing using this easy-to-use program.

His examples on the audio, comparing writing to cooking & then dumping it down the garbage disposal (not learning anything from it), vs. cooking & then critiquing every last detail of an apple pie (discouraging the writer), really help me keep my goals in mind when teaching writing.

Julie
Julie, married 29 yrs, finding our way without Shane
(http://www.CaringBridge.org/visit/ShaneHansell)
Reid (21) college student; used MFW 3rd-12th grades (2004-2014)
Alexandra (29) mother; hs from 10th grade (2002)
Travis (32) engineer; never hs

cbollin

Re: Writing Strands

Unread post by cbollin » Fri Aug 28, 2009 8:09 pm

:)

I like this talk too. cute on the part "please turn the tape over". 1998?

It really changes how you hear the lessons in WS after listening to him. We (my dh , oldest and I) sat listening to this talk tonight and laughed a lot.

He says the things that I'm scared to write because people can't hear my voice.
Julie in MN wrote:
Fri Aug 28, 2009 5:40 pm
comparing writing to cooking & then dumping it down the garbage disposal (not learning anything from it), vs. cooking & then critiquing every last detail of an apple pie (discouraging the writer), really help me keep my goals in mind when teaching writing.
yep. I liked those parts.

Thank you Julie.

-crystal

ManyXsBlessed
Posts: 13
Joined: Tue Feb 24, 2009 5:44 pm

Re: Writing Strands

Unread post by ManyXsBlessed » Sat Aug 29, 2009 7:18 pm

I didn't realize this person had passed on :( My kids will be bummed.
Erin
Mom to 3 boys (12, 10, and 7) and a baby girl
MFW EX-1850, Winter Promise LA, Apologia Gen, Teaching Textbooks, and A Beka

Crystallea
Posts: 16
Joined: Thu Apr 16, 2009 9:44 am

Re: Writing Strands

Unread post by Crystallea » Sun Aug 30, 2009 7:25 pm

Just listened to the tape. loved it. I enjoyed his humor, am excited to see where this program will take us this year. I don't know how to teach writing, have dreaded it and am relieved that this program will take us through the steps. Thanks for going the extra mile to send the cassette to the company, I, for one, appreciate. BTW--I can diagram a mean sentence, but am not a creative writer type. (In fact, felt a little pride bubble get popped during this tape) :D
Crystal (the 2nd one)
Crystal
Wife to Randy, mom to Gavin 27, Ryan 24, Dawson 11 Bailey James 11, Brianna 10, Melissa 9, Jack & Sam 6, Micah 5
Blessed to have adopted youngest 6.

schoolmom2
Posts: 33
Joined: Fri Apr 02, 2010 2:50 pm

tell me about Writing Strands

Unread post by schoolmom2 » Thu Apr 07, 2011 9:30 pm

fearnot wrote:Can anyone tell me how WS works and how it compares to/ is different from other popular programs I found more positive reviews for. Thanks for your help! ~Angie
In a nutshell - I initially felt disappointed, but my son loves it, so we're going with it.

We skipped one lesson because it was just too frustrating for my son (4th grade), but the other lessons have gone fine.

We completed "A Very Short Story" this week, and I was really surprised at how much thought and subtle humor went into his story. Completely beyond my expectations. He was not excited about having to edit his work (the thing we're working on in this lesson is dialog and paragraphing), but we took two weeks on the lesson so that he could edit a little bit each day and not be overwhelmed by it.

The bottom line - my son, the "writing is a necessary evil" kid, never complains about having to do WS; he even looks forward to it. Needless to say, I am unwilling to rock that boat, so WS is here to stay!

Postby schoolmom2 » Sat Apr 16, 2011 7:45 pm
Just a quick note on WS: writing is not my son's favorite subject, and he can never complete a lesson in the time given. So we now do WS every day for an entire week so that we can finish an entire lesson, then we do ILL the next week. It just makes it flow better for him and gives him a sense of accomplishment rather than leaving things hanging.

That's the great thing about MFW - you can easily tweak things to make it fit better with your family.

nikicole
Posts: 7
Joined: Mon Jan 24, 2011 5:19 pm

Re: tell me about Writing Strands

Unread post by nikicole » Thu Apr 07, 2011 10:52 pm

Since we plan to go with most all of MFW suggestions next year, and because we weren't happy with the language arts/writing we were using, I went ahead and purchased and began using Writing Strands with her a few weeks ago.

We have been quite happy with it so far, without any complaints from my dd. Since we're not that far into it, I don't have a lot of information to share, but I'd say it's definitely worth a try. Compared to some other writing programs out there, it's very inexpensive and well worth the price you'll pay.

Lindsay

NJCheryl
Posts: 78
Joined: Wed Sep 09, 2009 12:08 pm

Re: tell me about Writing Strands

Unread post by NJCheryl » Fri Apr 08, 2011 7:06 am

We have been using writing strands for a few years. Honestly I didn't really like it at first, but stuck with it. There are still times when I don't enjoy the lessons, but my daughter seems to like them. I have seen a great improvement in her writing skills.

Cheryl

cbollin

Re: tell me about Writing Strands

Unread post by cbollin » Fri Apr 08, 2011 8:31 am

It took me 3 tries to like it. Boils down to this in my case: I needed to learn how to coach writing. and I started it too early with my oldest.

Problems I had with WS:
I felt like I needed a rubric. Well, those are a dime a dozen on the internet. and WS does give structure notes. ok, that was my issue :)

I thought “written to the student” meant hand the book over to a beginning writer. It sounds kinda silly now to think that. Now, I read it as “written to the student” means “use this as a guided script with your student”. Script written to student, but it is very much expected with a beginning writer that you will coach them and work alongside.

Sometimes some of the lessons seemed odd to me. But when we finished it, I looked back and realized what was the bigger picture. One example is in WS 3 with exercise #7, where the student writes in detail about a room in the house. I realized at the end of it all, that it was the foundation lessons for a 5 paragraph essay and/or research project. The only difference? You didn’t have to research, you had to observe in your own house.

Shorter lessons, building skills. I like that.
Other things I like: the student does not write from a model, but writes from their own thoughts and ideas.
I like the hints boxes at end of each lesson. Gives me as teacher what to look for along the way and work on.

one of the other things that I appreciate about using WS in upper elementary is that it is one way to introduce various vocab words associated with literary analysis such as character, plot, and all of those things
So it makes a nice piece of the puzzle in the mfw scope/sequence.

I like the appendix at the back of the book for writing helps on mechanics.


You asked on compare/contrast. I have used IEW. I think WS covers more types of writing than Iew did.
IEW student is given a checklist to follow to make an A on the paper by not starting all sentences the same
(Writing Strands just says avoid Dick and Jane writing),
and using minimum numbers of stronger vocab words.
(Writing Strands encourages that in more natural ways by read alouds and using vocab from reading books as a natural carry over in writing). Both programs encourage student to expand sentences. (that’s just part of writing process).


And if you need help with WS, there are archived threads on this forum to help with the harder lessons in most levels.

-crystal

rjsmomma
Posts: 21
Joined: Wed Feb 09, 2011 10:14 am

Re: tell me about Writing Strands

Unread post by rjsmomma » Fri Apr 08, 2011 11:16 am

My dd didn't hardly write anything, at all, before this program, and she still doesn't like writing, but I have seen great improvement after having used this program for a while now. We are taking it very slowly. It is simple enough for someone who struggles with writing to see the step-by-step process and she does enjoy seeing her writing all come together for the finished product. I'm sure it can be used quicker for a child for whom writing comes more naturally.

Shannon
Shannon Meyer
DD - 13 years old - 7th grade
Used MFW for K, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, and now 7th:)

fearnot
Posts: 3
Joined: Mon Mar 28, 2011 3:32 am

Re: tell me about Writing Strands

Unread post by fearnot » Fri Apr 08, 2011 1:18 pm

Thank you so much for all the replies! I have been clicking on links and reading and reading! :) My daughter is not thrilled with writing, and I have seen that having some "step by step" instruction is what helps her most. From what I have read, it sounds like WS gives that, and I would love to see her creativity be encouraged. She is very creative, but struggles to express it in words. Thank you for sharing your experiences! ~Angie

cbollin

Reading Strands too?

Unread post by cbollin » Fri Apr 08, 2011 2:01 pm

fearnot wrote:On the WS website that they pair "Reading Strands" w/ the WS program. Has anyone here ever used RS w/ WS? Is this just a nice extra or does it really help w/ their writing? I don't think MFW suggests using it, so I was wondering about it.
Angie,
MFW schedules plenty of reading and read alouds. it works without that book.

One common help that many of us share over here is helping our children via "double dictation". Hopefully Trish or someone will chime in with their take on it. In my house, it's a learning step. Child says it, I write it on dry erase, child copies her own words from the visual model I gave her of her words.

then, we can edit together. For some children, they know what they want to say or express, but the processes of handwriting/spelling/and content of writing need an extra step back to be able to go forward.

-crystal

TriciaMR
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Re: Reading Strands too?

Unread post by TriciaMR » Fri Apr 08, 2011 2:36 pm

Agreeing with Crystal on the double dictation. We are doing less and less of it (end of 5th grade) now. My dd is slightly dyslexic, and if she writes a word incorrectly, then it will stick in her brain that way. So, it is VERY important for her to see the words the right way.

We did do things different back in 4th. She would dictate, I would write on the white board. Then we would edit the white board, and then she would copy the "final draft." Now, I write on notebook paper for her, and she copies off of that, and then we do a small bit of editing. After we do that, I type in into the computer and we do any further editing there. (Typing/keyboarding is on the summer school program this year :) .)

We've now gotten to the point where she pretty much writes her own science notebook page, and then we go back and fix spelling. (You should see how creative she's gotten with that!)

Anyway, if writing is an "issue" (meaning it's hard for her to remember spelling, punctuation, etc), do the double dictation and don't expect perfection. I do help her fix her mistakes, but expecting "no mistakes" from this child would be a mistake.

-Trish
Trish - Wife to Phil, Mom to Toni(18), Charlie(14), and Trent(14)
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