Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Create Better Writers TOS Crew Review 2012

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                       The flow of thoughts to write, as in my blog comes naturally to me. I have loved writing since Middle School when I was on the school paper and carried that with me through High School, assuming a position on that school paper as well as taking as many writing classes I could possibly take. That love of writing however did not necessarily carry on to my children, much to my dismay. We have struggled over the years to get the boys to appreciate the joy of writing. I was one of the Schoolhouse Review Crew members  chosen to review Create Better Writers, a writing curriculum for homeschoolers and I was hoping this was just the trick to get them to master the process of writing. I am sure that the reason they do not enjoy writing is that they have not yet mastered the mechanics of writing so it does not come easy and naturally to them, therefore making it a chore rather than a release of thoughts. I look to writing as a therapy session. I always feel better when I get things out onto paper. It gives me a sense of peace. I want my boys to experience the same feeling of expression. That is my goal for this year to Create a Writer within them.

      My first task to accomplish this goal was to "teach" them the mechanics of writing. This is something I struggle with, unless it is not something that walks me through the steps, I cannot verbalize to them how to start and finish the task at hand. Create Better Writers had the answer to my very problem. Let me start off by saying that Create Bettter Writers breaks it down for students in 3rd grade and up, into stair step direction. First the Sentence, then the Paragraph, and then onto a 5 Paragraph Essay. Success!

      So here is how you get started, CreateBetterWriters.com has it down to a Science. You start with their E-book designed just for homeschoolers, The Homeschool Writing Action Plan, this book is 54 pages of step by step instructions to help you travel the road map to find where your student should begin their writing journey. Selling for $15.95pdf or $19.95 physical copy, this is going to help gauge where your children are in their writing ability.
This will help you see the benefit of starting with The Homeschool Writing Action Plan...
Yes! I want a writing plan that is easy to follow and easy to teach.

Because writing can be such a complicated subject to teach, many home school teachers just want a curriculum that presents writing in a clear, uncomplicated fashion. This is why we’ve broken this book into three parts:

Part I – Summary of the Steps: We will begin with a summary of each step. The summaries of the steps are listed on a few pages. This will help you know, at all times, where you should be, where you are headed, and where each step fits into the big picture of your child’s writing.

Part II – Pacing Charts: Part 2 gives you sample pacing charts that will help you decide where and when to begin and how much time to spend on each activity. If you are beginning this program with an elementary school student, you will see how to slowly build you child’s writing skills over time. If you are beginning this program with a high school student, you will be shown how to quickly, but effectively, deliver the same information.
Part III – The Road Map: Part 3 will show you how to implement each step and give you strategies to help reinforce the writing concepts. However, this section will not give you specific lesson plans. While Parts 1 and 2 tell you what to teach and when to teach it, this section points out key aspects of each section and provides sample worksheets and lesson plans. One of the greatest advantages of this section is that it will point you to high quality and low cost lesson plans for each step. Even better, it will show you how to make sense out of writing instruction using your existing curriculum.

Yes! I want to feel confident as a writing teacher and be confident that I will help produce strong writers.

Whether you are comfortable with your writing skills or not, you want a writing program that gives you confidence that your students will be successful. A great feature to this program is that it teaches you, the home school teacher, right along with your children. It will guide you step-by-step as you cover every aspect of writing. The Home School Writing Action Plan is that first step.

What makes this program so powerful is that it starts with one simple writing technique and builds. Before you know it, you and your students will be writing amazing paragraphs, essays, stories, and reports. You won’t believe how easy it is to teach, and you’ll be amazed at how far your child can go. Even the reluctant writers thrive with this program.

Yes! I want a writing program that I can teach to all my children at the same time.

The goal of this program is to give home school parents a single writing program that can be used with multiple grade levels simultaneously. This system is so easy to manage that you can have several children at different stages or have them all at the same stage.

Example: You have a 3rd grader just learning the paragraph and a fifth grader learning the five paragraph essay. There is a simple writing technique that both the 3rd and 5th grader will use for both of these tasks. Begin by teaching the 3rd grader the paragraph and have the 5th grader join in as a review. When the 3rd grader is ready to practice paragraph writing, you can show your fifth grader the next step of essay writing. An hour later, both of your students will be using the exact same method for prewriting, only the 5th grader will be covering the topic in more detail.

*Note: This book will show you how to teach this, but does not give the specific lesson plan. You can purchase our resource for teaching the paragraph and five paragraph essay or feel free to use other curriculum.

  For instance it may play you in level 1 which is how to write a comprehensive paragraph, this is where my kids started just so we could reinforce what they already knew. Typically I think this would be upper Elementary and Middle School levels. There is a separate 23 page E-book for How To Teach the Paragraph available for $7.99. This first step in the program helps the children gather their thoughts and finish with a completed, comprehensive paragraph. It is essential to be a good writer that you know how to construct a complete paragraph. This is taught in eleven steps, using these eleven steps and the worksheets provided as well as the included teaching tools and writing assessments, the children will accomplish this goal with ease.

     After you have completed the How To Teach the Paragraph, you would then continue along your writing journey to the final lessons which would be How To Teach the Five Paragraph Essay.  62 pages of vaulable resources, Essay Topics, Step by Step Lesson to start with a solid paragraph and finish with an exciting essay. This book sells for $17.95 pdf and $19.95 hard copy.  They even include topics to get you started or you can choose your own, my boys sometimes do better when they can choose a topic of something that interests them personally. For instance Alyx loves classic cars, and Taylor likes Japanese Art. Then there are times where they are stuck for a topic and this is where the provided topics would come in handy.
Here you can see the table of contents showing the path you will follow until you reach your goal of a finished  5 paragraph essay. You can also view the actually steps as well.

      All in All I feel the program accomplishes what it sets out to do and advertises, although it is a bit redundant in it's steps, the boys did enjoy the program as it helped spark an interest in writing. Taylor has show an interest now in taking his drawings and adding a story to them in hopes of publishing a book through a company we found. I love to see my kids excited about learning and share a passion that I have. I hope this is just the beginning as we continue to explore the world of writing and all of it's endless possibilities.

      Be sure to stop by the crew blogs to see what they had to say about CreateBetterWriters.com


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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