When you receive a product to review and it is the most fantastic item EVER and then you realize that you have been teaching WRONG all along! This totally happened to me…
We were recently beyond blessed to get in on the Crew Review for the Deluxe Combo Teacher/Student Writing Package Level A with Fix It! Grammar Books 1 & 2 along with A Word Right Now and Portable Walls from Institute for Excellence in Writing (IEW).
And you are NOT going to believe this set of goods that we got to review!
I will readily admit that upon receiving the (gigantic, heavy, multiple itemed) box I was excited and thoroughly overwhelmed…For. Real.
There are sooooo many things to talk about! I will break down each item and what it entailed then, at the end, I will tell you how it all worked for us…ready?!
This is totally for the mamas (teachers). One of my first thoughts when I started watching these DVDs is that I had No Idea that I have been teaching “how to write” incorrectly all of these years. Then I couldn’t believe that it is all because I wasn’t even taught this way, so how in the world could I teach it? Right?!
The TWSS is a 12 DVD set which includes 9 DVDs that are teacher instructional DVDs and then there are 3 DVDs that are for student workshop samples. A seminar for anyone that wants to improve their own writing skills or for those that need to teach their children. AH-mazing y’all…seriously AH-mazing.
Total watch time is over 14 hours, sounds like a lot, but it is time incredibly well spent with the plethora of information given!
Included with this DVD seminar series is the Seminar Workbook. We got a tab-divided binder with the entire workbook in loose leaf paper, ready to be inserted into the binder. This is the how-to, meat and potatoes book, it has charts, numerous work lists, a bunch of sample lesson plans, and…and…well, essentially everything you need to know about how to write, and how to write well.
- Note taking and Outlines
- Writing from Notes
- Retelling Narrative Stories
- Summarizing a Reference
- Writing from Pictures
- Summarizing Multiple References
- Inventive Writing
- Formal Essay Models
- Formal Critique
- Writing About Literature
- Stylistic Techniques
With all of this provided information, there is without question no reason why anyone (adding me to this group right here) could not teach someone how to write. From basic storytelling, to the detailed reporting that is sometimes required. The TWSS series is bar none a wonderful way to teach this subject.
This is a year long stand alone course, each section or unit (there are a total of 9 units) can be covered in a school year.
Along with all of the listed goods above, there is also access granted online that will include downloadable files from IEW.
If you get the Premium Subscription there will extra goodies too, such as:
- video streaming of all 14 hours of the TWSS seminar
- free monthly web training
- a lot of PDFs
I look back and wish that this had been a priority when I was in school. I may write half way decent, but I think that if this style of teaching had been available when I was in school, I would be a much better writer today. Even though I love to write, I will be continuing to learn along with the children, because this seminar and training is seriously that great.
We received a binder with tabbed inserts and a student packet along with a 4 DVD course. You will need some extra loose leaf paper to add into your binder for the extra writing that will be required.
This course is set to stand alone for any elementary student to begin the learning to write process. It can be used over a 30 week period, that breaks down to about one lesson every one to two weeks. But you can always double up and complete the course in 15 weeks, whichever works best for you and your student.
This course is a wonderful video seminar that will go step by step for the younger writers in your house. Each lesson is blocked out for the teacher that shows what part of the video to show for the daily lesson and then has the worksheets that go with the lesson. Not every lesson requires the usage of the DVDs though, but there are detailed instructions with each teacher’s lesson plan.
Here are some of the important pages included in the binder:
- -ly Adverb List
- Adverbs for Essays
- Banned Words (eat would be a banned word – use gobbled, chomp, consume, etc…)
Most lessons began with watching the required section of the DVD, then there was written work. Some days the work was corrected right away, other days it was corrected the following day. There was always a reenforcement activity with each lesson.
There is no better way for children to learn than to go back and have them complete work from a day or two before. It “hammers” in the ideas and allows them to build their confidence as they move along in the course.
Since I used this mostly with Ana, she is 10 years old, I was excited for her to start in her own Fix It! Grammar book.
This set of books is the beginning level of the Fix It! Grammar series. We received the spiral bound, glossy covered Teacher’s books for Book 1 (The Nose Tree) and Book 2 (Robin Hood). We were able to download the student workbooks from the IEW site. I ended up printing the student workbooks and put them in binders so that Ana could have everything in one spot. We needed to add in extra loose leaf paper due to the rewriting required in the course.
This is possible to use as a stand alone product. I am extremely fond of the Fix It! Grammar series. The lessons are usually fairly short. They entail a small section for the student to read and then they must rewrite the section read correctly. The goal is to learn the basic rules of grammar at the same time as your literally rewrite the story you are reading about.
The Nose Tree is the book that we used the most, as it is the first book in the set. Robin Hood is book 2 and we are already looking forward to when we are able to begin this one. It can be completed in as little as 16-17 weeks or stretched out over 33 weeks.
Have you ever noticed that some words are overused? For instance – more, very, sad, happy, etc…
With this glossy covered, spiral bound book you will delighted to find that there are a plethora of verbs, adverbs, adjectives, nouns, pronouns that are simply waiting for you to add them to your vocabulary. This book is subtitled – A Thematic Thesaurus for Stylized Writing. What a fantastic descriptive subtitle, right?!
I readily admit that this is one of my favorite books that we received. The lists are exponential and I am throughly impressed with the length of them. This is a dynamic addition to anyone’s writing resources. It is handy to carry around or to have on hand for those moments that you are looking for a word that stands out from the normal, overused, boring words that most people use.
This book includes four sections:
- Section A – Character traits
- nouns, nouns characters, adjectives, adverbs verbs
- Section B – Descriptive Words
- appearance, color, size, time, temperature, texture, shape
- Section C – Movement and the Senses
- for feet, hands, hearing, seeing, smelling, speaking, thinking
- Section D – Appendix
- word play, transition words, prepositions, literary genres, literary devices
How many times I have racked my brain trying to use a better word than I had previously in a sentence. THIS is the book for me!
There is NEVER enough wall space for all of the posters that go along with school. I am overjoyed that we received this Portable Walls with the other goodies we got. The totable one pocket trifold is perfect for the writer that sometimes has a hard time remembering all of “the rules”.
All of the skills that are taught in the Teaching Writing: Structure & Style are miniaturized into 9 sections for quick reference. As well as simple rules that go along with writing, a long list of -ly adverbs, the “-ly” imposters, a list of prepositions, an incredible list of synonyms for the word “said”, and strong verbs.
I bet my teachers in school never would believe the excellent resources available to my kids today. And this is just for writing class!
How This Worked at Our House
First and foremost, this was an intense and easily the hardest product review we have ever had. There is So. Much. Stuff. But on the other hand, Ana and I LOVED it!
Secondly, we quickly picked out our favorite things and rode down that road a tad more frequently. We both are gigantic fans of the Fix It! Grammar and have worked our way through a bunch of the lessons in Book 1 (The Nose Tree). I think that due to the short lessons that this is one reason that Ana likes it better than the other work.
She can easily get through her lesson within 15-20 minutes and then move on to other work. She enjoys the “puzzle” of this part of the grammar program, a bit like her brother in the IEW review from last year. This is a two fold program for her, at least the way I see it. She must read and then rewrite the book section, therefore she is practicing her handwriting also. Win-win for me!
Once I had made my way through the TWSS and my learning style had been changed, I in turn helped Ana begin on the worksheets and writing became more fun and less of a chore for her. If only I had know about this years ago, I bet that I would have a teenage son that enjoyed writing today. She found that the follow and learn idea was an easier approach than the “here’s a piece of paper, write a story” way.
Without a doubt we will dive deeper into the Student Writing intensive course once I have a firmer grasp on the way to teach writing. It was a lot to work all at once, so this one was used enough for me to talk about but not so much with the physical hands on. I have an idea though that this will only increase Ana’s (and ultimately my) writing abilities and for that I so grateful.
We both loved the extras, the trifold Portable Walls and A Word Write Now came in handy more than one time. Again, A Word Write Now is a complex thesaurus that I myself will use numerous times, what a helpful resource for writers.
Lastly, if you do purchase this or any other product from IEW, read everything throughly and Do Not Miss any web codes! They offer so much more on the website once you purchase a product.
I hope that I was able to do this review justice and that I was able to answer any questions you might have had about this Deluxe Combo from IEW. Please make sure to visit their site for much more detailed descriptions as well as samples and frequently asked questions.
The Crew reviewed a bunch of different items this go round – see what they had to say:
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** Phew ** I sure hope you enjoyed this review and that you visit again to see what we have on the docket!
In His Grace.