One of the area’s I skimped on for this up coming school year was a writing curriculum for Olivia. Although I had a curriculum in mind, it just wasn’t in our budget. Imagine my joy when I was asked to review a writing curriculum from Writing With Sharon. Since Olivia will be starting middle school in the fall, I decided to pick Jump In as a starting place for us.
The student workbook is written to the student, and contains 240 lessons, enough to cover two years. (Score!) The first 7 pages are prewriting skills to help the student get used to the layout of the lessons, and also to help them to become familiar with the Your Locker resource section in the back of the book.
Topics covered are:
~Exposition (7 topics)
~ Narration (Storytelling)
The daily lessons are labeled as Skill, and are short, but thorough, taking between 5-20 minutes to complete. Each Skill has a little colorful graphic that goes along with the topic, but it’s not a distraction or too “cartoonish” for the middle-school age.
Students do not need to follow the order of the workbook. The exception being chapters labeled with “The Basics” are prerequisites for those chapters (Persuasion and Expository Chapters).
There are longer assignments throughout the workbook that can take from 2-10 days to complete. During the longer assignments there is a suggested writing schedule laid out to help the students to work in smaller increments to finish the big picture.
This handy parent/teacher guide gives helpful advice on how to help your reluctant writer, tips to help your student, tips to help your student proofread, and the mistake medic.
There is also a wonderful section on how to grade writing assignments, complete with evaluation forms for various genres. There’s also a pretty in depth section on how to write grade based papers; as in “How to Write and A Paper” or “How to Write an F Paper”.
To keep things fresh, there is also included 10 minute writing plunges for each week of the month (September – May), and you would repeat for year 2 by picking a different item for that week.
Finally, there is an Answer Key in the very back of the teacher manual for the specific questions asked throughout the student workbook. Sample pages are available here.
I absolutely LOVE the layout of the student workbook. It gives Olivia the structure she needs, while at the same time giving her flexibility and input into her writing assignments.
Olivia likes it because it’s in small enough sections that she doesn’t get overwhelmed by the writing assignment. She has already began to show improvement in the cohesion of her writing, and is enjoying it as well!