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TOG Writing Aids- reviews?

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#1 plain jane

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Posted 10 January 2010 - 07:08 PM

I'm considering purchasing TOG for use next year instead of SOTW. I'm trying to get more information on their Writing Aids part of the program. How is the writing instruction in this? Is it strong enough to use as a stand-alone program instead of CW or IEW or is it simply to help with writing in the TOG assignments? Have you noticed significant improvement in your dcs' writing?

I'd be using this with a 4th grader, if that makes any difference. :)

#2 lovemykids

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Posted 10 January 2010 - 08:10 PM

:lurk5:

#3 1bassoon

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Posted 10 January 2010 - 10:21 PM

I'm using Writing Aids, and really enjoying it.

BUT - I may be in the minority (and I'm ok with that ;))

Basically, it is a resource. Here's how it works:

Let's say I'm going to teach my 5th grader about report writing. I turn to the corresponding section of Writing Aids entitled, (oddly enough!) Reports. There, I'll find an introduction written to me, the teacher. Reports are covered at several different levels, so I'll have to read the section and apply the principles for my daughter's level.

Next is a section I can read through with my dd, with talking points to bring out during our writing time. There are almost always prewriting or graphic organizers on the CD that is included, that we will use as she begins writing.

I have enjoyed Writing Aids, b/c I feel that it equips me to teach writing myself. I've always been a fairly strong writer, but had no framework to use while teaching. WA provides that framework, but without the constraints and formulas of IEW. (Keep in mind, though, that I've never actually used IEW, even though I've looked at it extensively, so ymmv.)

I've been pleased with the fruit I've seen in my kids' writing. My eldest dd is slogging her way through a classical comparison paper - she's comparing Jane Austen & Mark Twain - and while it's tough going she's really doing well. She has said she feels she has the 3-point essay down cold, and she's also written some terrific historical fiction. That's just one example - all my kids have benefitted from WA and TOG's approach.

Is it appropriate for a stand-alone program? Yes, if you supplement with grammar. BUT - it is designed to go with the writing assignments in TOG.

Oh, one more thing. Marcia Somerville gave two GREAT talks on teaching writing over the summer. I'm too lazy to go dig up the links ;), but I'm pretty sure they're available on the website. Maybe tomorrow I'll post the links, unless someone beats me to it, but they were very informative and helpful.

Numbers-wise, I know many moms who have tried WA and not liked it. My only friend who likes and uses WA is one who used to be a high school English teacher, so you can draw your own conclusions about that!

I'd be happy to answer any more questions you might have. . . . .

#4 plain jane

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Posted 10 January 2010 - 10:24 PM

I'm using Writing Aids, and really enjoying it.

BUT - I may be in the minority (and I'm ok with that ;))

Basically, it is a resource. Here's how it works:

Let's say I'm going to teach my 5th grader about report writing. I turn to the corresponding section of Writing Aids entitled, (oddly enough!) Reports. There, I'll find an introduction written to me, the teacher. Reports are covered at several different levels, so I'll have to read the section and apply the principles for my daughter's level.

Next is a section I can read through with my dd, with talking points to bring out during our writing time. There are almost always prewriting or graphic organizers on the CD that is included, that we will use as she begins writing.

I have enjoyed Writing Aids, b/c I feel that it equips me to teach writing myself. I've always been a fairly strong writer, but had no framework to use while teaching. WA provides that framework, but without the constraints and formulas of IEW. (Keep in mind, though, that I've never actually used IEW, even though I've looked at it extensively, so ymmv.)

I've been pleased with the fruit I've seen in my kids' writing. My eldest dd is slogging her way through a classical comparison paper - she's comparing Jane Austen & Mark Twain - and while it's tough going she's really doing well. She has said she feels she has the 3-point essay down cold, and she's also written some terrific historical fiction. That's just one example - all my kids have benefitted from WA and TOG's approach.

Is it appropriate for a stand-alone program? Yes, if you supplement with grammar. BUT - it is designed to go with the writing assignments in TOG.

Oh, one more thing. Marcia Somerville gave two GREAT talks on teaching writing over the summer. I'm too lazy to go dig up the links ;), but I'm pretty sure they're available on the website. Maybe tomorrow I'll post the links, unless someone beats me to it, but they were very informative and helpful.

Numbers-wise, I know many moms who have tried WA and not liked it. My only friend who likes and uses WA is one who used to be a high school English teacher, so you can draw your own conclusions about that!

I'd be happy to answer any more questions you might have. . . . .


Thanks, Heather. You reply was really helpful. I will dig around for those links myself, but would appreciate it if you had time to post them tomorrow for me. :)

I can't think of any specific questions at this time. It sounds like it would work for me, and likely I won't know for sure until I try it. Unfortunately, I don't know anybody IRL who uses TOG so this is a bit overwhelming for me.

#5 1bassoon

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Posted 10 January 2010 - 10:29 PM

Recorded Conferences

There ya go, Jane! See, I had a frustrating day, so doing this made me feel it was all worthwhile :)

Feel free to PM me if you want. I sometimes struggle with expressing my thoughts online/email (I know, I know, just when I said I was a good writer! Ha!), but would be happy to give it a try.

#6 TracyP

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Posted 11 January 2010 - 10:58 AM

I'm using TOG with first grader and am glad to hear what someone who uses WA thinks. I am using the writing assignments now but don't have writing aids. I am debating buying it for next year. Do you think it is worth it for 2nd grader? If not when would you buy it?

#7 tracymirko

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Posted 11 January 2010 - 01:11 PM

I'm using TOG with first grader and am glad to hear what someone who uses WA thinks. I am using the writing assignments now but don't have writing aids. I am debating buying it for next year. Do you think it is worth it for 2nd grader? If not when would you buy it?


I am debating the same thing, as I will have a 1st grader. I am thinking about purchasing a bundle. I will definitely need map aids and was thinking about writing aids, too. I don't think we will really use it much for 1st grade, but I figure we will use it eventually.

#8 1bassoon

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Posted 11 January 2010 - 01:15 PM

First graders have a lot to think about, with learning to read and spell and do math, and TOG is really just bonus for them at that age.

If you're going to focus on developing writing skills b/c your child is a good reader and speller already (by good, I mean working 1-2 grade levels ahead), then I'd say go ahead and get WA for the first grader.

I found with my now 3rd grade dd, we didn't use WA so much when she was in 1st grade - but keep in mind she is my 4th child, and I was just happy she was reading & doing math and playing with the toddler! :D

For her 2nd grade year, we buckled down a bit and used WA a bit more - she produced a lot more writing that year. So I'd say for the 2nd grader, if TOG is your only writing program, yes, that's a good fit.

HTH!

#9 plain jane

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Posted 11 January 2010 - 07:29 PM

Bumpity-Bump-Bump

Heather has been most helpful. Any other TOG WA users who want to chime in? :):lurk5:

#10 Renaissance Mom

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Posted 11 January 2010 - 08:22 PM

I think WA is a wonderful resource! If you use the TOG writing assignments, WA makes it very clear how to implement the assignments. The grading rubrics are particularly helpful -- giving feedback on and grading writing assignments is tough, WA helps.

I've used WA and TOG assignments exclusively for several years and I've used WA and TOG assignments blended with IEW for a year and a half now. My oldest was really struggling with clustering and mind mapping so we did KWO and worked through all 9 IEW units using the TOG history assignments for our prompts last year. Our prewriting issues are now nonexistent -- we're gradually working our way back to 100% TOG assignments with WA as our "handbook". Do I think we could have worked through our issues without IEW? Sure -- it was one of those things, however, where we were all beating our heads against a wall and just changing things up cleared the air and settled it.

WA is not necessary to complete the level 1 TOG writing assignments as long as you can figure out how to put together a word bank, use those words to build sentences, introduce all the parts of speech plus basic punctuation, give simple dictation, do draw & caption work, and teach how to write simple paragraphs.

Beginning with level 2 and up TOG writing, I would very much recommend WA as your writing handbook.

That's my humble opinion!
Monica

#11 lovemykids

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Posted 11 January 2010 - 10:39 PM

All of these TOG posts make me doubt my decision not to use TOG, maybe one day…WA sounds very nice! ;)

#12 1bassoon

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Posted 11 January 2010 - 10:44 PM

Aw, maybe you shouldn't listen to me. . . . .


my dad says I can sell ice to an eskimo ;)

I think the important thing is to know what your goals are for your kids and your family, then pick what fits those goals. It just happens that for us, TOG fits almost all of our goals, and it fits the way I enjoy teaching and learning.

Does that make sense?

Just don't want to be the cause of curriculum-envy! :D

#13 plain jane

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Posted 11 January 2010 - 10:50 PM

Aw, maybe you shouldn't listen to me. . . . .


my dad says I can sell ice to an eskimo ;)

I think the important thing is to know what your goals are for your kids and your family, then pick what fits those goals. It just happens that for us, TOG fits almost all of our goals, and it fits the way I enjoy teaching and learning.

Does that make sense?

Just don't want to be the cause of curriculum-envy! :D


Oh no, don't worry about me. I can covet curriculum all on my own, without anybody's help. ;)

I do appreciate your thoughts. It does sound like it will work for us, and if it doesn't well, atleast you have convinced me that it's worth the cost to atleast give it a try. :)

#14 lovemykids

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Posted 12 January 2010 - 12:13 AM

Aw, maybe you shouldn't listen to me. . . . .


my dad says I can sell ice to an eskimo ;)

I think the important thing is to know what your goals are for your kids and your family, then pick what fits those goals. It just happens that for us, TOG fits almost all of our goals, and it fits the way I enjoy teaching and learning.

Does that make sense?

Just don't want to be the cause of curriculum-envy! :D


Yes, exactly. TOG would not be a great fit for our family. It would like trying to fit a square peg in a round hole. LOL. The whole worldview and the religion would not be compatible with our beliefs. I was considering purchasing it anyway and forcing it to fit, by tweaking it to death, and leaving out what may have equaled to huge chunks. I hesitated on the buy button, and what a difference a day makes; I realized maybe I didn’t want to spend all of that money and do all of the work just to make it presentable for my children. At least not right now.

(I do firmly believe that you can make almost any curriculum work, since it is simply a tool, and we as teachers are the masters.)

What attracted me to TOG was the depth of discussion questions in the Rhetoric level, and having all of the children on the same subject. Writing Aids sounds like something I would enjoy using, and the writing assignments in TOG excited me as well. Then I started testing out the samples a bit more, and realized that it would still be a lot of work tweaking it, and checking out the majority of books at the library. It dawned on me that I could do the little extra work it takes to find those resources myself, for my younger children, with whatever topic we are using for my oldest. I can also use resources that we currently own. Basically, I can save a ton of money doing it a different way. But I reserve the right to change my mind! :D

Right now, I am basically, very happy with the way we are doing things and I’m enjoying my curricula choices. I have started to look ahead a little too much; I should enjoy the moment a bit more I suppose. I did have an epiphany moment when I looked at a respected college’s requirements (one that we may be aiming for) and didn’t see history on the list. :001_huh:

Oh no, don't worry about me. I can covet curriculum all on my own, without anybody's help. ;)


:rofl::smilielol5:


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