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8th grade writing? IEW vs EIW


AmyRay
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Hi all,

 

Summary:

 

DS is an 8th grade average writer, and we use the HOD curriculum.  I am not thrilled with Write With the Best II and am thinking about changing it out because it just doesn't have enough structure/examples.  My son really benefited from IEW Medieval a couple years back.  I thought it was pretty rigorous, and he made quite a bit growth as a writer.  So that brings IEW American History into play for a possible replacement.  There are two courses with one being advanced--I think the advanced one ties into the curriculum that he is doing in his history.  But I wonder if Advanced is too advanced?  Anyone who has used it before-your thoughts?

 

The other possibility is the EIW that I hear so much about on this board.  I would not need the grammar portion since we use R & S.  Also, next year EIW is scheduled in the 9th grade HOD guide.  

 

Any suggestions?  Should I go back to a previous program that worked and if so, which one? Or should I choose the feeder into next year's writing curriculum?  

 

Thanks so much for any feedback! :)

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Hi all,

 

Summary:

 

DS is an 8th grade average writer, and we use the HOD curriculum.  I am not thrilled with Write With the Best II and am thinking about changing it out because it just doesn't have enough structure/examples.  My son really benefited from IEW Medieval a couple years back.  I thought it was pretty rigorous, and he made quite a bit growth as a writer.  So that brings IEW American History into play for a possible replacement.  There are two courses with one being advanced--I think the advanced one ties into the curriculum that he is doing in his history.  But I wonder if Advanced is too advanced?  Anyone who has used it before-your thoughts?

 

The other possibility is the EIW that I hear so much about on this board.  I would not need the grammar portion since we use R & S.  Also, next year EIW is scheduled in the 9th grade HOD guide.  

 

Any suggestions?  Should I go back to a previous program that worked and if so, which one? Or should I choose the feeder into next year's writing curriculum?  

 

Thanks so much for any feedback! :)

 

I haven't used the IEW history courses, so I can't compare them. But, since you have used IEW in the past and it went well, I would be tempted to try IEW again. I always like to use things that are somewhat familiar if they worked.

 

On EIW, you mentioned not needing the grammar portion, and I wanted to point out that there is no grammar portion in EIW 8. (There is a beginning section that works with sentences, but no direct grammar instruction). Grammar is only included in EIW 1-6. 

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MerryAtHope,

 

Thanks for your input--especially on the EIW not having the grammar portion.  I am tempted to use the IEW but I wish I could see the entire book first.  :)  The preview and table of contents is just not enough for me. haha!

 

I have heard such great things about IEW that I am also intrigued by it.  It seems really structured too.  Also, I wish I had it in my hands.  I would be so much quicker to make my mind up if I could see them first.  

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I also just found a more comprehensive overview of the Advanced History EIW and it seems to be more high school than I previously thought.  That would mean that probably the other American History EIW would be best for my son.  

 

Finally, when I go to the IEW website, I see the writing as being 6-8?  I don't see an individual grade 8. 

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I can't answer your question, but wanted to encourage you to call the IEW 800 number on their website. They are great about helping you figure out what level/product for your needs. Their customer service is amazing.

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I also just found a more comprehensive overview of the Advanced History EIW and it seems to be more high school than I previously thought.  That would mean that probably the other American History EIW would be best for my son.  

 

Finally, when I go to the IEW website, I see the writing as being 6-8?  I don't see an individual grade 8. 

IEW does not have specific grade programs.  They have concepts/skills that need to be learned and material for learning those skills at different grade/age ranges.  There is a chart of what program should be completed before another program can be started (see below).  Most of their writing programs have an elementary level (3-5), a middle school level (6-8), and a High School Level.  If a student has completed the elementary level of that particular program, they don't need to repeat it at the middle school level or the High School level unless they need a refresher course.  The skills have been completed and they move on to the next program.  If you are talking about themed writing, there are grade/age ranges for those, too, and they tie to specific developmental levels/writing programs.  

 

Here is the path chart: 

http://iew.com/sites/default/files/images/IEW_2016_Pathway.jpg

 

In other words, there is a lot more flexibility in this system than many that have workbooks/books that have to be completed at every single grade level.  It does mean that you need to do a bit more research to see what would work best for your student.

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We're just finishing the Vol 1 level American History. I haven't seen the 2nd level course, but I agree that it looks to be aimed for more advanced writing (thesis, persuasive, research paper), IEW's high school stuff.

 

I think the 1st book is going to be a re-hash of the skills he covered in Medieval, with just a bit more at the end to make it adaptable to high school students as well as younger kids.  Would he benefit from another year running through the basic IEW skills? We're definitely ready for more and are moving out of IEW when this book is done, but then we didn't complete the theme book 2 years ago.

 

If you don't want another year of basic level IEW, the question you might have for the company is whether Volume 2 (high school) might work for an 8th grader who already ran through a middle school level theme book if you want to stick with IEW.

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sbgrace,

 

Yes, you have hit the nail on the head.  It does look like it could be a repetitive course.  Honestly, the medieval history curriculum was a huge challenge for him in 6th grade, but he persevered and did well.  Last year our writing curriculum was weak, and the one scheduled this year is okay I guess (Write With the Best Vol. 2).  But I don't think he will get as much out of it as I would like--just not enough examples and detailed requirements.  I have also looked at another IEW themed curriculum called Rockets, Radar, and Robotics.  Since it is modern science, I thought it could be a bit more challenging than the history and seem fresh, new, and challenging to him.  My biggest fear is having two years of mediocre writing instruction before hitting hs.  

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sbgrace,

 

Yes, you have hit the nail on the head.  It does look like it could be a repetitive course.  Honestly, the medieval history curriculum was a huge challenge for him in 6th grade, but he persevered and did well.  Last year our writing curriculum was weak, and the one scheduled this year is okay I guess (Write With the Best Vol. 2).  But I don't think he will get as much out of it as I would like--just not enough examples and detailed requirements.  I have also looked at another IEW themed curriculum called Rockets, Radar, and Robotics.  Since it is modern science, I thought it could be a bit more challenging than the history and seem fresh, new, and challenging to him.  My biggest fear is having two years of mediocre writing instruction before hitting hs.  

 

I really think I'd want to move beyond the theme books with him. I've liked what we gained from our theme book, but I think middle school writing ideally would go beyond what they offer in my opinion.

Edited by sbgrace
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Elegant Essay would be a good follow-up to a full year of a theme book. It would fine tune essay writing. Then move on to TTC and Windows to the World for literary analysis.

 Thank you for these suggestions. I quickly glanced at Elegant Essay and it looks fantastic!  What is TTC? I tried to look it up but reached a dead end.

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Thank you! I read through some other threads and came up with this list of other 8th grade writing resources that seem to be recommended:

 

Evergreen by Susan Fawcett

HS Essay Intensive

The Lively Art of Writing

Essay Voyage

Wordsmith?

Write at Home

Paragraph to Essay

and Elegant Essay 

 

Any current reviews? :)

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I don't know if Lively Art of Writing would move your guy forward and appeal, but it's cheap to purchase and see what you think. It seems to get lots of love. It didn't grab me for some reason, but I think I'm in the minority. The first two levels of WordSmith didn't feel like it was enough here for my two, but I know it gets good reviews as well.

 

I'll add BraveWriter's Help for High School to your possibility list.  I'm looking for a persuasive focus this year (7th), but I own it and plan to use it for 8th if we're ready at that point, and 9th if we're not. 

Edited by sbgrace
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 Thank you for these suggestions. I quickly glanced at Elegant Essay and it looks fantastic!  What is TTC? I tried to look it up but reached a dead end.

 

This is Windows to the World , and it includes a syllabus to combine it with Teaching the Classics.  TTC teaches how to discuss literature and identify the key elements of fiction. WTTW teaches writing about literary analysis. 

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Elegant Essay would be a good follow-up to a full year of a theme book. It would fine tune essay writing. Then move on to TTC and Windows to the World for literary analysis.

 

I have been looking at Elegant Essay again.  Do you think you need the teacher's guide? The sample portion seems to be set up for teaching a co-op class instead of an individual student.  Is the student workbook enough alone?  

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I have been looking at Elegant Essay again.  Do you think you need the teacher's guide? The sample portion seems to be set up for teaching a co-op class instead of an individual student.  Is the student workbook enough alone?  

 

Yes, you need it. This is designed to be taught in a classroom setting, and much of the teaching is actually in the TM. There are even sheets in the student book to take notes in class. 

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We use Heart of Dakota and are in the Missions to Modern Marvels guide.  Write with the Best Vol. II is the scheduled writing and it is a couple days a week.

 

 

I'm sorry, I was referring to which IEW program you will use this year because I thought you wanted to replace the HOD writing with another full program. Are you wanting to do US History, Rockets and Radars, or Elegant Essay?

 

Edited by mom31257
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You have a couple options. There is a co-op schedule included for a weekly class lasting one semester.

 

1. Follow the co-op schedule which will involve writing 4 days per week and finish in one semester. The second semester could be writing essays for practice, maybe one every other week or so.

 

2. Follow the co-op schedule, but only do one lesson every two weeks. This would allow you to keep writing to two days a week, maybe three some weeks when needed.

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Thanks, mom31257.

 

I think the second option sounds great.  Since we have writing in other areas of our curriculum, a slower pace sounds best.  

 

I really appreciate your help in wading through the writing options out there.  So many options...so little time! :)

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