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Renochka

W&R or IEW?

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I have an 8 year old 3rd grader finishing WWE 3. He's bright, loves the idea and act of writing for himself, has amazing dictation skills but from WWE 1-3 struggled with narration. He never has anything to say. He is a perfectionist and won't narrate anything less than perfect, often taking an hour while he searches for the best adjectives, transitions, varying his words. It can take FOREVER. Mostly it's blank stares and daydreaming, with the occasional brilliant thought chucked in or nothing at all except for "I don't know what to say." Often, he spends so much time contemplating semi-colons and colons that he loses touch with the topic. It's driving me insane. I want to trust the classical process and continue with the narration and dictation approach and think maybe something a bit richer like W&R will help. But then I think maybe he needs his hand held and to be outlined to death. I hate the idea of all the videos he and I have to watch with IEW. But maybe that's what he *needs*? So do I trust the process and do the Progrym or do IEW?

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Well, here's my philosophy...

 

Teach the child in front of you with the resources that work best for that child.  Also, one size does not fit all.  In other words, it sounds like what you have been using isn't the best fit for him right now.  That doesn't mean it wasn't a good thing to use.  That just means that maybe right now what he needs is some handholding.  There are a lot of us out there that won't make the next leap forward without it and that's o.k.  No biggie.

 

IEW might actually REALLY help him make that leap.  It will give him scaffolding to help learn the process for coming up with his own ideas while providing some structure, a framework from which to pull those ideas.  It breaks everything down into manageable pieces then helps the child re-assemble those pieces.  As for all the videos, well, once you get the system down you don't have to watch a video if the two of you don't like them.  Also, they really aren't that bad.  You could also just get SWI (videos for the student), which is a shorter program than TWSS (the primary program to teach the teacher).  Just watch SWI together.  The videos are usually only once a week.  The rest of the week is the writing.  There is a 100% money back guarantee so you could return it if it didn't work out.  Or you can get TWSS and just teach the program yourself.  He never has to watch a video.

 

And you can be flexible.  If you want to shake things up a bit, you don't have to marry yourself rigidly to the way things are done in this program.  Be creative.  Make it fun.  What worked well here was watching the video on a Monday then for the first assignment of the week we would all brainstorm together on a dry erase board, discussing, collaborating, even drawing some illustrations on the side.  Then we would write a collaborative retelling.  The next assignment we would still brainstorm together but then retelling was done more independently.  Eventually we didn't really need the collaboration anymore but often still chose to do it that way because we had come to enjoy it.  We only watched the video once a week.

 

It helped all of us to get used to the system and the videos and my doing the writing assignments with them helped them get used to this way of thinking (which was very different from what we had used before and took some getting used to) without feeling alone.  They improved dramatically in their writing.  And the videos really weren't so bad.  They could be funny at times.

 

I will admit that at first I was uncomfortable.  I don't write this way.  And it was HARD for the kids to transition to this type of thinking.  I got a lot of frustration and confusion at first.  What I had to embrace was that writing in general (getting full thoughts onto paper) was hard for them (even though they had terrific moments of brilliance), and would be regardless of the system we used, but with this one they were getting necessary scaffolding.  Embracing that fact, tackling the IEW lessons with enthusiasm, going as slow or as fast as they needed for that particular lesson, really worked so much better than what we had been trying before.   

 

Once things started to shift in their brains, then pieces started falling together, writing assignments started to flow much more effectively, and then outside writing began to improve.  It was kind of a roller coaster effect.  The first few lessons we were riding that upward trajectory where it took tremendous effort to get moving, then we dropped down the first hill and gained some significant momentum.  Then we hit another upward hill and it was kind of hard to get up it but we already had some momentum so we made it over.  We did that over and over and each time the ability to get over the next hump got smoother and faster.  It was absolutely what my kids needed for writing to really click and I am so grateful we finally went this route, at least for a season.

 

And this is not set in stone.  Maybe all your child needs is this one year of IEW before returning to material you prefer.

 

One other resource I would highly recommend, though, is A Word Right Now.  It is a fantastic little spiral bound book that has TONS of wonderful words to choose from, organized by all kinds of topics plus types of words (nouns, verbs, adjectives, etc.).  It really helped the kids to get over writing humps when they wanted that "perfect" word but could not pull one up out of whole cloth.  They could flip through this incredibly easy to use resource and then, boom, writer's block was over.  It also leaves spaces for students to add in their own words, which the kids loved as well.  They got to make that book their own.

 

http://iew.com/shop/products/word-write-now

 

Good luck with your decision. I hope you find something that works for both of you.  Best wishes.  :)

Edited by OneStepAtATime
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Well, here's my philosophy...

 

Teach the child in front of you with the resources that work best for that child.  Also, one size does not fit all.  In other words, it sounds like what you have been using isn't the best fit for him right now.  That doesn't mean it wasn't a good thing to use.  That just means that maybe right now what he needs is some handholding.  There are a lot of us out there that won't make the next leap forward without it and that's o.k.  No biggie.

 

IEW might actually REALLY help him make that leap.  It will give him scaffolding to help learn the process for coming up with his own ideas while providing some structure, a framework from which to pull those ideas.  It breaks everything down into manageable pieces then helps the child re-assemble those pieces.  As for all the videos, well, once you get the system down you don't have to watch a video if the two of you don't like them.  Also, they really aren't that bad.  You could also just get SWI (videos for the student), which is a shorter program than TWSS (the primary program to teach the teacher).  Just watch SWI together.  The videos are usually only once a week.  The rest of the week is the writing.  There is a 100% money back guarantee so you could return it if it didn't work out.  Or you can get TWSS and just teach the program yourself.  He never has to watch a video.

 

And you can be flexible.  If you want to shake things up a bit, you don't have to marry yourself rigidly to the way things are done in this program.  Be creative.  Make it fun.  What worked well here was watching the video on a Monday then for the first assignment of the week we would all brainstorm together on a dry erase board, discussing, collaborating, even drawing some illustrations on the side.  Then we would write a collaborative retelling.  The next assignment we would still brainstorm together but then retelling was done more independently.  Eventually we didn't really need the collaboration anymore but often still chose to do it that way because we had come to enjoy it.  We only watched the video once a week.

 

It helped all of us to get used to the system and the videos and my doing the writing assignments with them helped them get used to this way of thinking (which was very different from what we had used before and took some getting used to) without feeling alone.  They improved dramatically in their writing.  And the videos really weren't so bad.  They could be funny at times.

 

I will admit that at first I was uncomfortable.  I don't write this way.  And it was HARD for the kids to transition to this type of thinking.  I got a lot of frustration and confusion at first.  What I had to embrace was that writing in general (getting full thoughts onto paper) was hard for them (even though they had terrific moments of brilliance), and would be regardless of the system we used, but with this one they were getting necessary scaffolding.  Embracing that fact, tackling the IEW lessons with enthusiasm, going as slow or as fast as they needed for that particular lesson, really worked so much better than what we had been trying before.   

 

Once things started to shift in their brains, then pieces started falling together, writing assignments started to flow much more effectively, and then outside writing began to improve.  It was kind of a roller coaster effect.  The first few lessons we were riding that upward trajectory where it took tremendous effort to get moving, then we dropped down the first hill and gained some significant momentum.  Then we hit another upward hill and it was kind of hard to get up it but we already had some momentum so we made it over.  We did that over and over and each time the ability to get over the next hump got smoother and faster.  It was absolutely what my kids needed for writing to really click and I am so grateful we finally went this route, at least for a season.

 

And this is not set in stone.  Maybe all your child needs is this one year of IEW before returning to material you prefer.

 

One other resource I would highly recommend, though, is A Word Right Now.  It is a fantastic little spiral bound book that has TONS of wonderful words to choose from, organized by all kinds of topics plus types of words (nouns, verbs, adjectives, etc.).  It really helped the kids to get over writing humps when they wanted that "perfect" word but could not pull one up out of whole cloth.  They could flip through this incredibly easy to use resource and then, boom, writer's block was over.  It also leaves spaces for students to add in their own words, which the kids loved as well.  They got to make that book their own.

 

http://iew.com/shop/products/word-write-now

 

Good luck with your decision. I hope you find something that works for both of you.  Best wishes.  :)

Thank you for taking the time to write this. Definitely food for thought. Will look at the curriculum again. Hopefully the epiphany of what to choose hits soon. :)

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I’ve used IEW with my oldest and am currently using WWE with my youngest. Last year, we used W&R 1 and stopped because I’m sick of Aesop and the program is written for the classroom.

 

It sounds like you need to scribe for your son. Remove the process of handwriting, punctuation, and grammar completely while he tells back the narrative plot summaries. Reading a portion of story and then reducing the events down into 3 complete sentences is challenging because they must learn to discern which details to include. Scribe for him and ask Socratic questions until he masters the process.

 

IEW teaches writing by employing KWOs of existing paragraphs. Each bullet of a KWO is limited to 3 words and unlimited symbols. The student then uses the KWO to create original sentences using strong verbs, quality adjectives, adverbs, clauses/phrases, and various sentence openers. IEW is alright for some, but I am not a fan. Like, I need to locate a box and test IEW’s 100% money back offer.

 

Maybe, pull back from WWE for awhile and give him time to mature. During that time, allow him to perform copywork, dictation, and basic plot summaries from chapter books that he is reading. Scribe his summaries and then use them for his copywork. WWE is much more pleasurable when the student has matured.

 

If you feel like you must try another writing program, I’d use W&R over IEW. Ultimately though, you want to remove the process of writing while he learns to process and organize his thoughts. Dictation exercises will cover the punctuation and grammar aspect for now. Lastly, he’s 8 years old. My DD started WWE3 in 4th grade, and she loves it.

Edited by Heathermomster
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I’ve used IEW with my oldest and am currently using WWE with my youngest. Last year, we used W&R and stopped because I’m sick of Aesop and the program is written for the classroom.

 

It sounds like you need to scribe for your son. Remove the process of handwriting, punctuation, and grammar completely while he tells back the narrative plot summaries. Reading a portion of story and then reducing the events down into 3 complete sentences is challenging because they must learn to discern which details to include. Scribe for him and ask Socratic questions until he masters the process.

 

IEW teaches writing by employing KWOs of existing paragraphs. Each bullet of a KWO is limited to 3 words and unlimited symbols. The student then uses the KWO to create original sentences using strong verbs, quality adjectives, adverbs, clauses/phrases, and various sentence openers. IEW is alright for some, but I am not a fan. Like, I need to locate a box and test IEW’s 100% money back offer.

 

Maybe, pull back from WWE for awhile and give him time to mature. During that time, allow him to perform copywork, dictation, and basic plot summaries from chapter books that he is reading. Scribe his summaries and then use them for his copywork. WWE is much more pleasurable when the student has matured.

 

If you feel like you must try another writing program, I’d use W&R over IEW. Ultimately though, you want to remove the process of writing while he learns to process and organize his thoughts. Dictation exercises will cover the punctuation and grammar aspect for now. Lastly, he’s 8 years old. My DD started WWE3 in 4th grade, and she loves it.

Interesting! Why did you find W&R is written for the classroom? Just because of the end assignment?

 

As for scribing, I do. Oh I do. He can answer the 3 questions she gives to guide the student to write a narration. And then we have 3 sentences which he works very hard to construct. But I feel like he has answered questions and not really, independently, narrated. Does that make sense? Maybe he's a brilliant narrator but I just don't know it? I'm confused! Also, he doesn't like WWE 3 and I don't blame him. The readings are BORING. Paul Revere, magicians, sheepdogs. There's less literature and more details. Overwhelming ones. And I find the instructions confusing. Does she not want the kid to go back to the reading or can he? I let him but I guess I'm confused what is best to show he has truly mastered narrating. Sorry for babbling. I want to love WWE 3. I want to know we are doing this "right." And I just don't know. 

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It might be an age thing, but my DD loves the excerpts for WWE 3.

 

With W&R, there were acting and group assignments. My issue with W&R was mainly working on a steady diet of 4 years worth of fables. I was sick of them and needed to stand back for a while. W&R 1 uses fables.

 

WIth WWE, don't be boring...Allow your son to pick the readings that he likes. Take an existing book that your son is reading, select two pages out of a chapter for him to read, and then have him tell you a basic plot summary in 3 complete sentences. Scribe them. Ask Socratic questions. He needs to tell you what happened with no pressure or anything. Write the sentences down and if you like, revisit them later. Play with the sentences and the vocab. Eventually, he will assume control. He is 8 years old. And if he has recall issues, have him draw picture notes as he reads and allow him to use them. Success to me is when they can provide a 3 sentence oral summary using complete sentences.

 

You could also take an existing paragraph and write a KWO. You don't need IEW for that. Check out this link. Page 14 of the PDF I linked might be helpful.

Edited by Heathermomster
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I’ve used IEW and W&R. I prefer W&R. I still use the All Things Fun and Fascinating as a precursor to W&R and I use W&R on the older end of the grade recommendation. IEW has its benefits, but I’ve seen writing from kids who have used it for a while and it’s very predictable and often stilted. If you use it, don’t force all the dress ups if they aren’t going to add to the piece of writing.

 

W&R only uses fables in book 1. There is no 4 years of fables. I’ve used books 1,2,3,5,6. I like the progression and the thinking that goes into the writing process. There are aspects that are more for a classroom, but you can drop or change those aspects. The book is written to be flexible for both home and school use and I think they do a pretty good job. They learn skills such as narration, outlining, identify different types of narratives, dictation, summarizing, amplifying, dialogue, taking a sentence and changing it in various ways, copiousness, revising, thesis, compare, contrast, argument, and if you use the Speak it section: elocution, public speaking, memorization.

 

It does require more teacher time than IEW because you are meant to discuss the narratives and (later) model essays. But there are sections that my kids do on their own and I go back with them and look at what they’ve done, helping them if they didn’t quite get it. I also choose some of their writing to edit, revise, and type out.

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It might be an age thing, but my DD loves the excerpts for WWE 3.

 

With W&R, there were acting and group assignments.  My issue with W&R was mainly working on a steady diet of 4 years worth of fables.  I was sick of them and needed to stand back for a while.  W&R uses fables.

 

WIth WWE, don't be boring...Allow your son to pick the readings that he likes.  Take an existing book that your son is reading, select two pages out of a chapter for him to read, and then have him tell you a basic plot summary in 3 complete sentences.  Scribe them.  Ask Socratic questions.  He needs to tell you what happened with no pressure or anything.  Write the sentences down and if you like, revisit them later.  Play with the sentences and the vocab.  Eventually, he will assume control.  He is 8 years old.  And if he has recall issues, have him draw picture notes as he reads and allow him to use them.  Success to me is when they can provide a 3 sentence oral summary using complete sentences.  

 

You could also take an existing paragraph and write a KWO.  You don't need IEW for that.  Check out this link.  Page 14 of the PDF I linked might be helpful.

That link looks great. Will print it out. 

 

I know I can do my own, but I like the lay out of the WWE and was really hoping to like the readings. They seem to just get worse and worse for us. For 1 and 2 i bought and my son read nearly every book they excerpted. I look forward to the complete works of W&R but why soooo much fable? 

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I’ve used IEW and W&R. I prefer W&R. I still use the All Things Fun and Fascinating as a precursor to W&R and I use W&R on the older end of the grade recommendation. IEW has its benefits, but I’ve seen writing from kids who have used it for a while and it’s very predictable and often stilted. If you use it, don’t force all the dress ups if they aren’t going to add to the piece of writing.

 

W&R only uses fables in book 1. There is no 4 years of fables. I’ve used books 1,2,3,5,6. I like the progression and the thinking that goes into the writing process. There are aspects that are more for a classroom, but you can drop or change those aspects. The book is written to be flexible for both home and school use and I think they do a pretty good job. They learn skills such as narration, outlining, identify different types of narratives, dictation, summarizing, amplifying, dialogue, taking a sentence and changing it in various ways, copiousness, revising, thesis, compare, contrast, argument, and if you use the Speak it section: elocution, public speaking, memorization.

 

It does require more teacher time than IEW because you are meant to discuss the narratives and (later) model essays. But there are sections that my kids do on their own and I go back with them and look at what they’ve done, helping them if they didn’t quite get it. I also choose some of their writing to edit, revise, and type out.

Thank you! Soooo helpful! I have All Things Fun and Fascinating in a RR cart. Can you tell me what it's like? Do I need any other IEW guides with it or is it self explanatory? What else would you recommend from IEW that will help me but not lock me into their stilted structure?

Thanks again!

Edited by Renochka

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