Navigating the WriteShop Course Schedule

  1. Choosing Your Schedule
  2. Overview of the Daily Routine
  3. Differences Between our Videos and the Teacher Manual
  4. The Flexibility of the Program
  5. PlayWith Words!

Choosing Your Schedule

You’re free to work through the program at whatever pace is comfortable for your student. Of course, that will be determined by how old they are, how much writing they have done, and how far they have progressed in grammar lessons.

With young students, we take it slow and spread the workbook over three years. With teens preparing for graduation, we accelerate the speed to work on one lesson each week and finish one book per semester. Finally, with kids in between those two groups, our schedule allows them to move consistently while still enjoying the process of writing and participating in the other activities in their lives. Using that normal schedule, kids usually finish one lesson every two weeks to wrap up one manual each year.

You’ll find the two most common schedules laid out below:

Option One—Normal Schedule: Two weeks per Lesson; One Student Workbook per year

Day One: Skill Builder Video, Read Student Manual, Day One of Skill Builder Worksheet
(Plan 20-30 min.)

Day Two: Day Two and Day Three of Skill Builder Worksheet
(Plan 20 min.) 

Day Three: Brainstorming Video, Read Student Manual, Brainstorming Worksheet
(Plan 30-40 min.)

Day Four: Sloppy Copy Video, Read Student Manual, Write Sloppy Copy
(Plan 30-60 min.)

Day Five: Day Off

Day Six: First Revision Video, Edit Sloppy Copy, Write First Revision
(Plan 50-60 min.)

Day Seven: Teacher’s Day for Editing

Day Eight: Final Draft Video (Lessons 1-3 only), Write Final Draft
(Plan 40 min.)

Day Nine: Teacher’s Day for Editing

Day Ten: Write Second Final Draft (if necessary)
(Allow 20 min.)

Option Two—Accelerated Schedule: one week per Lesson; One Student Workbook per semester

Day One: Skill Builder Video, Read Student Manual, Do ALL of Skill Builder Worksheet (Days One, Two, Three)
(Plan 40-50 min.)

Day Two: Brainstorming Video, Brainstorming Worksheet, Sloppy Copy Video, Read Student Manual, Write Sloppy Copy
(Plan 60-90 min.)

Day Three: First Revision Video, Edit Sloppy Copy, Write First Revision
(Plan 50-60 min.)

Day Four: Teacher’s Day for Editing

Day Five: Final Draft Video, Final Draft (30 min.) 

Overview of the Daily Routine

Because PlayWith Education developed the video course after the WriteShop Teacher’s Manual (TM) was printed, the TM does not mention the movies. We have carefully coordinated the schedule with the ones that can be found in the Teacher’s Manual. You’ll find the normal routine (for most students) Lesson Plan Overview: Two- or Three-Year Track (Option One above) on page 18 and the ACCELERATED speed (for teens nearing graduation) Lesson Plan Overview: One-Year Track (Option Two above) on page 19.

The lesson plans in your TM act as your organizational guide. In a supporting role, PlayWith Education’s website is a helpful director because the videos present everything for you. You do not have to add anything to the material being shown. As students finish one segment, the next one will unlock. Therefore, they will know what to do next by which module is available to view.

Students watch the film and then do that day’s work. The only day that does not start with a video is Day Two for the Option One—Normal Schedule, but kids will know what to do because they finish the Skill Builder worksheet that they started the day before.

The pages to read in the Student Manual are mentioned in the day’s movie. The bottom line is that they will read every page in each lesson. As teens get used to the routine, they become expert at coordinating the book with the assignments.

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Differences Between the Videos and the Teacher’s Manual

We have broken the teaching segments into short easily-digestible pieces instead of presenting it all on Day One (as the TM does). Therefore, the website’s schedule deviates from the chart on Page 18 and 19 of the TM in two ways:

1. Day One: Kids watch the Skill Builder video and do the first Skill Builder exercise for “Day One.” The Skill Builder worksheets are an absolute requirement as this course builds on the ideas practiced there.

When you look at the Skill Builder worksheet, you see that it is broken into three sections: “Day One,” “Day Two,” and “Day Three.”

We flex the days for the Skill Builders a little differently than the Teacher’s Manual does. Kids on the normal schedule complete the worksheet over the course of two days (today and tomorrow) while the accelerated ones do it all in one day. As you will see, the three projects are usually comfortably completed in this time frame.

The Pre-Writing Activities mentioned in the TM are presented later, in the second segment of the lesson (usually the Brainstorming video). That’s the day they actually begin writing. Then, we start with a presentation that captures their interest while demonstrating the core concept with real-life examples.

2. Day Two: Scholars complete the two remaining Skill Builders for “Day Two” and “Day Three.” The Skill Builder worksheets are an absolute requirement as this course builds on the ideas practiced there.

The TM lists “Day Two” as the day to work on the practice paragraph. To accomplish that goal, we present students with a sample paper in tomorrow’s Brainstorming Video and demonstrate by example how to edit it to achieve the lesson’s objectives (just as co-op teachers do when they model a practice paragraph with a group). Consequently, our own schedule for Day Two doesn’t require that you do a separate practice paragraph, but you can if you’d like to. It’s up to you.

Some parents choose to do one in addition to our demonstration, while others do not. As the WriteShop website says, “If your student quickly gets the hang of each writing assignment and appears to follow directions well, you might only choose to write a practice paragraph now and then, perhaps when a new kind of writing is introduced. On the other hand, if she has trouble staying on track, needs more guidance, or has trouble grasping lesson objectives, you’ll probably want to write practice paragraphs more often.”

If you feel that your own student would benefit from doing a practice paragraph with you, Day Three would be the day to do it, after he or she has watched the Brainstorming video. Look at page 16 of the TM for step-by-step instructions.

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Flexibility of the Program

Please note that the schedule is not set in stone; some lessons deviate from it. Moreover, there will be many days when your own scholars will need to flex due to illness or holidays or life in general. Feel free to take time when you need to!

In addition, an extra week has been added to Lesson 1 because it covers so much territory. The Skill Builders will be the whole assignment that first week. Teens will start with the Brainstorming movie the following Monday.

Finally, there is one other time where we added an extra video because the concept required extra explanation. By the time kids get to that, they’re so used to opening the next video and carrying on that they don’t even notice that it’s an addition.

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PlayWith Words!

Most importantly, have fun with your students while you are brainstorming, writing practice paragraphs, creating Sloppy Copies, finding a better word for a dull idea, and even correcting errors on the First Revision. Joke around. Laugh together. Have a good time so you teach the attitude that composition can be fun, not drudgery.

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