Did you know that you can enrich your writing experience by using various IEW tools?
We’ve been using the Institute for Excellence in Writing for two years and I’m continually discovering new gems on their website. I truly feel like I’m on a treasure hunt every time I browse IEW’s shop.
We’re well into our IEW writing series and so far we’ve talked about:
- why we need IEW as a holistic writing curriculum
- the way IEW teaches writing and the three writing programs it offers
- the components of Structure and Style for Students
- YOU ARE HERE
- compare SSS level A Year 1 with Year 2 to see how IEW units repeat
- how IEW transformed my reluctant writer into a confident little wordsmith in 2 years!
Now we’re taking a short pit-stop into the world of add-ons that can enrich and enhance your children’s writing experience. With tools such as Fix It! Grammar, live lessons, an app, and A Word Write Now, we can make Structure and Style for Students even more versatile and help support good writing habits.
Please note that if you take a Premier Package you will have access to some of these included there already.
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1. A Word Write Now
Are your kids feeling overwhelmed with finding new words to use in their compositions?
A Word Write Now is a different kind of a thesaurus that kids can use to find interesting words and use them in their writing. I love that they are categorized, making this an easy and useful tool to have handy.
The book isn’t overwhelmingly big at a little over 100 pages, but the words have been selected with care so that beginner writers get the most use out of it without being overwhelmed. I appreciate the effort that went into making this book more than a thesaurus by adding short definitions and descriptions of important writing devices, like characters, some grammar refreshments, and literature appreciation through the quotes provided throughout the book.
We keep our A Word Write Now handy on the desk for easy access when Marc is writing. This little thesaurus has helped him find better ways to express certain thoughts and I think it has done more than provide a quick reference for words, but it helped Marc be more thoughtful about what he writes and how it sounds to the reader.
2. Play it Write Card Game
These awesome cards are on the lines of Fix It! Grammar cards and they are very handy for playing with the stylistic techniques and grammar for writing that kids learn in Structure and Style for Students.
I love these cute little cards because you can turn writing and remembering stylistic techniques into a game!
Unfortunately, Play It Write is being discontinued, so if you can, grab the ones in stock while it lasts.
Marc is often pulling these out for play and IEW has free game ideas you can download for these. He loves playing “war” with these and he is having so much fun when Mr. Pudewa cards come to play. He learned the names and meanings of stylistic techniques and dress-ups that he didn’t even learn yet in SSS from this set of cards.
For example, he learned what an alliteration or a very short sentence is even before he learned about them from grammar or writing.
3. Student Resource Notebook
Wondering how to organize all those colored papers from the student packet?
The Student Resource Notebook is a must-have if you want to have all your important details of SSS in one place, easy to access at all times.
The Student Resource Notebook is a favorite of ours and it sits on Marc’s desk, ready to be used when he is stuck or needs some inspiration. Together with A Word Write Now they make a powerful toolkit for writers.
Here’s what’s inside:
- an overview of all the stylistic techniques
- samples for each structural model
- strong verbs lists along with the banned verbs that kids shouldn’t use in their compositions
- -ly adverb lists
- quality adjectives lists
- five senses and emotions- words to describe these
- decorations and examples of these with included exercises (alliteration, simile, metaphor etc)
- transitional words and phrases
- grammar rules
- charts and checklists, including symbols to use when editing and note-taking
- composition checklists
4. IEW’s Writing App
Wait, what? IEW has an app?
YES! One of the IEW tools we use and love is their writing app.
If you prefer to have all the resources at your fingertips, the IEW app is where you’ll find a list of all dress-ups, structural models, and even a thesaurus for quick and easy access.
I love using this when we need a quick list of words (for example prepositions) or Marc forgets how to use a certain dress-up and needs some extra help.
5. Free IEW Tools: Printables – Use Them!
Did you know IEW has point-based checklists for easy grading? How about the SSS Student Sample texts?
I love SSS’s included checklists, but we have to report grades, so I made use of IEW’s free printable for teachers which has a point system for every checklist item. This allows me to quickly and effectively grade Marc’s work.
Another useful, free printable, for parents, is the Sample Texts. For every lesson, you can see how other students at your child’s level wrote a composition. This has been extremely helpful for me because it appeased a lot of my fears. Seeing how other kids write and the work they produce helped me avoid over-correcting Marc’s work.
6. Live, Online Lessons for Structure and Style for Students
You don’t feel like teaching SSS yourself or you feel overwhelmed? Let IEW teach your kids, live!
I think many people feel a bit overwhelmed by the layout of the IEW’s website and the many options offered that they don’t even know IEW is also offering LIVE classes for Structure and Style for Students curriculum.
These are live classes held by certified IEW instructors, taking the stress of teaching and editing away from parents. The role of the parent with the live classes is mostly for accountability, making sure kids are present and do their homework and helping only when they get stuck.
This option is great to have for busy or simply overwhelmed parents or for children that prefer outside teachers to explain concepts to them.
Make sure you enroll in time for the classes because they are time-sensitive.
7. Writing Source Packet
Do you want to work on different texts than the ones provided in the Structure and Style for Students? No problem!
One of the IEW tools you’ll love is the Writing Source Packet because it has reproductible texts for units 1 to 6.
You can use these as supplemental writing for kids that love writing or as alternatives to the texts in SSS.
There are several texts to choose from for each level and unit.
I told you SSS was versatile!
8. Portable Walls for Everything
The portable walls are one of our favorite IEW tools!
The walls are cardstock tri-folders that act as writing stations directly on your kid’s desk. I love that we can use this as a quick refrence guide and that there are different ones for SSS, grammar, essays, and more.
9. Magnum Opus Magazine & Writing Contests
Are you worried that your advanced writers need more challenge? Are your kids competitive? Fear not, for IEW has you covered with writing contests and publishing opportunities for even the youngest of writers.
The Magnum Opus, which is Latin for “great work,” is an opportunity for students to have their best work published and read by peers worldwide either in a published magazine or in the weekly e-newsletters.
Did you know that the Institute for Excellence in Writing holds several writing contests for students of all ages?
In addition to the Magnum Opus Magazine, IEW also holds a speech contest and an annual writing contest for aspiring and accomplished writers between the ages of 8 and 18. You can check that out on the IEW contest page.
10. Fix It! Grammar Program and Cards
There’s no such thing as writing without grammar, and IEW places great importance on grammar, but not in the traditional sense. Through their Fix It! Grammar curriculum they introduce grammar through hands-on practical examples that make sense to kids. No more disjointed sentences that make no sense!
Kids are asked to work directly on texts, but not any texts! In a year of grammar instruction, they will rewrite a full story (that makes sense) out of the sentences they corrected and edited. And what’s more, Fix It! Grammar coordinates perfectly with SSS (that’s why it’s included in the suggested weekly schedule for every SSS lesson).
This is what holistic writing instruction looks like!
Fix It! Grammar is our favorite grammar program and Marc is working through the levels of this at his own pace.
And that’s not all! Did you know IEW has a set of cards for Fix It! Grammar that works perfectly well with both the grammar program and Structure and Style for Students? Make sure to check them out because they’re a gem to have on hand.
11. Theme-Based Writing as Enrichment
IEW offers theme-based writing lessons that cater to specific topics or events in history.
The theme-based writing curriculum can be used instead of SSS if you pair it with TWSS, or you can use it alternately with SSS to keep the texts and themes interesting for your children.
You can choose to take a break from the Structure and Style for Students for a year and hop in with some Theme Based Writing books instead, maybe coordinate them with your history studies.
Moreover, if you want to spice up your writing and challenge your kids, you can choose from the multitude of theme-based writing lessons that IEW offers and pair them up with SSS for extra writing challenges.
These books follow the same format as SSS lessons, so kids that are familiar with SSS should have no issue going through these.
I love that IEW has so many options when it comes to writing! From incorporated grammar to enriching supplements, apps, and even card games or contests, I feel that this is one of the most comprehensive and versatile writing curricula out there.
What are your favorite IEW tools to enrich writing? Let me know in the comments.
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