“Where is this story going?”
“Your essay doesn’t sound like a 7th grader.”
“You have way too many topics in this narrative.”
Within two weeks of our 4th year of homeschooling, I found myself completely frustrated at the quality of writing samples my 7th graders were producing. I couldn’t understand what was going on. Then it hit me! I realized we had spent a tremendous amount of time on core subject, such as math, reading, science, and history, but failed to integrate formal writing skills and techniques into our academic studies. My oldest children became reluctant writers and were now not strong writers. I wanted to find a gentle way to develop their skills without bringing added stress to them or me.
In my search for writing curricula, I came across many outstanding programs. However, as a large family, cost was something that had to factor in my decision. I was given the opportunity to review Evan-Moor Daily 6-Trait Writing Grade 7 Teacher’s Edition (e-book). It ended up being the perfect fit for our family!
What is Evan-Moor?
Evan-Moor was conceived in 1979 by two friends and colleagues. Joy Evans and Jo Ellen Moore, who desired to create educational materials for struggling students in their classroom. After being rejected by several publishers, they decided to independently publish their first six titles and eventually begin their own publishing company. Their passion for quality and affordable educational resources has led to over 500 titles, as well as digital resources, e-books, center kits, RTI resources, and an interactive learning platform for 1:1 learning model.
A Little About Daily 6-Trait Writing
Before receiving a copy of this book, I was stumped on how I would incorporate another subject into our school day and had no idea when I would find time to plan the lessons for my 7th graders. Upon opening my e-book, I was delighted.
Daily 6-Trait Writing is comprised of:
- 25 weeks of mini lessons divided into 5 units.
- 5 lessons/unit that build upon the previous lesson. The units focus on the essential writing traits, Ideas, Organization, Word Choice, Sentence Fluency, and Voice.
- Consistent weekly format for each lesson that focuses on 4 days of a specific skill within the trait and a writing prompt on the 5th
- Detailed and well written lesson plans to explain each writing trait
- A Scoring Rubric to give teachers and students clear guidelines on writing expectations.
How We Used Daily 6-Trait Writing
I decided the best way to introduce writing to my children was to allot time for a writing workshop in our home school schedule. I scheduled 20 minutes of instructional time 4 days a week. Using the scripted lesson plans, I was able to go over each section of the lesson for the day with my children. I also used this time to give them a chance to ask questions and collaborate with one another. I found this set up, reduced the amount of anxiety they had over writing. They were able to share ideas and thoughts with one another, which helped strengthen their skills.
We also made sure we went over the assigned page at the end of each writing workshop. This was done to help me make sure my children really grasped the concept taught.
Having only a 4-day school week, I thought my children would never complete the Day 5 Writing Prompt. To my surprise, they eagerly made their corrections and turned in their work on our scheduled Exploration Day.
Incorporating Younger Students
Somewhere around the 3rd week of reviewing the materials, I decided to incorporate my 4th grader in our writing workshop. Although we did not have a copy of the 4th grade Daily 6-Trait Writing. I felt he would benefit from the same consistent format the material provided. I managed to adapt some of the questions for him in advance. The well thought out lesson plans and easy to follow student pages made this transition a seamless process. I did, however, allow my 4th grader to verbally respond to several answers during our writing workshop. To my surprise, this had very little impact on his final writing sample.
A Few Last Thoughts!
I always was familiar with Evan-Moor products but never took time to see if they were a fit for my family. I found the Daily 6-Trait Writing to be an excellent resource and tool to develop and strengthen my children’s writing skills. In addition, being able to have an open and go format and a scoring rubric for assignments made me feel more confident when teaching my children. It also gave my children a well-defined guide when writing. As a mommy who lesson plans from the bed sometimes, having an e-book format made planning so much easier.
Daily 6-Trait Writing was such a blessing to be able to review and incorporate in our school. I am looking forward to continuing this program throughout the year!
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What steps have you taken to incorporate writing skills into your home school?
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