Monday, April 9, 2012

Review: Write With World

The publishers of God's World News and WORLD Magazine have created a new, two-year writing curriculum for middle schoolers called Write with World.  We were recently given the opportunity to pilot edition of year one.

About Write with World

From the Website...

Write with WORLD is the middle school writing curriculum developed by education and media professionals. Use it to inspire and train your students to become proficient communicators who can meet educational requirements and navigate today's growing new media and conflicting worldviews.
Write with WORLD exposes students to:
  • reading and critical thinking that develop discernment
  • contemporary subjects and professional guidance to pique interest
  • flexible exercises to build confidence and skill for using today's new media
  • a thoughtful and meaningful Christian worldview

They have a very definite purpose for creating this program:

Writing skills are commonly deficient among students entering college, but the problem and its fallout begin years earlier. Poor writing skills hurt a student's performance on exams and in courses requiring composition. For Christian students, poor communication hinders the believer's voice from influencing their social circle and, ultimately, the broader public square.
Christians in particular should try to be the best communicators. They possess the truth and need to articulate a biblical worldview. Just as important, today's students must be discriminating media consumers - able to read, hear, and watch what the world is saying and to recognize the truth.

Write with World includes:

  • Separate teacher/student books and online content for first and second years
  • Web site (Sept. 2011) for updated examples, writing prompts, published student work, and helpful teacher forum
  • Students will need their own notebook/journal to record their work

Our Experience

I used the year 1, pilot program with my 11 year old.  The book was very user friendly and easy to use.  There are four units for the entire year.  The units are made up of four lessons which contain five learning capsules.  The pages themselves are pleasing to look at. You can take a peek at a sample HERE

The teachers guide contains the entire student text plus additional notes in the margins with suggestions on how to help the student.  I found this very handy.  I could read her assignments and the suggestions on the same page.  

Another nice thing for teachers is that many of the assignments only use "low-stakes" evaluation.  "Low-stakes grading requires less critical evaluation and more helpful general evaluation.  Instead of awarding a final grade, low-stakes grading offers students minimal grading- at most, a general evaluation (excellent, satisfactory, weak or +/-). Offer students specific and tactful ways for improving their response: explain how they can turn a weak response into a satisfactory one.  Use low-stakes grading to encourage your student develop as readers and writers who take time to practice."  I like that because it takes a lot of the pressure off of struggling writers and gives me a break from wielding the red pen. 

The lessons themselves easy to read and the conversational tone of them is wonderful.  There are many examples of writing from published writers, mainly from WORLD Magazine.  Basically the student reads the lesson in the book and then is given an assignment in their writers journal.   The assignments were clear and well laid out.  Rarely did my daughter have to have help in figuring out what to do.   Lessons also include a bit of vocabulary and grammar too.  I really liked it.

There were only a couple things I had issue with.  I am not a natural writer myself so I could've used some more concrete suggestions on a few of the assignments.  There is eventually going to be a website that includes more examples, teacher helps, writing prompts, etc.  It will even publish the students work! Unfortunately it is not up and running yet, so I wasn't able to take advantage of the extra help. 

The other problem was Mackenzie.  She didn't really care for it but wasn't really able to articulate why.  My best guess is that it wasn't black and white enough for her.  She is very logic-minded and likes everything else to be that way too.  Many of the journaling assignments require some inferring and reading between the lines which just doesn't gel with her.  

While it didn't work well for my daughter's learning style, I still think it's worth taking a look at.  It might be something that works for your child.  In the meantime, I'm thinking about working through it myself.  Who wouldn't like some writing tips from professionals?  =o)


Age Range: Middle School
Pricing:  $95 for one year, $165 for both years.  This includes student and teacher guides as well as access to website.  Please note that curriculum will not be available until summer 2012.  Order Here

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Disclaimer: I received a free copy of Write With World for review purposes.  All opinions are my own or that of my daughter. 


1 comment:

Michelle said...

I've been waiting for this review to come out! So glad you got to review it - I stumbled on this a few months ago while looking at God's World News for current events for next year. I printed the sample lesson to use with my boys, but couldn't find any reviews on it. I asked and they said the Crew was reviewing it ~ imagine my excitement! My emphasis was photojournalism in college (the first time) so it appealed to me. . . will have to read some more reviews - I'm curious now.


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