Flying Solo with Teaching Writing: Structure and Style: Part 1

Aug 23, 2017 | Posted by the IEW Blog Team


Once upon a time, IEW offered a single product—Teaching Writing: Structure and Style (TWSS). Since then the TWSS has undergone a few updates with the most recent one occurring in 2015 (TWSS2). Additionally through the years we have added curriculum to support teachers and teaching parents as they seek to implement IEW with their students. Sometimes, though, a parent or instructor desires to create her own writing curriculum using only the TWSS. Can she can do that? The answer is certainly! This is the first of a two-part blog post that will outline the steps of how to accomplish just that. In this post we will describe the components of IEW lessons and lesson plans and then discuss how to pace your year moving through the IEW writing units while making adjustments depending upon the age of your students.

Before beginning the year it is important that you familiarize yourself very well with the TWSS course, and preferably with the most recently updated version as it has many more student samples, more detailed checklists, and better articulated practicum assignments. Having that solid foundation will help as you prepare for your year of instruction. It should be noted that instructors who experience the most success are those who have completed all of the practicum assignments in the TWSS. Completing the full practicum also enables you to apply for accreditation with IEW.

IEW lessons and lesson plans comprise four basic parts: the model (detailing which unit), source material (the text, story, pictures, and content being used), the style checklist, and preparatory and practice activities. The remaining portion of this post will discuss how to schedule out the modeling for the school year, and the next post will detail the rest of the components.

The model for each assignment is determined by the current Structure and Style™ unit, which should be determined by the calendar. For example, for students in grades four through nine, one unit per month is appropriate. Crafting the year this way would look like this for a traditional school calendar:

September           Units 1, 2          Note Making and Outlines; Writing from Notes
October               Unit 3               Retelling Narrative Stories
November            Unit 4               Summarizing a Single Reference
Dec/Jan               Unit 5               Writing from Pictures
February              Unit 6               Summarizing Multiple References
March                  Unit 7               Inventive Writing
April                    Unit 8               Formal Essay Models
May                     Unit 9               Formal Critiques

For students younger than Grade 4, this schedule can be slowed down to encompass only writing Units 1–7 and omitting Units 8 and 9. For older, more advanced students, this schedule can be accelerated so as to give more time to the later units (6, 7, 8, 9).

Teaching the model requires two elements: the structural unit’s chart (provided with TWSS2) and one or more samples of the model written out into a finished product, which should be appropriate to the reading level of the student(s).

The next post in this series will continue exploring how you can design your own IEW writing methodology across your curriculum. In it we will explore more about how to locate or create appropriate source material, design a style checklist for your student(s), and utilize ancillary preparatory and practice activities for your student(s).

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