From Imitation to Innovation: Teaching writing can be easier than you think!

Jul 03, 2020 | Posted by the IEW Blog Team


This past Saturday, people from all around the world gathered together virtually to participate in IEW’s online writing conference, From Imitation to Innovation. It was a day filled with inspiring instruction and useful information that brought teachers, parents, tutors, and co-op and hybrid school instructors together. Just in case you weren’t able to attend, the recap below offers an overview, and you can view the recordings and download the accompanying handouts here.

Happening live on two platforms, Facebook and YouTube, the event comprised five sessions.


Session One – From Copywork to Composition

Andrew Pudewa set the tone for the day and described how to chart a successful pathway for teaching students how to write, beginning with copywork and moving into imitation structurally and stylistically, which helps to build a toolbox of skills that students are eventually able to wield to write innovatively.


Session Two –  IEW’s Structure and Style: What is it all about?

This session provided attendees with more detailed information about the wide array of curricula and products IEW offers to help students develop their communication skills. Touching on not only writing curriculum but also products on handwriting, grammar, reading, spelling, poetry, literature, and speaking, Andrew Pudewa and Julie Walker shared information about how these programs work to strengthen students’ thinking and communication skills.


Session Three – Level A Student Writing Workshop

This live workshop was directed to not only students within the Oklahoma studio and those students who participated online, but also provided a perfect opportunity for teachers and parents to observe and learn from Andrew. Many who attended remarked that they found the demonstration lesson profoundly useful for their own teaching. As one attendee stated, “I've watched him on the TWSS DVDs, walking the moms through this process. Seeing him do this with the kids is so helpful! I am getting so much out of this that will help me in my class teaching.”


Session Four – Level B Grammar Lesson 

Session Four continued the student instruction, this time with Andrew teaching a grammar lesson to a group of Level B students. Through his modeling and instruction, Andrew demonstrated to adults and students alike how grammar, taught through the practice of editing, is effective and engaging. Although IEW’s Fix-It! Grammar program requires only fifteen minutes per day to complete, the students at the conference completed one week’s worth of lessons in the hour-long session that they clearly enjoyed.


Session Five – Putting It All Together: Questions and Answers with Andrew Pudewa and Julie Walker

Tying up the day, the final session offered a question and answer time. Nearly eight hundred questions were submitted when attendees registered, and Andrew and Julie attempted to answer as many as possible. The remaining questions are being addressed via email from the IEW team. Some of the questions posed focused on support: How much help is too much help? How do I motivate my student to write? Others focused on grading: What are the guidelines on how I should grade? How much editing for mechanics should I do on student papers? The time flew by, and the questions continued. Grammar, high school, progress … these were just a few of the many topics addressed.


Did you attend? If you have a few moments, we would love to hear your thoughts about the conference and have created a brief questionnaire to help us plan for future events. If you accidentally missed the conference, no worries. You can view the recording and download the accompanying materials here. We hope that it will inspire you to head into your school year feeling equipped and excited about teaching Structure and Style to your students.

I just need to let you all know how my reluctant writer responded to the two-hour writing class during the live conference. Not only was she engaged the entire time, but this eight year old wrote her entire key word outline on her own, (thankful she could be messy) wrote her own checklist, and dictated the rest to me. She created an amazing story, full of becauses and even a who-which clause, and then after the class paid me with a kiss to type for her, added pictures and a title page, printed, created a cover and binding, and THEN proceeded to take a tri-fold display board we have and turned it into a kids' library in the corner of our family room, added her new story, and is planning to create more. We have all been directed to visit this new library. — Karen J.


Excellent!  I learned from the classes how to interact—the tactics that he used were good. It was overall a good refresher for me. — Survey Respondent


I liked the variety. It was great to start with the theory behind the program. That caught my interest immediately because I agreed with the truths spoken by Mr. Pudewa. Then it was wonderful to see the teaching in action and be inspired by his approach. — Survey Respondent


I did not know much about IEW before viewing these sessions (apart from trying to help my kids during the school shutdown in the spring). After viewing the sessions, I had a MUCH better understanding of the methods used in IEW, and am totally on board! — Survey Respondent


Thank you so much. This has been great. I feel a lot more equipped for next year. — Donna W.


My three reluctant writers all liked the writing class, and my eight year old, who can’t even read yet, begged me to let her do more. She enjoyed the activities and loved Mr. Pudewa! I’m so glad that I insisted that my children participate in this one-day event, so that now I have their enthusiasm instead of resistance beginning the actual class. — Survey Respondent

Live Chat with IEW