Is WriteShop Secular?
WriteShop Primary and WriteShop Junior
There is no faith-based content in WriteShop Primary and WriteShop Junior.
WriteShop I and II
WriteShop I and II, while not overtly religious, do contain occasional religious references. They are minimal and can easily be skipped or even changed to suit your own needs. These are the religious references you can expect to find:
GENERAL RELIGIOUS CONTENT
- Student & Teacher Checklists. Each checklist will ask students to determine whether their topic and choice of words are pleasing to the Lord and edifying to others. (In other words, did the student refrain from offensive content and vulgar, crass, or unwholesome language?)
- Teacher’s Manual lesson plans. The teacher’s instructions for Lesson 1 include the references for four Bible verses to look up, if you wish.
- Examples of student writing. A few examples of student writing make a one-time mention of God or a Bible verse. They include phrases like I think this [rock] is one of God’s most unique creations (Lesson 1); Abraham, a mighty man of God, had many struggles during his life (Lesson 10); or He lives out the verse in Proverbs that says a friend sticks closer than a brother (Lesson 29).
- Student lesson content. In Lesson 15 (WriteShop I), students are asked to retell the Old Testament story of David and Goliath from the point of view of one of the characters. If you don’t mind teaching Greek mythology or Native American folklore, you can similarly view this as using the Bible as literature. The lesson focus is not about retelling a Bible story; it’s about writing from a particular point of view. So if you’d rather skip the David and Goliath story, simply choose another short, familiar tale your student can rewrite. (The Teacher’s Manual uses The Tale of Peter Rabbit for the practice paragraph.)
- Skill Builder content. Skill Builder worksheets teach vocabulary-building and grammar concepts. They occasionally include a sentence with religious connotations, such as _____________, Pastor Edwards bowed his head. A student can fill in the blank with a “religious” answer (Praying quietly…) or a “neutral” answer (Trying to avoid the rain…). The vast majority of Skill Builders contain neutral themes like sports, pets, family, home, nature, and food.
SPECIFICALLY CHRISTIAN CONTENT
- Teacher’s Manual. The teacher’s instructions for Lesson 3 contain two sentences discussing the Christian attitude toward excellence. Of the 84 essay topics suggested in Appendix B (for use with WriteShop II), seven deal with biblical subject matter, appropriate for such classes as “The Bible as Literature” or “Comparative Religions.” Only three of the seven are Christian-specific. Note: Essay topics are not found in the student workbooks; you choose and assign them yourself.
- Student Workbooks. In a pre-writing activity in Lesson 25 (WriteShop II), students are asked to read an essay about the importance of studying one’s Bible with the purpose of identifying transition words and paragraph breaks. This activity is not essential for successful completion of the lesson, and the lesson itself (writing an opinion essay) is unrelated to any religious theme. Teachers are free to develop a similar exercise using more neutral material.