You’ve purchased your new WriteShop Junior curriculum and unboxed (or downloaded) all the goodies inside. But now what? How can you set up your WriteShop materials and homeschool area to make lesson planning easy and writing lessons seamless each day?
Here’s how to organize WriteShop Junior for a full year of homeschool writing.
Identify the Parts of Your WriteShop Junior Curriculum
WriteShop Junior comes in three levels: Books D, E, and F. Whether you’ve purchased the physical products or opted for digital, each level includes several components that work together to create a robust curriculum for a year’s worth of writing lessons.
Book D contains three components, while Books E and F contain four. While you can purchase each of the following resources individually, it’s so convenient to get the whole bundled set or value pack. The resource components work congruently with one another, resulting in fun learning moments for your child and an overall stress-free teaching experience for you!
1. Teacher’s Guide
Created with the parent-child relationship in mind, the Teacher’s Guide leads you through each lesson step by step. You always know exactly what to teach your child. As a bonus, you’ll find peace in the open-and-go style, daily lesson plans, and flexible schedules.
2. Activity Pack
This is the meat of the curriculum and necessary for your child to complete portions of each lesson.
The Activity Pack includes two components: the Student Worksheet Pack (left) and the Fold-n-Go Grammar Pack (right). The lesson plans in the Teacher’s Guide explain when and how to use the various worksheets and Fold-N-Go activities.
Component 1: Student Worksheet Pack
This is where you’ll find your child’s activity pages for prewriting, planning, organizing, proofreading, and more. Pages include:
- Skill Builders
- Journal prompts
- Brainstorming worksheets
- Self-editing checklists
- Reading log forms
- Evaluation forms for tracking progress
Component 2: Fold-N-Go Grammar Pack
The colorful pages in this pack introduce or review grammar rules and essential writing skills. Each Fold-N-Go makes 10 folders that cover different skills. Depending on the level you’re teaching, folder topics can include parts of speech, sentence structure, dialogue, synonyms and antonyms, figures of speech, and more.
3. Time-Saver Pack
This optional—but incredibly helpful—pack lives up to its name by cutting your prep time in half. No need to make your own game cards, spinners, and other tools to teach the lessons. Printed on colorful cardstock, the Time-Saver Pack is ready to cut and go! It comes with everything you need for many of the pre-writing games.
The lesson plans in the Teacher’s Guide explain how to use the Time-Saver components.
4. Junior Writer’s Notebook
Only Books E and F include a Junior Writer’s Notebook. This optional product comes as a digital file of printable worksheets that help children plan and write. Print out one or more copies of the various worksheets, along with one set of worksheet instructions. Punch holes in the pages and store them in a folder or binder.
How to Organize WriteShop Junior for a Year of Writing
Now that you’ve identified all the parts of your curriculum, it’s time to set it all up!
It takes as little as 30 minutes to prepare up to three weeks’ worth of activities. With the schedules from the Teacher’s Guide in front of you, you’ll want to first pick the schedule that’s best for your family: either the 2-Week or the 3-Week Lesson Plan. The 3-Week Lesson Plan gives the most flexibility in case your child needs extra time.
Digital WriteShop Junior Materials
Decide early on if you want to print out all your WriteShop Junior ebooks ahead of time or print print pages lesson by lesson. If printing one lesson at a time, it’s easy to do on your home printer. But if you want to print the entire set of materials at once, it might be easier to do at an office supply store or through a homeschool printing service such as Family Nest Printing or The Homeschool Printing Company.
>> While it’s handy to have your Teacher’s Guide spiral bound, don’t bind or hole punch the student materials.
Resources for Storing WriteShop Junior Lessons
FILE FOLDER STORAGE SYSTEM
As you prep and organize your WriteShop Junior curriculum, keep all the pages and pieces together for easy access and safekeeping. An accordion-style folder or slim file box stocked with individual file folders works great. Add an extra organizational touch with multi-colored folders or different colored labels.
Since each WriteShop Junior book has 10 lessons, mark the divider tabs by lesson (1-10) and store each folder in its own slot. Fill each one with that lesson’s worksheet pages, Fold-N-Go pages, and Time-Saver components. Consider adding additional folders for the reading logs, blank journal pages, and Junior Writer’s Notebook pages, since these are not lesson specific.
3-RING BINDER STORAGE SYSTEM
As an alternative to a file-storage system, some parents have found organizational success using a 3-ring binder filled with clear protector sheets and binder-friendly folders. Many Junior worksheets are not meant to be 3-hole punched. Simply slip them into page protectors or binder-friendly folders. Be sure to label them or use dividers if you take this route.
FOLD-N-GO PREP AND STORAGE
No matter which system you choose, you’ll need 10 extra file folders (colored or manila) to make the Fold-N-Go grammar guides. Cut the pages along the dotted lines using an inexpensive paper trimmer, and assemble all 10 Fold-N-Go folders ahead of time so you’re set for the year. Alternatively, put them together one at a time as part of your lesson prep.
TIME-SAVER PREP AND STORAGE
As you cut out game cards or other parts from the worksheet pages and Time-Saver Pack, place loose pieces in zip-top bags. With a Sharpie marker, label bags with the book level and Activity Set number (e.g., D 2:3, F 5:7) and store them in their respective folders. (This system also helps you keep each book’s pieces together when saving components from year to year.)
Voila! No scrambling at the last minute, and no lost bits and pieces!
ENLIST YOUR CHILDREN’S HELP
The kids might like helping get everything organized. Invite them to assist as you cut out, sort, hole punch, staple, and so on. As they help, they get a sneak peek of what’s to come. This glimpse can whet their enthusiasm much like meal prep stimulates the appetite for a meal! They, too, will become familiar with the way WriteShop works just by assembling and organizing the parts.
Overall, aim for a grab-and-go system that has everything at the ready for each lesson you teach. With simple binders, files, or folders, you can store the worksheets, Fold-N-Go Grammar pages, Time-Saver props, and Junior Writer’s Notebook pages together in an organized fashion.
How to Organize a WriteShop Junior Writing Center
Make it easy for your kids to write by creating a homeschool writing center. A writing center is simply a handy spot where they can find everything they need to plan, draft, and publish their writing assignments and projects. If setting up a writing center seems intimidating, these practical, tried-and-true tips will get you started.
Gather Your Writing Supplies
Your Teacher’s Guide includes detailed material lists. These are merely suggestions.
- Advance Prep supplies: paper cutter, 3-hole punch
- Paper: lined and unlined paper, decorative writing paper, lined writing prompt pages (pre-printed and ready to use)
- Writing supplies: pens, pencils, erasers, colored pencils, highlighters
- Publishing supplies: scissors, glue sticks, file folders, colorful patterned paper, construction paper or colored cardstock
- Other supplies: sticky notes, tiny stickers, stapler, small hole punch, paper clips, index cards
Store Your Writing Supplies
With a little imagination, even the most limited spaces can accommodate a writing center. Just a few ideas:
- Rolling storage cart with drawers that hold a paper cutter, writing materials, crafty publishing supplies, and an assortment of paper.
- Large plastic storage box with a snap-on lid (if space is at a premium, try a storage organizer that slides under a couch or bed)
- Over-the-door pocket organizer
- Low bookshelf to hold inexpensive plastic boxes for craft and writing supplies
- Stacking tabletop trays for blank and lined paper
- Small 3-drawer organizer to store paper and loose supplies
Just as your kids can help organize their WriteShop Junior materials, invite them to help set up the writing center so they know where to find everything. Delegate tasks such as sorting, labeling, and storing materials in their proper place.
Investing an hour or so at the start of a new homeschool year to organize your WriteShop Junior program sets you up for success! Now you can focus on enjoying the lessons and activities with your child instead of hunting for the right page, game piece, or highlighter pen. Here’s to a fabulous fresh school year!
If you haven’t joined yet, we’d love to have you in our Facebook group where you can glean more ideas, tips, and tricks from other WriteShop families.