My 12 year old is a reluctant writer. We’ve tried several programs, and I am just loving how Jump In, 2nd Edition has broken down his daily assignments into manageable chunks so that he can practice and master his writing skills! This program comes from Writing with Sharon Watson and provides middle school composition coursework for 1-3 years, depending on how you work the program.
There are schedules included so you can easily adjust the curriculum to fit your needs for 1, 2, or 3 years of instruction for your middle school students..
We received a digital download of the product, both the student book and the Teacher’s Guide. They came as PDF files. The student book has 292 pages and they are so easy to just print and use as needed. In fact, you could easily JUST print the pages that have a space for them to write in and have your student read the lessons on their computer or tablet to save on printing costs.
Many of the pages are in color, but we’ve been printing in black and white and it’s been just fine!
As you can see from the table of contents, students are taught about, and asked to write using many different styles and purposes. They will write the following: opinion pieces, persuasive papers, cause and effect, newspaper articles, how-to guides, a report, biography, compare and contrast, book reports, book responses, descriptions, narration, poetry, and more.
There is also a section in their book called “My Locker” and it contains writing tips and advice, forms to use, and more.
Lessons are short and to the point. There are a total of 98 daily lessons that cover the topics above. In addition, the daily lessons cover the nuts and bolts of the writing process, such as the main idea, citations, topic sentences, and how to write strong paragraphs. The writing assignments they have each day are brief and perfect for someone who is a struggling writer.
Excellent writers will love the program because it gives a lot of freedom in the subject matter to write about, and their creativity will be able to shine.
My son does not love to write, so he is enjoying the brief lessons. They usually take 20 minutes or less, and he’s understanding what he is being taught. It isn’t overwhelming to him, and I’m impressed with what I am seeing him actually write.
The Teacher’s Guide has many other ideas for how to use this program for a year or longer, but the student’s book focuses on those 98 daily lessons. There are also 19 additional skills, which include checklists and writing assignments. Sharon Watson offers a free sample chapter if you’d like to get a better idea of what these lessons look like for students.
The Teacher’s guide has 123 pages. I’ve included the Table of Contents below so you can get a sneak peek at the content of this guide. We are using this program as a full writing curriculum for my son, but it does require your choice of another program to teach grammar. Sharon Watson does have some that she recommends to be used in conjunction with Jump In.
I love that there is a quick reference guide to look at which shows the assignments for the curriculum. That’s a great way to see, at a glance, what your student will be doing as their writing assignment after they’ve learned about each topic.
The Teacher’s Backpack is really helpful at teaching the teacher! I found it really informative and will be glancing back at it as needed as my son completes more of the curriculum.
The sample essay evaluations and ways to earn each grade were terrific models to look at to understand how to grade my own child’s work. I feel like it would be easier to grade anyone else’s work but my own child’s! This gave practical things to look for to know how to give a fair grade.
The Writing Plunges program provides writing prompts to use throughout the school year or to use as up to a full year of writing instruction as a standalone program. It encourages the students to write, uninterrupted, for about 10 minutes every day. If you’re using it as a year of instruction as-is, or if you want to alternate the daily assignment curriculum with the Writing Plunges program, the recommended schedule is to do a different prompt Monday-Thursday, and then choose one to polish and turn in for a grade on Fridays.
Answer keys are provided for the written work in the student guide. These are divided by writing section the students are working on.
Finally, Grading Grids are provided for each of the different types of writing assignments. It is basically like a rubric for grading their papers, and I find these to be helpful, not only for me as the teacher, but to show students so they have an understanding of how they will be evaluated.
Here is a sample from the Teacher’s Guide about how to grade a student’s paper:
Here is a sample and some extra information about Writing Plunges:
Here is a sneak peek at what the Grading Grids look like:
Overall, I am really enjoying this curriculum. My son is learning a lot of new material, but it is broken down so well into easy-to-manage lessons. He tends to get overwhelmed with writing programs that assign a lot of actual writing all at once, so he loves how he is able to spread out his lessons and assignments on specific topics over several days.
We are working through the Student book right now, and we will take breaks throughout the year to work on the Writing Plunges. I think we will probably plan to finish in a little over one school year, but I may extend that to a year and a half.
I have the previous edition of this program and absolutely LOVE the updates that have been made. It flows really well and the best part is that it gets done without complaint.
If you have a struggling middle school writer, grab this book! If you have a child who absolutely loves writing and would soar with a lot of variety and fun prompts, grab this book!
I think it is perfect for 6th-8th grades, and it would make an awesome summer crash course for older students when completed at a faster pace.
There were 39 other families that also gave Jump In, 2nd Edition a try over the past few weeks. Click the link below to be taken to their reviews: