I’ve been on the Schoolhouse Review Crew for several crew runs now and I have been blessed with reviewing Institute for Excellence in Writing on two previous occasions. During my first year on the Crew I reviewed Teaching Writing Structure and Style and Student Writing Intensive Level C. I loved it so much that I invested in more materials from IEW and begged to review Student Writing Intensive Level B.
I was nearly certain that, even though I love grammar and I love IEW, that I would not need Fix It! Grammar. I thought my girls are in high school and we’ve done grammar study. Because it was IEW though, I was curious and downloaded the placement test. In addition to being a placement tool, the test served as a sample of the program. It is recommended to start with Book 1 because the books do build on each other but the placement test is useful for those with older students who have had some grammar instruction.
I had Turtlegirl take the placement test. She did indeed test out of it, so I gave the test to Tailorbear. She’s 15 (and a half, can’t forget the half). We decided that Fix It! Grammar Frog Prince, or Just Deserts (Book 3) would be the best place to start. Easy enough to build confidence, since in the program you are not starting at the beginning but not so easy that she is not challenged or has nothing to learn. We received both the physical Teacher’s Manual and the Student Book.
So what exactly is Fix It! Grammar?
This is a completely new and revised program. Yes it is still called Fix It! Grammar but they are completely redone. There are 6 books or levels and the whole program is listed as good for grades 3-12. If you start with Book 3 and up though, the website has those listed for grades 6-8, and 9-12.
IEW uses an editing approach to teaching grammar. With Fix It! Grammar, students do not just learn grammar rules but also learn the how and why of applying those rules. Students using the program learn valuable editing skills while studying grammar. That’s a win-win situation since the hardest part of writing is editing and rewriting.
So how does it work?
Each book, or level, uses one story which is divided into 33 lessons. Each lesson is further divided into 4 days. A day should take students about 15 minutes to complete. In Book 3, the story is the Frog Prince. In true IEW style the full title is Frog Prince, or Just Deserts. This is based on the fairy tale with the disobedient Princess who finds a frog who happens to actually be a prince. Each day the student reviews and edits a few sentences from the story. After making the edits, the student rewrites the passage. At the end of the year the student will have rewritten the whole story.
What Does a Lesson Look Like?
Each day the student will read the passage, look up a vocabulary word in a dictionary and write it in her notebook, complete Days 1-4 marking of the passage and then rewrite the passage. Here’s what this has looked like in our home school:
Day 1 (usually Monday) ~ This is the first day of the lesson and is the most teacher involved. It begins with a review of previously taught concepts. The teacher book tells you what to review and which cards (included in the Student book) are needed. Following the Review is the Learn It section which introduces the new concepts for the week. Teachers/parents work with the students to mark the passage for day 1 and then discuss the Grammar Notations and Fixes. I then had my student look up the bolded vocabulary word, put it in her notebook and then do the passage rewrite.
Days 2-4 Tailorbear uses the grammar cards and marks the passage. Then we meet briefly to check the passage. We discuss the grammar notations and the fixes. She finishes up the day’s work by doing the vocabulary and rewriting the sentence.
Why I love Fix It! Grammar:
In IEW’s Teaching Writing Structure and Style students learn Dress Ups. Three of these are Strong Verbs, Quality Adjectives, and –ly words. After completing Day 4 students can go back through the week’s sentences and choose the strongest or best of each of those Dress Ups. This provides a great tie-in if you are using or have used IEW writing materials.
Teaching Writing Structure and Style also teaches Opener’s or the different ways to start a sentence. In Fix It! Grammar students will identify the Sentence Opener’s in the daily passages. I love that my daughter is getting this extra reinforcement.
My daughter is in high school. It might seem like a book that could be used with a student as young as 6th grade would be too immature for a 10th grader. Fix It! Grammar includes advanced notes! I think the Teacher’s Notes are my favorite. They even have notes for Grammar Lovers.
This is a fun way to learn and practice grammar. Tailorbear is not a grammar lover like me; she does not like studying grammar, but she likes Fix It! Grammar.
Thoughts from Tailorbear:
I like the format. One week divided into four days with all of the days on one page. I also like the style. You’re studying grammar piece by piece. You’re not trying to learn it all at once. I also like the rewrite. It shows you what a sentence like that SHOULD look like. Without the marks. Overall, I think I'm learning a lot from this program.
- The Vendor: Institute for Excellence in Writing
- The Product: Fix It! Grammar Frog Prince, or Just Desserts [Book 3]
- The Author: Pamela White
- Format: We reviewed the physical spiral bound version but both Teacher and Student book are available in e-book format as well.
- Age Range: Fix It! Grammar as a series is suitable for grades 3-12. Book 3 is best for grades 6-12
- Price: Teacher Book: $19 Student Book $15
- NOTE: You can watch this Webinar for more details and information!
You can read my other Schoolhouse Review Crew Reviews to find more great products.