There are subjects that we sit down to do and everyone groans. Then, there are those few jewels that make it into our daily repertoire that excite the masses. Institute for Excellence in Writing (IEW) does it again with Fix It! Grammar. A complete grammar program perfect for use by students in 3rd grade and up, both my 8th and 10th graders have been using it over the last six weeks for review and will gladly continue using it throughout this school year and those to come. Can you tell we are excited about this one? Fix It! Grammar makes for a fun part of our school day and is covering language arts basics easily. This is a win-win in my book.
To be honest, we needed a confidence booster at Long Leaf Academy. It's been a weird year and the Eagle Scout will soon be taking the ACT for the very first time. Knowing we needed to hit grammar in a major way, I had the Princess take the Placement Test and we decided to use Fix-it! Grammar as our review of basic concepts to begin our school year. I am so glad that we did.
Fix-It Series and we started at the very beginning with Fix It! Grammar: The Nose Tree [Book 1] (Teacher Manual) ($19) and Fix It! Grammar: The Nose Tree [Book 1] (Student Book) ($15). You can start at the beginning or begin in whichever book best meets your student's specific needs. Each book is a stand-alone resource that takes students through an individual story -- one sentence at a time. Every lesson in the coil-bound books takes only about 15 minutes per day. In Book 1, there are four lessons a week for 33 weeks that cover all parts of speech, sentence types, and punctuation through grammar notations, but also teaches vocabulary, style, and self-editing with proper editing marks. Students learn about the pilcrow (paragraph indent reminders) with space provided as a cue to indent. How perfect is that?
In order to make sure that I didn't miss a thing, I attended the free Webinar available and it was quite helpful in explaining the step-by-step process of Fix-It! Grammar. I like that all of the IEW curriculum is structured to be a tool for the teacher, and that IEW encourages me to decide what parts are best for my individual students. IEW realizes there is no cookie cutter method of teaching because there are no cookie cutter students. Parents are told to use what you like and what you need and leave the rest alone. I like that. I also like that we were able to use ALL of the components of Fix-It! Grammar.
To best utilize the program, my children each set up a notebook according to the directions found in the Teacher Manual. They each have a three-ring binder with the following four tabs:
- Fix Its -- weekly lesson sheets that must be "fixed"
- Grammar Glossary -- resource booklet
- Rewrite -- lined notebook paper used to rewrite the daily passage
- Vocabulary -- lined notebook paper where they write the daily vocabulary word and its definition
Here is how Fix-It! Grammar works for us:
Each day, we sit down at the kitchen table together and either the Princess or the Eagle Scout read the sentence for the day's lesson aloud. There is a bolded vocabulary word in each sentence which we discuss and define in the context of the sentence. They turn to the Vocabulary section of their notebooks and write the word and the definition that best fits the situation.
After they have neatly copied the vocabulary word and definition, [notice my emphasis on neatly], they mark the parts of speech in the sentence, fix any missing punctuation, and choose any homophones needed. We discuss their "fixes" and make sure that all is done correctly, then they each rewrite the day's sentence in another section of their notebook. At the end of the year, they will have completely rewritten the story and have a copy to be proud of. The Rewrite portion of the lesson makes for a great review of handwriting as my children learn to double-space and make neat copies.
Filled with teacher support and detailed teaching helps/hints, the Teacher Manual comes with a free downloadable e-book to print out for your student's use. (I recommend printing one week's lessons at a time so that no one is overwhelmed.) The Glossary provided offers a wonderful resource tool with detailed explanations in layman's terms to make grammar student-friendly.
Both the Teacher Manual and Student Book are laid out in the exact same manner so it is easy to use the two together. There are teacher's notes that help you help your students as they work through the lessons. If they mislabel words or use incorrect punctuation, it is easy to explain their mistakes using the teacher's notes and leading questions provided. Grammar cards are included in the printed Student Book that can be cut apart and used as daily reminders when marking parts of speech. These can be printed on cardstock for students using the e-book only.
The Eagle Scout says he likes it because it is short and simple and gets the job done. The Princess says it's a great way to "do" grammar because I can visualize the parts of speech and understand the function of each. I say it's simply perfect and I am SO happy to have found Fix-It! Grammar. We are all pleased and that makes life grand.
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I was given the opportunity to review the Fix It! Grammar: The Nose Tree [Book 1] (Student Book) as a member of the Schoolhouse ReviewCrew. You can check out the Crew Review and see what other members of the Schoolhouse ReviewCrew thought of this and other products as well (or just click on the banner below.)