An IEW Pleased Mummy Post

16 Feb

I’ve been using the products from Institute for Excellence in Writing (IEW) for a while now and I just wanted to write and share that our family still loves this writing program.

Hubby uses it with his class at school and I use it to teach Ethan to write.

It’s a fantastic product and has made all my fears about teaching writing just melt away.   Every time Ethan produces a piece of writing it just confirms for me that this is a brilliant program.

Ethan has never been a keen writer (we can safely call him “reluctant”), yet nowdays I can send him to create a key word outline, a draft with “dress ups”, and a published piece all in one afternoon…with barely a complaint…and two to three times a week!!!  I didn’t think I’d EVER see this day!

Here’s an example of the writing Ethan completed this week.  This is his draft…yes his draft!

One day a fly was eating along an edge of a jar.  He did not know that he was moving away from the edge and it got stuck in the honey.  Struggling to get free he got his wings in the honey too.  A moth saw him there and he yapped, “You are foolish; you were greedy so you got caught in that jar.  Your appetite was too much, way too much for you.”  The fly had not a word to say in reply.   What the moth had yapped was true.  Evening came and who was it that came, the moth came with a candle and it burned the moth to ashes.  The fly yapped, “What?  You are foolish too.   You had good wisdom for me but no wisdom that tells you not to play with fire”.  It is easier to see others foolishness then your own.

Yes a few errors and awkward places but wow, still a piece that makes a Mumma proud and pleased as punch.

I got Ethan to read his draft aloud to me and he could see a few places that needed work.  Then I pointed out a few other things that needed a little attention – like all the “yap”s.  Hehe.

Here’s his final piece after he added his required  “dress ups” (a key IEW term that just refers to making the language more succinct but yet descriptive and detailed).  The underlined words show where he added his dress ups.

Other’s Foolishness

One day a fly was eating along the edge of a jar.  He did not know that he was foolishly moving away from the edge and he got stuck in the honey.  Struggling to get free he got his wings in the honey too.  A moth, who was passing by, saw him there and scolded, “You are foolish; you were greedy so you got caught in that jar.  Your appetite was too much, way too much for you.”  The fly, who was quite mad at himself, had not a word to say in reply.  What the moth had asserted was true.  Evening came and who was it that came?  The moth came with a candle.  He senselessly flew right into it and it burned the moth to ashes.  The fly chuckled,  “What? You are foolish too.  You had good wisdom for me but no wisdom that tells you not to play with fire.”  It is easier to see other’s foolishness than your own.

There’s still some immature expressions but boy, it just blows me away.  I never imagined that I’d receive this standard of writing from my boys…not in the early years anyway! And it’s made possible through using IEW.

Yes, the content is modeled on a text Ethan was given to outline but the text is removed before the writing task begins.  So while there is likeness of expression to the model text, the writing has been retold with Ethan’s own flair.

At this point in our writing journey, having the content of the writing laid out for Ethan allows him to focus on the skill of writing rather than creating new ideas.  But once his foundations writing skills are in place, we can move onto new challenges.  We look forward to that but we’re not going to rush into it.  These early stages are so important.

Thank you sooooo much IEW.  In my eyes there is no program that can ever compare!

(Earlier I wrote another reivew of IEW if you are interested in reading more.)































Posted by on February 16, 2011 in Language


8 responses to “An IEW Pleased Mummy Post

  1. Kristal

    February 16, 2011 at 11:40 pm

    WOW! I am very impressed with his writing! My 9 year old daughter is not producing that kind of writing at all and getting her to write anything is like pulling teeth!

    I am very interested in using IEW with my own children but am wondering if the Teacher’s Manual is an absolute necessity.

    How often do you refer to it when teaching your sons?

    Would I be OK just using the Student DVDs?


  2. Tracey

    February 17, 2011 at 12:29 am

    Hmmm, I would say that it is “okay” to use just the Student DVDS. It would certainly get you started and save you money but I think you’d be jipped without it. The teacher discs give you the skills to teach and assess writing. It explains why you do what you do.

    I have both – I bought the combo set. I watched the teacher discs first and then I watch the student discs as we go along to get tips on how to present the lesson.

    I don’t actually get Ethan to watch the disc because he’s not a fan. It’s too slow going for his likings. With what I learned from both discs I teach the lesson to him (and I can use the same skills to present a writing tasks in other subjects too).

    The student sets only gives you a start to the program. Each learner needs different amounts of practise at each level and they don’t recommend that you proceed until your child has a good grasp on the unit. So with what you learn you can then find your own texts to practise with (or buy some of the many other themed sets at IEW) until they are ready to go back to the student discs to learn the next unit’s skills. Does that make sense?

    So yes you could get the program running with just the student stuff but by relying on Andrew to teach the lessons on the disc, it means you’ll be lost without him. With the teacher discs, you can become “Andrew” (hehehe) and branch out on your own to use the writing skills wherever you need them.

    There’s an FAQ at their website that might explain it better:

    If you could only buy one, personally I’d buy the teacher one. However I’m very glad to have both as the student discs hold my hand a lot more until I’m confident.

    I found it comforting to know that, while the initial outlay is expensive, it’s virtually all we ever need. (Yes there are other IEW products you could buy to enhance the program with but they are icing on an already delicious cake, if you don’t want to make your own of course.)

    Hope this helps.

  3. Kristal

    February 17, 2011 at 7:51 am

    Mmmmm … CAKE! 🙂

    This was a big help, Tracey. I checked out that link, too and it basically said “Buy both sets, or else … !” 🙂

    I guess I will just bite that proverbial bullet and buy both sets.

    Thank you!
    And now, I must make cake for tonight’s dessert!

    ~ Kristal ~

  4. Tracey

    February 17, 2011 at 9:27 am

    Hehehehe…or else.

    In my experience it’s not just a marketing ploy. It is actually useful. 🙂

    Happy IEWing.

  5. April

    February 17, 2011 at 2:27 pm

    I’m very impressed with Ethan’s work! Three cheers for IEW… And for persistent Mum’s 🙂

  6. Bernadette

    February 17, 2011 at 4:27 pm

    LOL, just watched one of the videos…

    “you can become “Andrew” (hehehe)”

    I think it would be pretty impressive of you to grow a ‘mo’ like his – has ethan seen him, maybe on a ‘reluctant’ day you could bring one out LOL 😀

    so do you have the ‘physical set’ or the ebooks and i’m assuming links to videos?? (can you tell i haven’t looked properly yet??) – it’s high up on my to buy list, but I keep putting it off 😦 really should stop as we did a writing exercise yest. OOOOhhhhhhh was so like pulling teeth – So painful! 😮

    maybe next month’s budget ??


  7. Julie

    February 22, 2011 at 7:47 am

    Hope you don’t mind, but I couldn’t resist sharing your story:

  8. Tracey

    February 22, 2011 at 8:44 am

    Honoured to be on “THE” website…is there any other place to be! Hehehe. Thank you Julie. I don’t mind at all. We’re flattered. Ethan will be grinning like a Cheshire cat. Hehehehe.


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