Grammar for High School? Fix It! Grammar, A Review

Fix It! Grammar Review

Fix It! Grammar ReviewInstitute for Excellence in Writing (IEW)

  • Fix It! Grammar: The Nose Tree [Book 1] (Teacher Manual)
  • Fix It! Grammar: The Nose Tree [Book 1] (Student Book)
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    Grammar for High School. Where do we go? Do we keep using the old tried and true workbooks that we’ve re-ordered year after year? At the Junior Year I might need to reconsider that all of the copy work and narration alone has not helped the written grammar in the house.  Both boys have a head full of knowledge of the mechanics of writing. But when asked to write, off the cuff, a paragraph like this one?  It’s not a pretty first rough draft.

    My other side of consideration is the tests coming up this year. COMPASS placements, SAT, ACT, and possibly the ASVAB. Are we on the right path to helping them with these tests? I don’t want to teach to the test, but I also want to make sure they have the tools in their pockets.

    Enter – Fix It! Grammar.  The first impression that I liked about the program was the literature approach. Each of the 6 books focuses on a piece of literature. Instead of fixing 6-8 random sentences crafted for a workbook each day, they’d focus on 4 sections of the story each week. Fix It! Grammar has been completely re-done – a new product this year.  After taking a Placement Test we decided on starting on Book 1 for all three boys, grades 8-11.

    Why Book 1?  IEW stresses that every student, grades 3-12 start with the first book. The first book lays the foundation for each one after. There are advanced concepts covered in the Teacher’s Manual. If the book really is too easy, then a student could finish 2 or more books per year.

    The Teacher’s Manual comes with a PDF version of the book. We received a printed spiral bound Fix It! Grammar: The Nose Tree [Book 1] (Teacher Manual) and a printed bound Fix It! Grammar: The Nose Tree [Book 1] (Student Book). I used the instructions in the Teacher’s Manual to print two additional copies so that all three boys completed the work together.

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    I enjoyed listening to a Webinar introducing the product and a couple of MP3 podcasts like But, But, But, What About Grammar. They helped me to see what the point of the product is, what the heart of the author is. This product is intended to help your student become a great editor. Using the information they instinctively know through speaking – to know how that comes out in writing. It is hard for students to edit their own work, so they are given these books. I also made a friend sit through But, But, But What About Grammar and would love to encourage each of my friends to download it!

    Each week the student and teacher has a one page sheet to help guide the exercises. We read the sentences, look up bolded vocabulary, and then work through the treasure hunt of sorts of grammar. There are cards included to cut out and use for helps.  Since we are on the older side of use – we did not cut out the cards, but we did reference to them when the boys had a question.

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    At the top of each week’s paper is a list to help them remember the steps for each day.  Look up the Vocabulary, look for Indents, Homophones, End Marks, Quotation Marks, Nouns, Pronouns and Articles. (Week 4’s assignments). The books starts out light, and adds a new grammar concept each week.

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    After the student finishes their marking for the day, they copy the work into a notebook.

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    Here is a shot of Week 29:

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    My 8th grader liked to work on it 3-4 days per week. One 11th grader liked to work on it two days a week, and one 11th grader liked to work on it one day a week. The work is not ‘hard’. At these ages, there isn’t really anything new to learn – like “What is a noun?” My 16 yr old said, “I really liked it, but it felt like a 3rd grade level. It feels like a great product, especially if you haven’t had specific grammar work, that it is great. I’m glad I am doing it this year.”

    It was interesting to see in the three boys, even though they knew what a noun was, could not easily, with confidence, pull them out of each sentence. They’d think they knew the vocabulary word, but when they looked it up they found the written definition to be much more complete and focused. One child had a hard time with Articles. Could have been a bad Monday.

    Easy or hard – it boils down to one thing in our house.

    Looking Intentionally At the Written Word.

    When you start to skim through texts, does the eye really pay attention?  In the Webinar and MP3’s the SAT’s were discussed. They will not be diagramming sentences to get that college scholarship or entrance. They’ll be looking at sets of sentences and trying to decide which is the best option. Or which of 2 good ones is the best.  Can they say why – specifically?  I believe, after these books, they will.

    The first week I questioned my choice to review it. It was seriously simple. To the point of apologizing to the boys. But as the weeks have progressed, it has created interesting conversation with the work. They have not gotten each day 100% correct. They have not chosen to fly through the book to complete it quickly. I do think that it will be finished by our Winter Holiday break. (Each book is intended to last one full school year.)

    The real test – would I buy Book 2. At this point, I am pretty sure I will. It is a great exercise to do 15 (or less) minutes a day. Their other studies are pretty intense, so this is a nice break. Oregon tests on it, so it is something we include each year. Knowing this product exists from a company I trust and has given proven results with my boys – I will not purchase our previously used product in the Winter, if I have one, it will be Fix It! Grammar. I will be recommending this to my friends in town as an amazing choice for Grammar with grades 3 and up.

    For the placement – I think we would have done better starting on Book 3 or 4.  We could have taken the time to chat through the sentences a bit more on Day 1 and 2. Maybe because my boys are older, it would have been better for me to jump in, against the wishes of IEW.

    Each book is $19.00.  The Student book and the Teacher’s book for a  total of $38.00 for the set. I am thankful for the Printed Student Book for sure.

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