Fix It! Grammar
Sometimes it’s hard to imagine a well-loved program getting any better. IEW’s Fix It! Grammar - 4th edition – will change your mind on that. There are some excellent improvements, most notably in the teaching-assignment sequences, but the fun-to-use and user-friendly program is still distinctive in its systematic approach that melds structure-of-language instruction with usage-based practice. Some of the improvements include thorough explanations, lists of errors for each passage, blank lines for copywork, expanded scope and sequence, and seamless transition between levels allowing for mastery plus spiraling.
The six-year course sequence has changed but the grade and IEW writing level designations for each level remain the same.
Level 1 (4-5; SSS-A) is still Nose Tree.
- Level 2 (4-5; SSS-A) (formerly Robin Hood) is Town Mouse and Country Mouse.
- Level 3 (6-8; SSS-B) (formerly Frog Prince) is Robin Hood.
- Level 4 (6-8; SSS-B) (formerly Little Mermaid) is Mowgli and Shere Khan.
- Level 5 (8-12; SSS-C) (formerly Chanticleer) is Frog Prince.
- Level 6 (8-12; SSS-C) (formerly Sir Gawain) is Little Mermaid.
Obviously, if you’ve been using this program, you may be concerned about a next grade level course with the same title as last year. IEW assures us that “the stories themselves have been rewritten and the teaching content has been expanded. Therefore, there should be no concern if a student repeats a story from third edition while working through the new fourth edition Fix It! Grammar series.” While designed as a six-year, start-to-finish program, according to IEW, Frog Prince (Level 5) and Little Mermaid (Level 6) are useful for high school students who need a refresher course or who are preparing for standardized tests.
There are 30 weekly lessons in each course. Each of these begin with one day of expanded and targeted instruction coupled with examples. Daily assignments for the remaining four days follow. These daily lessons are based on passages from the course story. A guide at the top of each lesson page lists the assignment’s tasks. Each lesson has four distinct tasks:
Read It! - read passage and look up vocabulary word.
- Mark It! - mark the passage using the guide.
- Fix-It! - correct the passage using the guide.
- Rewrite It! - copy the corrected passage.
Grammar lessons should take only 15 minutes per day, require teacher-student interaction one day per week, and allow the student to work somewhat independently the remaining days. This path to mastery suggests review cards for key grammar concepts as well as a grammar glossary for reference. In other words, the student is being equipped and trained to incorporate excellent grammar into their writing as well as being prepared to edit their own work.
Each course is comprised of a teacher's manual plus a student book. The general methodology is straight-forward. Read/discuss instructional material, edit one sentence daily, and then rewrite the passage correctly. Defining the vocabulary words that are identified in each sentence is an added bonus.
The Student Book provides both the weekly lessons and the space to complete them. Weekly lessons devoted to review (no new material) are peppered throughout the course but predominate in the last half. Appendices in the spiral-bound student book provide the complete story (a compilation of the daily sentences), various IEW resource pages, and a Grammar Glossary that serves as a reference tool.
The Teacher Manual starts with some general how-to-and-why information plus a complete scope and sequence for the course. Daily lesson plans include the same grammar instruction found in the student book plus a wealth of additional information and complete corrective support (i.e. answer keys) for each of the daily sentence edits. "Fixes" are explained and grammatical "talking points" are provided. Helpful sidebar teacher's notes serve as a cross-reference to other lessons as well as interesting historical tidbits such as the name (pilcrow) for the paragraph mark and its origin (Middle Ages) and purpose (to separate content). Appendices with the story, IEW references, and a copy of the Grammar Glossary complete the Teacher Manual.
The Teacher/Student Combo packages provide both a Teacher Manual and a Student book.
In case it's not clear, the goal of these courses is FUN - along with learning and remembering good grammar, of course. They provide a light touch that is embedded in practicality. Obviously designed to complement the IEW writing courses, they are integrated with IEW terms such as dress-ups, acronyms (FANBOYS), and clause starters (www.asia.b). It's assumed that the student and teacher will be familiar with either Teaching Writing Structure & Style or Structure and Style for Students from IEW. However, the Fix It! edits can be done as a stand-alone program. I've been a lukewarm fan of editing approaches to grammar, but this one is also strong in providing systematic, structural coverage of grammar. This combination of instruction and practical application is highly effective. TMs - 225 - 250 pgs. spiral-bound; SBs - 120 pgs spiral-bound ~ Janice