Wednesday, October 23, 2013

TOS CREW Review- Bridgeway English

Someone asked me recently what my favorite subject was to teach.  Would you believe me if I told you reading and grammar?  Really, it is.  I love breaking reading down into parts and seeing kids' faces light up when they can finally read a book to you.  Even more, I love breaking sentences apart and diagramming them.  I know, crazy!  But in my 21 years of schooling my kids I will tell you that a good solid grammar program is often the hardest thing to find.  That is why I was excited to be a part of this review offered to us from Bridgeway Academy. 

Bridgeway Logo photo bridgewayacademylogo_zps8c2d62cc.jpg

Bridgeway Academy is an amazing website.  Be prepared to spend some time on their site when you visit them.  It is loaded with resources, from online classes (which some fellow Crew mates reviewed) to duel credit college opportunities to Bridgeway English, which I have had the opportunity to review.

Bridgeway English Books 1 and 2 are advertised as a program designed to be used by students who need some help with grammar and writing.   From middle schoolers getting ready for high school level work, to high schoolers who need to gain a strong grammar and writing foundation to adults who need some polishing, this course is for you!  Here is what we received-
Bridgeway English Book 1- Focus on Grammar $23.33 

Bridgeway 1 Focus on Grammar photo Bridgeway1FocusonGrammar_zpscf9f1c84.jpg
The course covers subject and predicate, fours types of sentences, sentence fragments, run-on sentences, compound sentences, noun functions, pronouns, adjectives, adverbs, prepositions and prepositional phrases, conjunctions, interjections, and grammar review.

Bridgeway 2 Focus on Writing photo Bridgeway2FocusonWriting_zps35184e8b.jpg

This book covers clauses, sentence variety, subject/verb agreement, grammar and mechanics, writing skills, rules of capitalization, rules of punctuation, proofreading, editing, letter writing, business writing, study skills, critical thinking and reasoning, and learning about fact versus fiction.

Bridgeway Teacher Key photo BridgewayTeacher_zps6c4a3a09.jpg 

And of course, the teacher's key to help you, as the teacher check answers and clear up any confusion.

How it all works-

Each book is meant to be self instructional and is mastery based, meaning your child needs to understand the current concept being taught before moving on to the next section.  Each section, referred to as a Pak, begins with an objectives overview and a fun section called Tremendous Tales that introduces a fun fact on topics like the printing press and the Pony Express.  The Paks are then broken into sections with a review at the end of each.  Each Pak ends with a self test in which your child can see what they remember from that Pak.  Bridgeway encourages you as the teacher to check that self test with your child, going over each question they missed to clarify and correct.  By finding the section that teaches the concept missed, highlighting it and going back over it, you are helping your child to master the concept, not just pass over it. Once you have worked through that process with you child there is a final test in the back of the book 
for them to take.  The goal is to at least obtain an 80% mastery level on each test before proceeding on.
Book two is identical in layout, but focuses more on the skills needed for writing.  Starting with composing simple sentences to how to proofread what you write, this is not your typical writing workbook.  There is NOT a writing assignment every day.  Instead, they break things down into small, manageable sections, focusing on things like punctuation rules and such.  You will learn to write friendly and business letters as well as fill out an employee application!

So how did we use this and what did we think?

I have been pleasantly surprised with this product.  I am kind of picky with grammar and writing products. OK, a lot picky.  Therefore, I started this program with a reserved hope.  It has worked well for us.  It is self paced so I do look ahead and assign my son, a 6th grader, pages for each day.  I choose how many based solely on how much writing is involved.  He's a 6th grade boy, remember.  The first few days I read through the lesson with him, but since then he has been on his own.  As the program instructed, we reviewed the self tests together after he took them and then he took the tests on his own.  The reviews and tests are several pages long which did intimidate him a little, but he managed.  I kept the daily assignments slightly shorted for the same reason. The writing portion he liked a lot better than he thought he would.  As soon as I mentioned writing he panicked, but he quickly saw that this was not going to be paragraph after paragraph, nor page after page of writing.  Again, because it is broken into smaller sections of writing, he was able to approach it with a good attitude and less intimidation than he has with previous writing programs.  Because of that, it is a program that we will continue to use and recommend.  While I do strongly believe that this program can be used by 6th graders with much success, I do think that older children can benefit from it who have not had a solid grammar or writing introduction in the past!  The website recommends it for 7-12th graders.

Fellow Crew members also had the opportunity to take several online classes from Bridgeway including Marine Biology, A Magic Tree House Social Studies class and Essay Writing.  I am excited to read about them as well!  You can too by clicking on the banner below!


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