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Building on the unit study concept, educator Marie Hablitzel used the lessons in these books for years to teach kids a variety of skills and subjects centered around art and language arts. Now these lessons are available for teachers, parents and students everywhere in the Draw Write Now series co-authored by Hablitzel and Kim Stitzer. While none of these texts offer enough content for any single subject (with the possible exception of drawing instruction), they offer a good jumping-off point for further study.
Each book (there are eight in the series) is 64 pages and contains 24 two-page lessons. Kids draw a picture (usually an animal, part of a map, or an historical object) step-by-step (Lego-style) and write four sentences describing or explaining the drawing. The writing assignment is always educational, and there are pages with a variety of pertinent facts scattered throughout every full-color text. Themes for each volume range from animals of the world to Christopher Columbus to Indians and Pilgrims.
An inexpensive supplementary workbook provides blank pages for drawing and lined pages for copying text. There are no teacher guides, but there's also no need for anything beyond the student books—instructions are complete and self-explanatory. Factual content includes science, social studies, history, and geography. All writing assignments are print (in a style similar to Zaner-Bloser); if you want to use the exercises included here, we recommend the StartWrite Handwriting Worksheet Wizard for a software solution.
There is no particular order to the course—volumes can be used in any sequence, though the easiest lessons are found in Book One and and the most difficult in Book Five. While there is no specifically Christian material here, there is also nothing objectionable on a philosophical or moral level, making these perfect for the K-5 grades they're aimed at. While we recommend using these primarily for a beginner's drawing course, some parents use them in place of a more traditional handwriting program; the drawing element is great for development of muscle control.
Drawings are cartoony and the facts included in the handwriting assignments are pretty basic, but these are for elementary students and will present enough intriguing material and a good challenge to keep most kids interested. Suggestions for further study and possible creative writing practice broaden the scope of each volume. Definitely a supplement rather than a course in its own right, Draw Write Now nevertheless offers a variety of positive elements for budding writers and artists.
Review by C. Hollis Crossman
C. Hollis Crossman used to be a child. Now he is a husband and father, teaches adult Sunday school in his Presbyterian congregation, and likes weird stuff. He might be a mythical creature, but he's definitely not a centaur.Read more of his reviews here.
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