Poetry and Humanity; and Poetry, Plato and the Problem of Beauty
Reading , Writing / February 6, 2011

Content: Poetry Grade(s): 5th – 9th Perspective: Secular Prep Time: Moderate Teacher Manual: Yes Teacher Involvement: Essential Cost: $$ || ? Pages: ~145 Publication Date: 2010 Publisher: www.rfwp.com Updated Review: May 10, 2014 From Michael Clay Thompson’s website: The Poetics Program by Michael Clay Thompson is designed to enable students to understand poetry on a far higher plane than has been previously possible. These books can be used as stand-alone introductions to poetry for young students, or they can set the stage for a more advanced program that should come in middle school or high school. Poetry and Humanity builds on a theme of understanding humanity and our existence. It shows how poets push language to its maximum in order to express those things about humanity that are most true, or difficult or subtle. Longer and more challenging poems are used as examples. Topics include: (1) Advanced Rhymes: half-double rhyme, elided rhyme, amphisbaenic rhyme, reverse rhyme, half-rhyme; (2) Advanced meter from monometer to octameter; (3) Stanza: heroic couplet, terza rima, villanelle, quintet, sestet, octet, submerged sonnet; and (4) Figures of speech: metonymy, synecdoche, oxymoron. Poets quoted include:Thomas Hardy, William Blake, William Shakespeare, Henry Longfellow, W B Yeats, Emily Dickinson, Lewis…

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Music of the Hemispheres, Building Poems, and World of Poetry
Reading , Writing / February 6, 2011

Music of the Hemispheres, Building Poems, and World of Poetry Content: Poetry Grade(s): 3rd – 4th Perspective: Secular Prep Time: Moderate Teacher Manual: Yes Teacher Involvement: Essential Cost: $$ || ? Pages: ~145 Publication Date: 2013 Publisher: www.rfwp.com Updated Review: May 10, 2014 From Michael Clay Thompson’s website: The Poetics Program by Michael Clay Thompson is designed to enable students to understand poetry on a far higher plane than has been previously possible. The Music of the Hemispheres introduces poetry through a whole-brain approach. Students study (1) Sound in language; (2) Rhyme, end rhyme, rhyme scheme, internal rhyme, eye rhyme; (3) Alliteration; (4) Meter: the foot, iamb, trochee, anapest, dactyl; (5) Stanza: sonnet, quatrain, couplet, ballad; and (6) Poetic techniques: simile and metaphor. Poets include: Emily Dickinson, Robert Burns; William Shakespeare; Thomas Hardy, John Keats, William Wordsworth, Ralph Waldo Emerson. Building Poems uses architecture as an extended metaphor, showing that poems are constructed like buildings and with careful attention to every detail. Topics include: alliteration, assonance, consonance, end rhyme, rhyme scheme, internal rhyme, eye-rhyme, foot, iamb, trochee, anapest, dactyl, spondee, sonnet, ballad, rime royal, limerick, simile, metaphor, personification, apostrophe, endstopped/enjambed. Poets include: Lewis Carroll, TS Eliot, Gelett Burgess, William Blake,…

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Sentence Island, Paragraph Town and Essay Voyage
Grammar , Writing / February 6, 2011

Sentence Island, Paragraph Town and Essay Voyage Content: Writing Grade(s): 3rd – 5th Perspective: Prep Time: Moderate Teacher Manual: Available Teacher Involvement: Essential Cost: $$ || ? Pages: 255 Publication Date: 2009-2011 Publisher: rfwp.com Updated Review: 01/02/2014 Reviewer: Sarah Butler MacLeod Michael Clay Thompson breathes life into language arts instruction. With six levels of materials covering grammar, vocabulary, composition, poetics, and literature, he seamlessly integrates those elements of the English language in a manner that assumes his readers are intelligent, active learners. These are not workbooks for self-study — they are texts best explored with a teacher or guide. While the composition books could be used without the rest of the books in the corresponding level, the learner would need a strong grasp of grammar to truly take advantage of what they have to offer and an understanding of MCT’s four-level approach to grammar. (Take home message — if you’re using a composition book, purchase that level of grammar or higher to use with it.) All his books within a level are integrated, each rooted heavily in the corresponding grammar book and somewhat less on the vocabulary book. For many young gifted learners this presents a dilemma — what a…

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Word Within the Word
Reading , Writing / February 6, 2011

Word Within the Word Content: Vocabulary Grade(s): 6th – 10th Perspective: Secular Prep Time: Moderate Teacher Manual: Yes Teacher Involvement: Moderate Cost: $$ || ? Pages: ~145 Publication Date: 2013 Publisher: www.rfwp.com Updated Review: May 10, 2014 From Michael Clay Thompson’s website: To maximize the learning value of Word Within the Word, the student books are designed to be used with The Magic Lens series. Revised in 2013, Word Within the Word continues to focus on teaching vocabulary, with the original first thirty Lessons containing Latin and Greek stems, word lists, activities and tests, but each lesson now has historical discussions and illustrations that offer students a greater understanding of the classical roots of the English language. Word Within the Word is a program that uses etymology, not memorization. Latin and Greek stems are presented as a system of thinking, a way of building, analyzing, spelling, pronouncing, using and choosing words. The Word program is intended as a weekly effort; built on a cumulative basis from Volume I. Every test reinforces every list. There are 30 lessons in each book. Lessons include: a Stems List; a Sentence Page designed to show how example words should be used; an Analogies Page…

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Caesar’s English
Grammar , Reading , Writing / February 6, 2011

Caesar’s English Content: Vocabulary Grade(s): 6th – 10th Perspective: Secular Prep Time: Moderate Teacher Manual: Yes Teacher Involvement: Moderate Cost: $$ || ? Pages: ~145 Publication Date: 2013 Publisher: www.rfwp.com Updated Review: May 10, 2014 From Michael Clay Thompson’s website: Caesar’s English I has twenty lessons, each introducing five new stems with an introductory Latin Stem List and the following learning activities: Latin Stem Talk; Latin Stem Analogy; Advanced Words, Classic Words, Who’s That Writer; Latin Stem: English and Spanish; A Roman Fact; and a Latin Stem Word Search game. Caesar’s English II includes photographs to enhance the understanding of Ancient Rome. It has, besides all the elements in the first volume, a heavier emphasis on the relationship between English and Spanish. Each of the twenty lessons also includes five new stems and five review stems from volume I. Students are challenged to fill in the blank in a sentence by a famous author using stem words. Each lesson has a grammar example of the use of one stem word. Caesar’s English is also available in a Classical Education student edition, along with an Implementation Manual. The Classical edition expands the material devoted to the Roman context, including a score…

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MCT Building Language
Reading , Writing / February 6, 2011

Content: Vocabulary Grade(s): 3rd – 5th Perspective: Secular Prep Time: Moderate Teacher Manual: Yes Teacher Involvement: Moderate Cost: $$ || ? Pages: ~145 Publication Date: 2012 Publisher: www.rfwp.com Updated Review: May 10, 2014 From Michael Clay Thompson’s website: Building Language provides an introduction to Latin stems as the bases for much of the English and Spanish languages. Using the analogy of the arch in architecture, the book explores the Roman roots of our buildings and of our language. Ten lessons introduce important Latin stems, providing an intellectual key for young students to understand that big words aren’t necessarily hard. It rejects the specious confines of teaching age-graded vocabulary. This is the vocabulary precursor to Caesar’s English I and II. About the Author: Michael Clay Thompson received his bachelor’s degree from Washington and Lee University, studied for gifted education accreditation at Mars Hill College and obtained his MA from Western Carolina University. During his teaching career he taught in schools in Indiana, Tennessee, and North Carolina. He has served on the Board of Directors of the National Association for Gifted Children and as an online instructor in Language Arts for the Northwestern University Gifted Learning Links program . Michael Clay Thompson…

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The Magic Lens
Writing / February 6, 2011

The Magic Lens Content: Grammar Grade(s): 5th – 10th Perspective: Secular Prep Time: Moderate Teacher Manual: Yes Teacher Involvement: Moderate Cost: $$ || ? Pages: ~145 Publication Date: 2013 Publisher: www.rfwp.com Updated Review: May 10, 2014 From Michael Clay Thompson’s website: The Magic Lens is designed to be implemented along with The Word Within The Word, with parallel lessons using the same vocabulary week by week. The Magic Lens is entirely based on four-level sentence analysis. This analysis of parts of speech, parts of sentence, phrases, and clauses is Michael Clay Thompson’s original and enormously successful approach to teaching grammar. It uses his beautiful “t-models” to illustrate how sentences are constructed and includes a detailed look at how grammar affects punctuation. The student book is in full color. The parent manual contains the full text of the student book plus special boxes that contain tips and further questions for the instructor, implementation instructions, and answers to the questions and exercises. About the Author: Michael Clay Thompson received his bachelor’s degree from Washington and Lee University, studied for gifted education accreditation at Mars Hill College and obtained his MA from Western Carolina University. During his teaching career he taught in schools…

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All About Spelling
Reading , Writing / February 5, 2011

All About Spelling Content: Spelling Grade(s): 1st – 12th Perspective: Secular Prep Time: Moderate Teacher Manual: Available Teacher Involvement:Essential Cost: $$ || ? Pages: 122 Publication Date: 2012 Publisher: www.allaboutlearningpress.com From All About Spelling’s website: All About Spelling is an award-winning program that provides complete and comprehensive instruction using the Orton-Gillingham approach. The lessons involve sight, sound, and touch. Children learn best when they are physically involved in the learning process, so we take advantage of that fact with this hands-on approach to learning and teaching spelling. All About Spelling is logical. Spelling concepts are taught in a logical, understandable order. Each lesson builds upon the previous lesson. The sequence has been carefully tested to produce long-term results. And this is as much a benefit to you as it is to your student—especially if you’ve been struggling with how to teach spelling. The program is mastery-based, not grade-level based, so when students master a specific concept, they move on. If a child needs more practice in a certain area, we allow for that so the child can really master each concept. There’s no sense building on a shaky foundation, because that will cause spelling difficulties down the road when the…

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Writing Strands
Grammar , Writing / February 5, 2011

Writing Strands Content: Writing Grade(s): K – 12th Perspective: Secular Prep Time: Minimal Teacher Manual: No Teacher Involvement: Moderate Cost: $ || ? Pages: 77 Publication Date: 2007 Publisher: www.writingstrands.com Common Core Aligned: No From Writing Strands’ website: Writing Strands is a full language arts program includes writing, reading, and speaking. The lower levels of the Writing Strands series teach four types of foundational skills—basic, organizational, descriptive, and creative—which must be mastered before a student can learn the more advanced skills taught in the upper levels. The upper levels build on the foundational skills and teach students how to compose the four main types of writing: creative, research and report, argumentative, and explanatory. If students complete the Writing Strandsseries with competence, they will be prepared to write all types of papers assigned at a university level. Ages 3-7: Level 1 – Kids who have not learned to write, yet. Ages 7-8: Level 2 – Can write simple sentences on their own. Ages 8-12: Level 3 – Can write a series of paragraphs on their own. Ages 13-14: Level 4 – Basic ability to organize ideas, structure, and transition between paragraphs. Ages 15-15: Level 5 – Knows basic writing skills and…

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MegaWords
Vocabulary , Writing / February 5, 2011

MegaWords, 2nd edition Content: Vocabulary Grade(s): 4th – 12th Perspective: Secular Prep Time: Minimal Teacher Manual: Available Teacher Involvement: Moderate Cost: $$ || ? Pages: 108 Publication Date: 2009 Publisher: http://eps.schoolspecialty.com Review Last Updated: May 27, 2017 Common Core Aligned: Yes ** From the Publisher’s Website: ** Megawords 2nd Edition addresses the reading, spelling, and contextual use of multisyllabic words through multisensory instruction and a systematic progression of skills. The Megawords approach enables students to master the multisyllabic words they encounter from the fourth-grade reading level and beyond. Within each book, words are organized according to word structure and spelling pattern. A consistent, six-step lesson is utilized to analyze and understand list words. Students first work with word parts and syllables, then combine syllables into whole words. Exercises increase reading and spelling proficiency by using words in context and in short, content-area passages that build comprehension and fluency About the Author: For over 60 years EPS Literacy and Intervention has been the leader in developing and publishing programs to help struggling students, including those with dyslexia and other reading difficulties, as well as providing materials that support on-level students so they can continue to meet their goals. Because one opinion…

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