IEW Teaching the Classics
Reading / February 8, 2011

/ IEW Teaching the Classics Content: Reading Comprehension Grade(s): K-12th Perspective: Christian Prep Time: Extensive Teacher Manual: Yes Teacher Involvement: Extensive Cost: $$$ || ? Pages: 97 Publication Date: 2004 Publisher: iew.com ** From the Publisher’s Website: ** By using short stories as the models and the Socratic approach as the method, the authors systematically prepare you to teach character, plot, theme, and other elements of fiction and literary analysis. You can quickly equip your children with literary study tools that can then be used easily on longer works. Skills gained through this program will allow you to study any piece of literature. Includes a video seminar on 4 DVDs and a spiral-bound syllabus. Suitable for teaching all levels. Although this is meant to be teacher training, older students will enjoy viewing it too. About the Author: Andrew Pudewa is the founder, principal speaker, and director of the Institute for Excellence in Writing. Presenting throughout North America, he addresses—with clarity, insight, practical experience, and welcome humor—issues relating to teaching, writing, thinking, spelling, and music. His seminars for parents, students, and teachers have helped transform many a reluctant writer and have equipped educators with powerful tools to dramatically improve students’ skills….

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IEW Student Writing Intensive
Reading , Writing / February 8, 2011

IEW Student Writing Intensive Content: Writing Grade(s): A (3rd-5th); B (6th – 8th); and C (9th-12th) Perspective: Secular Prep Time: Minimal Teacher Manual: Available Teacher Involvement: Essential Cost: $$$$ || ? Pages: 100 Publication Date: 2010 Publisher: www.excellenceinwriting.com Updated Review: 01/02/2014 From Excellence is Writing’s website: Recorded live, this DVD writing course for students by Andrew Pudewa is comprised of four writing sessions on DVD. Each session presents structural models and stylistic techniques from our TWSS Syllabus. Included with the student handouts are complete teacher notes, source texts, and checklists providing fifteen comprehensive lessons to ensure your student masters each unit before moving on to the next. Since each lesson can take one to two weeks to complete, the entire package can provide 15–30 weeks of writing instruction. Level A: Grades 3-5 Level B: Grades 6-8 Level C: High School Picking up where the original SWI of that level left off, Student Intensive Continuation Course DVDs provide 32 more lessons to take your student through the rest of the Teaching Writing: Structure and Style writing units. Because the lesson plans are chock full of material, you can use this product for 1-2 years of writing instruction. All the student handouts,…

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Art of Problem Solving: The Basics and Beyond
Math / February 7, 2011

Art of Problem Solving Content: Math Grade(s): 7th – 10th Perspective: Secular Prep Time: Minimal Teacher Manual: No Teacher Involvement: Essential Cost: $$ || ? Pages: 272 Publication Date: 2011 Publisher: Mandelbrot. The first year of the competition didn’t go so well, so the trio decided to write their own math book to help students think deeper in math. That book is what we now call Volume 1 in the Art of Problem Solving series. The Art of Problem Solving is the classic problem solving textbook used by many successful MATHCOUNTS programs. It is not designed to be a curriculum that you can say, “Hey, let me substitute this out for 7th grade math.” Instead, AoPS Volumes 1 & 2: The Basics and Beyond are in-depth workbooks for students in grades 7 – 10 who are preparing to compete in math contests. Volume 1 is great for those just beginning to the competition adventure and Volume 2 is geared for high school kids ready for more of a challenge. On the surface, it might seem like the books are just a collection of math tricks. But, once you get into reading them and doing the problems, you realize the emphasis…

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Art of Problem Solving, High School
Math / February 7, 2011

Art of Problem Solving Content: Math Grade(s): 9th and up Perspective: Secular Prep Time: Minimal Solutions Manual: Yes Teacher Involvement: Essential Cost: $$$ || ? Pages: Varies Publication Date: 2011 Publisher: www.artofproblemsolving.com Updated Review: May 26, 2015 Reviewer: Alessa Giampaolo Keener, M.Ed. Looking for other Art of Problem Solving reviews? Find them here: Beast Academy for grade 3-4 Art of Problem Solving Basics and Beyond for grades 7-10 AoPS Pre-Algebra and Algebra for grades 7-9 We’re just going to say it like it is: Art of Problem Solving is a math curriculum designed for kids who LOVE math and are really, really good at it. We’re talking about the kiddos who may be starting Algebra 1 at the age of 10. That’s not to say that other students would not benefit from AoPS. But, if your teen enjoys math textbooks with the visual appeal of lots of bright pictures and sideboxes filled full of random fun facts and real world applications of math skills, then AoPS will probably not be a good fit. AoPS textbooks are highly regarded for their rigor and depth, but they are dense and intense – which is not a bad thing, if you love math….

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Art of Problem Solving, Pre-Algebra and Algebra
Math / February 7, 2011

Art of Problem Solving Content: Math Grade(s): 7th – 8th Perspective: Secular Prep Time: Minimal Solutions Manual: Yes Teacher Involvement: Essential Cost: $$$ || ? Pages: 600+ Publication Date: 2011 Publisher: www.artofproblemsolving.com Updated Review: May 26, 2015 Reviewer: Alessa Giampaolo Keener, M.Ed. Looking for other Art of Problem Solving reviews? Find them here: Beast Academy for grade 3-4 Art of Problem Solving Basics and Beyond for grades 7-10 AoPS for High School and Beyond, include Number Theory and more If your student has completed a 6th grade math program and you’re looking for something more rigorous, the Art of Problem Solving Pre-Algebra and Introduction to Algebra could be a good fit. Be warned, though. AoPS unapologetically states: The text is written to challenge students at a much deeper level than a traditional middle school prealgebra course. Developed by the mathematicians who created the placement tests for each textbook. If you’re still stuck, you can contact AoPS staff and they’ll help you decide. About the Authors: Richard Rusczyk is the founder of the Art of Problem Solving website. He was a national MATHCOUNTS participant in 1985, a three-time participant in the Math Olympiad Summer Program, a perfect AIME scorer in 1989,…

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Language Mechanic
Grammar , Writing / February 7, 2011

Language Mechanic Content: Grammar Grade(s): 4th – 7th Perspective: Secular Prep Time: Minimal Teacher Manual: N/A Teacher Involvement: Minimal Cost: $ Pages: 172 Publication Date: 2001 Publisher: www.criticalthinking.com Date of Review: 11/13/2013 If you’ve got a quirky kid who likes logic, enjoys word humor, and picks language rules up quickly, then Language Mechanic may be a good grammar curriculum for your family. Each individual lesson begins with an attention “grabber” – a basic fact which is then followed by three sentences: You Write; Reader’s Think; and You Mean (to say). The sentences illustrate a specific grammar rule and demonstrate how it can be misused or misunderstood. A simple grayscale drawing accompanies the sentences to help draw out the humor. A logic box follows, explicitly stating the grammar rule and why it works. Students then complete the Practice items with an adult before attempting the Your Turn section. End-of-lesson Challenge questions can be saved for the next day to reinforce the grammar rule. All told, individual lessons should take no more than 15-20 minutes. Each chapter concludes with a Unit Review, which you can use as a quiz, if you like. These 1-2 page review sheets offer editing practice, as students…

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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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