Based here in Oklahoma, The Institute for Excellence in Writing is the company to look toward for your composition needs! We recently discovered a few more of their resources, however, including the Teaching with Games Set, Timeline of Classics and A Word Write Now. While the last one is specifically for writing, the other two have been fantastic surprises to add to our everyday classroom. I'm going to put them in order, based on our family favorites.
Teaching with Games makes it simple to use games to teach and review concepts in any subject area. This book includes many original games, and the DVD workshop demonstrates how to quickly and easily adapt the games to any subject, grade level, and number of players. Add some fun to your curriculum and watch your kids love learning!
This was hands-down our favorite new resource! We printed out several of the games, and the youngest helped to cut and laminate them. If you don't already have a laminator, you'll want to pick one up to use with these games, because your family will want to play them repeatedly!
We spent our Fun Fridays playing games to reinforce concepts learned during the week. We had been learning about the Revolutionary War, so we used Revolutionary War Jeopardy. I varied the point system based on age, and they got to keep the cards they won. At the end, we had a couple of cards that no one was able to answer, and so I know what we need to work a bit more on. This game is great because you can re-create it for any subject...and the competition really gets their brains going!
Two of their favorite subjects from last year were rocks & minerals and Ancient Egypt, so we decided to try out some games to review those topics as well. For Ancient Egypt, we played a matching memory game, where they had to find the description and the object it described from a pile of face-down cards. For rocks & minerals, I read a description aloud and the first to name it's mineral won the card. Of those two, matching memory was the decided favorite.
We also reviewed world geography with the continents game. The youngest sat on the floor to match which geographical locations went with the continent, while I challenged the oldest to do it without looking at the cards (which I had color-coded, and he had figured that out). For North America, they had to put the feature in it's correct location on the continent.
Overall, these games were a hit! They reinforced information (I'm not sure I'd use them to introduce material) and we got to play for Fun Friday! If you'd like to pick them up, the two DVDs & one CD-ROM run for a total of 130 minutes and contain many of the sample games for your use. The spiral-bound book has the games and directions for each.
The Timeline of Classics is broken down into four parts: The Ancients, The Middle Ages, The Renaissance and Reformation, and The Modern World. These line up perfectly with curricula such as Story of the World and Biblioplan (among others). Each section has charts that are presented in four columns, each listing "description or time period," title, author, and level. Levels are represented by E (elementary), M (middle school), and H (high school). Descriptions are brief, and note key ideas, era, and location.
This resource saved me a lot of time, since I didn’t have to research what books would make good supplements for the unit we are studying. It also indicates videos and audio books that fit each era. They are in chronological order within the era, making it easy to know exactly which book to check out next. We started putting stars next to the ones we have read, and will probably continue to do this as we moved through the different eras. For now, most of our stars are next to (E) books, but the kids love reading, and I look forward to the day when everything is starred! *Note – we may switch from stars to dates, to use this as a school record.*
In spite of blending perfect with the classical style, Timeline of Classics can be used with any curriculum or teaching style. It is very flexible, and if you start recording things as you read them, you’ll have a ‘transcript’ of sorts to document your studies.
This resource can be purchased in PDF version or as a physical, spiral-bound book. Since the copyright allows for duplicating the pages for personal use, all you have to do is highlight the books to be read, and your student has his/her reading list for the year!
You can see samples of the Timeline of Classics here.
This book contains fascinating words to spice up any writing - your children's or your own! IEW has compiled a thesaurus that is appropriate for even the youngest of children to use in their writing, but still quite helpful for older students and adults. The back of the book also includes a glossary of literary terms and devices, which is helpful in teaching.
This is a fantastic resource! We are just now beginning to work on writing (better late than never!) and my children continually use the same words over and over again. Therefore, we focused mainly on the descriptive words – these are words that Andrew Pudewa refers to as “Dress Ups” – in our daily writings. These “Dress Ups” are used to make writing more interesting, to attract readers, and to pull readers into the story.
Essentially, this is a thesaurus, but it’s arranged thematically, making it much easier for younger children to use. Children will also appreciate the vivid colors and easy-to-turn-spiral-bound pages.
The book includes these three themes, each broken down into several pages of sub-themes :
- Character Traits (what a person is like, or how they feel)
- Describing Words (colors, quantity, quality, etc)
- Movement & the Senses (descriptive tastes, sounds, etc)
You can see samples of A Word Write Now here.