Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Review ~ Moving Beyond The Page ~ Poetry and The Fifty States ~ Age 9-11

Moving Beyond the Page Review

There are two things that get my kids excited about learning every time, stories and hands on projects. Moving Beyond the Page has combined these two so perfectly! Last year after we reviewed  Poppy and Life Cycles, the kids asked me to get them more. We ended up getting the entire set for the 7-9 age group.

This year we were so blessed to review a Language Arts Package: Poetry and a Social Studies Package: The Fifty States. These are just two of the units available in the age 9-11 full year package. With this age level the curriculum is written to the student, so for the most part the child is expected to work independently. We did that as much as possible, but with some things my help was still needed. That's OK with me though.

You can use Moving Beyond the Page as a full year curriculum if you choose, or purchase individual units as your kids have interest. It is very flexible to use, and you have different options for purchasing as well. Online versions and physical copies of the curriculum are available. The literature books can be purchased, or you can borrow from the library. With the full year package, all you need to add is math and you are all set for the year.

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Our Poetry unit ($61.86) included.....

The online version of the Poetry lesson plans and downloadable student sheets.

Physical literature books included.....

Love That Dog 
My America: A Poetry Atlas of the United States
R is for Rhyme: A Poetry Alphabet

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The Fifty States ($49.62) unit includes.....

The Fifty States ~ spiral bound book

Smart About the 50 States : A Class Report
Original Sculpey Clay - Terra Cotta
The Scrambled States of America Card Game

These two units can be used independently, but were designed to be used together and the activities compliment each other very well. For instance, while we were learning about the different states and regions of the United States (social studies and science), we were also reading poetry from those places at the same time (literature) and we could see how the authors were inspired by what they saw, things they felt, and experiences they had while in that particular area of the country.

While learning about the Southwest the kids followed links online to learn about clay pottery and adobe homes. We used the Sculpey terra cotta clay included in the package to make our own clay pots, home and other creations. This hands on exploration really gets kids excited about learning and trying new things. They also went on Minecraft and built adobe homes there, complete with a desert scene and animals you would find there. THIS is the kind of learning I LOVE to see in our home!

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In the Poetry unit we learned what poetry is, Parts of Speech and Rhymes in Poetry, Geography in Poetry, Haiku and Onomatopoeia, Figurative Language and Voice, Art and Poetry, Robert Frost, Writing About  What You Know, and Inspiration. There are lessons included for spelling, student activity pages to print, and reading and questions pages included.

Originally my 11 year old son was the one excited for this unit, and my 9 year old daughter claimed she had no interest at all in poems. By the end of the first week she was joining in and she surprised me one day by writing a poem herself! She said she felt inspired to write it after going outside and seeing beautiful things that not everyone in the world can see where they live. I was beaming with pride of course!

The final project for Poetry was to have a coffee house type of poetry reading, and make food and drinks and invite people over to hear either poems you like or ones you write yourself. This was what got my daughter really excited, she loves to cook and share with her friends. Our "reading" was very informal and didn't last very long before they had eaten all the food and were off to play outside, but the kids got a taste of culture they hadn't experienced before.

My kids all love maps, so the map work in The Fifty States unit was as fun as it was educational. "It didn't even feel like learning, it was just fun" is what they told me.Other lessons included learning state capitals, the Northeast, the Southwest, the Midwest, the Southwest, the West, Alaska and Hawaii, Relationships Among the States, People and the Environment, Analyzing State Data, and the final project is planning a region road trip.

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 The first time we played The Scrambled States of America card game they didn't know many of the facts included on each state card, the Capitol and nickname or where every state was located on the map. After playing a few times though the competition really got rough as they wanted to learn more in order to win. This is a game I like playing with them too! At first I was easy on then and let them win but now they can beat me even when I try to win.

As you can tell we all LOVE Moving Beyond the Page around here! I have to say that I really do prefer having the physical version of the curriculum versus the online. There are many benefits to the online version, such as being able to print as many pages as you want. However the curriculum itself is not printable, so you have to use it online. Once you activate a unit is it only available to use for 3 months. You can re-activate it later for use with a younger sibling for half price. With the physical book you will need a curriculum book for each child as their copyright does not allow you to make copies. But I like having that book in hand to use in our portfolios at the end of the year. The kids like showing off their work too. We do not always work on school while at home where we have internet access. But cost wise you cant beat the online version!

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