Thursday, June 27, 2013

Moving Beyond the Page: A TOS Crew Review

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Moving Beyond the Page

The Bentz Test Laboratory was delighted to take a peek at two units from Moving Beyond the Page.  I had heard many wonderful things about this curriculum, and we were not disappointed. 
Read more about their educational philosophy here. 

Geography and Landforms  - Cost $19.99 
Or as a Complete Package - $51.93 includes: Geography and Landforms,
The Geography Book: Activities for Exploring, Mapping, and Enjoying Your World
by Caroline Arnold & Geography of the World: The Essential Family Guide to Geography and Culture by Jayne Parsons
Age 10-12: Concept 1 - Environment and Cycles: Unit 2
"The landscape of our planet includes soaring mountains, winding rivers, deep canyons, and islands scattered across expansive seas. Learn about the forces that create and transform these geographical wonders. Discover how humans are influenced by the geography that surrounds them and how they, in turn, have an impact on the physical features of their environments. Take a close look at the landforms and geography of South America, North America and your own backyard. "

My testers are HUGE geography fans.  Right off, we were impressed by the additional resources we received.  The Geography of the World book is sure to be a family favorite!   Moving Beyond the Page is not your standard fill-in-the-blank or textbook type of curriculum.  It is integrated to include science, social studies and language arts.  You only need to add your favorite math and some exercise to have a complete curriculum.

 The curriculum is easy to get started with.  Stuff you Need, Ideas to Think About and Things to Know are outlined clearly at the beginning of each lesson. The 9 lessons and a Final Project should cover about 40 days of instruction.  However, you can customize to use this either as a full curriculum, or a supplement.  Students are encouraged to work independently through this guide (provided that they are reading at a 6th-7th grade level for this 10-12 curriculum).

There are some comprehension questions to complete after reading, vocabulary and optional activities as well.  Here's where it gets fun!  This curriculum, designed with the gifted student in mind, moves off the page and into hands-on, experiential learning. 

 In lesson one, my tester constructed a balloon globe, drew the continents and we discussed how earth looks from space.  In addition to the activity suggestions, each lesson includes internet links to visit as well.

The Geography Book (a companion resource) was filled with excellent learning activities - most using common household items.

Notice the smile... we are having fun and learning at the same time.  In the summer, no less!

The Prince and the Bard  - Online Unit $22.93    
Age 11-13: Concept 2 - Semester 2: Unit 3
 "An online version of Moving Beyond the Page provides more than just convenient access to the same quality curriculum; it also enables more direct access to online resources"

"In this unit, you will be introduced to three classic works of literature; the book, The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery, and two of William Shakespeare's plays. In the plays, A Midsummer Night's Dream and Romeo and Juliet, and in the book, you will discover common themes of love and friendship, and persuasion."
Next to Geography... Shakespeare is a current interest at Bentz Test Laboratory.  The Online version of this unit was easy to access and use.  3 classic books were introduced and analyzed.  This literature unit includes easy to download PDF files for all the Student Activity Pages, Reading Comprehension, plus a very "Handy Guide to Writing and Grammar ." The online resources are just a click away  - one of our favorites was a website full of Shakespearean recipes. 

In addition to reading the literature - many higher level activities were included. Composing persuasive essays, recognizing and using parentheses and brackets (I've always wondered how to do this correctly), and distinguishing between fact and opinion in oral presentations and media messages.

Once again, the learning moved off the page - and into real life.  Our favorite activity had to be going to see an actual Shakespeare performance!  This curriculum taught us the difference between the comedy and tragedy in the writings of the Great Bard by studying A Midsummer Night's Dream and Romeo and Juliet .  We were delighted to attend a performance of King Lear - although not specifically covered in our lessons - we learned so much we were able to apply our learning to another work of Shakespeare effectively.

The only drawback to the online version - you only have access for 3 months.  I do prefer the printed version for that reason,  I like to have the resource available whenever we want to access it.

  This is just the kind of learning we love.   Moving Beyond the Page offers numerous units to choose from, in a variety of levels.  You can coordinate entire year packages, by age or interest.  I know we will be exploring this further - and you should too! 

Click to read more reviews from the Schoolhouse Review Crew
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