Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Moving Beyond the Page: A TOS Crew Review

Moving Beyond the Page Review

Moving Beyond the Page - "All children can benefit from our unique approach to education. This is especially true for hands-on, creative, and gifted learners. A traditional or classical approach will often leave these children bored and uninspired."   I'm already inspired - I'm sure you will be too!

Literature Unit:  American Tall Tales and Legends - Online edition (print copies available as well)
Ages 9-11
Cost: $29.41 
Online access to American Tall Tales & Legends Guide
Physical books: American Tall Tales by Adrien Stoutenberg and Cut from the Same Cloth, American Women of Myth, Legend, and Tall Tale by Robert D. San Souci  
Plus - a  Dream Catcher Craft Kit
Social Studies Unit:  Your State Guide  - Print book
Ages 9-11
Cost:  $16.99
  • Lesson 1: Geography of Your State
  • Lesson 2: State Symbols (2 Days)
  • Lesson 3: State History (2 Days)
  • Lesson 4: Famous People
  • Lesson 5: Places to See
  • Lesson 6: State Field Trips
  • Lesson 7: State Statistics
  • Lesson 8: State Maps
  • Final Project: State Book (2 Days) 
Bentz Test Laboratory loves diving into a good book, even better is when the learning can move off the page and into their experiences.   This is what Moving Beyond the Page specializes in!  With an impressive selection of titles in Literature, Science and Social Studies, for all ages - you will find that learning becomes more than just reading, it becomes a true experience they will never forget. Check out some samples here.

We were elated to get our hands on the two selections above - Literature Unit:  American Tall Tales and Legends  and Social Studies Unit:  Your State Guide.  My 11 year old tester was the first to win the wrestling match when the package arrived, and couldn't wait to dig in!
I'll start with Literature Unit:  American Tall Tales and Legends.    This is an online unit,  meaning that guide is accessible online.  It's very easy to use - just log in and the program will pick up wherever you left off.  Physical books are included in the unit -  American Tall Tales by Adrien Stoutenberg and Cut from the Same Cloth, American Women of Myth, Legend, and Tall Tale by Robert D. San Souci  
Plus - a  Dream Catcher Craft Kit. 

The physical books are both excellent choices!  My tester thoroughly enjoyed reading about old favorites like Pecos Bill, Johnny Appleseed, and Davy Crockett.  In addition, a whole new group of American women were introduced like Drop Star, Molly Cottontail and Hekeke!  

The Online Program Guide consists 6 Lessons and a Final Project.  Moving Beyond the Page units are comprehensive curriculum covering literature, science and social studies, all you need to add is your choice for math and physical activities!  For the ages 9-11,  Moving Beyond the Page requires that children are independently reading at a 5-6th grade level

These lessons explore the geographical regions of the United States by introducing the Tall Tales, Myths, Legends and Heroes/Heroines of that region.

Lesson 1: Story Genres introduces the types of literature being presented. 
Lesson 2: Tales and Legends of the Northeast  
Lesson 3: Tales and Legends of the South
Lesson 4: Tales and Legends of the Midwest
Lesson 5: Tales and Legends of the Southwest
Lesson 6: Tales and Legends of the West
Final Project: Your Own Tall Tale or Legend

Each lesson takes about 2 days to complete and includes - reading, comprehension questions, hands-on activities, worksheets, research and more. Printable activity sheets are easy to download and print. Spelling and vocabulary words to correspond to the unit are also included. 

This particular unit introduces several story genres - trickster tales, tall tales and myths.  By comparing and contrasting, my tester worked with literary terms like hyperbole, protagonists, antagonists and transition words. She loved how everything is integrated together - science, social studies and language arts.  Best of all, absolutely no boring textbook reading! 

Creating  your own folk tale that reflects the region in which you live is the final project.  

One feature we appreciated about the Online version is the "Idea Share" area.  You can add your own idea, link or activity, make a book or video recommendation or even share pictures of your child's activities. And, you can easily access the ideas shared by other users.  This is wonderful!  We found great links, extra crafts and recipes and helpful tips throughout the unit.  A definite plus to purchasing the online unit.

The Online version is also licensed for multiple children in your family - making it a less expensive option.  You can even take it on the go with you, the online versions are compatible with most mobile devices.

A couple of drawbacks,  the online unit requires you to print your own worksheets.  This may be a blessing, or not - I would rather have everything printed and ready to go, than to print as we go along.  But, I'm sure there are those that prefer to print as they need it.  You'll have to decide for yourself.  

 Also, the online unit is only available for a limited time. Once you activate it, you have only 3 months to complete it.   Since each unit is designed to take about 3 weeks to complete, you should have plenty of time to finish.  If you have issues, just contact customer service - they were very easy to work with!

You can also access the their Community Forum - a great place to connect with other families using Moving Beyond the Page. 

Our second selection was Social Studies Unit:  Your State Guide.  This is a printed 95 page guide for ages 9-11.   The concepts covered by this unit are Relationships and Your State. 

This guide contains 8 lessons and a Final Project.  You choose the state you wish to study.  There are no "required" books for this unit - but, you are encouraged to explore on your own. We found some great resources on our new state - TEXAS!

 This unit can be used independently, but works very well alongside the Literature Unit:  American Tall Tales and Legends.   It covers:

Lesson 1: Geography
Lesson 2: State Symbols
Lesson 3: State History
Lesson 4: Famous People
Lesson 5: Places to See
Lesson 6: State Field Trips
Lesson 7: State Statistics
Lesson 8: State Maps
Final Project: State Book

Each lesson clearly outlines "Stuff you need" - supplies and worksheets, give "Ideas to think about" - discussion questions, "Things to Know" - what you need to learn in this lesson, "Reading & Questions" - based on your reading and independent research, and "Activities" - here's where the fun begins!  

Each lesson offers suggestions for activities you can do as you get to know your state better.  From creating a postcard, charting monthly temperatures, creating topographic maps to even visiting historic sites.  This units blends social studies, science and your own literature seamlessly.  It becomes a complete unit study of your state as you work through the guide together.

You know, we could not pass up the opportunity...  since we are living in San Antonio, we visited the Alamo and the Riverwalk during our field trips lesson! 

This guide recommends two state-related field trips - we love taking our learning out and about!  
I love the easy-to-use format of this guide.  You could use this with any state, or even over and over to study EVERY state - if you wanted to.  
Moving Beyond the Page offers many units to choose from in six different age levels (4-14).  You can create a one-of-a-kind custom education for your child.  Moving Beyond the Page is affordable, easy-to-use and comprehensive.  I know you will be impressed with each and every unit, we have been!

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