When you teach, there are times when you want a little extra help. The Institute for Excellence in Writing (IEW) is a favorite option for many teachers and families when looking for help with writing or grammar. Besides their intensive writing curriculums, IEW offers teachers several additional options for classroom resources. Recently we’ve been reviewing three of these additional resources: Teaching with Games Set, A Word Write Now, and Timeline of Classics.
Teaching with Games ($29) is a 2 DVD/ 1 CD-ROM set that contains a CD-ROM with the complete E-Book of Teaching with Games, as well as two DVDs of workshop demonstrations of how to utilize the various games. IEW also has the Teaching with Games book available in a printed form ($19) if you prefer. This E-book contains about two dozen games, many of which offer suggestions for adaptation, making your options almost limitless. IEW was kind enough to send us both the set and the printed book for our review. As a teacher, I would want to have the printed version for quick reference, and the E-book for ease in printing multiple copies of the various games.
Although geared towards use in a co-op or classroom setting, several of these games could be used at home as well. I would highly recommend this resource for classroom teachers. The games presented are for various subjects, including history, geography, math, and science. For teachers who like to keep their students actively learning, these games can add some fun without a lot of pre-planning.
None of these games are difficult to understand how to play. The Workshop DVDs show teachers actually using and playing several of the games, as well as the facilitator giving hints about the best way to set up the game boards. The Teaching with Games E-book is over 100 pages of instructions and sample game boards and pieces. It is all black and white for ease of printing. The game pieces have simple black outlines to make it easy to use a paper cutter and get them all the same size.
Of the many games suggested, I plan to use Geometry Bingo the most. In my past experience, I have found students love playing games in the classroom. This resource makes it simple to incorporate some games into your everyday teaching.
A Word Write Now ($35) is a thematic thesaurus that focuses on helping students expand their choices for describing character traits like generosity or courage, as well as words that describe appearance, color, size, and texture. These thesaurus pages are divided into three sections for student use: character traits in section A, words to describe in section B, and words for movement and the senses in section C. This is a spiral bound book printed in color.
Although originally written for upper elementary and middle school students, Arlene has found this resource helpful as a High Schooler when writing her stories. Because this is a thematic thesaurus, it includes a wide range of options for each word. It also includes cute cartoon pictures in the Character Traits section such as a Wise Walrus wearing a monocle, or a Courageous Penguin standing on a tall rock clutching his teddy bear.
Each word in this thematic thesaurus is given a two-page layout and includes not only similar words, but also includes the definition, thoughts about the word, and experts from Classic literature to remind the student of how the words have been previously used. Under Words for Generosity, you’ll find an excerpt from The Rainbow Fish - where he gives away his glittering scales. There are nouns, adjectives, adverbs, and verbs that all relate to generosity. Your student can find suggestions to use in their own writing such as: her unselfishness, the benefactor, charitable, abundantly, or bequeath to name a few. There is also a section of blank lines where students can add their own words to the page, making it uniquely their own.
Included in the book is a blank two-page spread that can be photocopied so the student can think of their own topics and gather words. In the back, section D includes Teaching tips, transition words not related to time, prepositions, literary genres and a section on Literary Devices.
Here is Arlene’s review: I like the word book. It has helped me a lot with my writing I could look at a normal thesaurus but A Word Write Now is more fun, and more funny, which I know will help younger kids. You look up curious and a list of other words is helpful, but it is more fun to look up the Curious Catfish and find the definition, some quotes, and excerpts from classical literature, as well as the list of other words divided by nouns, noun characters, adjectives, adverbs, and verbs, as well as space for words that you may find yourself but are not listed. A Word Write Now starts with words for character traits, then has descriptive words, then words for movement and the senses.
A Word Write Now is a resource you will want to buy early on in your student's career because they will use it often. I highly recommend it for families and teachers who utilize IEW’s writing curriclums, but I also know it would work well with any other writing curriculum because of its unique format.
Timeline of Classics: Historical Context for the Good and Great Books ($29 Spiral Bound, $19 E-book,) is a fantastic resource first published in 2013. If it had been around back in 2003 when we started our home education journey, it would have saved me a lot of time and research! This spiral bound, calendar format, 90 page book is my favorite of these three resources. It divides history into four time periods: Ancients (5000 BC-AD 400,) The Middle Ages (AD 400-1450,) Renaissance and Reformation (1450-1850,) and The Modern World (1850- present.)
Within each time period, good and great books, quality historical movies, and audio storytellings are listed. They are listed in order that the story takes place in time, with a brief description being included on most titles. It includes the full title, the author (and their website if they’re still living,) and a qualifier of whether the resource is geared towards Elementary, Middle School, or High School. Several book are listed for all three age groups (E,M,H,) while some, especially those of sensitive topics, are listed only for High School.
Just because a resource is listed for Elementary, don't overlook it for your older students. Many of the audio storytelling titles listed from Jim Weiss are on the shelves of our High Schoolers and are listened to often.
Who is this resource geared towards? Everyone! I think all families would benefit from having a copy of this fabulous book to look through for choosing books to read-aloud. If you are a Charlotte Mason or Classical Educator, I cannot recommend this highly enough! It will save you literally hours of research. If this book has been around a decade ago, it would have quickly been put on my favorites shelf!
As a Charlotte Mason style family, I have often been at a used bookstore, or homeschool convention looking through books wondering if they were worth our time and money. I often saw titles that friends had recommended, but couldn’t remember if they were for elementary or later years. This resource takes the guesswork out of that! With over 80 pages devoted just to the timeline, you have a wealth of good, solid selections to look for. If you are teaching history to multiple ages, this is a gem you will want on your shelf…or in your traveling bag! Are you going to study King Arthur next week? Find multiple listing appropriate for each age group on page 18. Wanting to study the French revolution without giving your elementary aged children nightmares? Turn to page 45.
I found it encouraging to find so many titles we had already read listed amongst the pages of this book! Arlene (15) has been using Timeline of Classics since it arrived. Here is her snippet: The Timeline of classics might be a bit confusing at first if you are looking for a book that is arranged by the year the book was written. That is not the case, as they are arranged by the year they take place. This is helpful if you are looking for books that take place in a specific time period whether for fun or pertaining to a class.
Take a look at all of the great resources available from IEW, there is a wealth of knowledge to be found and shared. To read reviews from other Crew members, just click the link below!