3/31/2011

Evan Moor Books ~ A Timberdoodle Review

Flip through the first 24 pages to see more. 

Sometimes a mother needs a helper. Beginning Geography proved to be a wonderful help for this homeschool mother. I needed to include a geography unit with our Five in a Row study on Katy and the Big Snow, but was struggling to come up with my own activities. In fact, I put the row off for weeks... until this arrived in the mail. It was just what we needed. 

Beginning Geography has 93 reproducible pages divided into three parts:
  • map skills
  • landforms and bodies of water
  • continents and oceans 
For our Katy unit and for this review, we completed the first unit on Map Skills.  The concepts were easy to introduce and easy to understand. The target age for this book is 5-7, or grades K-2. Malachi just turned 6 and is just beginning 1st grade, so he is right in the middle of the target for this book and he had no trouble completing the pages with some help from me (reading the directions and questions). In fact, he enjoyed them! This has been his most requested school to do since it arrived.  


The concepts are introduced gently and then build on each other. For example, when directions are introduced, the lessons begin with left and right and then progress to North, South, East, West.


Here he is learning about places on a map:


At the end of the Map Skills unit, there is a review.


I was surprised that Malachi gave more information than required on labeling the compass rose. But, then he confused borders with a map grid. This is partially my fault, because we took a Spring break and didn't work in the book for 10 days. After we reviewed the concepts for each lesson, he had no trouble completing the reviews. 

We have already moved on to Landforms and Bodies of Water. He is still enjoying his lessons. . . and I love that the planning is already done for me!  

2 full-color fold out maps accompany the book. 
List Price: $14.99

Timberdoodle Price: $10.75 ~ I think this is reasonable and at this price, I opted to have Malachi write in the book and will buy another one for Eliana ~ so much easier for me. She completed a few pages with me, but I think she would benefit more from this book in another year (she is 4).  Note: while we used it as a consumable resource, it is a reproducible one. 

So far, I am impressed with Evan Moor Books. I will have to look into the Daily Geography series for 1st grade, for sure. 

Next, I reviewed Daily Six-Trait Writing for grades 5 and 6. 

I follow a writing curriculum, but this is one subject I second guess myself on all the time. In fact, I had a middle of the year panic and ordered a whole new English curriculum for my oldest. But, I wasn't sure what to do with my next two oldest boys.

Then I had the chance to review Daily 6-Trait Writing and really, this was perfect timing. 

Flip through the first 24 pages to see more.

Flip through the first 24 pages to see more.

Daily Six-Trait Writing focuses on 6 writing traits:
  1. Ideas
  2. Organization
  3. Word Choice
  4. Sentence Fluency
  5. Voice
  6. Conventions (grammar, spelling and mechanics)
These are characteristics that are said to shape quality writing. The books are divided into 5 units, one fore each of the first 5 traits. Each week the concepts build on the previous one and a new convention (the 6th trait) is presented each week. It's neat that the convention is taught in the context of what they are writing.

Best of all, the lessons are easy enough to do (even for reluctant writers) and only take 10-15 minutes a day.

A little more:
  • The weeks are broken down into five daily lessons. The first four are completed in the workbook. 
  • The activity on the 4th day is designed to prepare them up for a formal writing activity on the 5th day.
  • The activities are interesting and even fun to complete. 

Below are a few samples of Nathan's work, grade 6, Week 2. The lessons this week focus on writing a topic sentences and supporting details:

On day 1, he learns that a good topic sentence clearly states the main idea of the paragraph and is supported by interesting details. He reads a parapgraph, circles the topic sentence and underlines the details that support it.

On day 2, he makes sure that all of his details support his main idea. He reads a short book report and then uses proofreading marks to move the topic sentence to a better place and delete details that do not support the topic sentence. Then he finds 3 possessive nouns from the report and uses them to complete three sentences.



On day 3, he writes his own supporting details for a topic given to him. 

On day 4, he plans a book report. 


He then uses his ideas from day 4 to write the report on day 5.

The boys type their writing assignments in Google Documents, which, by the way, is fun if you have two computers and you are both signed in at the same time (you can watch them type and help with formatting without standing over their shoulder). I then print their writing and staple it in the workbook.   

Here is a sample of Dylan's writing (grade 5) from week 3: A Strange Adventure.  His assignment was to write a short story about someone who wakes up on another planet. Considering he is my reluctant writer, I think he did a good job.

Each book (5th and 6th) is similar in content but geared towards each one's respective grade level and I definitely plan on having Dylan use the 6th grade book after he completes the 5th grade book.

Regardless of whichever writing curriculum I decide to go with next year, Daily 6-Traits will make the transition much smoother!


Disclosure: As a member of Timberdoodle's Blogger Review Team I received a free copy of these books in exchange for a frank and unbiased review.

5 comments:

Michelle said...

Yay! We are loving our Evan Moor books too!

Michelle said...

Thank you for the geography review. I have been thinking about what I want to do with my almost-kindergartener for this subject, and this post is helpful!

Michelle said...

I was so hoping you reviewed Trait Writing with your older boys! And, so relieved you liked it as much as I did. I loved the one for Joe too and I know I will stick with it for him for grades to come. I, too, second guess myself with writing ALL the time and this book has helped me SO much!

Thanks for all the info on Beginning Geo. I know I am adding this for Joe next year.

As always, great review Michelle!

Michelle said...

Yes I like Evan Moore so far we h=only had been using daily grammar, now I need to look into this. Thanks for sharing, fun fun!

Michelle said...

Thank you! I saw the one you reviewed with Joe and will probably get
it for Malachi for 1st grade. I think they are super easy to do, but
cover the basics. So A+ in my book! =)