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Our Family

Monday, July 7, 2014

Schoolhouse Crew Review: Moving Beyond the Page

Moving Beyond the Page Review

The first time I ever heard of Moving Beyond the Page was when we had an opportunity to review the Ben and Me Language Arts Unit along with the Electricity and Magnetism Science Unit last year. We had a LOT of fun and learned so much through these units.  We were very excited to have another opportunity to review two units from Moving Beyond the Page.  We chose for our two units the  Language Arts Package-Holes and Science Package- Rocks and Minerals.

I received:

Language Arts Package-Holes ($19.92)

Holes by Louis Sachar

Holes Online Language Arts curriculum

Science Package-Rocks and Minerals ($64.89)

Geology Rocks 50 Hands on Activities to Explore the Earth by Cindy Blobaum

Rocks and Minerals Physical Copy Science Curriculum by Kim A. Howe

Dig a Dino T-Rex

Set 3 Minerals, Crystals, and Fossils Science Kit

The Holes Language Arts Unit is designed to be used by children in the 8-10 year old age range.  It can be used as a stand alone literature unit or used alongside the Rocks and Minerals Science unit.  To use this unit independently, students should be able to read or comprehend books at a 4th or 5th grade reading level and be able to write an organized paragraph.

The Language Arts Online Unit has teacher's notes that you access online and student worksheets that can be downloaded and printed out.  There are 13 lessons in the unit plus a final project.  Completing the unit should take around 3 weeks.  Each day there are assigned chapters to be read, comprehension questions to answer, and a variety of activities to complete.  Students will learn new vocabulary words, have lessons on punctuation, conflict, plot, run on sentences, sentence fragments, describe and draw an invention, learn about different types of dirt, biomes, and so much more.  They will also have an opportunity to make their own fossils, make spiced peaches, play homonym bingo, and cook an onion recipe.

You will need some supplies to go along with the curriculum and the book.  Basic school supplies like scissors, construction paper, tape, glue, dictionary, and thesaurus are used.  Plus you will need some supplies for the hands on activity recipes if you choose to do those, and access to the movie Holes.  A materials list is included in the curriculum showing what is needed for each lesson.

The Rocks and Minerals Science Unit is designed for children ages 8-10 as either a stand alone science unit or to be used alongside the Holes literature unit. The prerequisites are the same as the literature unit for students using the study independently.  They need to able to read at a 4th or 5th grade level and able to write an organized paragraph.

The Rocks and Minerals Unit (physical copy) contains the teacher's notes, supply list, reading assignments, and student activity pages.  There are 6 lessons plus a final project.  Some of the lessons are completed in one day, but most are completed over 2 and one lesson takes 3 days to complete.  The unit should take about 3 weeks to finish.  In this unit students will learn about minerals, rocks,crystals, volcanoes, and earthquakes.  There are several different types of worksheets to complete such as: tallying and graphing minerals found in food, birthstones, writing and illustrating a rock's life, charting information on rock tests, pick a rock, putting together a continent puzzle, studying different types of footprints, and worksheets for their final RAFT project. They will get to do a variety of hands on experiments such as: testing rocks, making a sedimentary and metamorphic rock, smashing rocks, making their own board  game to play with rocks, making rock candy, making a crystal jar, charcoal crystals, seeing inside a geode, making a mini earth model, continent puzzle, making their own volcano, and more!

Many of the needed supplies are contained in the Set 3 Minerals, Crystals, and Fossils science kit but you will need to provide some on your own.  Common household supplies are needed such as baking soda, vinegar, salt, and sugar.  Some outside items are required as well like rocks, twigs, and sand.  A few of the experiments use food items such as graham crackers, frosting, marshmallows, and candy. A materials list is included in the curriculum showing what is needed for each lesson.

Moving Beyond the Page has curriculum for ages 4-14.  They have both full year packages and individual units you can purchase.  You can start at their home page  to find full year packages or their Individual Units page to find literature, science, or social studies units for ages 7-14.  There are several samples you can view.  I linked to the 8-10 year old level but if you scroll to the top of the page you can choose samples from different age levels.

I used our Moving Beyond the Page units with my 7,8,10, and 12 year olds.  I chose units from the 8-10 year old range because it fell in the middle of the boys I intended it use it with, but even my 3 and 5 year olds listened in to the readings and did some of the activities with us.   The weather we had in Arkansas in June was gorgeous so we did our reading aloud and comprehension questions outside in the mornings as well as some of the activities.  I accessed the online unit using my iPad which was very easy to transport outdoors with us. We started out with the literature reading  and activities every morning and then moved on to the corresponding science reading and activities.  I read from the books aloud and we answered the comprehension questions orally instead of writing them out. The Language Arts pages we discussed together and then the boys completed them. Everyone worked on the hands on activities together. It look us 3 weeks to complete the units.

We love Moving Beyond the Page!  When your children are asking to do school in the summer, you know you have a hit! I love that there are units (science or social studies) you can choose to correspond to a literature unit so everything you are learning goes together.  We really enjoyed reading the book every day.  The boys we sad when we finished it. I think the worksheets and assignments are wonderful.  They are not worksheets just to complete just to keep your hands busy, they serve a purpose.  There is a great variety of different concepts being taught and a variety of interesting worksheets.  The hands on activities are fantastic!  They really do move you beyond the page!  All of my children learn much better by doing then reading and the Moving Beyond the Page activities made them comprehend the topic we were studying about.

The units are easy to adapt to use with multiple children of varying ages if a parent is going to be involved every step of the way.  My 7 and 8 year olds are not reading anywhere near the recommended reading level for this unit but had no problem understanding it because I read the book aloud and helped them with the language arts assignments. If a parent is not going to be heavily involved, the reading and activities could easily have been completed by my 10 year old with only some supervision required in the kitchen.

The units are very flexible.  You can work at your own pace completing as much or as little as you wish in a day.  You can take a day off when needed and pick it back up when you are able.  You do not have to complete every single activity if you do not have the supplies or just cannot get it all done in one day.  We did not make the spiced peaches because we did not have the necessary supplies on hand, and the children were just not interested in eating them. Also, several of the activities have different options depending on your child's preference.  For example in Lesson One of Holes gives two different options for one of the activities:
Option One- let your child record the names of animals and plants indigenous to the desert and write about two special animal or plant adaptations among living things in the desert
Option Two- Let your child select any desert in the US to research and then write a paragraph that describes the geographic location of the desert, the amount of rainfall, the plants and animals that are indigenous, and some adaptations that allow the plants and animals to survive.

I really liked the Geology Rocks book and activities.  In addition to the ones chosen for this unit, there were several others that looked interesting as well.  And, the science kit had everything separated into bags for each lesson.  I just love it when things are organized for me and I don't have to go searching for supplies!

When it came time to do the fossils and digging out the dinosaur bones, I knew that one Dig a Dino Kit was not going to cut it for my crew.  So I ordered a set of three more.  My 12 year old helped my 5 year old and my 3 year old helped my 10 year old.  We dug out and put together 4 different dinosaurs.  That was one of their favorite activities!

Now that you have seen and heard all about the great things we did, you may be wondering which is better the online or physical units.

Online Pros:

  • instant access
  • no shipping (but if you are ordering other items from MBTP this may not make a difference)
  • less expensive
  • links to websites and other information are just a click away
  • lessons are checked off as you complete them
  • I chose to print out the worksheets, but you could save paper and ink by completing them on your tablet
  • tablets make the online option very portable
  • copyright for the online option allows you to make multiple copies for your family
Online Cons:

  • you have to have an internet connection to access
  • you have 3 months to complete the unit once activated (the company will extend this time if it becomes necessary)
  • you need to have a computer or tablet with you to read the teacher's notes student pages can be printed if you wish
Physical Copy Pros:

  • physical copy that you get to keep
  • very portable
  • spiral binding allows book to lay flat and keep hands free
  • everything is in one place
Physical Copy Cons:
  • more expensive
  • have to pay shipping costs
  • cannot make copies for multiple students. Extra student sheets are $4.99 each
  • teacher's notes and answer keys are in the same book as the student worksheets
Something that I found interesting is that the first time I reviewed MBTP, I preferred the physical copy, but this time I found that I liked the online copy better.  Not just because I could make copies for my extra students but I found the online version much easier to navigate this time.  Using it on a tablet is much easier than a computer or laptop.

We love Moving Beyond the Page!  It is great for our summer school and we look forward to doing more units in the future!

Members of The Crew reviewed a variety of different units from Moving Beyond the Page.  To see what my Crew Mates had to say, click on the banner below.

Click to read Crew Reviews
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