Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Getting First Graders Ready for School

Here are some fun worksheets to help first graders get back into the school groove. They are free to print.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

America's Story for America's Children by Mara Louise Pratt-Chadwick

A century ago, Mara L. Pratt-Chadwick wrote numerous popular books for children. The focus of her writing was typically the history of the United States. In America's Story for America's Children, she sought to introduce second grade students to American history.

We have adapted Pratt-Chadwick's lovely little book into a series of workbooks. These offer an introductory history of the U.S.A., from the landings of the Vikings in 1000 C.E., through the Civil War (1861-1865). Native American histories are included in the stories of Montezuma II and of Leaping Wolf. Language, grammar, etc., have been updated for modern readers.

  • The Northmen: Vikings in North America, 1000
  • Olaf and Snorri: Vikings and Native Americans
  • Christopher Columbus, 1492
  • Montezuma II of the Aztec (1466-1520)
  • Little Pueblo Prince and Coronado (circa 1540)
  • Virginia Dare and Roanoke (circa 1587)
  • Leaping Wolf: Iroquois and French (circa 1600)
  • Betty Alden and the Puritans (1623-1717)
  • Hans and Katrina in New Amsterdam (circa 1630s)
  • Marquette and Joliet Explore America in 1672
  • Eliza Lucas Cultivates Indigo in South Carolina (1700s)
  • George III and the American Revolution
  • The Stamp Act of 1765
  • The Boston Boys: American Revolution
  • The Army of Two: War of 1812
  • The Boy in Grey: U.S. Civil War
  • The Boy in Blue: U.S. Civil War

  • These workbooks are wonderful for classroom use, as they contain informational texts, valuable recall questions, handwriting and spelling practice, and much more. They are also valuable as a cherished supplement for those children whose minds desire to stay active.

    Sunday, May 15, 2016

    Learning the ABCs in Time for Kindergarten

    This is the time of year when parents start registering their children for kindergarten in the fall. A growing number of schools, particularly in the United States, now require that kids enter the kindergarten classroom knowing their ABCs (reading and writing them) and knowing how to print their names.

    With these facts in mind, we have a large number of free handwriting practice worksheets. We even have individualized printables to help students learn to write their first names.

    Monday, May 9, 2016

    Fairy Tale Units

    Fairy tales! Children love them. They are classic and fun and part of the curriculum. But where to find materials for teaching and exploring fairy tales? We have many free fairy tale lesson plans. We put these together to help both teachers who are compiling a unit on fairy tales, and teachers who may need emergency lesson plans for a substitute.

    There are classics like Puss in Boots and Cinderella, along with more obscure classics like Riquet with the Tuft and Hans in Luck.

    The texts are all in free printable PDF format, and there are worksheets to supplement the lessons.

    Saturday, April 30, 2016

    Summer is nearly here!

    In case you haven't noticed, we've been undergoing a major overhaul of the site which will (fingers crossed) hopefully be complete by the start of the 2016-2017 academic year. All of the free printable worksheets, PowerPoints, outlines, games, and activities are still up. We are simply giving the site a facelift, and improving how the educational materials are organized.

    For those of you hoping to keep students busy and learning this summer, check out our free worksheets and activities for summer. Of course, most of the site is applicable to each season. But these are a few items which are exclusive to summer. Enjoy!

    Tuesday, January 12, 2016

    World History Movie Guides for Teachers

    We are completely reorganizing our World History units, which means reorganizing the book and film reviews on each unit topic. We think they look a lot nicer, and are much easier to navigate. You can take a look at the new pages of film guides and reviews for World History-Global Studies here.

    Sunday, April 26, 2015

    What the New SAT Means for Teachers and Students

    The news is out that the SAT is changing for 2016. Here are a few thoughts on what the announced changes will likely mean for those prepping for the new version of this popular college admissions exam.

    The big, sweeping change to education over the past decade can be summarized by the term "content." E.D. Hirsch's Core Knowledge was the first major initiative to draw attention to evidence that college students were failing not because they couldn't read, but because they were clueless regarding the topics about which they were reading. That is, students must have background knowledge--content--in order to understand readings. This concept was spread throughout the United States with the introduction of the Common Core State Standards.

    To borrow a phrase from internet speak, the new SAT seems to be following the adage that "content is king."

    1. Evidence must be used to support answers.

    It's highly doubtful that multiple-choice questions will disappear; these are just too cost-effective in terms of grading, to give up entirely. It is likely that certain questions will require explanations; for example, noting which paragraph within a passage the student used in answering a question.

    2. Vocabulary will be more content-specific.

    We can all still expect to see terms such as loquacious on the SAT. But because "content is king," we can also expect to see terms directly related to college-level coursework, e.g. variable, analysis, structure, research, hypothesis, paradigmalgorithm.

    3. Fewer mathematics topics will be covered, in favor of more in-depth knowledge of each topic.

    A good guess is that superficial knowledge of a topic like geometry will no longer be enough; that it will be better to have mastered geometry as much as possible, than to remember a smidgen from each of several mathematics courses.

    4. Parts of the math section(s) will not allow calculators.

    This may mean students re-learning basic mathematics skills that may have been forgotten, such as multiplication and long division.

    5. Primary-source documents will be used.

    Again, "content is king." The use of primary-source documents on the new SAT mimics the use of them on AP exams. College students are expected to cite their sources, and it is only natural that the SAT should test their ability to analyze documents and cite them.

    6. No more penalties for wrong answers.

    This alone should raise scores.

    7. The essay is optional.

    This is a tricky item to approach. Skipping the essay will depend upon the sort of college to which a student hopes to be accepted. Selective institutions will likely want to see written exam scores, whereas less selective colleges may not care so much. There's no word on how or whether skipping the written portion will affect the total SAT score. For now, the advise is to skip the written essay only if the student's writing skills are poor.

    8. Scores go from a possible total of 2400 to 1600.

    This seems to be a return to the simpler scoring of a couple of decades ago.

    9. The test will be available online.

    This does not mean that you'll be able to take the new SAT at home. Instead, like tests such as the GRE, testing centers will allow students the option of completing the test on a computer. Before selecting this option, a student should test himself or herself, to see which format works best. Anecdotally, it's been observed that a lot of students "bomb" computer tests because they click through them too quickly.

    The good news for students is that removing penalties for incorrect answers will result in overall higher SAT scores. The jury is still out on whether skipping the written essay will be good or bad.

    In general, like K-12 education, the general trend is toward content-specific knowledge. This means more non-fiction reading passages, which research shows require background knowledge to comprehend.

    How to prep for the new SAT? In addition to reading the high school literature canon, students will want to read more nonfiction. This nonfiction should include books on science and history.