How is Education doing in the US?

I found this infographic a few days ago and it sadly confirmed my own suspicions and other similar posts I have read. What worries me most of all is that US students don’t understand how far behind they are falling in comparison to the rest of the world.

I had a discussion with my programming class just last week and they were surprised when I told them that in a few years time there wouldn’t be enough programmers to fill programming positions here in America. And that so few students in our State even take the AP Computer Science Exam. In fact in 2013 in 17 States, less than 100 students took the exam and 13 states had a decrease in the number of students taking it!!

And it is not just in the Math and Science fields we are having problems!

This infographic explores the relationship between these trends and the way we educate – with out taking the differences of students’ learning styles into account. Of course, if one homeschools this is easier to deal with – but how do you do it in a classroom setting?

Would love ideas and comments!

 

How Personality Affects Learning
Source: Top10OnlineColleges.org

Rev It Up Reading Review

Disclosure: I got this product as part of an advertorial.

Rev It Up Reading Logo
I like to read. And I read a lot. And I thought I read fast – until I I took the test at the beginning of the Rev It Up Reading class. Apparently there is still a lot of room for improvement.

As reading is something everyone has to do a lot of, whether they like it or not, I was intrigued to try out this speed reading course. This is the sort of thing every high schooler should be doing to prepare themselves better for college – and the rest of their lives. I am planning to let my 14 year old work through it as soon as I am done.

***Interested … keep reading – I have one course to give away FREE to one of you.

The course has been created by Abby Marks-Beale, who has written 2 books on speed reading which have great reviews. It consists of 10 modules and you have 90 days to work through them all.

I have decided to blog as I go through it so you can see my progress (or lack thereof) as I do it. So keep checking back to follow my journey!

Day 1:

Rev It Up Reading Welcome screen

I signed up and watched the intro video. I was happy to discover there are many different ways to improve reading speed – and this course helps you figure out which ones are best for you to use.

Then I had to do my first test. One can do it online – or you can print off the ebook and read the paper version. I did it online and my comprehension was 60% (sad, I know – it was late at night!) and my reading speed 265 words per minute. Which makes me average. Hmmmm….

Day 2

Progress Chart

I printed off the Progress Chart they supply and recorded my rather poor score from Day 1. I do like the way it is easy to keep track of how you are improving.. hopefully I will improve.

Then on to module 2.

I learned how my brain and eye function when it comes to reading – and learned a neat trick to help eliminate distractions. I had to do two timed reading tests and using this new method I got achieved 448 and 420 words per minute. I was surprised how much I improved!

Day 3

I continue to be impressed. I learned a new technique and took two timed tests. The first I got 405 wpm; the second I got 480 and 90% comprehension. So much better than my “pre-test”.

 

What I like about the course

  • The modules are short!! I am extremely busy and if I can find time to do this, anyone can.
  • Everything is easy to understand and follow
  • The reading material is often about speed readingIt is easy to keep track of your progress
  • You get an ebook you can download / print off so you have something tangible after the course expires.
  • It works!

What could be improved

  • Once you complete a module you have to go back to the main course and select the next one – you have been working in a separate browser so that is irritating
  • If you leave a module part way through and come back the next day, you can view what you did but can’t carry on without closing everything and logging back in. It isn’t obvious you have been logged out though.

Overall impression

So far – I think it is really useful and I am enjoying using it. Will continue to update my thoughts as I continue through it

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Modern Egypt for Kids: Mystery of the Painted Pyramids

Egypt Mystery for Kids

I am teaching a current affairs class this year and covered Egypt a few months ago. In searching the internet for resources I found a lot related to ancient Egypt, but very few modern Egypt activities for kids.

So, I set about creating a fun Egyptian Mystery to introduce students to the history, culture and geography of Egypt.

I must give credit to my daughter, Amy, who actually came up with the idea of a mystery and that it should involve “Culture Culprits” who the students have to track down. She also gave input on some of the puzzles and checked it all for me. My husband did the layout and my son, Jason, photoshopped the one culprit into an Egyptian scene which my husband photographed. So – it ended up as a family affair.

And of course, my class went through it and I did make some adjustments based on their feedback.

Our intention is that this will be the beginning of a series of mysteries where upper elementary and middle school students can learn about a country through solving mysteries. We want this to be affordable for everyone, so they cost only 99 cents and are delivered electronically as a pdf which parents and teachers can make multiple copies of.

Students will need internet access to solve the clues and they are likely to take about 3 hours to work through them all. In my class they worked in groups and took 3 or 4, 50 minute periods to complete.

The mysteries are aimed at 5th – 8th graders.

If you would like one, you can purchase it right from this post and download it immediately.

 

Cool Building Toys

Cool Building Toys
Here are yet more reviews from my students – this time on Cool Building Toys. (Their earlier reviews are on Board Games and Educational Software). All these items can be purchased from Amazon and with Prime you can get them in 2 days.


Tekton Tower Building Set
Tim H recommends the Tekton Tower Building Set includes beams, columns, bases, roofs, signs and more. The set teaches you how the insides of buildings are made. It has facts about towers and buildings in the idea book along with architectural vocabulary.
This toy includes panels that look like windows and doors to make your project look more life-like. The idea book gives instructions to build a hospital tower and an office building but with this you can build anything you can imagine. Other Tekton sets include a bank building, a plaza, a fire station, and a post office.


 Snap Circuits SetTim H also recommends the SC-300 Snap Circuits set which includes a fan, 2 jumper wires, batteries, 2 switches, a speaker, a motor, and more. The two project books show how to build them and what happens in the circuit. These projects include The Music Radio Station, Space Wars Sounds, and a flying saucer.
All the circuits can be built by just snapping together pieces without tools or parents, but occasionally you need something like a cup of water for the Quiet Water Alarm. This toy is a lot of fun and learning.


ZoobsJonathan Z likes Zoobs. Zoobs are fun, mind-bending toys. Useful for keeping fidgety children busy, Zoobs are similar to Kinects. Zoob pieces connect using balls and sockets, allowing the pieces to bend easily.

Zoobs come with an instruction book telling you how to build fun models. Some really fancy sets come with wheels and motors enabling you to make a car that actually moves!

However, you do not have to follow the instructions. You can build whatever you want, from trees to houses to guns! These flexible toys are great for exercising your brain, while at the same time you are occupying your fingers.

 

MindstormsAnd McCrea F says Lego Mindstorms is worth the cost. The newest Mindstorms robot, named EV3, was released on January 4th, 2013. With the newest addition to the Lego Mindstorms line came four improved motors, lighter and faster than the previous version; a remote control; and the newest feature, a micro sd card slot. EV3 comes with pieces for 5 base models (only comes with physical instructions for one, but you can get the rest online) named TRACK3R, R3PTAR, SPIK3R, EV3RSTORM, and GRIPP3R, but as with all Lego you can make this robot your own by combining the Technic pieces to form  a unique robot.

With an easy-to-use image-based programming system, for Mac or PC and using commands, ranging from the most basic instructions to complicated logic loops, you can program your robot to walk around the room avoiding furniture and family pets using the color, ultrasonic, infrared, and  touch sensors plus, many, many more, not included in the set, but available separately.

If you stick with it and learn well, you can do one of my favorite things: ambush an unsuspecting family member trying to sneak into your room.

 

If these suggestions aren’t enough for you, you can also check out a post I wrote on Building Toys for Boys a while ago. And do leave more suggestions in the Comments.

Cool educational CD Roms and software – great gifts!

Educational Software Gifts

Image by Placeit

Here is the second set of reviews written by my students. This time they are covering software – some is for the DS, some for the Wii, some for PC and some for Macs. Some have versions for all of these. Most of the games selected by my students are also ones my own children have played – and I agree with their choices. All these games are both educational and fun.

And a reminder that I offered my students 50% of my affiliate earnings when people bought any of the products they reviewed.

From Amy V

Rollercoaster TycoonROLLERCOASTER TYCOON

I’ve grown up playing this game. From an early age, my siblings and I would build amazing amusement parks with it. I liked to make crazy rollercoasters that only the bravest visitors would dare ride. Of course, I soon found out that it doesn’t make your park more popular, or earn you more money. I borrowed so much money from the bank, it wouldn’t let me borrow any more. So I learned that you had to build attractions that didn’t cost about 50,000 dollars, and would actually attract visitors.

This game is great for teaching how to manage money, in a way that kids won’t realize they are actually learning anything. You get too caught up in designing your amusement park, to realize you are learning economics. This game is great for about 6-12 year olds.

** This does work on Amy’s Windows 8 laptop.

From Tim H
Age of Empires 3
In Age of Empires 3 you start with a few villagers and you build a town and army with wood, food, gold, and stone.
You can build stuff from houses to castles and spearman to trebuchet. You can play a campaign or the computer. When you play the computer you build a big army and destroy the enemy.
PS: this is rated  10 and up. (ie it has a Teen rating – as it has mild violence)

 

Age of Mythology
Age of Mythology  is from the same game maker as the one above. In this you can build stuff ranging from temples to tents and minotaurs to Greek archers.
This game is rated 10+
From Jonathan Z

Civilization 5Civilization is a fun, educational, and strategic computer game. Civilization (also known as Civ) is a game where you are the head of a nation. Your job is to have your nation be more powerful, more cultural, more scientific, and richer than any other nation.

The game starts in 4000 B.C., and ends in 2050 A.D., 500 turns later. There are normally 2-8 players in a game. You can customize multiple things per game. You can change the difficulty level, your country, the map size, and the victory conditions.

Game-winning options include: having the most score when time runs out, having three times as much culture as the nearest competitor, being the first to build a spaceship and launch it, destroying your competitors, or killing all the enemy kings.

There are many different aspects of running your nation. You choose where to build cities, whether to build a library or a dock in a city, where to move your soldiers, where to build roads and forts, whether or not to trade with other countries, or how much research you want to do. By researching technologies, you can have more building options.

There are four different ages: the Ancient Age, the Medieval Age, the Industrial Age, and the Modern Age. After you have researched certain technologies in an age, you can move to the next age.

Civ teaches you how to think strategically, become familiar with the names of different historical empires, such as the Zulu or Iroquois, learn the names of their major cities, and how to manage your resources. Civilization is best for people ages 10 and up, and takes 24-48 hours to play. However, you can save the game and exit at any time. Civilization is a computer game that helps you learn history, geography, and economics while have fun at the same time.

From Sami I

MinecraftMinecraft- This pixelated indie game brings out the spirit of imagination in the way its various types of blocks create limitless possibilities. Whether you’re fighting off endermen in survival mode, or building the castle of your dreams in creative mode, you will always have something to do, as periodic updates spice up the gameplay. With versions for the PC, Mac, Linux, Xbox 360, and PS3, there’s sure to be a way you can experience this simplistic masterpiece. (Amazon only has Minecraft for some platforms. For others visit the Minecraft website)

Oregon TrailOregon Trail- This classic  adventure game kindles the fire of imagination in a child’s mind, and teaches then how to keep track of money, food, and more!
Many of us know it as the game played on those old computers at school, and now it’s on the Wii! I recommend this game to anyone with a sense of adventure.

 

If you want a fun and educational toy to give as a gift for Christmas, I would recommend any game in the Carmen Sandiego Series, for the PC and Mac. These games are a fun, point-and-click adventure, chronicling the chase for the world’s greatest thief, Carmen Sandiego.
All of the games in the series are comical, with lots of wordplay. Yet it still feels urgent, like you’re actually tracking down a thief. With all these pros, you’re sure to have an interesting and engaging adventure while learning geography, history, and more along the way. I myself have played Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego? and Where in the USA is Carmen Sandiego? and highly recommend them to any kid who knows how to use a computer.

 

Math BlasterAnother computer series I recommend is the Math Blaster series. This series takes math, reading, and more to a whole new level with a story to the game.
The series covers everything from simple addition to geometry! Wherever your child is in their path for math, the Math Blaster series is for them!

 

Brain AgeBrain Age and Big Brain Academy-  These Nintendo series test and train your brain all while keeping it interesting. With tests such as Sudoku, memorization puzzles, and a test called “Number Cruncher” it will surely be a interesting and scientific experience.
With games for the Wii, DS, and 3DS, if you have a Nintendo console or handheld, you will easily be able to get and play these games. (Wii games can be played on the Wii U, and DS games can be played on 3DS.

 

I Spy Series- This CD-Rom series sharpens your eyes while you find a diverse amount of objects.
Whether the theme be a school or a spooky mansion, you will be challenged by the genius placing and camouflaging of the objects in the I Spy series.

Leapster

The Leapster and Leappad Explorer are great learning devices that are disguised as a handheld console. These two handheld/tablets have many options for games to chose from with their favorite Disney characters, such as Mike and Sully from Monsters University, Phineas and Ferb, Rapunzel from Tangled, and much more!
All of these cartridge based games come with a helpful age suggestion, with topics ranging from reading to math to life skills! These devices can be taken anywhere, as long as they are charged up.(The age range for these is 3-8 years old, depending on the game)

 

Please share any more ideas you have in the Comments.

It’s time for every student to learn to code

This week marks the first ever Hour of Code – an initiative to try and encourage every student in the USA and all over the world, to spend one hour having a hands-on experience with programming.

As Steve Jobs said – programming teaches critical thinking and logic. Programming is now also used in so many different areas of life – in fact, it is hard to find areas where programming is not used. And programming provides a growing number of jobs.

Yet – only 1 of every 10 students in the US is currently exposed to programming during their school years.

Programming jobs infographic

This is what President Obama said this week:

I learned to program while I was in high school. I traveled to another school in our city once a week to a class that taught us COBOL and FORTRAN. At home we owned an Apple, and I taught myself Applesoft Basic.

My own children learned to program while they were in elementary school. If you teach children while they are young, they take to it really easily. In Estonia they are starting to teach students from age 7 as part of their regular school day.

However, in the US and many other countries, programming is not taught in the majority of schools. And many parents feel they don’t have the skills to teach it at home.

The Hour of Code is hoping to change that. This is one of their promo videos:

It is not too late to register if you are a teacher or leaders of a youth organization – Sign up here and you will receive all the info you need.

If you are in Knoxville – all students from K – 12th are invited to join in the Hour of Code which the Knox County 4-H Computers and Technology Project Group are hosting at Cedar Springs Presbyterian Church from 7-8pm on Thursday 12 December. All the details can be found on their website or Facebook group.

To further assist students to get to experience the world of programming, I am offering a free online 4 week course called Intro to Programming. This course is designed for 5th-12th graders and will give students a taste of the world of programming.

Students will learn

  • elements of game design
  • how to make graphics for games
  • program logic
  • how to create their first simple program

All the tools used are free and work on both iOS and Windows systems.

The free course will run starting on 15th December 2013 or starting 6Jan 2014.

Sign up here.

Educational Board Games for Kids and Teens (2013 Christmas Review)

Educational Board Games

At this time of year you see plenty of reviews of gifts for children and teens – written by adults. It is not often you find ones written by the people who will receive the gifts. So, I asked a number of my students to review things that parents would view as educational – but they really enjoyed playing.

To make this offer appealing I told them I would give them 50% of my affiliate earnings when people bought any of the products they reviewed. I have now decided to make this a bit more lucrative for them and if anyone buys products through the Amazon affiliate links of this page – even if it is for other items, I will share 50% the additional revenue between the reviewers.

So – if you like something here, I encourage you to either click through and buy it immediately – or come back and click through when you are ready to buy. I will post on our Facebook page at the end of the holiday season, how much I was able to pay the students.

I let them review whatever they wanted to – and I have done basically no editing of their reviews. The last few items are actually educational card games, but I thought that was close enough to board games to keep in this post. I hope you find them useful and I also hope to help these students make their first online income!

Settlers of Catan – Review by Andrew J, 8th grade
Settlers of Catan
I learned how to play Settlers of Catan when I was eleven. There is a lot of strategy in this game and you have to make a lot of choices. Because the board has a different set up every game, you have to be able to change you strategy too.  I enjoy playing this game with my family, and because there are different versions and extensions to the game, it does not get boring.
Scattergories – Review by Charlie H, 8th grade

Scattergories

Scattergories is a vocabulary increasing game for ages 11 and up. In the game, a 20-sided die is rolled and it lands on one of the 20 letters on the die. The players then have a list of 12 subjects, with subjects such as “Famous People” or “Capitals”, and they have to write down a word starting with the letter for each subject. For example, if the letter was B, the player could write Barack Obama for Famous People and Bogota for Capitals.

Scattergories stretches your imagination to come up with words for the hardest subjects and letters. As the group shares their answers, players learn new words and facts increasing their own knowledge. Creative answers and puns are acceptable too, so the game really gets you thinking.

Agricola – Review by Jonathan Z, grade 8
Playing Agricola Agricola, which is Latin for farmer, is a fun, educational, and addictive game. Based on life as a farmer in medieval times, Agricola has elements of history to it. Agricola is good for 3-5 players. Play time can take anywhere from 1.5 to 2.5 hours.

Players start the game with two family members living a wooden hut. In each round, each family member can take one action, such as go fishing and collect one food. Other action options include cutting wood, mining stone, cutting reed, or digging clay. Players can also plow and sow fields, build fences, add rooms to their hut, build stables, build improvements, or make more family members. Extra family members are especially helpful to take more actions. Once a player has fences to make a field, the player can get sheep, wild boar, or cattle to place in the field.

To win, players must have the most victory points. Victory points can be acquired by upgrading your wooden hut to a clay or stone hut, by having sheep and pigs and cattle, and by plowing fields. But everything has to do with balancing food requirements or making everyday life a little more comfortable. The most beneficial educational aspect of Agricola is the opportunity for players to experience and experiment with local level economics through managing resources and strategic planning. The best part is that you don’t even know that you’re learning because you are having so much fun.

Pandemic – Review by Amy V, 8th grade

Pandemic

In Pandemic you play with your friends and family against the board. The aim of the game is to cure all disease, before the “pandemic” breaks out. You move around the board, treating diseases, and finding cures, to get rid of the disease for good. It takes about an hour to play. It’s for 2-4 players. This game is great for people who love strategy. I really like this game because it’s challenging, and fun to play with friends.

Mad Dash – Review by Andrew J, 8th grade
Mad Dash Game
I got Mad Dash when I was ten and still love playing it with my brother. It is a fast moving game that helped me learn the location of the states.
Now, it helps me strategize and think quickly. Sometimes my parents play this game too, but they can’t beat me!

 

Trivial Pursuit – Review by Sami I, 7th grade
Trivial PursuitTrivial Pursuit, as many people already know it, is a fun game that teaches you trivia, ranging from sports to science! A quite challenging game of it might take as long as an hour. I recommend it for kids 12 and up. My dad and I played one version so many times, we ran out of questions! There are many versions, including a family version for kids eight and up. I surely would recommend any of these games to anyone that has a knack for trivia.
Professor Noggin Games – Review by Charlie H, 8th grade

Professor Noggins

Professor Noggin Games consist of cards with two levels of questions, easy and hard, for categories ranging from sports to animals. There are 3 questions for each level. If you answer the question right, you keep the card. If the answer is wrong, the card goes back into the pile. The game continues until all the cards are gone.
The age range on this game is 8 and up, but any intelligent children under 8 can join the fun as well. Some examples of Professor Noggin Games are Pets, Myths and Legends, Human Body, Rainforests, Outer Space, and Explorers.
24 Card Game, Review by Sami I, 7th grade
24 game
Another game I recommend is 24, the game which forces you to critically think with math. The object is to take four numbers, and somehow make 24 out of them. Whether you’re playing with family and friends, or just trying to beat the clock, 24 is a great game for critical thinking skills.
I myself have played this with a group of people, and it is very fun, trying to beat all of them and get the solution.

 

That’s the end of this post. Any other ideas of board and card games your kids and teens love? Share in the comments, please.

 

And watch out for another blog post soon on fun educational software – from the same group of students.

3 Education Bloggers I am thankful for

Thankful for Great Teachers

 

There are 3 education bloggers who probably have no idea who I am, but who, over the past year, have inspired me, provided me with ideas and pointed me to resources I didn’t know existed.

I know I found one of them on Twitter – not sure where I found the other two and I don’t even remember how long I have been reading their blogs and tweets.

But I do know that my blog and newsletter readers, my FB fans, those in my Google + circles and most of all – my students – have benefited from what I have learned from these 3 people.

So, in no particular order, here they are:

 

Richard Byrne's Blog

 

 

 

 

Richard’s blog is fantastic because it reviews, as you can see, free technology! But that is just the tip of the iceberg. He shares great videos he has found and lesson ideas and so much more. Just a few days ago I added a Geography webquest to Evernote to use with a class I will teach next year. And I spend about an hour exploring a number of great websites to teach geography that I hadn’t heard of before reading some of his posts.

 

Julie Greller's blog

A Media Specialist’s Guide to the Internet

 

Julie Greller is most definitely a ‘media specialist’. She often manages to blog about just the thing I need! I am currently teaching a current affairs class and I planned to spend a few lessons studying Russia (this was a while after they had been in the new re Edward Snowden and shortly after the were disagreeing with USA over Syria). My style of teaching is to let it be as hands-on and engaging as possible for the students and I just couldn’t think of how to do it. About 3 days before I had to deliver the first of the lessons, I woke really early with still no ideas, and clicked on my Inbox. And Julie outline just what I should do! She had written a post for teaching a Spanish lesson but I knew it would work for my purposes. I plan to write a post about how it turned out and share some of the work my students produced.

Vicki Davis's Blog

Cool Cat Teacher Blog

 

Vicki Davis is so full of enthusiasm for teaching it is infectious! If more teachers loved the profession as she does, I think more students would love school! Today she posted a great cartoon. Other days she posts education news. Or a new resources she has found. Or something to beware of. And I find myself reading, clicking through, sharing and using so much of what she writes on her awesome blog.

 

I encourage you to follow these 3 teachers too on whatever social media you are on. And to show my appreciation I am nominating them for the Edublog Awards 2013 in the following categories:

Best individual blog : Vicki Davis – http://www.coolcatteacher.com/

Best ed tech / resource sharing blog: Richard Byrne – http://www.freetech4teachers.com/

Best library / librarian blog: Julie Greller – http://mediaspecialistsguide.blogspot.com

So thanks – Richard, Vicki and Julie! I appreciate you and look forward to what you have in store for us in the next year.

UPDATE: All the ones I nominated made it to the finalist round: You can vote for them here.

 

Thanksgiving Game Ideas

Thanksgiving Game Ideas

If you are looking for Thanksgiving Game Ideas for the classroom or to play with the extended family on Thanksgiving, I hope these games will be just what you are looking for. All are just versions of popular games – so you can be sure they will be fun and enjoyed by everyone

1. Thanksgiving Bingo

This is fun for all ages. You can choose to make them educational or just fun. You can download ready made ones – or put a bit more effort it and use a Bingo Creator to make your own. We did this a few years ago and the kids had a blast.

2. Thanksgiving Pictionary

Obviously kids need to be able to read to play this, but I think this is what I will use for our family gathering this year. I will make my own Pictionary cards but if you like crafts, you might want to copy this idea of using craft stick ‘feathers’ on a turkey to store the words that have to be drawn. If you need some help coming up with words to use, here is a great Thanksgiving Word List I found online. Divide your group up into 2 or more groups and let the group members take it in turns to be the drawer. You can either play as a big group with groups taking turns competing, or all groups can get the same set of cards and you give the groups a set amount of time to see how many words can be guessed.

3. Thanksgiving Charades

You can use the word list above for this, or you can get the participants to contribute their own ideas. You can add Thanksgiving movie titles here as well if you are movie buffs (I confess I hadn’t heard of most of these).

4. Thanksgiving Pyramid Game Show

Do this similarly to the first rounds of the Pyramid Game show. Make cards with 6 words on a card (once again you can use the word list in number 2) . Players must team up and take it in turns to describe the words on the card (think Catchphrase) without using any part of the word. They score as many words as their partner guesses in 30 seconds. See which pair scores the highest.

5. Thanksgiving Jeopardy

This is perfect in a classroom – or with a competitive family! Again you can make your own, or just hook up your laptop to a TV and use this one.

6. Thanksgiving Hangman

Play the well known game with 2 twists – hang a turkey instead of a man and the words chosen must be related to Thanksgiving somehow. Here’s a video with more explanation if you need it.

7. Thanksgiving 20 Questions

Once again, just put a Thanksgiving twist to this classic game. You can take turns choosing the word to be guessed, or you can use the Thanksgiving word list linked to above and you pick all the words and let the players be in groups who compete to see who guesses first. Don’t know how to play 20 Questions? Click here for a great explanation.
green-fancy-line
Those are my ideas for some fun this Thanksgiving. Do you know any other games that would work with a large group? Leave a comment if you do.

 

SQUILT: Music Appreciation for Kids

Music Appreciation Made Simple for Kids

Many parents want their children to have an appreciation of music and knowledge of composers – but if they are not musical, they may not know where to start. I know this definitely describes me!

Over the years I have found various CDs and books and even CD Rom games that I have used with my children – and now I have found a whole curriculum aimed at teaching elementary students music appreciation.

Mary Prather, from Homegrown Learners, is a homeschool mom with an undergraduate degree in Music Education and a Masters Degree in Education and she has produced a curriculum called SQUILT – Super Quiet Uninterrupted Listening Time.

Each week you study a different composer. Everything you need is provided: definitions, links to websites where you can listen to the music and fun printables.

Mary gave me a review copy and I just love it and wish I still had a young student to use it with. There are 10 lessons in each volume and the idea is for you to take a week over each. You sit together and listen to the music – but this is “active” listening. As you listen students complete their SQUILT notebook page and record what the Dynamics, Tempo, Instruments used and the Mood for each piece are.

You may be wondering how you will know if your child has got these things correct. Fortunately, Mary provides direction for the teacher so you know what to listen out for and how to prompt your children. If you have ever used Meet the Masters for art – this is done in a very similar style.

This is the table of contents for the first volume which is on Baroque Composers. The second volume on The Classical Era is also available and Mary has further volumes in the pipeline.

Baroque Compusers for Kids

Each volume is currently priced at $8.99 and comes as an eBook – so you can get it immediately and easily print off what you need. This also means you can use it with multiple students which makes the curriculum perfect for classroom or home use. You can purchase them at Squiltmusic.com.

And … I am  pleased to tell you Mary has agreed to provide one copy of Baroque Composers free to one of my blog readers, so be sure to enter the Giveaway below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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