Saturday, August 29, 2009

Math Puzzles and Brainteasers

Math Puzzles and Brainteasers, Grades 3-5 and Math Puzzles and Brainteasers, Grades 6-8 by Terry Stickels

Someone once said, “Bad reasoning as well as good reasoning is possible; and this fact is the foundation of the practical side of logic.

Logic IS practical. By developing skills in logic, your child will not only improve math skills, but he or she will also learn important problem-solving skills. Problem-solving skills will help your child at school, home and work.

These two volumes of Math Puzzles and Brainteasers are the tools you need to help teach these important logic skills; and best of all, they’re FUN! Each book includes more than 300 math puzzles and critical thinking activities such as word puzzles, Sudoku, analogies, and cryptograms. Also included are word problems that cover subjects such as money, time, and measurements.

There's something for everyone, regardless of skill level. The math brainteasers require skills ranging from simple adding and subtracting to determining probability and algebraic thinking. And the answers, included in the back of the book, encourage students to redo the problem until they get the correct answer.

Besides being fun, Math Puzzles and Brainteasers provides practice in IQ-testing skills, which may earn your student a college scholarship! And who doesn’t need that!

For more information or to purchase, log on to the Wiley Publishing Web site.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

A Fun Resource for Book Reports and Other Writing Projects

Animals at Work (ASPCA Kids)
by Liz Palika

This delightful book from the ASPCA (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) is a child’s guide to working dogs, cats and horses. Young readers will enjoy learning about the many jobs these animals do, how they are bred and trained to do these jobs, and the care it takes to keep them in working condition. The readers will meet, among others, dogs that answer phones, horses that dance, and cats that encourage reading!

There are color photos and eye-catching illustrations on every page that make it fun to read. The text is easy to read, but substantial enough to result in an authoritative resource which students can use to write reports and other composition projects. The 134-page book includes a complete index and a resource list of organizations that can provide more information.

The ASPCA currently has three other titles in the series: Kids Making a Difference for Animals, Amazing Pet Tricks, and Having Fun with Your Dog. For more information or to purchase, log on to the ASPCA Web site.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Preschool Activities in a Bag

This is a review of Preschool Activities in a Bag, Book 1 by Paula Reetz & Sherri MacLean

The authors have done a super job of putting together a book of 34 activities, which include matching, puzzles, beads, collages, sewing, texture rubs and more. Using this resource, your preschooler will be introduced to numbers, letters, colors, and patterns. Some of the activities involve small motor skills such as coloring, cutting and pasting. Others involve larger motor skills used in playing games such as bean toss.

The unique feature of this book is that each activity costs about $1 to make and can be stored in a 1 gallon freezer bag with a sliding "zipper." This makes it easy to pull out an activity and get right to work. There's no need for further preparation as the preparation has already been done at an earlier time.

Instructions are provided to help you create these activity bags on your own or organize an activity swap. Working together can cut down the expense of creating the Activity Bags.

A supply list is included to make shopping for supplies easier; and all the masters needed to complete the projects are in the back of the book.

I taught three and four year olds for 20 years. The activities in this book will definitely provide lots of enjoyable learning experiences for this age group; HOWEVER, very few of these activities can be done by preschoolers, all by themselves. If you are expecting to use these activities to entertain your children while you homeschool, it may not be the answer you're looking for. However, if you are looking for some fun ideas for activities for this age group, this is an excellent resource. If you're lucky, you might get some work done, too!

For more information or to order, go to the Activities in a Bag Web site.

Night Fires - Recommended Reading!

Raised in southern Delaware, in the 50's and 60's, I grew up around racial prejudice. I remember the first day our school was desegregated and how I made a new friend. When I got home and told my parents about my new friend, my father informed me that I couldn't have her for a friend because she wasn't the right color. Racial prejudice was ugly then and it's ugly now.

Night Fires by George Edward Stanley is a fictional story about racial prejudice. Woodrow Harper, a 13-year-old boy, and his widowed mother, move to Lawton, Oklahoma. The year is 1922. Woodrow is lonely and wants a father more than anything else in the world. He is befriended by a neighbor, Senator Crawford, who has lost a son. They soon become like father and son, filling the void in each of their lives. What Woodrow doesn't know is that Senator Crawford is the head of the Ku Klux Klan in Lawton.

The story continues as Woodrow struggles to make the right decision when it would be easier for him to make the wrong one. In the process, the reader feels the effects of racial prejudice and sees the evils of the Ku Klux Klan and how it affected everyone in the town. The book may be fiction, but the lessons learned from the book apply today.

I think this book should be required reading for everyone. The book is easy to read and extremely exciting. I read it in one day. It's written for ages 8-12, but I think anyone ages 8+ will enjoy reading it. Highly recommended!

You can purchase this book at