We’ve been fans of Institute for Excellence in Writing for a few years now. I was pleased when they sent me the following to review: Timeline of Classics, Teaching with Games Set, and A Word Write Now.
Timeline of Classics
The full name of this resource is Timeline of Classics: Historical Context for the Good and Great Books. Available as a spiral-bound book or a PDF download, this book provides recommendations for literature and other resources. It is about 90 pages long.
The book is divided into Ancients, The Middle Ages, Renaissance and Reformation, and The Modern World. For each section, there is a chronologically indexed listing of biographies, plays, books, poetry, films and more. It lists a description or time period, the title of the resource, the author, and which levels it is appropriate for (Elementary, Middle School, and/or High School).
I found this to be a helpful resource for me, because I was able to browse the timeline and find books and videos on the list to help engage my students better. This fall we have been kind of winging history and throwing together resources to help flesh out the spine I’m using. I was able to flip through to the correct time period and get some interesting things from the library.
I liked that some of the items mentioned are from the time period to give students a bigger picture of what life was like back then and the rest of the resources were about the time period. It was a good mix for us.
All of the selections are of high quality. I’ve looked around for similar information online before only to become frustrated at the poor choices others have made in their book lists. With IEW, I knew and continue to trust that they’ve weeded through everything and have presented only the cream of the crop.
Teaching with Games Set
This has to be the most fun item that I received from IEW this time. The Teaching with Games Set includes a spiral-bound book of 117 pages, 2 DVDs, and a CD-Rom.
The book includes instructions, examples, and actual games to play. I love the first section of “No-Prep” games. We are always so busy, and I often forget to plan ahead. When caught in a situation where I know my kids need some extra review or I want them to better retain the information, I was able to pull out this book and come up with a quick game!
Many of the games had variations listed. For example, how to play with a single student rather than a group, or how to play with younger students. I love that they included this to make it even easier on me!
The game types included the “No-Prep” Games (like Pictionary), Matching Card Games (We liked Capture the best!), Question Games (like Jeopardy!), Math Facts Games, and “Make As You Teach” Games (like Bingo).
On the DVDs, you can get further explanations and watch creator/author Lori Verstegen in a recorded workshop. She makes it easy, especially if you’re a very visual person and need to see it done as an example.
The CD-Rom has the Teaching with Games PDF e-book on it, which makes printing copies to make your own games a total breeze. I love that it’s in black and white. This also makes it easy to print multiple copies of specific things, like Bingo game boards, quickly.
I really love this set. I feel like we’re just scratching the surface with using it. We used it to review Anatomy and Physiology terms, to recall certain events in history that we learned about, and even to discuss the parts of the story in the audio book we’re listening to.
I know they’re retaining more information because they’re having fun and immediately reviewing the content of their courses. I highly recommend this set!
A Word Write Now
Finally, let me tell you about A Word Write Now. This book, by Loranna Schwacofer, is designed to help students become more excellent writers. It’s fun and colorful and encourages students to use more colorful writing.
There are 4 sections to this spiral-bound 107 page book: Character Traits, Words to Describe, Words for Movement and the Senses, and the Appendix.
In the first section, students learn the definition of many different character traits, such as cheerfulness, gossip, responsibility, and Humility. They get to read a few quotes about the trait and see excerpts about it from classical literature. Then, they are presented with word lists. There are nouns, nouns characters, adjectives, adverbs, verbs, and then there is a space for students to write in additional words that come to mind for them.
When they are doing their own writing, this gives them something to refer to in order to be more concise or creative with which words they choose to use when writing.
In the Words to Describe section, they learn about words to describe appearance, color, size, time, temperature, texture, and shape. Again, they are given word lists and also a place for additional words.
In Words for Movement and the Senses, they get word lists for feet, hands, hearing, seeing, smelling, speaking, and thinking. What I enjoy about these lists is that under each heading (like NOUNS Related to Feet), they are also given subheadings with suggested words (like “Things to Put on Feet” might have flippers, shoes, and socks listed). Again, they’re also given a space to put additional words of their own.
The appendix of the book is awesome, too! It has suggestions on how to play games with the words. It also gives extra information, including transition words not related to time, prepositions, literary genres, and also discuses and gives examples of literary devices (like alliteration and idiom). I liked this section a lot for me, because I was able to get a quick refresher course right alongside my kids!
We used this book when my daughter and son were assigned to write in their regular language arts course. I notice that they tend to use a lot of the same words over and over again. We pulled this out to get their creative juices flowing!
IEW has not disappointed me! These resources make an excellent addition to any homeschool library. As with their other offerings, it provides parents a solid education and training to implement them in the classroom. I love them all.
To learn what other Crew members are saying about this resource pack that I received, or to find out more about the Phonetic Zoo Spelling program, click on the banner below: