Tuesday, March 9, 2010

TOS Review--When I Grow Up, I Wanna Be A Firefighter

The Old Schoolhouse sent me an e-book from their WannaBe series called When I Grow Up I Want to Be a Firefighter for review. Little Bean, my Kindergartner, isn't especially interested in firefighters, but he has a natural curiosity about many things, so I knew he'd be excited about trying out some of the activities from this e-book.

This e-book could work as a stand-alone unit study on fire fighting, especially in the case of an older student. It covers many different topics such as the history of fire fighting, how to become a firefighter, pay scales for firefighters, and the workings of a fire truck. You could easily print out the e-book, organize it in a folder, and let the child work through the unit independently. The study is not broken up into sections or days, so you would have to do some lesson planning for that aspect, but nothing too strenuous.

Because Little Bean is only in Kinder, I chose to use the unit as a spine, adding to it both fiction and non-fiction books from the library and lapbooking materials that I printed and made myself. I simply read through the e-book and decided what I felt were the key points I really wanted him to remember from this unit. From there, I made lapbooking materials, which we filled out as we worked our way through the e-book and the library books. The e-book itself comes with many great activities and worksheets for his age group, as well as a few sections that I chose to skip over because they were a bit over Little Bean's head.

Some of the things I really liked about this e-book are:

--the suggested games and activities. Toward the end of the book, there are several suggested games (we played stop, drop, and roll dancing, and made an obstacle course through the house which Little Bean needed to run through in order to save the baby from the burning building!). These activities really made the unit study fun for him, and brought to life some of the concepts he learned from the readings. The book even suggests party ideas and foods to go along with the theme! In addition, there are other activities like crossword puzzles and word searches included that would be great for the older student. This unit can really be as interesting and interactive as you choose because it comes with so many suggestions and activities to try.

--the e-book includes printable copywork, vocabulary, creative writing, and handwriting pages for the student to complete. It's always easier when I don't have to think of good sentences for copywork myself. This way, the copywork, vocabulary and creative writing integrated perfectly with what he was learning in the readings.

--there are suggested books and other resources listed in the book meant to supplement the material provided. Anyone could easily go to the library and search for books on fire fighting, but with a list of suggested books in hand, it made it that much easier to choose books that I knew would compliment our theme.

It would have been great if this unit was a little more structured, covering a topic a day or at least giving some general guidelines as to how long a unit like this one should last. I do not like lesson planning, gathering supplemental materials and having to organize them all myself, though I know some would certainly appreciate the freedom of not having the unit already structured for them!

Also, while the target age group for this unit is listed as ages 4 to 10, there were quite a few sections that I had to completely skip (the section on how the pay scale for a firefighter varies by region, for instance). For some of the sections, there was just no way to bring the material down to Little Bean's level of understanding, and it frustrated me that we were removing so much of the material for this reason.

If you are interested in purchasing this or other units like it (they have many available) you'll be pleased to know that each unit study is only $8.95! You can also purchase a 10 pack for $89.50, which includes topics such as When I Grow Up I Want to Be A: Veterinarian, Police Officer, Doctor, Missionary, and more. You can view samples of these units here (scroll down).

All in all, with the addition of quality literature from the library, and the interactive nature of the lapbooking, I'd say that these units are adaptable for a Kindergartner, and certainly Little Bean benefited from and enjoyed this unit study.

1 comment:

Sherri said...

Thank you for the review..you have a lovely blog! I am excited to catch up!

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