Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Workbook | Language Arts (Spectrum)


With 60* students in Josh’s class, I don’t expect the teachers to be able to always give each child individual attention.  I am not complaining; I think his teachers are doing a fantastic job and they have my utmost respect for what do on a daily basis.

I supplement at home once in a while.   We borrow books from the library, I buy books.  I also buy workbooks.  No, I don’t make him do the workbooks every day.  Once in a while, I’ll ask that he does 2-3 pages.  Sometimes he would just do the number of pages that I asked him to;  other times, he would flip through after he’s finished the pages I wanted him to do and do a few more extra pages because he wants to.
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This particular workbook, –(Spectrum) Language Arts Grade 1, – is one of Josh’s favorites.   It might or might not have something to do with the fact that the workbook uses Mercer Mayer’s Little Critter to make the exercises more fun.  This workbook covers fundamentals in grammar and structure –capitalization, punctuation marks, contractions, parts of a simple letter, nouns, verbs, homophones, antonyms, etc. 
What I like about this workbook:
  • It introduces concepts in simple terms, in terms that children could relate to –e.g. Use a period to end a sentence that tells something.  A period is like a stop sign
  • Practically every single page has colorful Little Critter illustrations to help put the lesson in context or even only to liven up the lesson.
  • Proofreader’s Toolbox – Occasionally there are passages to proofread (capitalization, proper punctuation) and the Proofreader’s Toolbox introduces different proofreader’s marks  --e.g.
Set in CAPITALS  
   Insert a missing comma
   Insert a missing period
Using these marks make Josh feel like he’s a teacher and I think he likes that.
  • Handwriting Check and other checklists – There are certain exercises that require Josh to write a few statements.  At the bottom of some of these exercises, there is either a Handwriting Check (see questions below) or questions that help him review his work himself, instead of having to rely solely on me to check his answers for him.  These checklists encourage him to give his work another look-through to spot if there is anything that he might have missed:
    • Did you take your time?
    • Are your letters sitting on the line?
    • Did you put spaces between your words? 
    • Do your tall letters touch the top lone and your small letters fit between the dotted line and the lower line?
    • How did you do? (I did great!       I did o.k.        I will do better next time.)
  • Each workbook page is perforated so that it could be torn out easily in case you’d prefer to have your child work on single pages.
Spectrum has a range of other workbooks designed for different areas, different grade levels.  I will definitely be checking those out.
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*Two classes of around 30 students each have been “merged” and share one huge classroom.  There are two class teachers and three education assistants between the two classes, not counting the parents who help out in the classroom each day.

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