Wednesday, March 14, 2012

How Tasking... or not(!)

Have you ever come across something totally "new" to you, that exceeded your expectations? Had a lightbulb moment? Saw something that made you say "Wow....  Keep It Simple Sweetie really works!"
This is how I feel about this latest review that I received as part of the TOS Crew.

Creek Edge Press offers "Task Cards" that combine elements of Classical, Charlotte Mason, and Montessori style education. There are cards for History, Art, Music, and Science (Crew members received cards from a variety of these fields, and you can read about their experiences on the Crew Blog). The cards are listed as being appropriate for ages K-8, but I think the ideal target ages are 2-6th grade for more "independent" work, with a couple of grades on either end able to utilize the cards with a little more parent involvement (to either help/simplify the process, or beef it up a bit).

We received the Physics and Digital Science Task Cards and Instructor's Manual.
The Manual includes:
Introduction on how the above-mentioned teaching styles are incorporated and How to Use the cards with different ages and abilities.
Approach the Tasks~ defines what abilities and actions are expected from the students as they "approach" the tasks on the cards
Preparing the Environment ~involves tips and recommendations on setting up what could be considered a learning center.
Book List and Tips is what it sounds like~ a list of resources to choose from to complete the tasks given.
Card by Card listing of the entire set (an index, if you will)

The "meat" of this program is the set of 30 task cards. Rather than a traditional textbook, these cards make use of research oriented tasks utilizing Encyclopedias, and further reading in other books or on the internet. There are hands-on activities that continue to extend the learning opportunities and serve as evidence of student comprehension.

Middlest really took to this idea. He was excited to have research activities that are more open-ended, and I think that perhaps the lack of a specific "Text" really freed him up to explore and discover, perhaps with more creativity than a more traditional text allows.
Here you can see one of the task cards in his set (#5 Simple Machines Screw) and some of the pictures of "Simple Machines" that he found and/or created. (Hey! Finally had an opportunity to use our Lego Simple Machines kits that I purchased YEARS ago.... Yay! :D)


We chose to go through the cards at the beginning, at the pace of roughly 2 per week, as we have touched on simple machines before. However, I started to slow him down a bit when we had Lego Kit activities to do, as those took a bit of extra time(Especially with youngest wanting to watch and participate some). I think that one card per week is a very reasonable pace.


Middlest enjoyed searching the internet for information. His favorite resource was The Dirtmeister's Science Reporters on Scholastic's website. Kind of cracks me up that he ended up using a "Teacher's Resource" part of the site in his research. :)

One of the things that I really like about this approach is that it is more "Real World" learning~ here's your task~ go do the research and come back to tell me what you learned. That's how real jobs work~ there are no "textbooks" in life with all the answers for which your boss is looking.




The Science Task Cards come in the following sets:
($18 individually, or $65 for set of all 4)
  • Chemistry and Great Scientists
  • Earth and Space
  • Life Science
  • Physics and Digital Science

If you are looking for a new/different approach to History, Art, and Music, don't forget to check out
crew members' experiences with those Creek Edge Press topics, on the Linky at the Crew Blog.

As always, I hope that this review is helpful as you seek out curriculum that fits your family's lifestyle, learning styles, and budget.

Blessings~
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this/these item(s)/service for free as part of the TOS Crew Review Program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

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