Imagine – text books that kids actually want to read and use. This past Sunday, at the Sunapee Chowder Fest, Cameron and Peter, Grade 4, spent a few minutes to talk about the new textbook being tested in their classrooms this year. The boys both agreed, “It makes it so much easier to learn; because, the book makes it easier for us to organize our papers.”
For Cameron, “It’s a lot easier to just take out your book instead of having to take out a bunch of papers. Like when you have a bunch of papers stuffed in your desk. This is better because all of my notes are in it. I don’t have to go hunting for them every time I want to write something.”
Peter added, “Yeah, I don’t want to have to go through 100 papers in my desk just to find one thing. I also like the expert list ‘cause I can write down what I want to write about and not forget it.”
The book being tested in their classrooms was part of an experimental program this summer to have experienced teachers create exactly what they needed for their students. One of the goals of the program was to end up with better, more organized texts that cost less and were more usable than those currently in the marketplace.
Cameron’s teacher, Katie Blewitt, M. Ed., was one of the participants. She designed and created their text book, Lessons in Language Arts: The Essential Journey which is really a guided workbook that the students can use to learn and then keep as a reference. As Katie said, “I don’t even care if the book ever sells, it will make my life and the kids’ lives so much better.”
The book is being tested in both 4th grade classrooms this year with each classroom’s teacher having the ability to design their own path through the book. (Standards and foundational skill lessons are already in it so nothing gets missed.) The boys also spent a few minutes comparing which lessons each classroom had already covered and which they liked the best. With a little luck, maybe Cameron, Peter and their classmates will continue to report out to us their progress and their assessment.
Although the final version may not be available for several months, the version of the book being evaluated is available on Amazon for anyone who might want a head start. All the books from the summer program are on display in the window of Imagination Village in Concord, NH.
(Kathy Stoughton, M. Ed., helps people become more successful at science, math and other important skills. More of her strategies and inexpensive solutions can be found on her site: EmpoweringLearners.com.)