Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Critical Thinking Press~Review

As part of the Timberdoodle Blog Review Team I had the honor of reviewing 3 books by Critical Thinking Press.

First on the list is Mathematical Reasoning Level B.

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I can’t even tell you how long I’ve been eye-balling this book, so you can imagine my excitement when I was asked if I would like to review it!  What a blessing!  Bubble Gum Taffy, who is 5 and in Kindergarten has been working her way through this book designated more for 1st grade/6 year olds.  I don’t consider Bubble Gum Taffy to be exceptionally bright, but this book sure is!  It’s so gentle, so non-assuming, but completely able to teach concepts that she was having difficulty with prior.

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The first few pages are written to the parent, giving you suggestions on how to use the book and assuring you that you can take the liberty to use the book however you deem best.  I especially liked that they mentioned adding my own manipulatives to help teach a concept, had they not said that, I might not have…I’m a little dense like that sometimes.  Smile

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Here she is choosing which of the items doesn’t belong in the set.

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And this was a fun page teaching her how to add using a numbered line segment.  I’ve used this sort of concept before but with a number chart.  She really enjoyed this.

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This is probably her favorite activity.  It’s a page of addition problems that she gets to solve.  You can see she’s using a number chart to help her add.  On the next page she completes a dot-to-dot using the answers  as clues to which dot to go to, feels more like a game than an assignment.

Topics/activities include: action, addition, bar graph, calendar, capacity, count, fractions, language, length, likelihood, manipulative, match, money, number line, odd/even, order, pattern, probability, real world problems, shapes, subtraction, symmetry, temperature, time, weight, and whole numbers.  Answer guide included in the back of the book.

My only complaint about the book is it’s binding,  she had a little trouble writing on the page that didn’t open all the way.  This could easily fixed with a quick book-chop at the local print shop though!

I wasn’t sure about the price of this book and if this book alone would be enough for a math curriculum, but I can see that I was wrong on both accounts, well worth the money and plenty enough for a years worth of learning!

The second lovely book I got to check out is Beginning Word Roots.

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Blue-Raspberry is blessed to be able to use this book.  I sort of make a big deal about Latin in our homeschool.  I think it’s so useful for vocabulary and so interesting to learn.  So when I told him he got to a new “Latin book” to do he was thrilled!  Beginning Word Roots is directed at children in 3-4 grade, 8-9 years old, Blue-Raspberry is officially in 2nd and just turned 8 in December.  He is an excellent reader and like I said, VERY eager to learn Latin.

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Each lesson focuses on Root Words and either suffixes or prefixes that go with the Root Word.  He was able to grasp this concept through the great graphs they have in the lessons, dividing up the prefix/suffix and their definition and the particular Root Word that is being studied.

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He had no problem understanding how to make new words and definitions by combining the prefix/suffix with the Root.  Each lesson is between 2 and 4 pages long, we usually did a page or 2 at a time.  I was not able to completely let him do this independently, I probably could have if he were a little older.  Click here to see some sample pages.  Once he’s learns the root and it’s suffixes or prefixes, he gets to use those words to describe pictures and fill in the blanks of sentences used describing the word in context. 

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I was honestly surprised by how much he enjoys this book!  I will definitely be getting the next one in the series when he completes this one!

And finally, the last book by Critical Thinking Press that I got to review is Building Thinking Skills 3.

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This book is geared toward children age 12 and up, grades 7+.  Strawberry Taffy got this one!  She’s 12 years old and in the 8th grade.014 (2)

“Building Thinking Skills Book 3 Verbal's activities are sequenced developmentally. Each skill (for example, classifying) is presented first in the semi-concrete figural-spatial form and then in the abstract verbal form. Children learn to analyze relationships between objects, between words, and between objects and words as they:
Observe, recognize, and describe characteristics.
Distinguish similarities and differences.
Identify and complete sequences, classifications, and analogies.”

She’s been working through it now for a couple weeks and her honest opinion is that it’s “a little boring.”  When I was asking her why I realized that book is divided into sections with the same sorts of activities, so it wasn’t that it was boring per se, it was that she was doing the same type of thinking skill each day.  To make things more interesting I suggested she move around a little in the book to keep things fresh and exciting.  That did the trick! Here are some sample pages for you to look over.  And thankfully, for those of us who have never been given the opportunity to learn how to think critically, the answers are included in the back of the book!  Smile

Overall, all three of these books has surpassed my expectations.  It’s no secret that Critical Thinking Company is on the higher end of the price scale for subjects that don’t seem core, but I believe teaching our children how to think and solve problems is foundational for all their other studies and well worth the investment.

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A big thanks to Timberdoodle for letting me review such nice products.  Timberdoodle would love to send you free catalog too, click the link and sign up today!

Joyfully,

Mrs. Taffy

Legal Disclosure:  As a member of Timberdoodle's Blogger Review Team I received a free copy of these books in exchange for a frank and unbiased review.

4 comments:

  1. That is so funny that they would be excited over Latin. . . . I am waiting for a latin book to come in the mail today and I am excited! Must be a homeschool thing? I am glad you go to see the younger grade for Math Reasoning. It is good to hear. I am looking forward to my 10 year old staring it!

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  2. Thanks for the vicarious thrill of new and exciting textbooks! Oh how I wish I had homeschooled YOU! You would have loved it. Great photos too, especially Bubble Gum concentrating. cute!

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  3. Great books! We enjoyed the same math book and a different level of thinking skills. I'm thinking about adding the critical thinking skills books to school next year.

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  4. Those look like some exciting books. Thank you for sharing.
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