I am always trying to make unit studies work for us and I can never, ever plan them myself. So I jumped at the chance to review products from Moving Beyond the Page!
What is it?
Moving Beyond the Page is a complete unit study style curriculum that is literature- and project- based. The curriculum includes language arts studies that are designed around works of literature. The program also includes social studies and science units that incorporate books and hands-on exploration. Moving Beyond the Page is designed to engage students of all learning styles and integrates subjects across the curriculum while encouraging creative thinking and problem solving. The only thing you would need to add for a complete year of study would be a math program.
What is included?
We reviewed two units, one from the science category and one from the language arts category.
Sound – This is a science unit that is meant to be used with the literature until about Helen Keller. This individual unit is for ages 7-9 and retails for $37.99 for the hard copy version or $43.93 for the online version.
- Listening for Sounds
- The Ear
- Sound Travels
- Sound Waves
- Pitch or Frequency
- Music, Voice, and Instruments
The Final Project of this unit is to design a new instrument and demonstrate how it works.
Who Was Helen Keller – This is a language arts unit based on a book that can be used with the science unit regarding sound. This individual unit is for ages 7-9 and retails for $26.93 for the hard copy version or $22.87 for the online version.
- Helen’s Early Years
- Helen’s Childhood
- Helen’s Challenges
- Helen Leaves Home
- More Learning
- All Grown Up
The Final Project in this unit is to interview Helen Keller (have the student pretend to be Helen for an interview) or create a scrapbook of Helen’s life.
The unit on sound came with a 3-D model of the ear and the unit about Helen Keller came with 2 books, Who Was Helen Keller? and Biography of Alexander Graham Bell. (The 3-D model of the ear was really hard to put together!!! I must not be that great with puzzles!)
How did we use this product?
We received a paper version of the sound unit and accessed the Helen Keller unit online. The Moving Beyond the Page has an online access option for all units. From the website you are able to log in and view your current units. There is a table of contents where you can choose the lesson. You also have the ability to print as many pages as you need of the student worksheets and you can even mark the lessons as complete so you can keep track of progress.
Curly and I worked through each lesson together. We would read through the lessons and I would help her complete the worksheets and projects. Here’s what a day looked like using these units:
Lesson 3 – Helen’s Challenges
I began by reading the overview to the lesson which includes the questions to explore in the lesson, facts and definitions, skills to be learned through the lesson, materials needed, and a brief introduction to the lesson.
We then read chapter 3 of the Who Was Helen Keller? book together. Then I asked her the discussion questions from the worksheet and we discussed her responses aloud. Curly was especially excited to discuss the things Helen could do despite her disabilities – such as learning to fold clothes and using gestures and signs to show what she wanted.
Next we worked on the activity portion of the lesson. We added some events to our timeline about Helen Keller. Then we talked about our senses and how Helen relied heavily on her sense of smell and touch. Curly wrote a short description of one item in her room – only writing how the object smells or feels and I had to guess the object. Curly wrote about her giant stuffed horse. Then Curly and I brainstormed a list of ideas for a birthday gift for Helen. Curly drew a picture of the item she thought a girl who was blind and deaf would most like for a birthday gift and then we wrote a short sentence about the gift. Curly chose a doll in a soft dress for Helen.
At the end of our lesson we discussed why parenting Helen was a challenging and how her parents were doing what they could to help her and to help her learn.
Lesson 5 – Pitch or Frequency
I read the Getting Started section which includes the big ideas, the facts and definitions, the skills to be covered, the materials needed, and the introduction.
I discussed the concepts in the introduction with Curly and I played high and low notes on our piano to show the difference in pitch. We watched the strings vibrate and we talked about pitch and frequency.
After Curly understood the basic concepts, we started on the activities. We filled five cups with different amounts of water. Curly then tapped each cup to hear which cups had high pitches or low pitches. Then we walked around the house and tapped different items to determine if they made a high or low pitch. Curly discovered that very soft items made a very low sound while harder objects made higher sounds. The last activity was to tie a spoon to a string and tie the other end of the string to Curly’s finger. Curly then put her finger in her ear and I tapped the spoon with different items. She listened for a high or low pitch as the sound traveled up the string. At the end of the lesson I had Curly tell me what she had learned about pitch.
What didn’t we like?
This program is not a traditional approach to science, grammar, or social studies. The program does not introduce topics in a systematic way or in the order in which they would be introduced in a school setting. For some wanting a systematic approach to grammar and science topics, this might not be a good fit.
Because the grammar instruction is not a step-by-step approach, I would feel the need to supplement with a grammar program that takes a more traditional approach. I would also prefer to add a spelling program as well.
What did we like?
We really enjoyed the discussion questions in the literature unit. They were a great starting point for our discussion and tested Curly’s listening skills. We found it to be a great time of snuggling together, reading, and discussing. The questions would also be great to use for checking comprehension if the student read the book on his or her own.
The projects were very fun and relevant to the topic. They enhanced the lesson and were great demonstrations of the topics. I also found them to be easy to implement as they were clearly explained and most required household items.
I also found the worksheets helpful. The program does not contain an overabundance of worksheets but the pages included were great tools to test comprehension or to help the student visualize the lesson through diagrams.
I really liked the book choices offered in the literature units and how they can be integrated with the science and social studies units – or done as a stand alone. There is a lot of flexibility in using the program.
I was excited we had the chance to review both the online option and the paper option. The online option was helpful in that I could print out worksheets as needed. However, I think I’m one who likes paper copies of things. I loved my spiral bound booklet of the Sound Unit – all instructions, lists, activity ideas, and worksheets were all printed for me and conveniently bound together so I didn’t have loose papers. So, I think my favorite option was the paper copy.
What did we think overall?
We really enjoyed our products from Moving Beyond the Page. The science unit was fun and engaging with hands on activities and helpful worksheets. The literature unit was well done with good discussion questions and ideas for expanding on various topics. I found I really enjoyed both units and Curly did too.
If you’re wanting a unit study approach then this is the way to go! These are well-organized and well-planned topical units that use literature and hands-on components. They are broken down into short lessons to make for easy planning.
I have been wanting to do some more in-depth literature studies with Curly but did not want to plan them myself. But I think I’ve found my answer in these literature units. I think we’ll order a few more to enjoy over the summer!