Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Sarah, Plain and Tall E-Guide {A Progeny Press Review}

First Thoughts
Ceesa absolutely loved reading Sarah, Plain and Tall by Patricia MacLachlan, so when it was time for Jo-Jo to read it, we were thrilled that Progeny Press sent us their Sarah, Plain and Tall E-Guide to review. Both girls have now read the entire series about the Witting family (Sarah, Plain and Tall; Skylark, Caleb's Story, More Perfect Than the Moon, and Grandfather's Dance).
Sarah, Plain and Tall E-Guide Details
The E-Guide provides activities, assignments, questions, puzzles and  more for your child to work on before, during, and after reading the book. It contains scripture references throughout. For example, 1 Corinthians 13: 1-7 is quoted and then the child is to answer, "What, for you, is the most important thing in these verses?"  The E-Guide is interactive, allowing your child to type directly into the adobe file and save work as they go along, but it can also be printed off for children to write on with pencil.

The E-Guide contains:
  • Note to Instructor-explains how to use the progeny press study guides, time frame, Bible translation used (NIV), and brief overviews of activities and final projects.
  • Synopsis-gives an introduction of the story to the child.
  • About the Author-Tells about Patricia MacLachlan with facts, quotes, and life stories; like, why she said, "I shall try not to be a writer" in her journal.
  • Background Information-provides the reader with information about the time in history that the story takes place (1800's).
  • Before-you-read Activities- is a list of ideas for preparing your child for reading the book. The Sarah, Plain and Tall E-Guide includes: map work, pen pals, history research, for discussion, a and a suggested read aloud.
  • As-you-read Assignment-is a specific topic that your child can focus on while taking notes for each chapter.  Our guide focuses on the growing relationship between Sarah and Jacob.
  • Chapters-are grouped together and students are given tasks for vocabulary, setting, questions, thinking about the story, digging deeper, comparing and contrasting, and similes and metaphors.
  • Sarah's Wordsearch-is a worksheet that children can use to find missing words from the provided sentences that are in the story. Then those words are to be found in a crossword puzzle.
  • Summary Questions-for the entire story are provided.
  • Crossword Puzzle Review-the answers to the questions are filled in on the crossword puzzle.
  • After-you-read Activities- included planting activity, discussion, art projects, creative writing, sea shells science activity, movie suggestion, and cooking project.
  • Additional Resources-has other books by Patricia MacLachlan and suggested grade levels, related books with suggested grade levels, videos, and pen pal sources.
  • Answer Key-that provides answers to the as-you-read activity, chapter work, Sarah's Wordsearch, summary questions, crossword puzzle review, and after-you-read activities.

Additional Materials Required
To complete most of the E-guide, you will need to be able to access the guide (either saving it to your computer for your child to work on or print off a physical copy).

In addition to access to the E-guide, your child will need a copy of the book either from the library or purchased.

From there, you will need to get any materials needed for the activities. Most items are basic like flour and things to make bread, colored pencils for landscape drawing, and a map for mapping Maine to name a few. A few may require a purchase: prairie seeds, sea shells, and a flower press are examples.

Time Frame
We chose to work on the activities together and sometimes all of the kids decided to jump in on the fun. For the E-Guide chapter questions, Jo-Jo worked on them by herself and we would discuss them when she finished. Times varied ranging from about 20 minutes for questions to over an hour some activities.

Sample Question
Our Experience
We have two copies of Sarah, Plain and Tall, so once we had our guide there was no delay in getting started. We opted to print out the guide, hole punch the pages. and put them in a folder with tabs running down the middle. Although our state doesn't require us to keep such documentation, I'll put the completed folder in her portfolio binder when she is completely finished.

Jo-Jo would read and work on her questions and assignment as she worked. I would answer any questions she had and then I would discuss with her what she decided to write.

Jo-Jo working on the As-you-read Assignment

We are a hands-on, inquiry kind of family, so the projects really caught our attention the most. We tried to do as many of those as possible.
 Mapping from the Before-you-read Activities

Pressing wildflowers from the After-you-read Activities 

Examining Sea Shells from After-you-read Activities

Sample from Wordsearch

What we Think
Jo-Jo says, "I like how it was exciting to figure out if Sarah was going to stay with the Wittings in Sarah, Plain and Tall. It was interesting to learn how their lives changed when Sarah came. Every book in the series is like a new adventure. I loved that the series was from different points of view like Anna's books to Cassie's books."

She reports that she enjoys the crossword and the sea shell activity was her favorite.

I like that Jo-Jo was able to combine reading with fun, learning experiences. She would rather be doing than sitting, so the joining of reading, chapter writing, and activities kept her motivated.
Since the hands-on activities are always our favorites, we'd love to see the addition of some While-you-read Activities. :)
We'd recommend this E-Guide for those families that like to have their assignments and writing activities tailored around a wonderful piece of literature.

We will be wrapping up the After-you-read Activities and making some bread with the recipe provided to round out our study!

Li is listening for the sea! :) 

Click here to read more reviews from Schoolhouse Review Crew. *Our review was in the Top Ten on pinterest!! To see all ten click here.

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