Moving Beyond The Page is a curriculum company that offers a full range of unit studies broken up into age groups. These packets cover social studies, science, or Language Arts.
Originally, Moving Beyond The Page only offered complete curriculum packs. While these are excellent and something I would love to have, they are expensive. Which is why I was so happy to learn last year that they were offering individual unit studies based on some excellent books.
For this review, we were sent the complete online Language Arts Package - Sign of the Beaver, the physical book, as well as the complete physical Social Studies - Native Americans. The books below were included with the Native American unit.
How We Used It:
We have used a few different individual units from Moving Beyond The Page in the last 18 months and loved them all. In the past, I have gone with the 5-7 category. I knew what the work load was for those and even though that was already somewhat challenging for Josie, I wanted to get a feel for the next level up. This unit is in the 8-10 year old group.
Another change I made is that instead of just asking her the questions and having her answer verbally, I printed out the student questions and had her fill them in. These questions, along with the student activity pages, were all easily accessible from my log in page on the website. The PDF downloaded quickly and I was able to print out the pages that I felt were best suited for Josie. The questions and student activities for the Native American unit were in the teacher guide.
I read the chapters in the chunks suggested by the guide. This book is above Josie's reading level so I used it as a read aloud. Both of us really enjoyed the story, which is about a colonial boy and and indian boy. It was interesting to read about their different cultures and how they had to work together. This book lead to a lot of great discussion on stereotypes and what we can do to prevent them.
The activities were a lot of fun. The worksheets had us coming up with our own natural remedies, learning vocabulary words, and discussing how the different groups judged each other. Josie's favorite was making Johnny Cakes.
I was also encouraged that she didn't complain about do the writing to answer the questions. This is a huge deal for us since she usually hates any writing. She enjoyed the story and was able to answer them quickly. She also felt big since I made a big deal about how this was technically from the grade level above her. Each day only had 4-6 questions, which was very manageable.
The unit on Native Americans was fabulous!
We've done a surface level study every year around Thanksgiving, but this was her first experience diving deeper into the culture. The books that come with this unit will be stapes on our shelves. I especially loved this unit since we are about to move to an area that has a high population of Native Americans. This information was great.
I am a big fan of Moving Beyond The Page and this unit only made me love them more. I think that the individual units are the perfect fit for our school. The lessons and activities are easy enough to not be a big burden but pack a huge punch as far as enriching already great books.
If you look at the objectives listed for each unit, it's easy to feel overwhelmed. Since we've used these units before, I knew to just breeze over that and know that we would get a ton out of it. Josie is on the young side for this particular unit, but she was able to do a large portion of the work. I felt that is was an appropriate challenge for her. We both loved the story.
I absolutely love how this book broke down stereotypes.
This isn't a topic that I'd considered teaching to Josie, but it is so important. The material was presented in an age appropriate way and allowed for her to make her own judgement calls about how the groups viewed each other. I thought this aspect of the unit was very interesting.
This time around, I tried to pay special attention to which version I liked more, online or print.
Normally, I'm a print girl. I love having hard copies in my hand. I feel more likely to complete them than if they were stuck in my computer, easy to forget about. However, for Moving Beyond The Page, each hard copy is only good for one student. The online version, you can print as many copies as you want. The online version is only open for 90 days from activation, but the fee is small to reopen it if you don't finish it in the allotted time.
After printing out the PDF questions and student activities, I feel that I enjoyed the online version better. If nothing else, the lower cost was a plus. Of course, the printed version is a pretty bound book, but I guess that isn't enough to entice me these days.
I plan to continue to do these units a few time throughout our school year.
Sign of the Beaver Unit - physical: $23.98 online: $19.92
Native American Unit - physical: $27.97 online: $23.91