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Monday, April 16, 2012

TOS Review: AIMS: It's About Time

Everybody knows that I think my boy is the cutest thing in God's great creation (equaled only by my girl and perhaps their father!) Part of what I adore about my son (and previously what I adored about his sister-and still do to some extent) is his utter unawareness.  He's new to this world, right?!  Only seven years on this side of Momma's womb makes him a fresh newbie!  I see this in certain ways like a lack of extensive vocabulary.....though he finds every opportunity he can to insert actually, apparently, and truthfully into a conversation.  I also see it in his lack of experience......."Momma, I CAN mow the yard all by myself!  I KNOW I can!" But I also see it in his concept of time....."Last morning we had french toast for breakfast!" or "How many sleeps until we go see Nonny?"or my personal favorite "Remember when I broke my foot?  I was five." (He was 2....everything happened when he was 5!)

I was excited when this review came my way. AIMS Education Foundation is a non-profit foundation based out of Fresno Pacific University.  It began in 1981 by a group of elementary and middle school teachers who wanted to make learning math and science more hands-on and engaging for their students.  Not only do they have fabulous activity books (like the one I'm about to share with you) but they also offer professional development workshops, video resources, and manipulatives to help with certain topics.

So now that you know a little about AIMS, let's look at their activity book It's About Time.
It's About Time
This activity book is geared toward kindergarten- second graders and covers building a sense of time, measuring time, and clock reading. The activity book comes with all of your printables to copy, but then also has a CD with them to print from your computer.

Let's take a look at a lesson- we'll do my favorite, The Long and Short of It. The "Learning Goal" is:  Students will classify events based on the time it takes to complete them.

Standards are measured by the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, 2000.  This lesson would teach students to:
  -Recognize the attributes of length, volume, weight, area, and time (Time, in this instance)
  - Compare and order objects according to these attributes
  - Develop common referents for measures to make comparisons and estimates

There is then a materials list, how to teach the lesson, questions for discussion, and ideas for extending the lesson (Homework).  This lesson REALLY helped Ben, I think that's why it was my favorite.  Recognizing the duration of an activity helped him to conceptualize time much better and more accurately.  Also, there was an activity mentioned in the section opening page that truly helped Ben.  They suggested making a time line that had "Today" in the middle, "Yesterday"" on the far left, and "Tomorrow" on the far right.  Then you have your child draw a corresponding picture to go in each section.  I literally saw a light bulb go off for Ben!  This helped him to grasp not only time placement, but also time vocabulary.

If you're considering teaching your kindergarten thru second grader about time, I think AIMS is a great resource!  You can purchase this activity book for $21.95 at their website store here.  While you're there, check out their other great activity books as well- I think we may try The Budding Botanist next!  Or maybe It Must Be a Bird!

Opinions and Observations:
    While I really loved so many things about this activity book- there were a few things that I wanted to make you aware of.  First, this book is written to classroom teachers, not necessarily to homeschoolers who may only be teaching one child.  This doesn't pose a problem really, you just may need to adjust for the activities.  Second, there are materials needed for each lesson- some are just your printables, but some require a trip to the store. Lastly, there is a level of preparation involved in some of these activities.  You can't just open the book up and begin teaching.  While none of them are difficult, just plan to get your activity ready the night before you intend to teach, or take a day to get all of your projects ready, label them in gallon bags and/or files, and place them in a file box under the lesson name.

None of these issues would keep me from using It's About Time.  It is well planned and written and sincerely benefited Ben.  If you give it, or any other activity book from AIMS a shot, let me know how it goes!

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