Unusual Chickens for the Exceptional Poultry Farmer by Kelly Jones

I happened upon this intriguing book title while perusing the library. The book basket for a few kiddos was in need of a refill and this book seemed to be the perfect read.

As soon as I saw the cover of Unusual Chickens for the Exceptional Poultry Farmer, I knew I wanted to give it a quick read through. How could you not? A book with a cute cover and is a story about chickens. And not just any chickens but unusual chickens!

Sophie Brown ,12, has left behind her life in LA to live on her Great Uncle Jim’s farm. Uncle Jim has passed away and left the farm to Sophie’s parents. Farming is a new endeavor to the whole family. With parents busy with work, Sophie sets her mind to learn about the farm. At first it appears to be a farm devoid of any farm animals until Sophie begins to spot a chicken or two while exploring the farm. Even to Sophie’s inexperienced eye, there seems something unusual about these chickens.

What is a gal to do? Instead of keeping a diary, Sophie writes letters to her deceased Abuela and Uncle Jim to help her think through how to handle various situations . She even seeks the help from the Redwood Farm Supply Company. Through these letters we learn along with Sophie how to manage exceptional poultry, stealing neighbors, and adjusting to a new community.

Sophie learns much about responsibility, friendship, and chickens. It is a delight to share her story. I really loved the presentation via the letters written by Sophie. Unusual Chickens is excellent for ages 10 and up. No interest in raising chickens is necessary to enjoy this read. I passed this along to my eleven year old daughter and she found it enjoyable. In her words, “It is a fine book for young girls.”

While my daughter read this independently, Unusual Chickens would work beautifully as a fun read aloud. It is perfect for summer reading to beat the heat!

Greek Morphemes – A Review

This post contains a review of Greek Morphemes Lessons (It’s NOT Greek to Me!)from Ready to Teach

Building a rich and full vocabulary provides the foundation for excellent reading and expression of one’s own ideas. One way to build that rich vocabulary is through studying Greek and Latin. At this time, the study of the roots of these two languages was my goal for a few of my students instead of the full languages. Greek Morphemes Lessons (It’s NOT Greek to Me!) from Ready to Teach has become a part of my son’s daily work.

When our package arrived it contained the Instructor’s Manual with a PowerPoint CD and a Student Book. The Greek Morphemes book covers over 200 morphemes (roots, prefixes, and suffixes) in twelve lessons. At first glance, I thought the program might take a bit more time than I was expecting in implementing it. After a brief read through, I realized I was mistaken. Greek Morphemes is very easy to begin using; it is almost an open and go resource.

The Instructor’s Manual contains the lessons and answers keys, transparency masters, tests and answer keys and pre-made study cards. The method of doing the lessons is explained and what each activity the student will work through is explained. After this the instructor’s manual is basically answer keys and tests. Since I was using this with only one student, we had no need for the transparency masters. The pre-made study cards are printed on colored cardstock paper for durability.

The PowerPoint files are broken down by lessons. The student simple uses the slides marked for the lesson he is on. Previous morphemes used may be reviewed and then new morphemes are introduced. The PowerPoint files also include self-reviews for the lessons. It is basically a chart with the morpheme at the top with possible meanings below it. The student clicks on the correct meanings. If it is incorrect, the program will let him know and the student re-tries. A very simple, no frills review that is quick and effective.

As the student works through the presentation, he takes notes writing down the meanings.  Then it is on to the assignments.The assignments include breaking down and defining parts of words. An example is the word anthropophobiac. The student would do this:

anthrop = man; mankind

phobiac = one who has morbid fear of

*M.D. = one who has a fear of mankind

**D.D. = one who has an intense fear of human society

(M.D. is “my definition”. D.D is “dictionary definition”.)

After defining the words, the student tackles context clues by using the words in sentences to show their meanings. The creativity continues when the student is asked to create two new words using the Greek morphemes they have learned.

The next assignment gives the students words that need to be broken apart and defined. Words such as polyheterodemologist or diademoscope might be on the list. No problem, right? Then a simple matching quiz tells the student if they were correct on the word break down.

At the back of the student book, colored paper to use for making study cards is provided. The paper is normal weight copy paper so the cards will not hold up long term but should be sufficient for use over twelve lessons.

**Special Note: We also received a flash drive containing the PowerPoint files. Previously the program came with a CD but Ready to Teach will begin to use flash drives instead. This better serves the teachers and students as many computers no longer utilize a CD/DVD player. We used both over the past few weeks.

How We Used Greek Morphemes

Greek Morphemes is being used by my son who is thirteen. After looking over the material, I decided that this would be perfect for independent study. The lessons naturally fall into a weekly set up. Each Monday he begins a new lesson by watching the appropriate PowerPoint files and then tackles Assignment A. He works through an assignment a day until he is done and then he takes the test.

The assignment on Context Clues where he had to write sentences was a bit daunting at first. However, he simply watched the slides again, I helped him work through a couple of words, and then he progressed with no issues. Other than checking his work, I haven’t been needed much at all.

Our Thoughts

I was surprised at how well my son took to Greek Morphemes. When it arrived he was not exactly excited. However, once he got started, I have rarely had to remind him to work on it. I asked what his thoughts were on this program and he said, “I love it! It’s fun, easy, and I get to make up my own words. I would rate it ten stars out of a possible five stars.”  Folks, he really enjoys this resource!

And it is working. It isn’t just because it is fun or easy. He is constantly making up new words and using them. Words like microbibliophobia (fear of small books) or phonomanicphobia (a fear of a madness for sound). I always look forward to what he is going to come up with and we all get a good laugh. All laughing aside, he is building a great foundation for a full, rich vocabulary.

Interested?  You can work through a sample lesson.

Ready to Teach also has a Latin Morphemes course as well. After a great experience with Greek Morphemes, I think we will definitely move on to Latin next.

Koru Naturals Review
Crew Disclaimer

Fog Magic

Greta is a young girl who has always been enchanted with the heavy fog that shrouds the Nova Scotian fishing community where she lives. Even as a baby, Greta delighted in the fog that would fall around the house. To the worry of her mother, Greta seemed to even then yearn to be in the midst of the fog.

“From the time she was a baby in her cradle, Greta had love the fog.”

As time passes, Greta’s dad seems to understand the draw the fog has upon her. Permission is granted, that once her work is done, Greta may spend time out in the fog. What seems a simple, but perhaps odd, pleasure becomes the means of her stepping back in time.

Blue Cove is a former fishing village near Greta’s. Where homes once stood, there are now only cellar holes. But in the fog, Greta sees the outline of a house. One day while walking in the fog, Greta meets a lady in a wagon who offers her a ride to Blue Cove. As Greta walked through the fog she had stepped into a time gone by.

“Most of us live in two worlds – our real world and the one we build or spin for ourselves out of the books we read, the heroes we admire, the things we hope to do. Greta’s other world was Blue Cove.”

In Blue Cove, Greta becomes friends with Retha, a young girl like Greta. On foggy days when Greta can travel back to Blue Cove she spends time with Retha’s family and learns of the community and the people. She, in a way, becomes a part of them.

There are concerns or cautions for Greta. She must not get hurt in Blue Cove because there is no way to get her family to her. And Greta must return home each time she visits before the fog lifts. The timeslip only works in the midst of the heavy fog.

“Don’t you want to be twelve?” she asked.

“I don’t know, ” Greta said honestly. “I always think of my birthdays as a flight of stairs, ” she went on a little shyly. “Up to twelve it’s been fun to look up. But after twelve – the stairs turn. I can’t see around the bend.”

“I know, ” Mrs. Morrill said. “Not now, you can’t. But when you get to that twelfth step you will be able to see ‘around the bend’ as you put it. Seeing ahead, or looking ahead – is something we do with our hearts – it takes nothing but time and courage. The one is given to us; the other we must provide.”

Fog Magic is not a story of danger or adventure. There is no cliffhanger or heart-stopping climax. The beauty of this story is in its simplicity. This is a story of family and community. A story that shows us how life goes on even with the passing of time. There is delight and happiness found in the common and everyday. It is those common and everyday things that bring us together.

And, as Greta learns, there is a time to let go of those things we hold dear in childhood. In order to grow up, we sometimes must let go. Once Greta turns twelve she can no longer return to Blue Cove; she can no longer travel back . She must grow up and move ahead.

“On your twelfth birthday, Greta, you grow up, and you put away childish things. Sometimes you’ll wish you hadn’t because you put behind you so many things – happy and unhappy. But the next twelve years can be happier still, my girl, and the twelve after that. And try to remember this – none of the things you think you’ve lost on the way are really lost. Every one of them is folded around you – close.”

As I was selecting my reads for the  Newbery Through the Decades: 1940s challenge, I found that many of the winners were books familiar to me. So many had been read alouds over the years. Once again, I chose an Honor Book: Fog Magic. It is a lovely story and I enjoyed it very much. Life isn’t always action and adventure and drama. I think it is a good thing for our children to see the beauty in the every day. To understand that as time passes, so many things about life are constant. Fog Magic did a wonderful job at presenting this.

Fog Magic would also work well as an introduction into fantasy literature or used as a historical fiction read. For those overwhelmed by large books, with only 107 pages this book would work well.

I will be passing this along to a couple of my girls. My nine year old and eleven year old girls will most likely enjoy this read. Now on to my next read…