Friday, April 27, 2012

From the Mixed up files

Here's another blast from the past this week that highlights a book we continue to talk about to this day.  The kids really enjoyed this one and as soon as someone at our booth mentions, "From the Mixed up Files" one of the kids will typically say, "that one was really good and REALLY FUNNY!"  They loved it.

This one is a Focus Guide rather than a Study Guide.  That means you only spend about 3 weeks on it and "focus" on something.  In this particular guide it's letter writing.  Again, it's another great one for our younger ages, designed for 4th-6th but you can see from my note at the end that we stretched it, which is perfectly fine!

Orignally posted May 15, 2009 at my old blog

This year we kind of threw in a quick unplanned study with From the Mixed up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler  It hadn’t dawned on me that this could easily go with our study of the Renaissance until one of my blogging friends mentioned it. The Total Language Plus focus guide is designed to be a multi-age three week study on letter writing with so we sort of snuck it in!  I know those of you who have seen my planner can’t believe this but it’s really true!

I’m so glad we did because the kids just loved it!  It’s a very fun and humorous story that is actually a letter.  While reading the “letter” you learn all the parts of a friendly and business letter as well as go over comprehension and thinking questions from the novel.

The story itself is very amusing!  Though my oldest daughter will probably not admit it she at times related quite a bit to the heroine, Claudia and all my kids cracked up over her side kick brothers’ favorite line, “Baloney!”  The two set off on an adventure, carefully planned by Claudia, to live in a museum and end up finding a mystery to solve.  That’s where the Renaissance comes in, the mystery revolves around a piece of sculpture thought to possibly be a Michelangelo.

There are many funny parts and several things that modern kids may find amusing.  One of the interesting things to my kids was the use of type writers as well as the inexpensive prices they pay for food (like 50 cents for cheese sandwich and coffee, probably can’t even find coffee for that anymore.)  It was written in the 70’s so it could be an interesting study of that time period as well.

Doing the Total Language Plus study guide along with it helps you get so much more from the book and honestly with this one they were sad to see it end!  Each day we read the questions that went with the chapters to gain further insight.  Some were simple things about what happened but many are about the why’s and what would you do’s that always lead to interesting discussions.  That’s what I love about TLP, is how it helps you really “see” how your kids think (for good and bad!)

In the book there are letters within the “letter” that are used as correction exercises and well as opportunities to write your own letters.  It even goes over how to address the envelope.

My kids were with me at our first big convention this year and we sold out of this one because they talked to everyone and told them how much they liked it.

If you’ve never tried TLP this would be a great little “taste” to get you started.  I would say it’s best suited for 4th-6th but could stretch in either direction a little.  I did it with a 3rd, 5th and 8th grader.  They all liked it.

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