Building Thinking Skills Primary Student
This level was rewritten in 2008. Activities begin using concrete materials, so you will need to use attribute blocks and interlocking cubes (mathlink or multilink); please see our Math section if you need information on these. About half the book uses these manipulatives to help the child understand the concepts of same and different, classifying, sorting and grouping. Once the child has mastered skills with these tangible objects, pages progress to pictorial representations of real-life people and things family members, foods, animals, occupations, vehicles, and buildings. These are shown by full-color photographs. Also at this point, printing (ball and stick method) becomes a part of the course; as you can do these exercises orally, it is optional whether or not the student prints the answers. The final chapter covers analogies, the acid test as to whether the child understands the classifying and grouping of previous chapters. Activities are designed for one-on-one instruction, and answers will likely be apparent to the instructor.
The teacher CD-ROM offers enhancement for lessons and guidance for the teacher. The guide gives explanation of the content, suggests different types of instructional methods, and offers ideas for follow-up activities. A guide for using the lesson plans explains the components of each lesson. Lessons are scripted and list materials needed, page correlation to the student book, objectives, and answers. CD is Windows/Mac compatible. Generally at this level the teacher's manual on CD is not necessary, but it certainly will make teaching the program easier and more organized. s/c.
This is a very complete thinking skills program, covering all of the figural and verbal skills your children are likely to see on a standardized test. The publisher, Critical Thinking Press, states that Building Thinking Skills is "designed to significantly improve verbal and figural skills in four important areas: similarities and differences, sequences, classifications, and analogies. Proficiency in these skills is the cornerstone of success in all academic areas, on standardized tests, and on college entrance exams." They have scads of testimonials documenting the correlation between use of this series and increased test scores. We have no doubt that all the practice you get in using this series would, indeed, improve test scores. More importantly, many of the specific skills practiced here also have application in different professions. Other skills would seem to generally improve your ability to "see things" in different ways or train your mind to stretch in different directions.
The broader goals of this series are translated into specific skills and exercises within these areas. Learning is spiral within skills, within books, and between levels. That is, exercises progress in sophistication and scope within each book, and from level to level. This translates into several hefty worktexts full of practice exercises that children actually enjoy doing! Except for the Primary level, students can work pretty much on their own, proceeding as quickly through the series as they're able. If you're starting an older child in the series, however, use the suggested grade levels for proper placement. Teacher's manuals contain lesson plans and solutions. If you want to be able to correct exercises quickly, or feel some exercises need explanation, you'll want these.
over 5 years ago