★★★1/2 (3.5/5) – Recycled Science by Tammy Enz and Jodi Lyn Wheeler-Toppen is a book filled with ideas about how to recycle common household items and use them to create things like lava lamps, flashlights, and smartphone speakers. Throughout the book, there are great photos of items in different stages for each experiment and lessons about scientific principles that relate to the projects described.
There are some very interesting science projects in this collection, but many of the better experiments require a heavy amount of adult help or supervision. Many projects require the use of a hot glue gun and/or a utility knife. At least one project requires lit matches. These are not projects that you can trust an elementary-school or middle-school aged child to do alone. Because of the potentially dangerous items required, most of these would also not work in a traditional classroom setting, as the projects would require one adult per group of students engaging in the experiment.
Other experiments are safe for children to perform with minimal supervision, but can seem a bit silly. The “stomp rocket” for example is just a snack package filled with air that is attached to a straw with a small piece of a wet, balled-up paper towel inside (like a spitball). Once it’s created, the experimenter stomps on the package and launches the wet ball into the air. I think a project like that one is not very engaging and the final product will quickly end up in the trash.
This book would be great for children ages 9-13 with an interest in science and experimenting. As most of the projects do require adult help and/or supervision, these experiments would be lots of fun for parents and their children to work on together.
From Amazon:Why recycle cardboard tubes, plastic bottles and jugs, craft sticks, and snack bags when you can reuse them yourself? These fun and informative science experiments and projects will keep readers entertained as they learn about scientific principles.
Special thanks to Netgalley and Capstone Young Readers for the free PDF of this book.
★★★★☆ (4/5) – Readers on Stage: Resources for Reader’s Theater by Aaron Shepard is a great introduction to the reader’s theater process for elementary and middle-school educators. The author provides sample scripts that are suitable for all ages, but would mainly be of interest to students in grades 3-5. The book also contains a host of resources for scripting, teaching, and directing reader’s theater workshops in the classroom. I believe that reader’s theater is a great way to integrate the arts into a traditional language arts curriculum and motivate reluctant readers to participate in read-aloud activities and build reading fluency. Though the sample scripts are a little childish for late middle-grade and high school level students, the other resources in this book seem like they will be very useful for any educator who wants to teach reader’s theater.
From Amazon: ****A “CENTRAL TEXT” IN NEW YORK STATE’S COMMON CORE CURRICULUM****
Want to try reader’s theater but don’t know where to start? Or have you tried it but want to find ways to bring it more to life? Or are you just looking for a fun, easy way to lure young people into reading fluency, cooperative effort, effective communication, and love of literature?
“Readers on Stage” is a collection of resources for scripting, directing, and teaching reader’s theater, primarily to ages 8 and up. Part 1 offers three sample scripts to learn from and enjoy: “The Legend of Lightning Larry,” “Peddler Polly and the Story Stealer,” and “The Baker’s Dozen.” Part 2 highlights each major aspect of reader’s theater — scripting, staging, and dramatic reading — offering tips and tricks you’re not likely to find elsewhere. For instance, you’ll learn how young readers can easily create their own scripts!
Part 3 provides all the plans, notes, handouts, and worksheets from actual reader’s theater workshops, ready for copying. Use them to start with reader’s theater tomorrow in a classroom or library, or to lead your own workshop for adults. Finally, Part 4 gives listings of additional resources.
Whether you’re working with young readers, training teachers, or directing a professional company, you’ll want this unique, detailed guide.