Morah Sheli Village | Pros & Cons Review on Book Shark Science {Level 3}: 1st 12 Weeks
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Pros & Cons Review on Book Shark Science {Level 3}: 1st 12 Weeks

We have completed one-third of BookShark’s Science Level 3, and now is a good time to give you my first review. I have already shared on Facebook & IG that overall we are liking it; but I do feel the need to supplement. By supplement, I mean I either want to (because it just makes sense to) or I need to (because they are not going to grasp the content without it) add other learning material to BookShark’s lesson or in lieu of it. Today, I am sharing five pros and three cons I’ve noticed in my school.

Pros

1) Book Shark is already planned out for the teacher and across a 4-day week.

This is the most attractive tenant of the curriculum for me as an educator. It is probably the reason I will use it again, but I would have a notation to add. Since I am not totally sure at this moment, I will wait until I am to reveal more.

2) Book Selections

Both I and my Grade 3 students enjoy the books used with BookShark. This is the second-most attractive tenant of the curriculum and another reason why I probably return. (But again, more on that later.)

3) Excellent Scope & Sequence

When I look at curriculum, one of the things I am most-interested in is the flow and order of the lessons. I like it when it just makes good sense. Most of the time, I am less than pleased with this portion; but with BookShark I have to say the way they have ordered their lessons is logical. (I wanted to say “sensical” but it’s not a really a word in the English language. 🙂 ) It is best (with any curriculum) to overview the scope & sequence ahead of time to make sure you begin the lessons at a time where the topics will line up well, especially in Science. Or, make sure you can move in and out of weeks at your leisure without sacrificing the learning experience. So, we are going to hop around some of the lessons in BookShark, and that leads me to its next pro.

4) Integrated, Not Interwoven 

While the curriculum is integrated enough for a cohesive learning experience, it is not so interwoven that I cannot move around the lesson topics at my own pace and schedule and I LOVE that.  I will explain how I am moving around the curriculum and why in another post. {S/N: I enjoy interwoven curricula in humanities-based subjects; but I am not a fan of it in Science. I need to be able to skip around and I am glad I can do so with this curriculum.} Also, this allows for me to add in any spiritual beliefs we have about the branch of Science smoothly and easily. 🙂 (Another reason I will more than likely re-use BookShark.)

5) Secular Science

It is secular Science. Also, another reason why I may return. There is not a lot of appealing secular Science on the market and it is my preference.

Cons

1) Activity Sheets 

My students do not like the activity sheets as much as I was hoping (and needing) them too. In all fairness and honestly, I love them; but that does not really matter if my students do not.

2) Supplement & More Supplement 

I need to supplement more than I should have to for such a well-organized curriculum and surely more than I want to. (But now that I know I  have to, I am willing.) If I was on the BookShark’s writing team (and maybe they should hire me for such a task), I can think of a variety of things they can do so that the curriculum would not be lacking in this way. All that to say, this issue is fixable and the Science lessons (at least for Grade 3) would be much better if they just fixed it.

3) Cost

It is pricey. I would not personally spend the market rate for this curriculum in Science for an 8 year old. However, if you have the budget for it or you are a “Science Family” (so you do not mind the cost of Science in any grade level), then this is of no concern to you and I would ask that you consider this curriculum.

Overall, I like the curriculum. I am just bummed about my students not liking the journal pages. For me, this was the point, as I would not have to create anything for them to do after the reading to help reinforce or seal in the content. (This means that I am just going to have do that much more in supplement and I was already adding enough.)

I am very thankful that BookShark decided to partner with me this school year! If nothing else, I can use the teacher’s instructional guide as a blueprint for our Science lessons and I can build and plan around it. The guide is reasonably-priced enough to take this route and I do not mind supplementing, I just like to know that I have to ahead of time. Because the lessons were already so planned out (and very well, might I add), I did not anticipate it upfront and I do not like to have to do a lot of planning once the school year as begun.

Please enjoy the videos I was able to capture during our first 12 weeks, and let me know if you have any questions.