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Caspian Can Read "Donna Fields" (Valencia, Spain)

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Emma von N.
Emma von N.
by Sheldon Cashdan
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.00

5.0 out of 5 stars Sheldon Cashdan has written a beautifully fluid, engaging story, 23 Sept. 2014
This review is from: Emma von N. (Paperback)
Sheldon Cashdan has written a beautifully fluid, engaging story, weaving together real bits of history and historical figures, and the exploration of the mysteries of the mind.The reader sees through the eyes of an Austrian girl in the early 1900s and her desire for liberation from that world even in adulthood. Her journy first into the depths of her unconscious, then overseas to a new world of open-indedness and possibilities, and then back again, is seamless and fascinating. You don't expect where that journey ultimately takes Emma Von N.

Black Hand Gang
Black Hand Gang
Edition: Paperback
Price: £3.50

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful for non-readers, 4 Jan. 2010
This review is from: Black Hand Gang (Paperback)
One of my students recommended this book to me. I have never been able to get him to read and he told me that when he was young the only book he liked was this one. Intrigued, I ordered it and sure enough, when I showed it to my other students they were mesmerized. There are two mysteries with the narration on one page and a very detailed illustration on the facing page. They are supposed to read the narration and find the answer to the on-going mystery that a group of protagnists are trying to solve in the story. I use it in my esl classes so sometimes the vocabulary is a bit challenging, but the students get involved in the story immediately and so are patient with words they don't know. It's a painless way to expose them to more colloquial vocabulary. Once they find the answer for the question on the page they go on to the next. The only challenge is getting them to read the narration before they skip down to the bottom where the question is and they spend their time looking for the answer before actually reading the text. It's a lot of fun, though, and they really like looking for the clues.
I have one young student who is only interested in sports and there was nothing I could find to interest him reading-wise. I showed him the book one day and he couldn't put it down. I ordered the sequel for him as a present and he refused to do anything else but read it until we finished. It's only too bad that there aren't more books in the series, but it's a really worthwhile addition in any case.

BrainBox - The World
BrainBox - The World
Price: £7.82

36 of 37 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great supplemental learning tool, 4 Jan. 2010
= Durability:5.0 out of 5 stars  = Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars  = Educational:5.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: BrainBox - The World (Toy)
I bought this as a supplement to my esl classes. I had bought the Math BrainBox first, but found it a bit too specialized. The World Brain Box is wonderful. The cards are very durable, full of colors, the pictures are well done and the captions very clear. The box itself is very inviting and my students can't wait to finish the main part of the lesson so that they can play and there are really interesting facts about each country that intrigue them. The ten seconds that the game allows to 'memorize' as many of the facts on the cards as possible is pretty dauting, but I just turn over the timer a couple of times so that they can absorb more. In any case, they improve quickly as they get the nack of the game. It's a different way to work on their comprehension as they have to listen carefully to the questions I ask. With the younger ones I'll ask questions I'm pretty sure they can answer and leave out the more difficult ones, with the older ones, they get whichever question the dice calls for!
I'm really pleased with the addition. I've used it for all of my students, which means from 9-year-olds to adults. With the adults I let them read the questions themselves so it's not so much a test but a way to learn that's less intimidating. Once you go through all the cards it's probably time to move on to something else, but there are a lot of cards and if you have a lot of students, or your children are perfectionists and like to repeat them, it's a very worthwhile investment.

BrainBox - Maths
BrainBox - Maths
Price: £7.00

107 of 112 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Really fun!, 22 Oct. 2009
= Durability:5.0 out of 5 stars  = Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars  = Educational:5.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: BrainBox - Maths (Toy)
I found this by chance, searching around the games on the Amazon site, and bought this one to try to help two of my students who avoid math at all costs. Truthfully, some of the cards are pretty challenging and are better for older students. However, the illustrations are colorful and inviting and I've had a lot of success introducing the game to students of all ages. At every age they focus on different things, which is completely appropriate.

I actually use it more often in my ESL classes. As everything's written in English it's a perfect alternative to the same old games usually played in ESL classes. It's a great ten-minute ending game. It leaves the students feeling good about themselves and with a sense of fun about the class.

I actually don't use the die included in the game. I find it better to ask them questions I'm pretty sure they'll be able to answer. (The point, really, is to have fun, no?, not to have them feel foolish and inadequate!) Then, with the students with better memories I can keep asking.

I'm probably going to order The World box, but this one is really valid and fun if you want to challenge your students or children in many different ways!
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 1, 2011 2:26 PM GMT

The Number Devil: A Mathematical Adventure
The Number Devil: A Mathematical Adventure
by Hans Magnus Enzensberger
Edition: Paperback

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Worth it, 22 Oct. 2009
I found this book just by chance and really believe that it's a treasure.

I got it for a student of mine who hates math. He's 12 years old, just like Robert in the story, really active, more interested in any computer game than anything having to have to do with school, generally doesn't understand a lot of mathematical concepts nor the need to study math.

We have begun to read the book together, chapter by chapter, each of us taking one of the parts - sometimes he's the devil and sometimes he's Robert, depending on the mood he's in. We have a lot of fun making up voices for the two characters, and he really pays attention and tries to follow the math concepts. We have a lot of fun screaming out the dialogue and bringing the scenes to life.

He's also fascinated by the illustrations which are captivating and original.

This boy, who would rather play soccer or video games than have anything to do with his studies, now asks to read the book, and is a bit more patient with his homework. I can't tell you what that means as a teacher - to have found something that works so well with a student. The original approach to basic math concepts is also a gem and he's being introduced to sophisticated math skills in a very nonchalant manner.

I strongly recommend trying the book and seeing if your child reacts well to it as well.

The Preposition Book: Practice Toward Mastering English Prepositions
The Preposition Book: Practice Toward Mastering English Prepositions
by Tom Cole
Edition: Paperback
Price: £20.50

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent supplement for Cambridge exams, 8 Aug. 2008
I tutor students for the Cambridge exams (FCE, CAE, CPE, etc.), the TOEFL test, and others. The hardest part of these exam for all of them, no matter how long they've been studying the language, is the English in Use section. Prepositions are such an important part of the language (any language), but they are said so quickly that it's very hard for an English learner to catch them unless they are concentrating very hard, but it's a frustrating process. Up until now, I thought that simply by reading a lot they would subconsciously absorb the words, but, through my own struggles in learning prepositions in another language, I've finally realized, that prepositions have to be actually studied, then practised, and only then will the student be able to hear them consciously and use them correctly.

I found Tom Cole's book after a long search, and it is exactly what I've been looking for to help my students. It explains the prepositions and phrasal verbs in groups, gives clear explanations and examples, offers many excercises, and then gives a quiz at the end of every chapter. It also has the answers at the end of the chapter which I find much easier than having to look in the back.

The description of the book says that it's geared toward intermediate students, but even the most advanced students have the same problems with prepositions if they've never studied them, and so I would say that this book is very useful for pretty much any level.

It's a book that's been very well thought-out and it's just what students of these tests need to feel more confident about this extremely challenging part of many English language exams.

I recommend it highly.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Feb 12, 2011 1:25 PM GMT

Picture Stories: Language and Literacy Activities for Beginners: 1
Picture Stories: Language and Literacy Activities for Beginners: 1
by Fred Ligon
Edition: Paperback

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great esl teaching supplement, 3 Aug. 2008
Well worth it, October 18, 2007
By Donna Fields "Caspian Can Read" (Valencia, Spain) - See all my reviews

I have found this book incredibly useful in all of my classes. I give private classes to one or two students, but I'm sure a creative teacher will be able to use it for larger groups.

There are six pages for each chapter, though it's not essential to use all of them. I only use three of them - quick and effective.

The book professes itself to be for beginners, but I use it for all of my classes. Each student gives to it what s/he is able, which means I encourage my most beginner learners to at least form basic sentences and the more advanced will add background information and get very creative - give feelings and relatives and such to the characters!

I do recommend one thing before teaching each chapter: I have printed out a little card with the most important vocabulary in each chapter and before reading we review what words they will see. This helps all levels.

There's a "More Picture Stories" that I'm also about to purchase that I'm confident will be just as useful.

I strongly recommend the book. My students really enjoy it and feel good about whatever they are able to say, and what better recommendation can there be!

Persuasion : Complete ITV Adaptation [2007] [DVD]
Persuasion : Complete ITV Adaptation [2007] [DVD]
Dvd ~ Sally Hawkins
Price: £5.17

5 of 8 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Don't bother, 2 May 2008
I have never before recommended that a fan of Jane Austin and fans of the BBC productions not buy a dvd, but this one is really horrible. I am impressed with the previous review by Merkeet who lists the good and bad points. Much more diplomatic than I am right now. I bought the dvd based on positive reviews that I read at this site, and I'm not sorry that I've seen it - Jane Austin is always good, I just can't understand how this one was allowed to have been produced. The direction is dubious at best, which I can only assume is what caused all the over- acting. There are some wonderful actors who are aren't given a chance in this version. I recommend spending your money on the Amanda Root version which is absolutely beautiful, and while you're at it, look into Elizabeth Gaskill's North and South, which just came out in dvd, and is as close to perfection as a BBC production can be, and that's saying a lot! I love Jane Austin, but unfortunately this production of her Persuasion is surprisingly, and just simply, very badly done.

The 25th Hour [DVD] [2003]
The 25th Hour [DVD] [2003]
Dvd ~ Edward Norton
Price: £3.50

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars transcends 2-D, 10 Aug. 2007
This review is from: The 25th Hour [DVD] [2003] (DVD)
I'm not a Spike Lee fan per se for reasons that aren't that important here, but with this film I found that he's transcended the 2-D limitations. I found myself mesmerized by the visuals and the way the story unfolds. It's an emotional wirlwind.

Not having read the book I understand from other comments that the lead character, played by Edward Norton, is not a nice guy, and so it needs to be understood that this is played down significantly in the movie. For goodness sake, it opens with Norton's character saving a dog. Aren't we supposed to like him right away? In any case, you aren't going to see a really gritty drug underworld, as I had thought, but in any case, I think the movie stands on it's own merit. There are no easy answers, the images aren't all clean and polished, not everything is completely explained, it caters to the intelligent viewer instead of most of the films that are produced that cater to the lower spectrum of the scale - you have to keep alert for what time is being presented, the ends aren't really tied up neatly, and there's definitely a question about who turns in the main character; it seems pretty clear at first and then you have to think about it after the film ends. There are hints that it might not be who it appears to be. Perhaps the book is more direct about this.

I had read several reviews about how rivetting the scene is when the main character has a 10 minute monologue in the bathroom of his father's bar and so I got myself all prepared to patiently sit through 10 minutes of Edward Norton talking to himself. In fact, it's nothing like that -it's masterfully done. I was absolutely spell-bound. It reminded me a lot of the whole idea behind the movie "Crash" in which you see all the politically incorrect thoughts most Americans try to hide. Here you see it in only one, but it's just as powerful.

One last comment - the music is definitely one of the supporting characters in the film. Absolutely moving, and I'm not one to really notice the music track. An incredibly impressive movie.

More True Stories: A High Beginning Reader
More True Stories: A High Beginning Reader
by Sandra Heyer
Edition: Paperback
Price: £20.90

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful resource, 20 May 2007
This is one more of an excellent series of true stories written for ESL learners.

The stories are presented in separate chapters with a photograph of the subjects of the story and then exercises following the story which test specific and general comprehension. I use this for students who have a good grasp of past tense and who have begun learning the present and past perfect tenses, although those are used lightly and that knowledge isn't essential.

The stories are of high interest and after each one my students look at me amazed and ask me the same question - "Is it true?" (They are!) At the end of the book is some more information the author provides that fleshes out the story a bit more.

Even my most reluctant learners always brighten up when I pull the book out and they are even willing to do the exercises. This book and the entire series has added enormously to my classes.

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