All posts in 5) Middle School

Maniac Magee + My Side of the Mountain = Hoot by Hiaasen

Chapter Books for Boys in 4th-7th Grade

This chapter book won an insane amount of awards including A Newbery Honor Award and it’s not hard to see why once you read it.   It’s a mystery and an adventure with multiple happy endings including the school bully getting what he deserves.   I remember seeing this book a lot at the library with its minimalist cover always beckoning.  This chapter book also reminds me of Because of Winn Dixie, another Must Read favorite of mine, with characters both interesting and realistic. Read more…

“Outside-the-Box” Math Books: Life of Fred (4th -12th Grade)

I blogged on how much I liked Dr. Stanley Schmidt’s Life of Fred: Beginning Algebra, As Serious as It Needs to Be.

Good news!  I didn’t realize he wrote a whole series of math textbooks:

Life of Fred: Fractions – For me, I’d have my 4th grader start on this one.  Also, because the lessons are chunked out into 100ish chunks, it does coincide perfectly as a summer enrichment text.  Now, it’s not likely we will finish the book over a summer.  My child would rebel against daily homework and she has a busy summer camp schedule.  But I will work it into the nooks and crannies of the day and give her a big bribe (iPod Touch) upon completion, so we will likely have it done by Christmas. I had my daughter, who does NOT love math, look over the book to see if she’d do it,  and she said that she liked the stories so she’d try it.

Life of Fred: Decimals and Percents. From Fractions, this would be the next stop.

Life of Fred: Beginning Algebra is next and Dr. Schmidt has a new Fred’s Home Companion:  Beginning Algebra for this book.

Life of Fred: Advanced Algebra

Life of Fred: Geometry

Life of Fred: Trigonometry and Fred’s Home Companion: Trigonometry

Life of Fred: Calculus

Life of Fred: Statistics


To buy these books, please go to http://www.stanleyschmidt.com/FredGauss/index2.html The books are $25 at his site but much more on Amazon.

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Percy Jackson: Add-On Books Get Rave Reviews

An addendum to Percy Jackson: The Movie and Edith Hamilton’s Mythology.

It’s always sad when a really great series ends, so there are always “add-on” books to prolong the experience but are not really the same as the book series. My daughter LOVED, LOVED, LOVED the Percy Jackson series so much that she also got really into Edith Hamilton’s Mythology. She’s been begging for the “add-on” books. I got her The Ultimate Guide through Scholastic at school and she told me that it helps her to understand the series better. Now she wants the other two. Will I buy them? Of course! It is really sad when a great series ends so why not?! Read more…

“Outside-the-Box” Algebra Textbook for Visual Learners

Life of Fred: Beginning Algebra as serious as it needs to be By Dr. Stanley F. Schmidt

Before I review this exciting algebra textbook, I wanted to digress about my freshman Chem 5A class at Harvard a million years ago… Read more…

Adventure Book for Middle School Boys

Best Books for Boys Who Hate to Read

Brian’s Hunt by Gary Paulsen is Sam Grimby, of My Side of the Mountain, a little older morphed with the movie starring Michael Douglas and Val Kilmer called The Ghost and The Darkness.  At 103 slim pages, this book is a perfect read for reluctant boy readers.  With one climatic chapter that is a little gory, because there is a devil muckwa (Cree for devil bear) involved — think back to the possessed lions in The Ghost and The Darkness and I’d place this book for 4th through 6th graders depending on how they can handle a little blood and gore. Read more…

Science Project: How a Knock on the Head Causes a Concussion

Science Project for High School

Take the hockey-puck-on-a-rod test a Michigan high school kid cobbled together to help figure out if a knock on the head has caused a concussion. Sports medicine specialists are increasingly worried about the long-term implications of mild, repeated head trauma. Read more…

Harry Potter + Greek Mythology = Percy Jackson Series (ages 8-14)

Greek Mythology Chapter Book Series for Kids

Percy Jackson series by Rick Riordan

I took a day off the computer yesterday and just read books 2 through 5 of the Percy Jackson series. I have to say it was the best day ever! This is a really wonderful series with wide appeal both in age and in gender and the range is ages 8-adult. There is also no weak link in the series and every book stands on its own, though I do suggest reading them in order. I’ve included my previous book review of the first book, The Lightening Thief, below, and can add that I stayed up way past my bedtime, AGAIN, to finish the last book. They Are Simply That Good!

Read more…