Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Crew Review: Greek Morphemes Lessons (It's NOT Greek To Me!)

Ready to Teach Review

Ready to Teach Review
My 15 year old daughter is an avid reader. She loves words, has an extensive vocabulary, and English is one of her favorite subjects. When we were offered the chance to review Greek Morphemes Lessons: (It's NOT Greek To Me!), I was certain that she would enjoy the challenge. This curriculum from Ready To Teach encourages vocabulary development through word studies that break the words down into their Greek roots and Latin roots. It's fun to solve the puzzle of a word's meaning from its Greek and Latin roots!

For this review, we received the Greek Morphemes Lessons: It's NOT Greek To Me! set, which includes a teacher's guide, a student workbook, and a CD-rom with powerpoint lessons and reviews. We also received a thumb drive which will be the replacement for the CD-rom in the future, since many laptops do not have CD drives anymore.

Using Greek Morphemes Lessons (It's NOT Greek To Me!)

The Greek Morphemes Lessons are intended for high school students. There are twelve lessons in the program, and each lesson should take you about a week (unless you choose to slow the program down and only do it a few days a week.) The instructor's manual encourages you to take a week for review after lesson six and after lesson 12. So, basically you've got a semester's worth of vocabulary development in The Greek Morphemes Lessons.

Your student will need access to a computer to use this curriculum, as the lessons are provided on the CD-rom (or thumb drive) in a power point presentation. The Teacher's Book has the answer keys, tests, and transparency masters in it, but not the actual instruction for the lessons. The Student Book includes work sheets for taking notes and applying the lessons using a variety of methods, but it also doesn't include any instruction.

We were able to view the lessons using Open Office (free software) since we don't have Microsoft Office on our laptop. You will need to view the lessons on slideshow mode. If you just view the individual slides, they will be jumbled and overlapping at times. (My husband had to figure that out for me since I'm new to power point.) It works fairly well once you get in slideshow mode. We had some issues with words occasionally overlapping in the lessons, and more problems with it in the Self-Review.  (NOTE: My sister pointed out to me that we can download a free Power Point Viewer from Microsoft that will eliminate the overlapping issues. I should have looked into this sooner.)

My daughter worked through the slide show, taking notes in her workbook. She then did the "work the word" assignments the same day. The next section was harder for her, as it involved using the words in sentences that provided context clues to the meaning. This got easier, with practice, but it didn't come easily at first. Her favorite exercise was creating words from the word roots she'd learned so far. It was a fun way to apply what she was learning. The last exercises each week go back to looking at complicated, unknown words, and breaking down possible definitions based on the Greek word roots. It's like solving a puzzle and helps develop thinking skills as well as increase vocabulary knowledge.

The Student Book includes flash cards you can cut out from the back and write your own study cards with. We didn't use these, as my daughter didn't really need the extra study resource. She did well with the weekly assignments and the Self-Review Quiz on the cd-rom. The Instructor's Manual includes pre-printed flash cards, which I like better, since they are printed on cardstock instead of thin paper, but we didn't use them, either.

The cd-rom also includes a Self-Review quiz. When I first looked at it, I wasn't sure how it could be helpful as it looked like a chart with words and too many definitions. Then I realized it was interactive. In slide-show mode, you can click on the definition that you believe is the right one for the Greek morpheme. If you're wrong, you get  an Oops! Try again screen and click on the star to go back to the chart. If you're right, you get a Good Job! screen and click on the star to go back to the chart. When you've got all the morpheme definitions correct, you self-proceed by clicking forward to the next chart. In theory, this works well, but we did have issues viewing the slides in Open Office. The definitions tended to overlap each other at times. Most of the time we were able to still use it and figure it out, but this is the one issue we had with not actually having Microsoft Office and Power Point.

The Greek Morphemes Lessons Instructor's Manual and CD-rom (or thumb drive) are reusable with future students, but the Student Book is meant to be consumable. The set of all 3 items initially sells for ($69.95) and extra Student Books are sold for $9.95. Once a student has completed the Greek Morphemes Lessons, they can then finish out the school year using the Latin Morphemes Lessons ($79.95 for 18 lessons, $11.95 for extra Student Books). The Ready To Teach website has a page that shows how it works, and sample lessons you can view, as well. Both Greek Morphemes Lessons and Latin Morphemes Lessons can be ordered HERE.

ElCloud Thoughts:

I really like Ready To Teach's approach to vocabulary development. Instead of memorizing a long list of words and their definitions, Greek Morphemes Lessons teaches you how to examine the word roots and figure out a possible definition on your own. This is helpful when reading, because if you don't have a word's definition memorized, you can figure it out on your own. Breaking the words down and building new words is also more engaging and fun than just memorizing definitions. We intend to finish the Greek Morphemes Lessons next year as part of her 11th Grade English. She's studying Latin already, but we'll probably also buy the Latin Morphemes Lessons for next year.

One thing I wish were different, is that it didn't depend on a computer to view the lessons. It would be nice if it were all in the book, but the interactive, one segment at a time way that it is presented is more engaging than just reading the text on the page would be. It's just that my daughter doesn't yet have her own laptop, so we are sharing one computer. That can make things a little more difficult at times. Though a computer is only necessary when first viewing the lesson on day 1 and when reviewing at the end of the week. The assignments can be done without the computer, although the slideshow does include brief instructions on how to do the assignment.

Greek Morphemes Lessons (It's NOT Greek To Me!) is a great program for the high school student who already has a good understanding of basic vocabulary. It helps them use thinking skills to examine what they already know and logically apply it to other unknown words. It is a great supplement to a Language Arts program, or in preparation for college-entrance testing. We definitely recommend it!

April E.

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