Monday, May 23, 2011

All Together Social Studies by Pearson New TOS Review

PhotobucketAll Together Social Studies
Pearson Education

First grade students

Student Book $43.47
Teachers Edition with Card Pouches $150.47
Teacher's Package $487.47
Reproducible Assessments $57.97

Additional items are listed at Pearson's website.

As part of the TOS Crew I received of a copy of All Together, Pearson Educations' First Grade Social Studies book.  This is a very nice study hard cover book.  The curriculum covers  the concepts of:
  • History
  • Economics
  • Science and Technology
  • Geography
  • Culture
  • Citizenship
  • Government
  • National Symbols
Each of these concepts is briefly described and illustrated in the first pages of the book.  This is a section entitled 'Social Studies Handbook' or 'Explore the United States'.

The book is divided into 6 units covering :

  • Time for School
  • In My Community
  • Work! Work! Work!
  • Our Earth, Our Resources
  • This is Our Country
  • Our Country, Our World
Within each unit you will find a beginning song or poem, vocabulary words, chart/graph skills, several biographies (both historical and contemporary), as well as several lessons focusing on the theme of the unit. Both Social Studies topics and history are include in the book, but social studies is given a greater focus. Throughout the book students are introduced to geographic features, several types of maps, reference resources, and habitats.  The 5 themes of geography are also explained.

Students are introduced to large number of vocabulary words over the course of the book.  Not only are these explained by definition and context in the text, there is a glossary in the back of the book. Both in the text and glossary words are accompanied by a picture.  Additionally several literature and writing concepts are introduced and explained throughout the text.

In addition to the glossary an atlas is found in the back of the text.

There are a number of discussion questions on each 2 or 4 page spread as well as hands on activities.  Most of these are drawing type activities, although there are several which are writing focused.

Several units have a 2 page spread featuring objects from DK Eyewitness books.  The  featured objects have some connection to the rest of the unit.

Throughout each unit there are pictures of book covers which correspond to the units focus.  Several of these books looked interesting, but my library system did not have them.

There appears to be a relatively balanced portrayal of races and ethnic backgrounds throughout the text.  Both men and women are portrayed as being able to do any type of career.  However, it seemed to me that the traditional family of  Dad, Mom, and kids is not prevalent.

Also throughout the text is referenced for more information.

How we used All Together

My 7 year old son and I read through this book together.  We more or less worked through the book from the beginning.  He was very excited at the beginning as he said he didn't know what Social Studies was. We started with the Social Studies handbook.  I think he really liked this and all the facts, figures, and trivia it presented.

After this we went into the text and he became less enthusiastic.  The routines and situations discussed did not interest him as they pertained to school and the school environment.  He commented he was glad he didn't have to go to a real school because it sounded boring.

One of the skills addressed in each until is entitled 'Reading Social Studies'.  These skills include: picture clues, order, like and unlike, main ideas, recall, and predictions.  While most of these were pretty simplistic for my sons abilities at this stage we talked them over.  The main idea exercise focuses on celebrating the earth.  The students are to read the following paragraph from the book written by the student character and then tell the main idea.

" Butterfly Garden
Our class will take care of our Earth.
We will plant a butterfly garden. 
We will plant flowers that butterflies like.
We hope to have many butterfly visitors soon."

The text then goes on to say that the main idea is in the first sentence and the other sentences will tell how they will do it. My son remarked that the first sentence didn't seem to have the same idea as the other sentences. I tend to agree with him on this thought.  So we talked about how the first sentence could be changed to go with the other sentences better.

My son did some of the drawing activities suggested throughout the book.  One of them he did was to draw signs for laws we must follow. This is a picture of what he did.

I honestly do not see this book appealing to homeschoolers for the following reasons:
  • there is a fairly large section of the text devoted to school.  A homeschoolers day and activities are often structured quite differently.
  • Many of the concepts such as jobs in the community, types of communities, laws/ rules, voting, reasons for holidays etc are learned as a part of everyday life for homeschoolers. 
If a  parent is only homeschooling for a short time and wants to be sure their child is studying the same things as their peers then this could be a good option. It could also work well for a parent who is not confident they know what to teach their child.

I checked out the website mentioned above  and it appears to be a portal to 'approved' websites which have social studies connections.  The main source was  There were also logo links to 'Colonial Williamsburg', 'Smithsonian Institute', 'Discovery School', 'MapQuest', and 'Inspiration Software'.  The only one which was new to me was 'Inspiration Software'.

We were able to use the book without Teacher's materials, but they may provide for a richer more detailed experience with the curriculum.  When I looked at the website I had a hard time knowing what I would need if I desired additional materials as I couldn't find descriptions of the products or what might be contained in bundle packages.

Pearson's website has a small box on the left side labelled state standards.  I found Missouri and it took me to a page that gave options to see how their various products compare to the state standards and how Pearson products are used in one of the large Metropolitan districts. I looked at it out of curiosity, but the sparse information I found was not of use. 

Studying this book was helpful for my son as he is now familiar with what the term Social Studies covers, but he is much happier studying history and "doing social studies" rather than just reading about it

Read what other Crew Members had to say about All Together Social Studies as well as several other textbooks from Pearson Education at the Crew Blog.


Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this student book in order to write this review.  I have not been compensated in any other manner. All opinions expressed here are solely my own.

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