|Attention grabbing front cover|
This week we had the pleasure of trying out and reviewing the “WannaBe™-When I Grow Up I Want to be a Firefighter” unit put out by The Old Schoolhouse Magazine. I received this product free for the purpose of reviewing it for Schoolhouse Review Crew, however the opinions expressed are my personal, honest opinions. The Old Schoolhouse's "Wanna Be - When I Grow up I want to be a Firefighter" can be purchased for $8.95 at this link.
This is the first product I have used by The Old Schoolhouse and was very happy with it. In the past I have read articles out of the magazine but I was not aware of the fact they actually had unit studies for purchase and can be purchased at The Old Schoolhouse Store.
Another thing to note right away, before digging into the actual content was the bright colorful picture on the front of the unit with six smiling firefighters. I know they say “Don't judge a book by it's cover” but when you're dealing with two first graders, sometimes the cover art is very important. In this case, the picture was enough to grab my kid's attention and provide a great conversation starter to bring us into the lessons. I especially like the fact that there were firefighters of both sexes shown so both Garrett and Ashleigh could have someone to relate to. We were also able to incorporate the cover photo into part of our discussion, as I will explain in a few.
As said, before sitting down and starting this unit with my kids (both being 1st grade) I took a few days to review the materials includes. There is a lot included for the price ($8.95) and you definitely get the bang for your buck. There are many activities included to tie into the lessons such as a word find, a crossword puzzle, mathematics problems, copy work and fill in the blank vocabulary pages. Many of these pages I could tell would be too advanced for my kids but the introduction page does state this unit is mostly geared for students ages 4-10 so I do think that some of the activities would be better for students in higher grades (maybe grades 4 or 5). Some of the main themes of discussion are the history of firefighting, firefighting equipment, the requirements to become a firefighter and how much they make, as well as information in regards to building safety codes and technological advancements in fire fighting such as the use of robots. Some of the more advanced topics (such as about robots) also include ideas for science experiments or projects to incorporate with the discussion.
|Bucket Brigade of the Colonial Era|
|Heavy Bucket of Water|
While some of the topics we did skim over as I felt it was a bit advanced for my kids, such as the information about general salaries throughout the country, these types of topics were very few and far between and I felt the kids were able to grasp most of the material (at least on a basic level) and they were able to
|Putting out the Fire|
I do highly suggest that outside material be used when using this unit with younger students. It is a great platform on its own but using other resources such as youtube videos or photos off the internet will really help to get the ideas across, especially for younger students or those who learn more visually then by being read to. Together we watched videos of “A Day in the Life of a Firefighter”, videos of firefighters actually battling fires, listened to fire truck sirens and looked at photographs of the old horse drawn fire trucks which made what we were talking about really click. There's also a great video of Wilshire the fire dog (who's history is a point of discussion in the unit) online as well.
|Horse Drawn Fire Truck|
Overall, I was very happy with the unit and would definitely look into purchasing the other units of this series in the future. (Other available units include A Doctor, A Chef, A Missionary, and A Pilot among others). The material was clear, concise and accurate and presented nicely in a format that is easy to follow. With a bit of imagination, this unit could easily be extended to cover a week or two by also incorporating activities from other subjects, like we did with the discussion about the food groups or physical fitness. I think when I revisit it, I might plan a small obstacle course for the kids to run and pick up a firehouse cookbook and let them prepare and eat like a firefighter.