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Dinah Zike's Big Book of Texas History
Reviews Index

Dinah Zike's Big Book of Texas History

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Publisher: Dinah-Might Adventures
Author: Dinah Zike

List Price: Paperback: $19.95

Ages: All Ages

Reviewed By: Larissa McKay

If you're studying Texas history, get this book.

I've never seen a book quite like this, and wish I'd found it years ago. Dinah Zike's Big Book of Texas History combines a unique collection of resources that will help make your Texas history studies more engaging, the lessons your students learn more lasting and, thanks to her pages and pages of lists and reproducible graphics, your research less time consuming.

The book builds around what Zike calls `foldables.' These are, as Zike explains, "3-D, interactive, graphic organizers." They're books and other graphic organizers that you create from paper or cardstock and use to both aid learning and illustrate what you've learned. The first section of the book explains foldables in depth and offers many suggestions for ways in which you can use them in your studies; you will find that their uses go far beyond this one subject area. In this section, you will discover a page containing a Texas map, temperature gauges, a generic timeline, a hundreds grid, and a picture frame, all of which you are permitted to reproduce or store electronically for the use of your students. These will all prove helpful as you work your way through a study of Texas history.

Next comes the section of folding instructions. It starts with a page illustrating the basic folds that are used in the various foldables projects; the line drawings are quite easy to understand. After this you will discover 35 pages of instructions on various foldables including such things as the half book, bound book, shutterfold, matchbook, three-tab book, standing cube, accordion book, pop-up book, concept map book, vocabulary book, four-door diorama, project board with tables, and three pocket book. For the most part, each foldable takes up a single page that provides clearly-written instructions, line drawings, and full-color photographs of the finished foldables. With this much information, creating your foldables should be a breeze.

The 120 pages that follow contain list after list of suggested topics and information. Whether your students are studying Texas geography and need to work on map and globe skills, Texas' natural regions, and wildlife; or famous Texas figures; or putting together a Texas timeline, you will find information and study guidance here. With each list, you get a collection of skills that will be employed/built, activity suggestions, and recommendations on the number of foldable parts that will be needed to illustrate the lesson learned. For instance, in the "Life in the New State" list the fourth entry is one that requires investigation (Skill) into "any four groups of European settlements in Texas: German, Irish, English, French, Polish, Czechoslovakian, Norwegian, Swedish, others" (Activity Suggestion) and the foldable will need to have four parts in order to provide space to present the information learned about the four settlements. Knowing the number of parts you need will help you choose just the right foldable project for this activity.

The last section of the book is 74 pages of reproducible graphics. The line drawings are all black and white, inviting kids to color, and many of the graphics come with some of the text already included. First, you will find 5 1/4" x 4" graphics depicting the six flags that have flown over Texas. With one flag to a page, and both sides depicted, you can easily copy, color, cut, and paste together your own display of "Six Flags over Texas." The top of each page tells which flag you are working on and when it flew over the region. Next come the symbols of Texas. In this case, there are two symbols per page, with two representations per symbol. When looking at the state flower, for instance, you find one 3 1/4" x 4 1/2" block containing an illustration of the bluebonnet and another block of the same size that offers details...
Name: Bluebonnet
What: Texas State Flower
Date Adopted: March 7, 1901
Reason: Requested by the Society of Colonial Dames in Texas. Notes and Interesting Facts: (this section is for the student to fill in)
Following this same format (one box containing the illustration and another the information), are collections of important Texas towns, important Texas places, and some of those who have figured greatly in Texas' history.

The final pages offer all of the graphics you need to produce an "ABC's of Texas Pop-up Book." Each page contains a capital and lower case letter of the alphabet along with Texas-specific illustrations. For example, on the `F' page you will find line drawings representing the French Flag, Fort Worth, a Forest, and Football. The `J' page contains illustrations of a Jack Rabbit, Lyndon Baines Johnson, a Jalapeno, and a Javalina. Don't know what a Javalina is when you see one? Don't worry; all of the illustrations are clearly labeled.

This book is a treasure trove for the Texas history student. You could use it as the teacher when you plan your studies. You might make it available to your students, so that they can access it whenever they feel like going the extra mile. I would definitely suggest that the unschooler who lives in Texas keep it on hand, since it would be the perfect resource for the self-guided learner.

More Information
Available From: Dinah-Might Adventures
Address: P.O. Box 690328, San Antonio, Texas 78269-0328
Phone: 800.993.4624
Other Notes:

Add Your Own Review

Larissa McKay
Larissa McKay has been homeschooling "forever" and has a wide range of experience working with homeschoolers. She's also tried her hand at many different teaching approaches; the word eclectic suits her just fine.
Copyright © 2007 Eclectic Homeschool Association


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