Creek Edge Press
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FAQs

Task Card Series:

I like how the cards look, but how do I use them?

How did you choose the topics on the task cards?

Are these topics specific or broad?

What kinds of tasks are on the cards?

How do you assess work done in response to the tasks?

How do you fit task cards into the school day?

Do you use the task cards with new readers and, if so, how much do you expect of them?


Which set of task cards do you recommend for our family? 
 

Is a school room necessary for the prepared environment?

My son has learning challenges.  Will these cards work for him?

Do you approach subjects from a religious or secular point of view? I am Catholic and am wondering about potential contentious areas and how you treat them.  What about science? Do you bring religion into the science cards?

I want to use a specific book for our history studies and I need to know if it will line up with Creek Edge Press Task Cards.


High School History and Literature Series

 

 
What does each volume of this course cover?


What works are included in the Literature portion of the course and how were they selected?

 
How is this course 'Socratic' and what does that mean?

 
What is a research and response task?

 
What is dynamic interaction?

 
What materials are needed to complete assignments and how were they selected?

 
Is this an honors course and how many credits is it worth?

 
How do I evaluate and grade my student's work? Are tests available? 

 
What pre-requisites are required?

 
How teacher intensive is the course?

How does this Series compare with other high school programs?  
 


 

Recitation and Enrichment Series:

I like how the Recitation and Enrichment Volumes look, but how do we use them?


What if we've never had any exposure to Latin. Could we skip that recitation?

Do we need curricula in math, history, and science?

How do I use Recitation and Enrichment Volumes with all of the grades in my home-school?

What is the copywork, dictation, and nature study part of the R & E Volumes?

How do you schedule your Recitation and Enrichment time? Do you use this daily or work on a portion of each block daily?

Do the "instructions" give you selections to use for the music?

 

 

 
I like how the cards look, but how do I use them?

A Course Introduction is included in every Task Card Set. The Course Introduction explains the Task Card Approach in detail. This approach combines aspects of several well known methods. The Montessori concept of a 'Prepared Environment'  is adapted for use with the Task Cards and the use of a Montessori style 'Work Period' is encouraged. The objectives on the cards are Classical in scope and sequence. The cards are distinctive in that they present key vocabulary in a variety of ways with the purpose of building vocabulary and critical thinking skills as the students participate in research based tasks. The tasks direct students to investigate by topic and to respond in a variety of ways. Response forms are covered in detail in the Course Introduction where you will learn how to use summary writing as an effective learning tool and how simple projects and time line work can be used to further engage students with learning material. Tips and suggestions for using the cards with emergent readers and those making the transition to independent work are included. 

 
How did you choose the topics on the task cards?

The task card sets are intended to be used in a sequence that promotes a logical progression through the material. Science sets progress from the concrete concepts covered in Life Science toward the more abstract material covered in Chemistry. Vocabulary and standard key content is emphasized throughout the science task card sets. Our history sets are arranged chronologically and topically. We offer a four year cycle covering world history and individual sets that cover American and Canadian history. These sets are designed to introduce key content by emphasizing major events, movements, and historical figures. Younger, grammar stage students will gravitate toward these points in their responses to the tasks. The tasks on the cards also provide subtle direction in critical thinking skills which allows dialectic stage students to grasp historical movements and patterns. The tasks were purposely designed to correspond to readily available materials at several developmental levels. 

 
Are these topics specific or broad?

The topics are specific, but they vary in specificity. For example, the task card that notes the Inclined Plane as its topic has a narrow range of focus. The task card that notes the Regions of the United States - New England as a topic is specific, but covers a wider variety of material. As students progress through the tasks on the cards they encounter specific vocabulary, or key content, related to the topic. The topics are standard and will be easily encountered in student encyclopedias, dictionaries, books, and enrichment materials. 

 
What kinds of tasks are on the cards?

The tasks direct students to research, explore, and respond. Within the environment that you prepare, students will find age appropriate materials to use in their research. These include an encyclopedia, information books, literature, lab kits, and other enrichment materials related to the course. Students are directed to respond with summaries, charts, posters, maps, and diagrams. Further exploration is done with living books, literature, and enrichment materials. To these they might respond with a literature or biographical summary and by completing labs or activities included in student kits. Further information on how to approach each type of task is included in the Course Introduction. 

 
How do you assess work done in response to the tasks?

The use of oversight meetings, preferably after the student has completed their work, is encouraged. These meetings happen on a daily basis with younger students and on a weekly basis with older students. The goal of the Task Card Approach is to facilitate the student's direct engagement with the material. The best way to encourage this is to accept the work as it is and to continually encourage increasing attention to detail. With younger students who are using the cards independently, the focus might be kept to simply following through with the tasks. Older students would be expected to show detail, a depth of understanding, and attention to detail in their responses. The focus required to exhibit these qualities provides assurance that a high standard of work has been done. When faced with a student who is struggling, work on month long goals. Instead of handing out an ultimatum that spelling, for example, improve tomorrow, encourage them to look at that area more carefully next time and make a note to assess progress in that area. As time passes, improvement is seen and another area may be tackled. 

 
How do you fit task cards into your school day?

Many approaches will work well, but fairly consistent work periods are recommended. My preference is to use a morning work period for core subjects like math and language arts. An afternoon block of an hour or so in length, depending on the age of the student, is ideal for discovery based learning. 


 
Do you use the task cards with new readers and, if so, how much do you expect of them?

The Task Card Approach may be used with younger students who are not yet reading independently. This time is best used to introduce research and response skills with attention turned toward encouraging students to take care in an environment of ever increasing expectations. This may include reading the tasks together, researching together, and reading material aloud. At this stage, I suggest writing key vocabulary on a piece of paper for students to copy as titles for their posters or other projects.  This allows them to work independently on their response. When summaries are noted, I recommend taking down an oral narration. Children who are emergent readers can be told to read 'captions only' in encyclopedia articles. More detail on how you might approach this stage is included in the Course Introduction.  
 
 
Which set of task cards do you recommend for our family? 


The answer to this question depends on many factors. See the course descriptions in our catalog here for specific details.

The recommended science sequence is Life Science, Earth and Space, Physics and Digital Science, followed by Chemistry and Great Scientists. The reason for this is twofold. Life Science and Earth and Space contain material that is concrete and readily accessible to younger students. Physics and Chemistry move toward more abstract concepts and include the use of student science kits for labs, which are usually intended for older children. Specific course descriptions located in the catalog linked above will direct you further.

Our history sets may follow a four year world history cycle or they may extend to five or six year cycles with the inclusion of Geography and Culture, American History, and Canadian History. Each set may be used by one student through two cycles through history (grades K-8) with the use of developmentally appropriate material. Specific course descriptions are located in the catalog linked above.


 
Is a school room necessary for the prepared environment?

No. The pictures in the Gallery are meant to inspire what might work in your home. If your school area is 'cloaked,' you might consider placing the prepared environment for each course inside of the lower half of a cabinet. Any empty cupboard or a closet that has been fitted with shelves within the student's reach will suffice. Shelves can be made from crates or plastic cubes if bookshelves aren't available or an inviting desk area with room for books and materials would work just as well. The point of the prepared environment is not to create a school room within your home, but to have a peaceful, prepared place intended to generate interest in the material.  

Some families and schools have concerns about the possibility of misplacing or ruining task cards. Replacement cards are available in our On-Line Store. Laminating individual sets and storing them on a large ring is another option. We ask that you uphold copyright restrictions by not photocopying the cards themselves. Activity Pages included in some of the course Course Introductions may be copied for use within your home and school.

 
My son has learning challenges.  Will these cards work for him?

It is possible that students with learning challenges benefit the most with the Task Card Approach.  Allowing them to enter a prepared environment for a time of uninterrupted work demonstrates respect and belief in their ability. The freedom to explore, discover, and respond uniquely provides balance, contrast, and affirmation for a student who is doing remedial work in other areas. The Course Introduction provides tips for use with younger students and assessment. Those thoughts apply here in double measure. Assist only as needed, taking care to support the facilitation of the student's direct involvement with the material. Encourage increasing levels of neatness and attention to detail over the long term.  Consider a variety of presentations within the prepared environment. Audio-books, on-line encyclopedias, and access to a word processing program are all viable options. 


 
Do you approach the subjects from a religious or secular point of view? I am Catholic and am wondering about potential contentious areas and how you treat them.  What about science? Do you bring religion into the science cards?

Key figures and events are included on the cards, but no attempt has been made to frame them according to my worldview. Martin Luther is included on the Reformation and Counter Reformation card because he is a pivotal person in world history, not because I am a Lutheran Christian. The Counter Reformation and Council of Trent are also included. Charles Darwin has his place on a Great Scientist card because his work generated a far reaching impact, but his work is not framed in a religious or secular manner. One distinctive of this approach is that research happens within the materials you select. I'm comfortable with my children reading many points of view, but you are in charge of the prepared environment in your home.
 
 
Even so, note that the Ancient World Task Card Set begins with Creation. I've also included the Great Flood, Moses, and the Ten Plagues within the history tasks. These are events that have far reaching consequences within Western civilization, but these cards may be set aside according to your preference for historical study.
*A public school version of the Ancient World Task Card Set is available for public charter school home school programs. Email the address in the Contact Us tab to specify or make note in the Comments section of your order.


 
I want to use a specific book for our history studies and I need to know if it will line up with Creek Edge Press Task Cards.

The easiest way to find out is to click on the Recommended Resources or Book List for that course in the 'At Creek's Edge' section of our website. If the book is listed, you can be sure that the material will meet research objectives on the cards. You are always free to use comparable materials, though make note that the Art and Artists set does make use of a handful of specific titles. See the Scope and Sequence for your course in the 'At Creek's Edge' section of our website to compare resources. You will find that some topics, especially concurrent events and historical figures, are presented by topic rather than chronology on the cards. Decisions regarding placement were made with an eye toward helping older students grasp patterns and think critically. Consider this an additional opportunity for research for your students. Also note that our science series moves from concrete to abstract concepts placing Physics before Chemistry. This is my recommendation for grammar stage science study, but you have the freedom to use the sets in any order. The cards themselves also follow a logical progression from concrete to abstract.  My preference and recommendation is to use this progression, but some prefer to rearrange the order of the cards for use with other materials and that is fine as well.

 
What does each volume of the High School History and Literature Series cover?

Each volume covers the history and literature of a particular era. History is studied through contextual studies that point students toward an understanding of historical landscape, geography, and chronology. Students engage in studies of historical figures, civilization and culture, war and warfare, government, religion and church history, fine arts, and philosophy. Students are introduced to historical methods and vocabulary. Literature studies revolve around a survey of select great works. Students are introduced to each work through investigation into context and authorship. Literary criticism is introduced through vocabulary study and select annotated editions of each text. Specific topics may be seen in our Scope and Sequence materials available here.

 
What works are included in the Literature portion of the course?

The Literature portion of the course covers select titles of great works. An optional summer reading list is included. You may download a Scope and Sequence for each volume here.

 
How is this course 'Socratic' and what does that mean?

The Creek Edge Press High School History and Literature Series makes no attempt to frame or distill information for students. Research and response tasks direct students to inquire and build critical thinking skills.

 
What is a research and response task?

Research and response objectives make up the bedrock of this series. Students complete their research using course materials and respond as directed.

 
What is dynamic interaction?

Dynamic interaction is woven throughout the History and Literature portions of this series. Dynamic interaction refers to the varying focal points, course material, and response formats that  increase personal interest and engagement.

 
What materials are needed to complete assignments and how were they selected?

Course material lists are included in each Course Assignment book. Lists of recommended books for each volume may be seen here. Books and internet links have been selected with care, but comparable materials may be substituted. Students do not need all of the books listed in order to complete course objectives. Course Materials provide purposeful dynamic interaction through varying points of view and focal points.

 
Is this an honors course and how many credits is it worth?

Yes, it is an honors course. Each volume of the series may count toward the following high school credits on a 4.0 scale:

  • History 1.0 (*Note that this includes Geography and Government.)
  • Literature 0.75 (*Combine with writing instruction and grammar reinforcement for a 1.0 credit.)

 
How do I evaluate and grade my student's work? Are tests available?
 

The Course Introduction includes information on evaluating student work. Tests are not available, but Socratic Discussion Templates in the Course Introduction may be used at any time as an aid in evaluation.

 
What pre-requisites are required? I'm concerned my student won't be able to work independently.

Grade-appropriate skills are expected. Students should have ease with basic language mechanics and understand how to read for main points. Further analysis and synthesis skills are developed throughout the course.

 
How teacher intensive is the course?
   

The course facilitator's primary role is to communicate expectations and increase them over time. Course facilitators are also responsible for providing course materials and being available for course seminars and initial support when beginning the course.

 
How does this Series compare with other programs?

The main distinctive of this series is its Socratic nature. Student research to discover and respond with what they have learned. This is quite different from research done to find the 'correct' answer. Overall, the lens (where students are looking), the focus (what students are looking for), and the application (what they do with the material) sets this course apart. 

 
I like the Recitation and Enrichment Volumes, but how do I use them?


The Recitation and Enrichment Volumes are designed to prioritize and pace memory work in history, science, math, Latin grammar, English grammar, poetry, and literature. The recitation portion follows a four year history cycle that corresponds with the world history Task Card Sets and many other history resources. The recitations are primarily cumulative and are meant to be spoken aloud daily. Also included are history timeline cards and selections for copywork and prepared dictation.

The enrichment portion of your week plan provides several objectives pulled from the work of Charlotte Mason. Here you will find objectives for nature study, fine arts, geography, vocabulary, literature, poetry, as well as a customizable section. Manners and character traits are also covered in alternating volumes. The introduction describes how to use this section in detail, but plan to use the vocabulary portion daily. Manners, character traits, and geography may be touched on once each week. Plan to spend an hour or two each week on nature study and twenty or thirty minutes each on the art and music objectives. 

 
We aren't studying Latin. Can we skip that Recitation?


Yes, feel free to set aside anything that doesn't apply to your family's goals. Perhaps you want to focus on the English Grammar Recitation and leave Latin for another year. That said, I heartily recommend giving it a try! You might be surprised at the interest that is piqued and at what can be learned through systematic recitation.

Note that while the Latin Grammar Recitation is designed to introduce the structure of Latin in a sequential and incremental manner. This recitation may be used to reinforce Latin studies or introduce the structure of the language to those who have not studied it previously.


 
Do we need curricula in addition to our Recitation and Enrichment Volume?


Yes. The math, science, and history recitations are meant to correspond with other materials. They may be used to introduce topics, but they are primarily designed for families who are looking for a systematic memorization and recitation program that follows a four year history cycle and incorporates copywork and dictation. 

Note that the history sentences and science recitations line up with the topics included in Creek Edge Press history and science task card sets. You may choose to line these up with individual task card sets, but know that they are not required.

The Enrichment portion of each week plan relies on a few select resources. These are noted in the appendix.

 
Using Recitation and Enrichment with Multiple Grades

I have laid out a tiered approach for each of the Recitation and Enrichment sections. This allows students in grades 1-12 to work with the same material. For example, when doing copywork and dictation, students in grades 1-2 are directed to copy the title and first line from a model. Students in grades 3-4 are directed to copy the entire selection. Upper grades are instructed to take down a prepared dictation of the entire selection. Each content area is accomplished in a similar fashion. This approach is described in detail in the introduction.

 
Copywork, Dictation, and Nature Study in Recitation and Enrichment Volumes


The copywork and dictation portion should be familiar areas for home-schoolers along the Charlotte Mason and Classical continuum. Copywork involves neat copying from a model and dictation, for our purposes here, refers to the prepared dictation as described by Charlotte Mason. Details are included in the introduction located in the front of each Recitation and Enrichment Volume.

Nature study objectives follow the topics on Anna Comstock's Handbook of Nature Study and rely on a few other select resources listed in the appendix. All of the music listening and art or picture study assignments may be found in supporting links at Creek Edge Press's web-site. Those links and a few others are included in the Resource Lists for those sections. Specific instructions are included for interacting with the geography and vocabulary portions. All instructions include a tiered approach to be sure all students are involved and challenged. 

 
Scheduling Recitation and Enrichment


The recitation portion of the week plan should be used daily as memorization is bet done in small chunks on a regular basis. Recitations will gradually increase in length as the amount of memorized material grows. Even so, expect all recitations to take no longer than thirty minutes daily.

The enrichment portion of your week plan may be completed in a variety of ways. Generally, I recommend touching on the vocabulary portion daily and devoting an hour or two each week to nature study and perhaps twenty to thirty minutes of weekly exploration of the fine arts. The geography, manners, and character trait portions are best done on a weekly basis for five to ten minutes.


 
Listening and Picture Study in Recitation and Enrichment


All of the music listening and art or picture study assignments may be found in supporting links at Creek Edge Press's web-site. Those links and a few others are included in the Resource Lists for those sections. Specific instructions are included for interacting with the geography and vocabulary portions. All instructions include a tiered approach to be sure all students are involved and challenged.