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Enrichment Packets Review by Kathy Gelzer

PO Box 11409
Eugene, OR 97440

Here is something unlike anything I've ever seen before. Tin Man Press creates unique thinking worksheets for elementary-aged children. Their products are available in either paper or digital format. The Enrichment Packets I received contained four levels of activities for grades K through 6. Bear in mind that the categories are broad and the designers believe these are only general guidelines: Level 1 is for grades K-2, Level 2 is for grades 1-3, Level 3 is for grades 2-4, and Level 4 is for grades 3-6.

Directions are clear and simple for the teacher and the student. Four types of worksheets are included for each level. (They are so fun, they ought to be called play-sheets!) Each activity has 15 pages. The graphics are simple black-on-white line drawings.

Here is a brief description of the activities.

  • What's That: matching drawings with their name or description
  • Take Aways: shape-made designs with words on each shape; the student cuts away the shapes that fit a particular category
  • SmartArt: partial abstract drawings with instructions to add to or finish the drawings
  • Listen Up: drawing exercises based on oral instruction
  • Write About: short interesting writing prompts
  • How Would That Look: written description of a situation the student then draws
  • Finish Thought: pictures with a caption the child needs to complete
  • Drawing Starts: partial drawings to finish
  • Question Kid: unusually written questions about everyday objects or ideas
  • Dots and Lines: a variety of worksheets centering on dot-and-line illustrations
  • Really Look: answering several questions about a simple drawing

I printed off a selection of these pages for my three children, ages 9 to 14, to use on a two-week road trip. The only problem was I didn't bring enough of them along. The kids loved them and wanted to do more than I had with me.

How would you use these worksheets? Many applications come to mind: as an introductory logic/critical thinking curriculum, something fun to do when traveling, as a waiting/transition time activity, or even just a fun free-time activity.

For the Listen Up activities, the pages are numbered 1, 1A, 2, 2A, and so on, with instructions preceding the corresponding activity sheet. This makes it more difficult to print them individually since you can't print them using the number listed on the page. Also be aware that the Level 1 "What's That" has a haunted house page with a witch, Frankenstein monster, vampire, and ghost. If this conflicts with your family values, you could just skip that worksheet.

Enrichment Packets
is a fun and worthwhile product. You can practically see new connections being made in your children's brains as they do these activities. I would especially recommend this for use with reluctant writers, as the short writing prompts make writing very tolerable if not fun.

Product review by Kathy Gelzer, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, September 2009