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Historical Stories of Survival – Unit 4 Surviving the Great Chicago Fire – 1871 Review by Amanda Hopkins

A teacher guide and unit study
Justine Gamble
http://www.historicalstoriesofsurvival.com

Finding an excellent living book is sometimes hard, but when you find that one series that your child loves, you would like to use it for learning as much as you can. My son enjoys the I Survived series, and I love the Historical Stories of Survival that take these stories and use them in a unit study.

We had the chance to use Historical Stories of Survival - Unit 4 Surviving the Great Chicago Fire - 1871, a teacher guide and unit study by Justine Gamble. I was able to quickly find the I Survived the Great Chicago Fire book at our local library to use as our primary resource to go with this unit study.

This guide and unit study came as a PDF download and I was able to print what I wanted and leave the rest on the computer and read it right on the computer screen. There are many parts to it, the resource list, weekly plans, and a timeline of the different guides they have available were right at the beginning.

As we got into the unit study, we found many other sections that we would cover, one of the main ones was the spelling and vocabulary, but we also found all the lapbook pieces, a file folder game, digging deeper activities, and even a character study and comparison of life then and now. All of these activities were so much fun for my son to use while learning about the Great Chicago Fire.

Before my son got to get into everything, there was a Before Week 1 section. This is the section that allowed me to make sure I had everything I needed to make this unit study flow without any moments of scrambling to find what I needed.

The first week we spent time focusing on reading the book. We did work on some of the lapbook pieces, but the primary focus was the reading. I liked this aspect of the first week.

After the first week, we took our focus to the other parts of the lapbook. These following weeks, we would work on the spelling and vocabulary, which were all together, but broken down by week on the main sheet. We also learned about labor safety, other devasting fires, fire safety, and fire history. By the time we finished the six weeks of this unit study, we had a fun file folder filled with all the information we had learned, that I can easily tuck away and pull out later for review.

I like that this study can be a core curriculum with all the options that they provide for branching off your learning, or as a history supplement to go along with the time period you are learning about. It is set up in an easy to use and easy to print way. There was no confusion in how to print and assemble the lapbook that we have found with other unit studies.

All the lapbook pieces are included in the PDF, but all the other resources will need to be found at home or your library, this is what that first Before Week 1 section was all about. It was nice that if I couldn’t find one of the extra resources, I was still able to continue with the unit study and not have to worry.

My son has loved the I Survived Series and had no arguments taking these books to the next level and learning with them. He prefers to read these books over his history books. Doing something like this, we were both able to win when it came to learning about the Great Chicago Fire and all that went along with that period in time.

—Product review by Amanda Hopkins, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, July, 2018

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