Broderbund has released school editions for three more of its Living Books CD-Rom titles. School editions are produced in collaboration with TAG developments for the 4 to 11 age group. The CD-Roms have all been anglicised and the teacher's guides contain classroom materials to be used across the curriculum alongside the CD-Roms. The latest titles are Little Monster at School, Arthur's Birthday and Harry and the Haunted House. There are also school editions of three other Living Books, Sheila Rae the Brave, The Tortoise and the Hare, and Just Grandma and Me.
The teacher's guides begin with a set of five articles about ways in which work with the CD-Rom can be integrated into the curriculum and classroomn. The first chapter looks at themes. Other chapters give advice on exploring writing styles and the works of authors. There follows a page of technical tips and tricks for teachers, which gives help on keyboard commands and importing screen captures into other programs. There are also reading lists which will help teachers to explore general professional issues and the themes raised by the CD-Roms.
For those unfamiliar with the Living Books series, Little Monster at School, based on a book by Mercy Mayer, is a story about a boy who finds it hard to fit in at school and is helped by his classmates. The main themes are friendship and starting or changing school. In Arthur's Birthday, Arthur's birthday falls on the same day as his classmate and finds a surprise solution which pleases everyone. Harry's Haunted House is a tale of children finding their way into a creepy old house with the teacher's guide offering the topic mysteries and wonders.
As well as the initial chapters which are general to all the titles, there are also more than 20 activities in each guide unique to a particular title with photocopiable activity sheets. A useful addition to the latest guide is a case study with comments on the reaction of the children in a primary school to the work, and feedback on some of the activities.
The materials come in a beautiful ringbinder but unfortunately the paper is cheap and thin. The CD-Roms are not in a hard case which makes them vulnerable to damage. These guides will save time and help to make CD-Roms become more naturally integrated into the curriculum. They are a welcome intiative.