Stepping Stones introduces students to critical thinking skills that they will use throughout their academic careers. All too often, critical thinking skills are not presented to young students in a systematic way. The books in the Stepping Stones series strive to present critical thinking in a way that is clear and not threatening to young children. Puzzles cover language arts, math, science, and social studies subjects.
The exercises in Stepping Stones are visually appealing and task-oriented, and an important feature is that many of the puzzles are open-ended. There is a strong emphasis on students' ability to justify and explain their answers. This pushes students to think carefully and rationally about their answers rather than just choosing an answer randomly.
• Alphabet sequencing
• Beginning sounds
• Capital and lowercase letters
• Compound words
• Ending sounds
• Letter recognition
• Letter-sound association
• Singular and plural noun forms
• Verb tense
• Vocabulary development
• Counting (rote, skip)
• Even and odd numbers
• Numeral recognition
• Ordinal numbers
• Community Helpers
• Right side up
• Upside down
• Invention and design
Stepping Stones Book 1
In Book 1, the focus is visual. Students are asked to examine a series of 4–9 pictures, determine the relationship between them, choose an item that could be the next logical item in the sequence, and draw their answer. The sequences range from rote skills (e.g., alphabetical order) to ab patterns to more complex abc and aab patterns. The back of each puzzle page is blank so students with less-refined fine motor skills have enough space for their work. Simple, engaging line art invites students to color the images in the puzzles. Perforated pages facilitate sending work home for parents to see.Grade K
Stepping Stones Teacher’s Guide, Book 1
The Teacher’s Guide provides the rationale behind the critical thinking exercises presented in Stepping Stones, an overview to the tasks in Book 1, and ideas on how to introduce students to the idea of problem solving an integrate the puzzles into existing curricula. Educational objectives, the benefits of the puzzles, and an answer guide are also included.
Stepping Stones Book 2
In Book 2, the focus of the puzzles shifts from being visual to being reading-based. Students work with six different types of puzzles:
1. Warm-up Exercise–students must eliminate one picture that does not belong in a set of four
2. Sentence Completions–students complete a sentence by choosing a pictured answer or drawing in one of their own
3. Inference Statements–students read a series of three or four short sentences and determine if the last sentence is
true or false
4. Inference Questions–students read a series of two or three short sentences followed by a short question and determine if the answer to the question is yes or no or if they do not have enough information to answer the question
5. Sequencing Activities–students evaluate a sequence of events to determine if it is logical or not
6. Logic Problems–students choose a picture answer or write their own answers to short logic problems
Stepping Stones Teacher’s Guide, Book 2
This guide provides the rationale behind the critical thinking exercises presented in Stepping Stones Book 2, an overview to the tasks in Book 2, and ideas on how to introduce students to the idea of problem solving an integrate the puzzles into existing curricula. There is an extensive section on extension ideas as well as educational objectives, the benefits of the puzzles, and an answer guide.
Stepping Stones Book 3
Book 3 has a task-oriented focus. Students first work through closed Warm-up Exercises that focus on comprehension of major curriculum areas. They then move on to open-ended, task-based puzzles. They are presented with a set of information that they must use to creatively solve a problem. The puzzles are grouped thematically within each section to facilitate doing work by subject area.
Stepping Stones Teacher’s Guide, Book 3
This guide provides the rationale behind the critical thinking exercises presented in Stepping Stones Book 3, an overview to the tasks in Book 3, and ideas on how to introduce students to the idea of problem solving an integrate the puzzles into existing curricula. There is an extensive section on extension ideas as well as educational objectives, the benefits of the puzzles, and an answer guide.