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THE ELEMENTARY COMMON SENSE OF THOMAS PAINE: An Interactive Adaptation for All Ages Paperback – December 5, 2007

4.8 out of 5 stars 12 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Mr. Wilensky is a fifth-grade teacher in Jefferson County, Colorado, where he has been accused of teaching his Colonial America and Revolutionary War classes with enthusiastic zeal. Mark holds a Masters Degree in Curriculum and Instruction. He has taught expelled and court-ordered students in coordination with the District Attorney's Office, and is currently working with the Colorado Department of Education on a national study to find ways to eliminate gaps in education for homeless and highly-mobile children.

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 11 - 14 years
  • Grade Level: 6 - 9
  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Savas Beatie; 1st edition (December 5, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1932714367
  • ISBN-13: 978-1932714364
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.5 x 8.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,275,808 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
As a 5th grade teacher that has to teach all subject areas to a self-contained classroom, I am always trying to find a way to link lessons from various subjects together.

For Social Studies I am required to teach American history from the early colonies through the Revolutionary War. I ran across this book and asked my school librarian if she could buy a few copies to see if I could use them for guided reading discussions during my students' literacy time (by the way, the book includes guided reading questions after each chapter). I was amazed at how well it made the issues we were discussing in Social Studies come alive.

This book is an easy read for my students and I love it because it gives them access to what I have always thought to be one of the most important pieces of writing from early American history. After having several of my students read the book, two of them actually went online and downloaded the audio-book of Paine's original version (these kids and their iPods!) and three others became so excited and inspired by Paine's arguments that they wrote their own version of Common Sense and presented it to the class during one of our Revolutionary War simulations in Social Studies. Paine, one of them said, was a true American hero for standing up for what was right even if others disagreed with him. Almost all of the students who read this really got into all the activities this book offers online (there is an icon on several pages that asks readers to go online for interactive activities that correspond with the text on that particular page) and for the first time in a long time, I had students getting on their computers at home to - get this - READ HISTORY.

Wow. All of that from bringing this book into my classroom.
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By LR on November 18, 2009
Format: Paperback
Although Thomas Paine's Common Sense is THE pivotal treatise leading to American independence, it has received relatively little readership outside the academic community and virtually none in elementary school classrooms. The language as well as the detailed, closely argued positions have relegated Paine's work to an 18th century pamphlet to be mentioned, but not read or studied. No longer. Wilensky's adaptation is a tour de force of scholarly and pedagogic expertise as he is both an historian of the American Revolution and an outstanding classroom teacher. It works on several levels and thus is truly accessible to readers of all ages; what might appear at times as oversimplification in fact reflects a rigorous understanding of the time and the man. Too often important historical publications are aimed at either the mature, informed reader or the elementary reader of all ages. Wilensky brilliantly bridges the extremes. Paine's assessment of the state of the colonies and their relationship with Great Britain as well as then tone of his writing are absolutely essential to understanding the coming of American independence. Thanks to Mark Wilensky, there is no reason for students and general readers not to appreciate and benefit from Paine's immortal work. There is a side benefit: Wilensky's adaptation will not only introduce students to Paine and his pamphlet, but also will help them generate a keen interest in history in general; that alone is no small achievement. As a professor who teaches and researches the history of Colonial America and the American Revolution at the University of Utah, I am mightily impressed by the quality of Wilensky's work and his contribution to the study of a critically important chapter in US history.
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Format: Paperback
The Elementary Common Sense of Thomas Paine by Mark Wilensky
Savas Beatie,LLC - Publisher -2008
202 pages

I was not sure how I felt about this book when it arrived on my doorstep. It was about Thomas Paine's writing of "Common Sense" which I was eager to explore and hopefully expand my understanding of Paine himself, but a whole book on the writing that would fit into modern books 30 or so pages?

What I found was an easy to understand portrait of not only the man himself but of the environment in which brought about the reasons for the writing. This book not only explores the Acts and Petitions between England and the Colonies but also the economic, social and moral aspects of times from both points of view.

Another thing I really enjoyed about the book is that it goes to great lengths to make sure you can understand the context of the writing with definitions on the same page, and it also includes tons of historical quotes by other notable characters of the time. This is meant to be an elementary book, but I would think that the grade level should be starting about fourth grade to get a good understanding of it. However Mark Wilensky has taken another step, which is rare to the aspects of historical books written for the mainstream and not educational focused publishing's and has packed this book and corresponding website with games, audio, activities and timelines that could include almost any age or grade.

In terms of my review and the mentioning of the grades and ages that I referenced, don't be misled this book is for anyone, young or old from eight to a hundred and eight. It should be on a shelf in every classroom and on your shelf at home as well.... Why?
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