Middle School Notes Borrowed from the Smartest Kid in Class!

One of the challenges of middle school is that the textbooks often look like they are for high school students!


The subject matter is covered in thick textbooks with a lot of words in a complicated way.

Double ugh.

Big Fat Notebook Series

Isn’t the goal of school to LEARN the material?


That is why I am super excited about a new set of resource books from our sponsor, Workman Publishing.  They have just published The Big Fat Notebook Series!  It is a group of “notes” that cover the important topics of each lesson for Science, World History, American History, English Language Arts and Math.

But not in the dry, overly-wordy textbook way!

The Big Fat Notebook lessons are presented in short, understandable snippets with illustrations in a fun and colorful layout.

Everything You Need to Ace Math

Understandable enough for me to help my boys with even more complicated lessons!

Big Fat Notebook Complete Middle School Study Guides

What I love about this is that no matter what curriculum is being used, these books are a huge resource of information to break-down ideas, theories, techniques, stories, concepts, events, and equations into simple language.  At the end of each of the explanations, there are review questions.

The Complete Middle School Study Guide tagline is “Notes borrowed from the smartest kid in class (Double-checked by an award-winning teacher).”

I think that really sums it up!  It is like having an easy-going and approachable tutor that narrows down the important information and teaches it in an effortless way.

Here is an example of how I will use this with my 5th & 8th graders…

The Level 5 English textbook we use has a lesson on pronouns and using pronouns in sentences.  It looks like this:

English Textbook

From my past experience with this grade, I know that there will be multiple worksheets, a quiz and eventually a test over this information.

The Everything You Need to Ace English Language Arts in One Big Fat Notebook has a chapter on Subjective, Objective, and Possessive Pronouns.  It looks like this:

Everything You Need to Ace English in One Notebook

We will run through the examples quickly and then take the little quiz at the end to make sure the concepts are completely understood.

Another way we will use these books is to research curiosities.  My favorite book is the Science guidebook.

The Complete Middle School Study Guide

It is packed with interesting facts!  It is fun just to pick up and read together.

These books will become part of our homework routine for research, additional information and studying for tests.  They are such a breath of fresh air compared to the stack of stuffy textbooks sitting beside them!

The Big Fat Notebook Series is available at many retailers including Barnes & Noble.


Whoo hoo!  Thanks to the generosity of Workman Publishing, we are giving away a set of all 5 titles in the Big Fat Notebook Series plus some fun school supplies including branded highlighter/pen combos, a notepad & jigsaw sticky notes.

Giveaway is open to US residents only. Giveaway ends at midnight CT on 8/16. Prize is provided by Workman Publishing.

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The Big Fat Notebook Series Book Descriptions

The Complete Middle School Study Guide Set

Everything You Need to Ace Math . . . covers everything to get you over any math hump: fractions, decimals, and how to multiply and divide them; ratios, proportions, and percentages; geometry; statistics and probability; expressions and equations; and the coordinate plane and functions.

Everything You Need to Ace Science . . . takes readers from scientific investigation and the engineering design process to the Periodic Table; forces and motion; forms of energy; outer space and the solar system; to earth sciences, biology, body systems, ecology, and more.

Everything You Need to Ace American History . . . covers Native Americans to the war in Iraq. There are units on Colonial America; the Revolutionary War and the founding of a new nation; Jefferson and the expansion west; the Civil War and Reconstruction; and all of the notable events of the 20th century—World Wars, the Depression, the Civil Rights movement, and much more.

Everything You Need to Ace World History . . . kicks off with the Paleolithic Era and  transports the reader to ancient civilizations—in Egypt, Greece, India, China, Africa, Rome; the middle ages across the world; the Renaissance; the age of exploration and colonialization, revolution and imperialism, and the modern world and the wars and movements that shaped it.

Everything You Need to Ace English Language Arts . . . covers everything to get you your best marks: grammar, including parts of speech, active and passive verbs, Greek and Latin roots and affixes; nuances in word meanings; textual analysis, authorship, structure, and other skills for reading fiction and nonfiction; and writing arguments, informative texts, and narratives.

Your kids will have so much fun flipping through these books that they won’t even realize how knowledge is sneaking in!

A big thanks to Workman Publishing for supporting Kids Activities Blog.  All opinions expressed are mine.  Please follow Workman on FB, IG, Pinterest, Twitter & Tumblr!


  1. Bonnie Bobeck says:

    Who won?

  2. They have been notified and I will post the name after I hear back!

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