Primary School Textbook

Whiteboards anyone?

Do you use interactive whiteboards in your classroom? I just read an article on the Digital Education blog at Education Week that says the incorporation of interactive whiteboards and accompanying software improves student achievement on tests by an average of 16 percent. That’s pretty impressive.

I know our primary school is beginning to implement them in some classrooms. They haven’t adopted an online elementary curriculum yet, but they are looking at a few. Right now they’re using a combination of elementary school textbooks and online activities. 

Math Innovations - Kendall Hunt's Middle Grades Math SolutionI can tell you that all of the programs Kendall Hunt’s new online learning platform, Flourish, are whiteboard ready. Our middle school math program, Math Innovations, which is available on Flourish, is LOADED with whiteboard activities. So if you’re looking for an online math curriculum and improved student achievement, maybe you should look at Math Innovations and Flourish!!


Middle School Life Science Wins Chicago Book Clinic Award

So, we learned today that our Middle School Life Science program, which is just out in its new edition, has won the Peoples Choice Award at the Chicago Book Clinic and Media Show! It's a given that we all think our inquiry based science programs, ranging from primary school textbooks to high school science textbooks are great, but this award confirms it because the award is given by publishing professionals.

The Chicago Book Clinic, founded in 1936, encourages excellence in publishing by providing a platform for educational, social & professional interaction of its members. Its members are professionals in book and media publishing, printing, editorial, design, and all business aspects of the industry.

Middle School Life Science meets the needs of all students better than most science programs because it is designed around the learning cycle--that is, concepts are introduced with hands-on experiences and then developed through discussions, mini-lectures, and/or readings. This approach provides the concrete experiences that are so important for students with learning disabilities while also providing the solid science experiences that can motivate gifted students.


Learning Portals in PreK-12

In response to my post To e-Book or Not To e-Book, one of our readers, Marixi, posted a comment (check out the comment here) wondering whether it's safe for students to be accessing primary school textbooks via the Internet.  I explained that most e-books, whether elementary education books, middle school textbooks or other textbooks, are accessed via a secure portal which is often the only thing the child can login to on the school computer. 

But I'm wondering, for those of you whose school districts use e-books, do they use them exclusively or is there, a printed version of, say, that high school chemistry textbook, and the e-book is just an option.  And is it more common with high school textbooks, or primary school textbooks? And when they do use e-books, are they part of a learning portal? Is that portal proprietary to the school district, or do your school textbook publishers offer access to their portal upon adoption? Wow, lots of things I want to know!

Lesson Plans - Gifted and Talented - How Do You Plan?

I got to wondering this week, is creating lesson plans based on books for gifted students different than planning for a regular class?  What brought this to mind was a discussion with my fourth grader about the work teachers must put into their jobs beyond the classroom. We talked about grading papers, creating parent newsletters, where tests based on, say, elementary school science textbooks come from, and lesson plans.

This then led to a discussion of what lesson plans are and how they come to be.  I explained that many primary school textbooks offer guidance in this area, but he wondered how his gifted teacher (note to self: review sentence structure rules...while I feel all his teachers are gifted, I'm referring to the one who teaches the gifted classes) does it when they don't have gifted education books or a curriculum for high ability learners in his school. :-(  I told him I was sure she probably uses the Internet for ideas and planning, but I thought I'd ask you all...those of you who do it without a "program" - how do you create your lesson plans for gifted and talented classes?  I'd love to know! 

Secondary School Textbook Manufacturing Standards

Previously I posted information regarding the various steps to turning a manuscript into a secondary school textbook. The same process would also apply to primary school textbooks up to this point. From here it depends on what type of binding you plan to use.

Some of our titles are perfect bound (paperback or softbound) and some are case bound (hard cover). There are also other types that we may use for different uses, for example, wire or plastic coil (spiral bound), saddle stitched (all pages are folded with staples at the fold), side-stitched, loose leaf for a three-ring binder, and so on. Most of our secondary science textbooks are case bound. It doesn't matter what specific discipline applies (physics, chemistry, biology, etc).

Our student textbooks need to meet the manufacturing standards and specifications for textbook (MSST) NASTA (National Association of State Textbook Administrators) Guidelines. This is a requirement for state adoptions. These are various rules and regulations for several states pertaining to funding school book's budgets. It ensures that the books are physically sturdy and of high quality and will withstand several year's usage.

The various rules apply to printing, paper type, binding and cover requirements and include specifications for the different types of books. The requirements primarily apply to the physical attributes of the textbook, not the content.

The guidelines are contained in a document that is almost 100 pages long!


Catalog, Schmatalog - Save a Tree, Download the PDF!

They’re here, they’re here!! The 2009-2010 PreK-12 catalogs are now available on our website! Chock full of high school science textbooks, primary school textbooks, accelerated learning resources, and much, much more. 

There are two catalogs, available via pdf download: the first showcases our outstanding elementary school textbooks for grades PreK through 8th grade. The second catalog covers our offerings of high school science textbooks and programs, math, health & fitness, and talented and gifted resources. Best of all, you can be green and still see the catalogs if you just download them here:  From this page you can also download our Reading Resources and Gifted Education catalogs. Check them out!


It's Almost Time for a Fresh Start

Well, school registration is complete. One week from today, my son will be safely ensconced in his fourth grade classroom surrounded by elementary school textbooks of every subject: reading, math, science, social studies. He’s looking forward to what his gifted teacher has in store this year. The school was able to get a few new books for gifted students along with other accelerated learning resources. 

Here at Kendall Hunt, our brand new Distribution Center (it’s huge, and I love it when I have to go down there…it’s the coolest place!) is shipping out books like crazy…by the palletful, actually, just like every other educational publishing company, I suppose. 

Soon students around the country will be cracking open a new high school physics textbook, or opening a well-used primary school textbook. Whatever the case, this time of year always feels new, it’s a time of fresh starts, friends to be made, lots to teach and much to learn. To all the teachers out there who are responsible for our children learning, thank you for all you do. To all the students out there, learn everything you can, and have fun while you’re at it!


Custom Publishing

Have you ever reviewed a high school biology textbook and liked what you examined but wished a few things with the layout could be changed? Whether it's a high school physics textbook, a primary textbook, or anything in between, talk to your sales rep about a custom textbook. Kendall Hunt is willing and able to do custom publishing for schools or districts.

Why not adopt a high school science textbook that you're comfortable using and is published the way you want it to be? Talk to us and we'll develop solutions to your school's textbook needs.


Step 4 Permissions

In previous posts regarding developing a high school science textbook at Kendall Hunt Publishing Company, I've touched on acquisition, planning, manuscript development and copy-editing, cover design and interior design.

I was going to discuss composition at this stage; however, I want to touch on a very important step having to do with manuscript and art package development: permissions! Whether it’s a high school chemistry textbook or a primary school textbook, we use the same permissions process.

Copyright Law

While writing and developing art packages, our K-12 authors have to be aware of the rules of permissions regarding copyright laws. KH has a permissions department that helps our authors understand the copyright laws and helps them with these needs. Basically, if they are utilizing any material beyond what they are creating, they need to request permission for the borrowed materials.

Copyright protection extends to the authors of all original works including literary, dramatic, musical, artistic and certain other intellectual material. The law of copyright gives the owner the sole and exclusive right to reproduce the copyrighted work in any form and to authorize others to do so.


The following chart provides a quick reference to copyright duration.



Description of Work

Copyright Status

Published before January 1, 1923

Public domain, copyright expired

Published after 1922 but before 1964 and properly renewed (assume renewal)

Ninety-five years from date of copyright publication

Created, but not published, before January 1, 1978

Life of the author + seventy years

Created after January 1, 1978

Life of the author + seventy years

Works published anonymously or pseudonymously

Ninety-five years from publication or 120 years from date of creation— whichever is shorter

Works made for hire or by corporate authorship

Ninety-five years from publication or 120 years from date of creation— whichever is shorter

Next time I’ll talk about “fair use” and “public domain.” You’ll be a permissions guru before you know it!


Step 2: Cover Design

You can preview most of our K12 textbooks at Kendall Hunt Publishing Company's website.

In the previous article, I spoke about the beginning stages of creating a high school science textbook: acquisition and planning, as well as the development of the manuscript and art package. In this article, I'll introduce the design process that we, as an educational publishing company, use.

Around the same time that the copy-editing is being done, we coordinate with a designer to develop the cover image/design. When selecting a cover image for a high school biology textbook, high school chemistry textbook, or any of our textbooks, we look for a good balance of gender and ethnicity in an photos of people that we use. We also consider age-appropriateness for grade-level, whether it’s a primary school textbook vs. secondary school textbooks and whether it’s a product targeted to a specific ability, such as a curriculum for high ability learners.

The cover image needs to be strong and eye-catching and express the concept that we are trying to project for our target market. We want to draw the student into the content. The text/logo-type needs to be nicely balanced and eye-catching as well. We usually request 3-4 choices and may go through several "proofs" to complete the front/spine/back panels of the cover. The text on the back cover is another tool used to interest and draw students into the content. The saying, "you can't judge a book by its cover" is certainly true, however, we need to show something dynamic in order to have potential customers review our products in the first place!


Judge a Book by Its Cover? Well, Maybe Just a Little.

I was just updating the elementary school, middle school and high school pages on the Kendall Hunt website to include cover images for each of our programs when it occurred to me how great our primary school textbooks, middle school textbooks, and secondary school textbooks look. (Check out the Global Science cover to the right.) For this, I must give a shout out to my talented designer friends here at KH.  They’ve won many Addy awards for their outstanding work, and if you look around our website, you can see why. They have the ability to take a high school physics textbook, or a teacher edition textbook (books not normally oohed and aahed over for their visual appeal) and create a cover that jumps right off the shelf and grabs you. Certainly you can’t always judge a book by its cover, but seeing the quality, care and effort that go into the outside is usually a pretty good indicator of what went into the inside.