Monday, November 30, 2009

Christmas Countdown Calendar

A17 has been requesting magnet activities so we made this magnetic Christmas countdown calendar. I found ideas for it here . I modified the ideas to make this easier and cheaper. We bought a cookie sheet at the dollar store as well as mini ornaments. I already had the scrapbook paper, adhesive and magnetic tape.

To make this calendar, cut scrapbook paper to fit the cookie sheet. Mark 25 squares on the middle sheet. Use tape runner or other paper adhesive to glue down the paper. Place number stickers on square . If you don't have number stickers, just use a marker. Embellish with stickers, mini ornaments, etc. Cut small sqares of magnetic tape and adhere to back of counters. I used these presents because they were light weight and stood up so A17 could manipulate them easier.

Enjoy the countdown to Christmas!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Touchmath Cubes--free!

The Touchmath website has some freebies for those wanting to sample the program or add to their curriculum. This fall they added these cubes as a special download for their 35th anniversary. Each month several cubes are available. 1 and 0 will be out in December.

We have used the cubes to play counting games. You can also use them to create simple addition or subtraction problems.

Fall Crafts

A17 loves crafts. He made these leaf decorations with his Grandma. They collected leaves and ironed them between wax paper.

They were hung by punching a hole with a hole punch and tying coordinating ribbon.

He also made these leaf rubbings with his Grandmas. Leaves that were thicker are easier to see when you rub the crayon over them.

These foam and pom pom turkeys were made with a kit I found on clearance after the holiday last year.
Next up--Christmas crafts!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Columbus Lapbook

A17 and I read the picture book In 1492 by Jean Marzollo today and put together this lapbook on Columbus. I found some printables at Enchanted Learning and ABC Teach.

We used Boardmaker pictures to write a sentence about Columbus and highlight the dates. I did the cutting and A17 helped with coloring and gluing.

We also did a simple experiment with a ship, water and wind. The ship is made from a plastic lid, playdoh, a toothpick and a square of paper. We set it in a tub of water and blew on it to see how fast it went and where it would end up. A17 really loves any kind of experiment!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Christmas Bags by Kendra

I know it's early, but if you are like me, things that aren't planned in advance don't get done! Kendra over at Aussie Pumpkin Patch posted about her Christmas bags. This is a wonderful idea for organizing and completing holiday crafts. Basically you put the supplies for a craft in an individual bag. These bags are then given out one at a time. I like that it helps me be ready in advance with supplies. I also think more craft would be actually completed this way. These would also work well for workboxes.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

First Day of Fall!

September 22 is the first day of fall. The smell of apples and cinnamon, crisp fall air, the sound of crackling leaves --our favorite season!
We've had a slow start to school, but have made some plans for enjoying the fall season season. We're planning a trip to the apple orchard followed by crock pot applesauce, a wheelchair accessible hayride, fall leaf walks, pumpkin decorating, and a halloween party.
One of our favorite fall books is The Apple Pie Tree.

We are also thinking about fall crafts. A17 picked out some fall/halloween themed foam crafts at Joanns. We also found some fall ideas on the Crayola website.

Happy Fall!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Teacher Book Bag

Have you looked at Teacher Book Bag? I just received the August PreK-K Book Bag, Seasons, Trees and Me, to review and I am very impressed! I have purchased the book bags in the past and have always liked the product, but I think I will like the new format even better. Now, the company offers 3 different levels of book bags each month. You can pick the level that best fits your child or combine levels for multiple children. They are very reasonably priced and are packed with activities. You can also purchase a year's worth at a time for the best value.

Seasons, Trees and Me has three different units. Each unit has ideas for reading, language arts, math, movement, art, booklists and more. Each section comes with suggested variations for the activities. For example, there are several different writing and cutting pages so you can choose the one that best fits your child's skill level. These variations would also be helpful for adapting materials for a child with special needs.

The seasons unit came with a story cube that you can print on cardstock and put together. The cube can be used for several activities for the books on the list such as " What do you wear?, "Find this in the story," etc. I really like the story cube idea! I'll post more when we have delved further into the book bag. Can't wait to try out the seasons graph and tree art with Ds!

If you are looking for units that you can pull out and do with a minimum of prep, lots of variety and engaging activities, then check out the monthly book bags from Teacher Book Bag.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

HSS: Lots of new materials!

Homeschool Share recently completed it's annual Blast contest and has posted lots of new materials on the website. They have new units, lapbooks and things for workboxes under a new category called Workboxables. Some of the new items Ds and I are looking forward to using are the units and lapbooks for How to Make a Cherry Pie and See the USA and Christmas Around the World.

There are also new units and lapbooks on Ancient Greece, Rome and Egypt, a Spanish lapbook, lapbooks on bears and beavers, Goodnight Gorilla lapbook and a unit on the Laura Ingalls Wilder classic Farmer Boy in addition to many other fabulous parent created materials.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Planning for Next Year

I am starting to plan for next year based on some choices A17 has made for science topics. Some of these topics include volcanos, polar bears, pumpkins, and birds.

We will start off the school year with a unit on the human body. I am gathering resources from several places including Little Otter's Science Curriculum. This is a wonderful human body study geared toward preschool--first grade and would work well for some special needs students. Our library has many of the books on the suggested reading list.

I will also be taking pieces from several HOAC lapbooks including Human Body and Germs.

We will doing some projects from this book.

In addition to science units, we will be continuing with Touchmath. I am considering supplmenting Touchmath with some living math books from the Mathstart series. I have read a lot about a Living Math approach on Kendra's and Heather's blogs.

Since A17 has been very interested in arts and crafts, I have been putting together a unit for him on art which I hope will have us exploring some different types of projects. We will be using this book :

plus some stories about artists and their work. One of these is the Katie series by James Mayhew.

We will also be checking out the Smart About Art series and Touch the Art which is a board book series with textures.

I like to have a general plan down on paper and then tweak things as we go along. If A17 is really into something I want to be able to spend more time with it or if interest is flagging I can switch gears.

If you are homeschooling or creating a meaningful day, have you made any plans? Comments and links are welcome!

Monday, June 15, 2009

Games with Books

I wanted to make a quick post about a book I found at my library called Games with Books by Peggy Kaye. The book includes activities for 28 popular children's books. Books include such titles as Chrysanthemum, Blueberries for Sal, The Carrot Seed, Winnie the Pooh, Charlotte's Web, Beezus and Ramona and The Borrowers. The ages go from preschool to third grade. I think many of the activities can be adapted up or down if you want to do them with a group. The activites range from something simple like making blueberry ice pops or a dot game to silly sentences, creating graphs and crafting a Borrowers home. The ideas can be adapted for other books as well.
Peggy Kaye also has other titles such as Games for Math and Games for Learning.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Ocean Unit

A17's Ocean unit this spring ended up so large that instead of using a file folder lapbook, we put everything into a Bare Book. Bare Books can be purchased in a variety of sizes and are great for big projects or something that is ongoing like our Flat Stanley project. This ocean book contains resources from Homeschoolshare, project packs Under the Sea and Clownfish Adventure from Hands of a Child, activities from Evan Moor, Enchanted Learning and other online sites. These first pages also include booklets listing the books we read, for example DK Eye Wonder Ocean.

At the end of the book is a separate book containing all the coloring pages of various ocean animals. Most of these were taken from the Color and Learn series book entitled Ocean Life.

A17 chose to focus his report on what he called a "shamu" whale or orca. On the left page is a fact sheet containing things he wanted to remember from the books we read. On the right are photo cards and one fact of different types of whales. Last is a whale pop up book featured in a previous post

A17 chose which ocean animals to read about including dolphins, sea turtles, jellyfish, star fish and sea dragons.

Underneath the minit books for dolphin pod and echolocation, A17 put Boardmaker pictures for the definitions. For mammals in the ocean he used dolphin and whale.

This page uses Boardmaker pictures to describe why ocean are important and has some glitter fish.To go along with the Clownfish Adventure lapbook, we watched the Nemo movie and read a book called Just Keep Swimming. These pages include minit books about clownfish and manta rays, and information on characters on the Nemo movie including the Tank Gang and Bruce the great white shark!

We made several more pop up books based on the whale pattern. This one is called My Book About Dory.We included photos of some of the art projects that A17 enjoyed. You can find these posts here.

The last couple of pages are pocket pages that contain several books on ocean animals we found on Enchanted Learning and in our Evan Moor books.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Pirate Lapbook

For a pirates lapbook we read a Magic Tree House chapter book , Pirates Past Noon by Mary Pope Osborne. Many of the Magic Tree House books have research guides which go along with them--in this case we read Pirates. These guides are packed with lots of neat info and drawings and A17 really enjoys them. Another great book was DK Eye Wonder: Pirate.
The lapbook components came from several sources including Homeschoolshare and Hands of a Child. I purchased the lapbook Ahoy Matey! from HOAC. The Magic Tree House items were found on the Random House website which has teacher guides for some of their books.

The left side of the lapbook contained a minit book on some key vocab from Pirates Past Noon, a list of the books we read, a tabbed minit book on pirates, a minit book on parrots and minit book of A17's favorite pirate jokes.

The right side has an eye spy minit book, a Magic Tree House Passport, a book on words with the letter P , and minit books on island and compass. The MTH Passport includes 4 pages which are used to summarize the book. For compass you might want to try an experiment making your own with a cork, needle and a pan of water. There are several variations of this online.

Pirate Crafts

A17 finished a fun unit on Pirates. We decided on a pirate unit after he had so much fun doing a pirate skit at AAC camp last summer. Aarrgh!! For this craft we found a wooden box ( JoAnn's) and painted it black. Then he glued on wooden decorations also found at the craft store. Inside are gold coins cut from craft foam. We also used the foam coins to play a pirate board game.

The second craft is a foam kit from Michaels. This was a bit trickier due to all the glue and needed to be completed in stages. The sails didn't go on exactly right, so we improvised!

For the map we started with off white paper and printed out a map. We crumpled up the paper then smoothed it back out. To give it an old look we used a wet tea bag and "painted" all over the paper. For a quick dry, I used my hair dryer.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Work Job Board

Although we have been doing the workbox system lately, I wanted to share another type of visual schedule that has been a big help to A17. We have used the work job board at home and at therapies for years. For us, the workbox system is an extension of our work job board. I made the board above from an inexpensive dry erase board I found at Walmart.
The child picks a preferred activity--for A17 it could be computer, music, or any other fun activity. I have specific cards for these but keep a generic treat card for something unexpected. At therapy the "reward" is doing a favorite activity like gait trainer. Then I or the therapist chooses the work or "job" activities that must be completed before a favorite activity. When each job is completed, he takes off the card. This helps him know what is expected and gives him something to work toward. I also use this to break down a more difficult task into steps.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Craft Box

One thing that has been a suprise to me this year is how often A17 requests to do crafts. He has enjoyed coloring in the past, but not much else. Now, he asks me to get out our craft box. I put together a basic craft box at the start of the school year so we would be able to do some basic crafts whenever the mood strikes. He needs lots of help due to fine motor issues but really enjoys choosing supplies, colors and pointing where something should go!
The box is a tall clear tote with a lid and a handle. I keep the paints in a separate box in case of leaks.

A look inside shows:

sheets of felt in several basic colors
colored pipe cleaners
googly eyes
jingle bells in gold and silver
glitter paints
glitter in sprinkle tubes
Elmers clear washable school glue
Elmers glue sticks
crafts sticks--regular and jumbo--plain colored
pom poms--variety of colors and sizes
colored feathers
Crayola washable kid paints
paint brush with thick handle
Crayola So Big crayons
Crayola washable markers

Our biggest craft find has been foam stickies that you can buy in tubs at craft stores. These have been a huge hit with A17! He uses these to make cards, bookmarks, door hangers, collages, etc. We have also purchased several themed kits-- a pirate ship and a log cabin--to go along with our unit studies. I prefer to buy the ones with the sticky background so we don't have to mess around with gluing small pieces.

For anyone doing the workbox system, we have found that the following crafty items really work well in the boxes.

Kumon First Steps Workbooks--Let's color, Let's sticker and paste, Let's Fold,

Crayola Color Wonder books and markers

Let's Draw with Chalk ( or other chalk books)

paint with water books


washable stamp pads and stamps ( we use an adapted handle and tape/velcro the stamp on)

A17 uses adapted scissors. These are a push down type. I put the paper in and move it as necessary while he pushes down on the handle.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Wipe-Off Books

Since receiving new dry erase markers ( see Touchmath post), A17 loves using them. He can't write due to his disability, but he is enjoying several pre-writing books. He needs some assistance with hand eye coordination to follow the lines. Some books in this series can be found at Target.

The Get Ready to Print book features animals and a construction theme. A green star shows the child where to start and the red dot shows the end. The book starts with simple draw a line activities and gets progressively harder as you advance through the book.
A second book titled Pre-Printing with Mazes features a mouse. Each page is a maze with another adventure such as find the buried treasure, get through a cave, fly in outer space. This book has a black arrow to show where to start and a piece of cheese at the end.