Wednesday, July 30, 2014

School Organizing - Workboxes and Cards

As we head into the 2014-2015 school year, I have to admit, I'm more than a little apprehensive.  I will be a first year teacher with two preps at a time (HOORAY for getting paid to work instead of paying grad school tuition rates!!!!).  I am not quite sure how I'll balance that work load, cleaning, cooking, as well as planning and executing Xander's school.  Not to mention I'd love some time to have fun and maybe even have a personal life.

To help keep us both on track, I've decided we're going to try a combination of a workbox system and task cards.

First I printed up a bunch of cards with the various subjects I want to include this year (I haven't shared these just because the images are straight from Google).  The categories I included are listed below since some aren't pictured.
Design Challenge
Writing/Motor
Math
Literacy
Puzzle
Art
Game
Science
Spelling
Spanish
Visual Spatial

I did a little rearranging and this is what the new work area looks like.  The shelves are part of the TROFAST system from IKEA.  Above the shelves is a marker board I got inexpensively from Target to hold our All About Spelling materials.  Xander is currently using these magnetic letters instead of the little letter tiles that came with the program, but I'm sure we'll eventually switch back.
 I stuck most of the category cards on the bins using Blu-Tack.  The rest of the cards are in the little green basket on the shelves.  Those are things like a game or spelling that don't really fit into the bins. The idea is that he'll do "X" number of cards a day, depending on how many activities I have planned for the week.  He can pick the cards and the order, and then when we complete an activity, we move the card into the little blue basket. Math and Spelling both have two cards in hopes that we'll do them each twice a week.  My hope is about half an hour of "work" about five days a week.  If we don't get to all of the cards, the world won't end, it is just our goal.  Having the cards also makes it easier for me to set up.  I can visually see what types of activities I have and what ones I still need to gather together.
We did a trial run and it seemed to work pretty well.  I hope that it will continue to work for us as our schedules get tighter and we get into a routine.

I'd love to hear how you organize you preschool/kindergarten things to make your weeks run smoother!

Monday, July 28, 2014

Letter Y Week

Letter Formation/Pre-Writing
Tracing the letters with his write and wipe cards and Letter Tracing Pages from 1+1+1=1
Practicing writing in his sand box.
Practicing writing on his dry erase writing strip.
Concentrating very hard on his Q-Tip Painting (from 1+1+1=1)
 Do a Dot Markers on the Dot Letters from Confessions of a Homeschooler.  He wanted to use ALL of them.
 Using his Build a Letter Templates and HWWT pieces. First he built the letters on the templates, then he built them by themselves.
Letter Maze
Literacy
Still (slowly) working on All About Spelling (see our post on how we adapted it here).
Cut and Paste Phonics Hunt
Thinking Skills
Playing with Block Buddies
Math
I gave him ten pattern block triangles and asked him to see if he could make one big triangle with them.  It was harder for him than I expected, but he got it.
Making rows of ten to count some blocks
Playing POP for addition!  I took out all the subtraction and let him use his abacus when he gets stuck.  I really haven't taught him any addition, but he does pretty well.  More importantly, he really likes playing, so I'm happy to oblige!
Science
We're still doing our Alphabet in Simple Science, and this week was Y for Year.  I'll post all of our science activities later this week!
Art
Using a makeup sponge to paint.
Fun and Games
I finally won a game of mancala against him!
This Week's Work

Friday, July 25, 2014

X for X-Ray


See what we did for other letters in the Alphabet in Simple Science.

X for X-Ray

Science Notebook Page (Click the picture to print).

     Background
As with all topics, we started off by talking about what X-rays are.  I actually included two different science notebook pages, depending on how complex of a definition you wanted for your little one.  I went ahead and used the more complicated one for Xander (a type of picture of the inside of something taken using electromagnetic waves).  I started off asking him how doctors look at peoples' bones when they get hurt.  We talked about how skin, muscles, and organs are in the way of seeing bones directly, so doctors use special types of pictures called X-rays.

Of course, we started off reading some books.  I picked up X-Treme X-Rays and from the library.  Both had real photos of X-rays in them.  Unfortunately, my dad took a really fall off his bike this week which resulted in an ambulance trip to the hospital.  I literally got the call while we were reading these books.  Since Xander went to the hospital with me until I could get someone to take him for the night, we got to have a conversation about CT scans and how they're another way doctors can look inside us.
 
I picked up this great Your Body puzzle when the price dropped for a little while, and the timing ended up being perfect for talking about X-rays.  Xander was able to see how there are many layers/systems of the body.  Here he is pointing to some of the bones he knows.

Light Table X-Rays
Materials:
Transparency Paper or Vellum
Laser Printer

Alright, so I'll admit that this week wasn't much of an investigation, but x-rays are difficult!  What I really wanted was this animal x-rays set where Xander could match images of the outsides and insides of animals.
Sadly, it just wasn't in the budget (although we have played with them at the local children's museum).  Therefore, I decided to make my own x-ray materials for the light table.  It ended up being pretty easy.  I picked up some clear vellum from the craft store.  Then I used Google Images to find some x-ray images and printed them off (it might work with ink jet, but I didn't want to risk ruining the vellum, so I borrowed someone's laser printer).  They'd probably be even better on transparency paper, but I didn't have any.  I think they turned out pretty well, particularly given how inexpensive they were to make.

Check out my Alphabet in Simple Science Pinterest Board for more ideas!
 
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