Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Valentine's Fact vs. Opinion

Recycling is always a good thing. Wanting your kids to eat all of their valentine's candy just so you can use the box is just wrong but it works for me. Take 2 used Sweetheart boxes. Wrap with clear packing tape (for rigidity). Punch various hearts out of cardstock. Write facts and opinions on them. Put an "O" or "F" on the back (for self checking purposes). Voila! You have a lovely center that the kids will love to play over and over again. (Click on the image below for a larger image.)

Happy Belated Valentine's!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

100th Day

We have been counting up to the hundredth day of school and it fell this past Monday.

We had a good time celebrating. First of all since the beginning of the school year, every day we have added a unifix cube for every school day. I (or they) wrote on each one with a Vis-A-Vis marker - the date on one side and the ordinal # on another.

Here is more of a bird's eye view:

My mother numbered the backs of a 100 piece puzzle so that they could put one piece in a day. That was a lovely something for them to argue over who got to put the puzzle piece in. Little tidbit of advice - if you have 2 2 puzzles. She asked me and I said no due to storage issues. Two puzzles are worth the storage concerns, let me tell you.
I have no idea WHO Ms. Meecham is, but she is a blessing to us! We found these little books on her site.

I told Ms. Priss that she must lose her eyesight somewhere before 108 years of age because she apparently can't see to put her lipstick on too well.

Thanks to Marcy Cook for this brilliant little idea. 100 pieces of snack mix. Actually this is how I dole out all of their snacks. Doesn't everyone use this little grid and ration snacks out precisely?!? Reminds me of that SNL skit where Phil Hartman (God rest his soul) as the anal chef chops and disposes of the "refuse".

100 pieces of snack mix don't last long.

Here is a 100 castle. Each block has a number sticker on it and they had to build something to add up to 100.

100 steps across the yard. Not quite what they estimated.

Here is some more of the workbox magic.

Whew, this is the last activity for the day - 100 necklaces. There are 10 sets of 10 cheerios, Each set is seperated by a large circle (punch) of cardstock with a hole punched in the middle. They liked these even more than the hundred snack, I do believe. Glad I decided to go ahead and do that one. I just slipped it into their last workbox drawer.

Until next year....

Wednesday, February 4, 2009


Workboxes work for me. Last Saturday my friend, Jenn, invited Colleen and me to a workshop by Sue Patrick. I had no idea how MUCH I was going to love, love, love this idea. Here is a link to her site but it really doesn't do her system justice. You either have to see her present the idea or read her wonderful book. The general concept is that you use "workboxes" for each child's work for the day. In those boxes you include their work for the day including the "hard stuff", "fun stuff", centers, review activities, etc.. Sue is BIG on reviewing and her idea to always REUSE anything you've ever made is nothing short of genius. She advocates using shoe boxes and a small shelf but I wanted something a little bit more compact and so I opted for these Sterlite drawers:

Now, Sue is probably going to get me because I have not done my labeling like she instructs but I think my girls will be able to roll with it and it's better than what we were doing before with the daily sheets - which ARE good but I was having to print them out every day and it took a lot of writing on either my part or theirs - not nearly as visual as this. I know it is going to be some work filling up these boxes every day/night but I think it will still be better than the sheets in the long run. It will give me a chance to use all of those games and such that I never seemed to get around to using. And as Sue contends they do activities and don't even realize they're doing WORK. When they're finished with a drawer they simply remove the number from the front of the drawer and put it on the top of the unit. If the next consecutive number is not on the drawer front they look on the top sheet for their next task. Eventually I plan to make these a little more visual/graphic but for now a dry erase on the number is going to have to do. When they completely fill the top sheet, they're done for the day and can "check out" of school.

But that's not all. Sue has SO many wonderful ideas. As I mentioned above, she hardly ever does something for a one time use. This is a little idea she had for skip counting (which I plan to use frequently in these boxes).

You know me...I couldn't leave well enough alone but had to embellish it.

Speaking of math stuff. I thought I would post some of the fun and games we've been up to lately. Here are the girls doing some Marcy Cook stuff (domino trains and a fill in the 30's chart)

This is one of my ziploc games. It is called "Plot Your Number". The grid is labeled with a green x axis and a blue y axis and there is a blue and green die. Each time you roll, you plot the corresponding number. So say you rolled a green 3 and a blue 6, you would plot (3, 6) on the grid. The first one to plot a row or column wins. Oh yes, we play that you can remove someone else's marker if you roll a point that is already taken. It just gets them familiar with the idea of plotting coordinates and they seem to like it especially when you bribe them with Sugar Babies.. Would you "plot" for Sugar Babies? Two little girls in our house would.

There's nothing like Daddy coming home early on a Friday afternoon for some extra snuggle time, either.

I will post more of the whole workbox thing ASAP. Gotta quit blogging and go laminate some more stuff!!! TTFN