Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Morning Basket Literacy Plan

 I want to start by saying that my kids are voracious readers, so very little of our time and attention in morning time will be devoted to this specifically. We will mainly focus on writing and grammar. Again, we are only including one activity per week so the kids can also have their regular curriculum.  I don't have a lot more to say about that, so here's the list! Enjoy!

1. Round Robin Stories- Each person gets a piece of lined paper and starts a story with two sentences (be sure that they are not sharing a line). Then you fold your paper so that only the second sentence is showing. Pass the paper to the person on your left. Read the one sentence showing and write two more. Repeat this process adding two sentences to every one you see. Decide how long this goes on. At the end, everyone takes a turn reading the whole story.

2. Comic Books- there are several places online you can download/print Comic Book paper. In my basket, I'll include all kinds of drawing and manga type supplies. I do not expect my kids to finish this in one day. Some kids, I might include already named superheroes to help them out as a couple of my kids get SO overwhelmed at the idea of "You can pick ANYTHING!"

3. Synonym Cards- There are SEVERAL versions of these out there. Word to the wise- I used them tonight with two 8 year olds for a total of 12 words- they were BORED BORED BORED. They seemed to like the idea for about two words. After that, their attention was long gone.

4. Roll a Story- again, there are TONS of versions of these- picture ones for pre-writers and versions for pretty much every holiday out there.

5. Stretch a Sentence- This is something my kids DEFINITELY need to work on. There are lots of these available as well, but I like the aesthetics of this one from Cassie Thomas.

6. Spin a Story-  You spin to find options. I might make my own one day. My kids need a few more options for their imaginations. :D If you want to kick things up, you can have them write it like a play and perform it!

7. Story Bags-  Pretty basic idea- put stuff in a bag, then they have to make up their own story using the items.

8. Grammar Lapbook- Want to know a secret? I am kind of obsessed with Lapbooks and I wish my kids loved them as much as I did. You can buy some really cool packs HERE and HERE, or check out some free options HERE, and HERE.

9.  Giant Scrabble- this leaves a lot of room for creativity. You could get actual TILES from Home Depot (I think they are like $.20-$1.00 depending on size) or you could do scrapbook paper OR, if you're super cheapo like me, PAINT CHIPS! You can make your letters be weatherproof for outdoor play on the lawn or you can plan for long, cold, snowy winters and make them for inside. That's my plan!! I will probably write the letters on the paint chip with chalkboard paint pens. You decide how many letters you'd like to do and if you want to include points. Wikipedia has the distribution list here that says there are 100 letters, but everything on Pinterest said 144 letters. I guess it depends on how hardcore you are.

10. Boggle- Again, so many options!! You could buy the game, play it on an app, online game, OR.... the same way you did the scrabble tiles. Pick 16 letters at random and place them on a square. Let each of the kids play. :D

11. Sandwich Story Report or Story Planner- Teachers Pay Teachers has some CUTE options of this. THIS ONE is free, but not as cute or interactive as some of the others. Pretty much, each part of the story is represented by a piece of sandwich. I think you should MAKE a sandwich while you do this. A delicious object lesson. Nom Nom Nom.

12. Poetry Magnets- I made a set of these for our trip this summer. We'll see how the kids like it. Hopefully they do because I used my last sheet of magnetic paper for them. I just googled "Free Poetry Magnet Printout"

13. Read Aloud Video- I'm afraid I've gotten my kids to love the YouTube Spotlight (my videos average 9 views each!). So I'm going to have them pick a story with 3-4 characters and a narrator. They'll each have parts and we'll practice and put together a video reading the story.

14. Cursive Skeleton- Described in Tiny Art Room.

15. Hangman!!- Again, on paper, on the Roku, I'm SURE there are apps, and I think there's even a board game.

16. Story Cubes- you can buy them on Amazon. We have the 3 main varieties, but I'm seeing there's an even bigger set. If you are feeling crafty or can't afford them, I've actually made my own before. I wish I could remember why. They were so cute!! You can do story stones that you make yourself as well.

17. Once Upon A Time- Ok, listen to me here. You have to buy the BASE GAME before the expansion packs. I accidentally didn't buy them in the right order. This is better for the older kids or fast readers. Pretty much, everyone has some cards and an ending. Your objective is to make it to your ending but the story you tell gets interrupted and changed and passed along as it goes on.

18. Art Journal Prompt- We'll be using journal prompts through the year anyway, but I love the idea of making a few of them flashy!! Like this one at Musings from the Middle School, This Sketch Page, This Picture Page,  This Currently Page, or this Gratitude Page.

19. Letter Writing- This is old fashioned, back to basics, send it with a stamp letter writing. Everything will be supplied from addresses to stamps to washi tape. I might even have a little set up- how cute would that be?! Because it's not something my kids are as familiar with as I wish I could brag, I'll probably write a big sample letter on my huge giant lined paper.

20. Facebook Character Page-  It's a cute printout from the Middle School Abyss!

21. Road Trip ABCs- We have a song we sing and it goes like this, "I'm going on a road trip and I'm taking-" The first person picks something that starts with A, like Ariel. So they would say, "I'm going on a road trip and I'm taking Ariel." The next person repeats the line then adds something that starts with B. "I'm going on a road trip and I'm taking Ariel and BB8." Everybody takes a turn, then starts over. You go through the whole alphabet and it gets pretty funny! And you don't have to say road trip. You could be going to the Zoo or to Grandma's House or "I'm sitting in my living room thinking about..." or "Last night I dreamt I had a....." Creativity, people! You've got it!!

22. 5 Letters Above Me- This actually started as a Facebook Game that bored adult women would play. 5 letters are presented, such as ASDJK and the next person has to use those 5 letters in order to form some semblance of a sentence. Grammar rules go out the window when answers are like, "Ask Sister Doughtry. Just Kidding." or "All small doors jump kindly." Once you have said your "sentence" you get to present the next 5 letters.

23. Mad Libs- Need I say more?

24. Instructions- Have your kid write down instructions on something they are good at that someone in the house is not familiar with. My oldest, it would be Minecraft. One kid, it might be how to draw something. For me it would be something on photoshop or how to use Manual mode on a camera. Then, you test it out. Give your instructions to someone else and let them follow them with NO input from you. What do you need to change? Clarify? Do you need to have a glossary or image to go with it?

25. Poetry Cafe- Let's face it. I'm double dipping on this one!!! I have a Poetry Cafe set up in the Continent Box I'm working on and the week we are ready for that is the same week this will be in our morning basket. On that week, each kid will find a favorite poem, write a poem, and bake a treat. We'll be inviting at least one other family over (Hi, Megan!!!) to do the same. Each kid (and parent) will take turns sharing their poetry. Treats will be served between poems, I think...

26. Bucket Lists- That's right. Time to write them. You can draw them. You can bullet them. You can give clues or add photos. Whatevs.

27. Vocabulary Stories- I'm still working on this one. When I was in 9th grade, my English teacher told us this story to help us remember the meaning of the word Felicity.Something about Fill A City with love. I thought he said he had a book or something like that with more words (I want to say he told a story about Heresy and drew a Hershey bar as part of that, but it could also be my imagination ). Anyway, I found one version of it, thanks to the LDS Homeschool group, found HERE, but I also asked one of my other High School English teachers if he knew what I was talking about and he said he'd ask Mr. Perez for me. Here's hoping he remembers....

28. Story Mesh- For this, you'd assign each kid a crucial PART of the story, be it setting, protagonist, antagonist, or plot twist. They all work separately, then bring their part together and make a story putting together their parts.

29. Book Page Poetry Art- I'm not going to explain much, I'm just going to show you EXAMPLE after EXAMPLE after EXAMPLE after EXAMPLE after EXAMPLE after EXAMPLE after EXAMPLE after EXAMPLE after EXAMPLE. I will note- please read the whole page before you give it to your kids..... Just saying.

30. Biography Poem- Lots of specific options here, too. Pretty much, you have an outline that everyone has to follow, but they do it about them. I think I like this one best

31. Word Search- You could either print out one about something they like or have THEM create their own using spelling words or just words they like. Totally up to you. If they make them, have their siblings do them!

32. Favorite Book Guessing Game- Individually and secretly, talk to each kid. Have them put their favorite book in a brown paper bag and either make items from that book or write clues on index cards about that book. For example, see if you can guess *mine. Ready? In my bag, I'd have the book, a small box, gray dot stickers, gold star stickers, a wooden doll (like the ones artists use), a hammer, a tiny green hat..... Did you guess it?! 20 cool points if you did! If not, I'll put the answer at the bottom of the post.
If it were my **husband's, his bag would contain a pair of nail clippers, pens, comb, a glass of milk (or fake milk, whatevs), Scotch tape, and a cookie. If you don't know that one, I don't know if we can be friends anymore. Regardless, the answer is at the bottom of the page.

33. Idiom Games- Idioms are SO MUCH FUN!!! You can either print out idiom cards, like THESE or give the kids paper and have them DRAW the idioms, like here. You can also find idiom task cards. How cute are these Clip and Flip cards?!

34. Homophones- These always make me chuckle, too. For this, download this FREE puzzle template. Open it and print out several of the 2 pc puzzles. One one puzzle piece either write the word or draw a picture of the word using the first spelling. One the second puzzle piece, write or draw the other spelling of the word that sounds the same. Please tell me that made sense.....

35. Backwards Movies- This one might be a challenge, but has the potential to be EPIC. I saw this thing on Pinterest once (shocker, I know) that said, "If you watch Jaws backwards, it's about a shark who throws up so many people that they have to open a beach." I can't TELL you how much this made me laugh. I'd like to see what my kids come up with. INSPIRATION FOUND HERE. 
To do this, I think I'd have them write down the basic plot lines of their chosen movies. Let's take Mulan for example. My cards would say things like:
Only Daughter messes up Matchmaker Interview
Leaves Home.
Finds a Dragon
Conceals Identity
Is Clumsy
Saves a Handsome Man
Shunned for Being a Girl
Saves China at a Parade

Then I'd reverse them.

Then try to be clever-
If you watch Mulan backwards, It's about a girl who leaves a parade early to reverse an avalanche and pick up rice. When she gets bored of that, she ditches her dragon friend and is mean to the Matchmaker.

Funny? Don't answer that. I don't know if I want the truth. I totally did that on the spot here, though.....

36. Family History Stories- Have your kids transcribe stories that you tell or grandparents tell and keep them in a safe place to remember for their future generations.

*My favorite picture book is You Are Special.- watch it on YouTube
** Roger's favorite picture book is If You Give A Mouse A Cookie- watch it on YouTube

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Morning Basket Math Plan

Like I said in the last post, I was totally inspired by Your Morning Basket's podcast about Math Activities. It was so freeing when she said that the math you do in the morning should be fun and doesn't have to tie directly into any kind of curriculum. So, I scoured Pinterest and also came up with a few things of my own. We'll only do these once a week and if they have stuff in them, it'll sit in the basket all week, I think. That part is to be determined.

Ps- I don't get paid for any of the affiliate links.... I kind of feel like I should set it up so I do, but as of right now, it's just one more thing to do.

Here is my weekly PLAN (remember, this is just a plan. Things will change, I'm sure). If I ever get the time/energy/desire to make these all cute, I might put them up for sale on Teachers Pay Teachers. I haven't ever done that, but I love the site, so why not?

There are 36 weeks in our school year. These are the orders I wrote things down, not necessarily the order I'll do them in. Ready? Ok!

1. Area Dice Roll- Get out graph paper. Roll two dice. Use the first one for the length and the second one for the width. Turn it into a rectangle. Find out the area. Color it in. Fill the entire  graph paper.

2. Tenzi- Instructions to play HERE but we use this set of dice so everyone can have their own color.

3. Geo Boards- I actually found a cute little instruction on how to do a travel one, but for our morning basket, I plan on making one like this one on Little Bins for Little Hands . Totes adorbs, am I right?

4. $100 Word Challenge- I orginally was going to make my own and draw it big on my special big paper- and I still might draw it there, but you can get it for free here at TpT!

5. Tanagrams! I don't really need to say more, do I? I plan on buying mine at Amazon, unless I run out of money, then I'll use the old Discovery Toys Playful Patterns game I got at the thrift store for $2 several years ago. I went to the Dollar Store and got foam paper and made new shapes to go with it. They don't even make the game the same way anymore. It's all fancified now.

6. Race to $.25- I googled this a second ago and found that there are many different versions. The one I plan on using is found at Mrs Prince and Co.

7. Multiplication Squares- Games 4 Gains has a free printable and I think my kids will love!

8. Math Dice Game- according to the blog I got this from, if you buy this brand of dice, the basic instructions come with it. I inherited the dice, so I don't have them, but Think Fun Math Dice does have the instructions. What We Do All Day also has a second game you can play with them.

9. K'Nex Angles- This one was kind of tricky. The link that I found it on was pretty much a dead link. So I had to do some digging, but in doing so, found This K'Nex Math Curriculum. I'm SO going to be using that! Page 18 has what you're looking for on this one, though. Oh, and you might need some K'Nex. ;)

10. Pattern Block Fraction Math- I still need to buy pattern blocks. Again, I could probably use the foam ones I need, but it's been a secret lifelong dram of mine to have the classic wooden ones that I played with when I was in 3rd grade.... This particular activity looked like so much fun, though!

11. Less Than Alligators- There is a blog post about it from Doodle Bugs with a link to her TpT store.

12.  Kaboom- apparently this game is super cool because you can fit it to your any need. We will be using it for basic math facts, like, all 4 of the basics because we have that many kids. Instructions on how to make the game can be found here at 5th Grade Rocks.

13. Popsicle Stick Shapes- I don't have a lot of info on this, but it's pretty self explanatory. You take as many popsicle sticks as there are to the sides of shape you want (ie, 3 for triangles, 4 for squares, etc). Paint the sticks to match. On one side, write the number of sides (3, 4, etc) and on the main part, write the name of the shape. You can see a picture HERE to see what I'm talking about, but you have to scroll down to the 4th activity. The link it goes to is dead.

14. Door Angles- This one looked pretty fun! #15 is from the same site as well, but at Middle School Math Man, they have some fun activities. You'll need washi tape for this one. I would use sticky notes to put the correct angle down, but that's just me.

15. Angle Tape- From the same link, I don't have a big enough white board, but I've got plenty of really big boards around the house that will work. I'll just have to bust out the sticky notes instead of writing on the wood.

16. Math Facts Walk- this will be nice as my kids are learning 3 different things at the moment... I COULD have them race, but I'm afraid that would end in a fight.

17. Fibonacci Number Exploration-  Doodling In Math has some cool videos about this.

18. Mobius Strip Hearts- Not going to lie, I'll probably make sure this actually DOES happen in February.

19. Fish Tessellation- Why'd I pick a fish one? I mean, come on? Do I need to answer that? Thanks to Art Projects For Kids for this one!

20. Pi City- I've actually done that one before. So you print out Pi for as much as you want. Then you get graph paper. And I'll let What We Do All Day explain the rest.

21. Spirolaterals- I may be on a What We Do All Day kick, but have you SEEN their genius stuff?! It's amazing and I could never come up with that kind of stuff on my own.

22. Fibonacci Circles- I know I already did a Fibonacci thing, but this one looked like so much fun. Guess where I got the idea from? Oh, you did guess What We Do All Day? Well done, friend, well done.

23. Lego Game-  There are TONS of math things you can do with Legos, but I just wanted to pick one, so I chose this one from Teach With Laughter.  I'll be altering it to fit my kids' needs, of course.

24. Lego Classification- I did stay with the Lego theme for one more activity, though, and that was for this cool Lego Classification Set by Life Over C's.

25. Measuring Race- I got the basic idea from this from that Podcast I was telling you about, but I kind of ran with it. For my kids, I'll give them each a ruler and tell them a measurement, say, an inch. Then they will have a time limit to find as many things that measure that as possible and bring them back. We'll make sure there are no duplicates and record the answers! Depending on time, we'll stick with one measurement or we'll do several.

26. Popcorn Math Review- the reason I'm so excited about this one is that we can cover ALL the review stuff for ALL the kids' ages!! Relief Teaching Ideas is where I found this one!

27.  Time Puzzles- Found these puzzles- pretty simple concept, picture of the clock on one side, time it tells on the other.

28. Cup Stacking Mean, Medium, and Mode- I had to read this a few times because this is one of the concepts that I don't understand very well. Hubby still might have to help with it, but I think it would make him feel special anyway. I just love the idea that it is hands on, creative, and competitive. All kids will have their own stack.

29. Math Facts Baseball- I just love everything about this!!!

30. Grocery Ad Rounding- For this, you take ads from your local store and give the kids a shopping list. They find the items and round them to the nearest dollar. Add up their totals to estimate their "shopping trip." You could also gave them plan a menu using mainly items on sale or give them a specific recipe. Totally whatever floats your boat. You could ALSO compare ads.

31. Place Value Ice Cream- pretty simple. Miss Giraffe's Class put this one together and it's super adorable!!

32. Pizza Builders- I found this cute pizza activity, but realized it wasn't everything I wanted. I will still be purchasing that, but taking it one step further. I'm going to put a price with every pizza part- examples: crust $1.00, sauce $.50, mushrooms $.05 each, pepperoni $.01 each. For most of the kids, they will follow the recipes included in the printout kit and will have to find the total each pizza "costs." For the older kids, I think I will have them also figure out how to best distribute the toppings. Who knows, that part is just a maybe.

33. Multiplication War- Played similar to classic war, this one each player plays 2 cards at a time and multiplies them. Whoever has the highest product wins. I think it would be fun that if you get a war, you put your 3 cards down face up, and find the average of them. Highest average wins. BOOM, that part just came to me RIGHT now.

34. Wish List Price Check- I've already given my kids an opportunity to write down the things they'd like to put on their wish lists and how much they cost in an effort to encourage saving their money. This activity takes it a smidgen further, though, and gives the kids the big 'ol holiday catalogs. They get to cut out EVERYTHING they want and write down the price, then total 'em up.

35. Million Dollar Project- When we did this in Jr High, it was actually a really big deal and took like, a week. In case you don't know how it works, you "give" each kid $1,000,000 even if it's just written on the paper. The kids get to "spend" it however they want. It's nice to give them a real world idea how much things cost. To speed this process up, I think I'll give my kids must have items- house, car, education, etc.

36. Games- we won't play all these games at once, but if there are any of these on the list that I just don't get around to doing or if I want to do stuff over holiday breaks, my kids LOVE games. Our favorites are Numbers League, Pay Day, Monopoly, Farkle, Speed, Spit, Yahtzee, Monopoly Deal, and Uno. We have Sumoku  but don't know how to play it. On our list of possibilities are Money Bags, Rush Hour, Say Cheese,  Dino Tracks,  and Monopoly Jr., and Blink.

Anywho- whether or not this helped you, it was nice for me to have it all spelled out with links for when I lose them. :D

What we are up to

When I first started our homeschool journey, I was fascinated with The Power of an Hour by Donna Goff. I loved the way it was set up, the things learned, everything about it. Unfortunately, I couldn't afford it at first and then we tried a trial and guess what- for as AMAZING as it still is, it didn't fit with our schedules/needs/ADHD. I was so sad about this. If you don't have kids with ADHD and you have the time, you should totally look into it!!

A friend and I got together and used the basic set up of Power of an Hour and created our own for the second half of the school year. I'm not sure how it worked for her, but I learned that I had packed TOO much into it and expected too much out of my kids for that time. Again, ADHD plays a big part in that. I've been kind of frustrated about all of this because I STILL feel like that time in the morning and those mini lessons are important.

Skip ahead a bit to my awesome friend, Kellie. She was telling me about these podcasts she loves. One of them is called Your Morning Basket. I am silly and listened to the last one first, about math, and instantly got some GREAT ideas. I realized what I needed to do for my family. I needed to have SHORT morning time. I needed to not be doing all the talking. And it needed to be fun. I didn't even finish the whole episode (KIDS!) and already felt inspired and I can't wait to listen to all her episodes. In the next couple of blog posts, I'll be posting our preliminary schedule. I still need to come up with a way to make all the activities ahead of time and store them all so when the right week is upon me, I don't forget Sunday night and can instead just pull down the right basket/box/container. But, one step at a time.

Monday, July 11, 2016

An experiment...

One thing most homeschoolers know is that housework and chores become part of your homeschool day. This has always been a relief to me and a frustration all at once. I have listened to presentations and lectures about different ways to do this and there are a few things required for most of these that we don't have here: Cooperation between siblings, respect for parents, kids without ADHD and ODD. Mostly the last one. Don't get me wrong, my kids most certainly have chores, but they take extra time finding ways to do the least amount of work done and still get a reward.

I was talking to a friend recently about this conundrum and she told me what her family does. It's GENIUS, I tell you! I decided to start it with my munchkins. I have found that they work far better with me in the room than when left to their own devices, so I'm in on this, too.

Here's everything you need:

A bucket or cup or jar or something that fits popsicle sticks in it
A bag- I went to the Dollar Store for pencil bags (2 for $1! Score!)
Popsicle Sticks
Washi Tape (one color or pattern per room or subject you'd like represented)

Here's how it works:
First, my kids and I each pick a reward stick

I will be adding more to these so that we have a bit more variety- things like "Stay up extra 15 min" or "Get an extra library book" or "Double the Points"

Note about points: Points are our rewards/currency system. They earn points by doing stuff (chores, schoolwork, going to bed without being told 50 billion times to stop talking, etc) and lose them by being naughty (hitting, pushing, or being told 50 billions to stop talking when they go to bed). They cash them in for video game time, double votes on movie nights, Pokemon Cards, or other rewards.

The rule is you can't complain about anybody else's reward or you forfeit yours. Example, if Kid A picks the Pandora station and kid B picks 1 on 1 Mom and Dad time, but Kid B freaks out that Kid A picked Imagine Dragons Radio AGAIN, then Kid B loses his reward, but will still get the points he earns by doing his chore.

Once you've picked a reward stick, you pick a daily stick.

These are chores that you don't have to do with the family, but must get done before cashing in points (except like, diaper duty and helping with dinner- those can wait if everything else is done).

Then you decide what rooms need to be done that day. Some of these can be done daily, others don't need it that often. 

I have Kitchen

Notice the double colored ones- those are for dishes days.


Dining Room:

Basement/Play Room:

Living Room:

And finally, once a week chores:
Sorry they are hard to read. These ones say "doors, yard, sweep stairs, gather clothes, hall walls."

Today we tried the living room (kitchen chores had already been done). It could have gone better, but I was pretty impressed with it. The kids all agreed to give it a solid week or positive effort, then we'll reassess later. Here's hoping I helped you somehow!!

Friday, July 8, 2016

Lighthouse Stick Craft

I have been putting together a packet of cute crafts I've found on the internet about lighthouses. I saw a pretty piece of art on Etsy that inspired me. I would show it to you, but I can't find it ANYwhere anymore. It was more of an adult piece of artwork, so I knew it wouldn't appeal much to my kids, but the idea stuck with me. Here is what I decide to make instead:

Cute, right?! I like it, anyway.
Here's what you need:

Hot Glue Gun
Small Sticks

Here's how:
First thing you do is sketch out what you want your lighthouse to look like. Do you want your stripes horizontal? Vertical? Diagonal? I decided on diagonal and wrote in each of the spaces of my sketch which color I wanted them to be.

Next, fit your sticks. You might want to have a wire cutter, tree trimmer, or pocketknife available for the adults to help using. Cut your sticks down to size to fit inside your sketch.

Now it's time to get messy! Paint your sticks and let them dry, then place them again inside your sketch.

This was the tricky part. I didn't want sketch marks on my paper, so I would take one section of sticks off my paper (say, a red stripe), erase the marks that could be seen there, then glue the sticks into place. I did this section by section on my paper.

Let it set, then you are done!!

Unfortunately, the kids weren't as excited as I was. My 10 year old gave it a great effort, but was trying to hurry so she could just paint. I clearly do not let the kids paint often enough!

The 4 year old just wanted to paint, and then the 10 year old painted as well.

Enjoy! I'd love to see your work if you do this. It validates my entire existence. ;)

Continent Box Prep

I'm currently putting together a giant set of Continent Boxes for my kids. These started like the Montessori ones, but my ADHD brain was not content to just sit with that. These boxes will cover multiple age groups and be set up so they can be used year after year. Believe you me when I say that there will be some mega posts about them later. If you're curious, I do have a video outlining some of my ideas.

Right now, I'm just doing North America and praying/hoping that the other boxes are easy to adapt all my info from. I've spent a ridiculous amount of hours on this. Far more than 100, I'm sure. I will have a lot of this available for other people's use as well. Free at first so people can test it, then I'm hoping to put it up on Teachers Pay Teachers.

A few things I've been working on:

Art Projects

Math Word Problems

Lists of Resources

Stay tuned for more!!