Thursday, January 6, 2011

Rough couple of days.....

Granted we aren't feeling 100% yet but the "get back into the school - groove thing" was NOT working too well the past two days. It really bugged me because I was introducing some new things to give The Red Ranger more control over how he learns so that mom isn't (Ahem) "so bossy"......figured he will get more of a chance to control his own destiny with these ideas but we were butting heads enough that we both needed a couple of 5 minute time-outs in our corners. How do I handle those moments? Simple, I set the microwave timer to 5 minutes and we both don't talk to each other until we hear it go off. Then, we meet back at the table and pick up where we were before we had to re-group. I'm not exactly sure what he does during those 5 minutes (but its a NO tv, game, etc. time) but me.....I hide my face in both hands and do what Drew Barrymore does in the movie Ever After - 'just breathe'............great movie by the way, a version of Cinderella and never talked about enough.
Remember what I said before.....less stress this year!!!

Back to The Red Ranger controlling his own destiny.....
We've had this in place from last year and it was a nice chance of getting an "out" of a particular lesson/worksheet he really just couldn't bear to do. In our folder system which looks like this:
We have what we call a "bump" folder, it goes in the very top pocket when in use (Its actually a Transformers folder!). The idea of the "bump" is simply we come to let's say a math worksheet that he can't bear to do, he is allowed to "bump" one thing per day into the "bump" folder to be done the next school day. The catch is that it must be done before any of the other folders on the next school day we have. He also is allowed to swap the lesson in the folder if during the day he finds something else he wants to do even less than that 'math worksheet' used above, he can take out the math worksheet add the other item to the "bump" folder and the math worksheet then must be done.
Only one thing a day can be bumped.

The new thing I just introduced him too was this -
The only reason we are calling it this is because we are using the spinner from our Twister Scram game for the
This is how it works. For each day that The Red Ranger has a 'good day' he gets a ticket/token to be used in the future. At the moment we are only using it for math, spelling and vocabulary but may expand it if it works out really well. If we happen to be doing a math or spelling lesson that he thinks is "boring" he may use one of his tickets to spin The Twister Scrambler, depending on the color the spinner lands on he plays a math or spelling game instead of the normal lesson in his folder that day.
We broke it down this way:
MATH: Yellow = toss across math, Green = file folder games, Blue = bag math or pizza fraction bingo, Red = dominoes or card games.
SPELLING: Yellow = match game, Green = sandwich game, Blue = scrabble slam card game, Red = letter spell.
Math -
Dominoes and card games are really simple for using for math lessons. Draw so many cards (depending on your child's age) add/subtract/multiply/mix them as is or use each separate card as a digit in a larger problem. He then writes the problems out on his dry erase board and does them.
File folder games are either ones we've made or have picked up along the way and he can choose any of them in the subject to play. Two come to mind right away, "Place Value Picnic" and " Take it to the Bank" both $ store buys.
Bag math is using the bags of manipulatives that have been premade and using those bags for the math problems.
Toss Across Math - I took his Toss Across game and re-purposed it for math by using those clear photo corners from my scrapbook desk and index cards. On the index cards I write numbers that get get placed over the "X" and "O"'s of the game (they can be removed if we go back to playing the Toss Across game), I also place a math symbol at the top so that he knows what problems he's doing or we agree to do 5 of this or that.
Match game is simply a memory game for his 10 spelling words each week, we use Scrabble Slam for spelling his words and also for changing them from one to the other, letter spell is using our regular Scrabble set and any other letters in the house for spelling the weekly words. The sandwich game is using cards that look like bread, meats, lettuce, tomato, cheese, etc. to spell out his words.
For Vocabulary its mainly the match game until I can think of something else. I'm trying to think of a way to use our new Syllable Rally game for vocab., I'll most likely have to make up my own cards each month for it.
We'll be adding more to the rotation as we come across games or make up new ones ourselves. Here are some pictures of some of the games we use.

Now for some pictures of our Morning Meeting boards -

 The stand up pocket easels hold spelling word index cards, numbers/days of the week/special dates for the calendar, consonant/vowel tags and letters index cards.

 For Geography he identifies and colors the US state on a blank map sheet, which will also be updated later with capital cities, birds, flowers, flags, etc. for each state. For the world we are doing continents and oceans, which will then be expanded on with countries within, rivers, etc.

In these two pictures you can just barely make out a green sheet that is a monthly calendar that we record daily weather and temps on for graphing at the end of the month. We also have the cloud identifier and season spinner.
I tell you kids clothes hangers and clothespins really come in handy!

We had today off because Daddy was off from work but back at it its supposed to snow a bit. If you have any questions about anything on the boards feel free to ask away, hopefully when we play the games above I can take some pictures and expand on how they are played.

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  1. This is a neat post. I always like to see a break down of what others are doing. Thank you for sharing, especially the photos as I am a visual person.

  2. Great post Dawn! I like your 5 minute time out rule, but I think I would be spending all my time in time out and not teaching at all :) ( I butt heads with my oldest especially!) :(
    Your charts are wonderful and remind me of a "real" classroom setting :) I am a visual person also so your pictures are helpful and fun to look at! Thanks for linking up this post to No Ordinary Blog Hop!

  3. Dawn, I simply love the idea of your 'bump' folder!! And I've known for awhile now the I need to implement that timer thing into out daily routine and simple keep putting it off for whatever reason. But I am actually going to buy one today, thanks to your great post.

    Have a great weekend!
    Stop by my blog if you get a chance, it's not about home schooling, because I dont :( but I hope you'll follow me back anyways :0


  4. I'm a new follower from the blog hops I'd love for you to follow back @

  5. It all looks so busy and organized and COLORFUL!

    sometimes even good changes take a while for kids/people to get used ti-
    I hope it all works out well for a less-stress-year!

  6. Thanks for linking up to the NOBH. I love seeing how other people's classroom look like:) I butt heads with my oldest and we also go to our separate corners for a few minutes in order to regroup. Works most day:)

  7. Love your bump system and your new idea for keeping it fun and interesting and like you said to help him feel more in control of what he's doing. Awesome take! Hang in there, you're doing an amazing job! BTW saw your tweet so I stopped by :)