Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Supplemental Activities for "Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons"

I have mentioned before, (here, and here ),how much I love the reading program "Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons".  With my own kids in mind, I created some additional supplemental worksheets to go along with it.  Because we needed some things like this:

And some things like this:

And even some things like this:

So, we have Phonics printable packets that look like this:

These packets are intended to be used alongside the Distar Reading program, "Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons" and each packet includes everything needed for supplementing when you are following through the lessons in order.  So, when you have finished lesson 25, you will be ready for everything included in the After Twenty-Five packet.

We have created packets up to Lesson 50 at this point, and each of these packets are now available in a bundled packet here in our store.  

 I love the comfortable intimacy of sitting down on the couch to read with my son.  I love the ease of reading through the daily lesson.  And I love the overall sense of it.  It just breaks down "Reading" into this easily understandable activity.  And the pictures and stories in the book help it stay fun.

The book's authors suggest that it is a stand alone program (and it is!) and that the only other materials you will need are a pencil and paper, to write out the sounds for writing practice.  This is true, you don't need anything more than the book to teach your child to read.  But, since my children love crafts and getting to put their knowledge of their learning to work, I decided to make a collection of worksheets, activities and crafts (about 25 items) called "After Five Phonics", as a Set to supplement the first 5 lessons of  "...100 Easy Lessons".

And then, I completed another similar collection called "After Ten Phonics", with another 25 activities and worksheets.

When I used this program before, I wanted practice sheets for the writing part of the program. If you are familiar with "How to Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons", you'll remember that sound introduction happens in a  different order than the ABC's are usually introduced.  But even the way the sound for "A" is introduced is a challenge, as in the "100 Easy Lessons" book, it looks different than most lowercase A's do in Kindergarten workbooks.  And what I really wanted, was something more like this:

Sample worksheet from the "After Five" packet

So now I have it.  With nice colorful imagery, in case someone wants to print it out, laminate it and reuse it over and over (which would really be helpful).  I also included black and white options for those who prefer to print these out at home without using up their color cartridges:

Sample worksheet from the "After Ten" packet

Now these are lovely additions.  But the teacher side of me kicked in and whispered, "You know, some supplemental activities that added more sound/letter recognition would be really nice..."  So I made some of this:

And then added some of this (mixing in some shapes and color practice):

And then I remembered how I used this program for teaching in a combined classroom, and I REALLY wanted some nice colorful I made some of these:

And then, because I know how my kids want crafty stuff every once in awhile, just to keep it all interesting, I added a little of this sort of thing:

If you're not exactly sure what you're looking at there, that is a "Mat the Rat" craft, from one of my freebie reading stories.  This one here, in fact:

You can download this free reading story, along with four others, right here.

And speaking of my store, that's where you can find all the supplements mentioned above!

Monday, June 22, 2015

Big & Little Concept Teaching Packet AND Read Aloud Video Available

We showed you a teaser of the Caedyn, Big & Little book earlier in the year, here:

But now, we're excited to announce that the "Caedyn, Big & Little" teaching packet is available on our Teachers Pay Teachers store.  Yay!  It's right here:
We also have a FREE video download of "Caedyn, Big & Little".  Here is a sample:

The video is available in our store, (Did I mention it is FREE?) right here:
And if you would like to preview the entire video before purchasing (totally understandable), then you can view it on YouTube here:

The packet with all of its wonderful activities and reading literacy worksheets, and even a personalized version of the Caedyn, Big and Little story, is all ready to go in one nice easily downloadable bundle for $5.00. 

In the packet that is available for purchase, there is a personalized version of the story for both boys and girls, and reading literacy activities that coincide with the story.

This is a great way to introduce your preschooler to making their own book.  After reading the story, "Caedyn, Big and Little", or watching the video of it, your child can make their own "Big & Little" book.

So Melissa can make "Melissa, Big & Little", with a girl character, colored to look like Melissa.

And Lee can make "Lee, Big & Little" with a boy character colored to look like Lee. 

In addition, each child can do the activities that Caedyn does in the book:

Cut out Shapes...

Put together the Farm Puzzle...

Write their Name...

And organize things by shape, both "Big" and "Little"...

 and "Large" and "Small"...

We're really excited about sharing this packet and are looking forward to doing more things like this that both our children and yours may benefit from.

We hope you have a ton of fun with "Caedyn, Big & Little"!

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Making Minions Happen

Have you seen those giant wall stickers?  More like wall murals?  Most are quite expensive.  Once they're on the wall,there's this feeling of permanence (until of course you move or decide to paint over everything.

Well, we like having stuff on our walls, especially color, but living in a rental where paint is not allowed has forced us to come up with other creative ways to do things.  And I'm really glad!  Because I love what we came up with here in my son's room.

Caedyn likes Minions.  And he likes Legos.  There was an outward argument he had with himself of about 5 minutes in length for him to decide which decor he wanted to go with.  He really wanted to Legos, to be honest.  But the Lego decor that's available is pricey and so over-saturated with so many bright colors, that I admit, we distracted him.  We suggested Minions AND Legos.  You may remember this post here:

Notice that those Lego brick shelves are painted in nice Minion yellow with a contrasting blue.

And we suggested, "Hey, maybe the Minions are building Legos in their laboratory."  I think that was the convincing argument. 

Anyway, here's how we did it.

We began with a pair of window shades.  This was a freebie offered on craigslist, but I'm sure you can pick them up new at stores or online, too.

One of these shades went under Mystery's bed for Breezie's little sanctum.  We haven't quite finished it, but here is a sneak peek:

The other, we hung up under Caedyn's bed, and I have been staring at it periodically, trying to figure out how to turn it into Gru's lab, and ignoring it the rest of the time.   It worried me.  I'm not that good at creating techy looking stuff as artwork.  It's not my forte, so to speak.  Give me fantasy mountains and unicorns basking in rainbow mists, and I will happily go off with paintbrush or pen and create a masterpiece.  Give me a laboratory and I stare at a white canvas for months, feeling glum.  Truth.

I say all that to comfort those who might feel that way about any kind of painting.  The important thing is to finally get brave enough to slap some paint on, and then just keep working with it.

 I began (finally) with a wash of blue.  Two blues, one darker, one lighter.    I used those cheap little craft acrylics, and it didn't take much.  My paintbrush was either my finger, or a bunched up paper towel, because that seemed to spread the paint around on the canvas best of all.

Then, I made the pipes out of gray, and added some blue detail to make it feel like it's all lit with a blue light.  The lighting at the bottom is from a gold that seemed to work well.  

A close up shows that my painting isn't perfect: I'm a little sloppy, in fact.  The truth is that it isn't the paint job that makes the laboratory look great.  It's the minions.  And we bought those from Amazon here:

They were $6.00 for the set of 5.  That's pretty good. 

They're also a nice (slightly) transparent sticker, so some of the colors from my background filtered through to the minions, making them feel like they're in the same lighting and like they belong in the scene. 

You can do this, people!  And it doesn't have to cost over $100 to make it happen. 

Now...if I can just find some Lego wall stickers to add in here and there...

Sunday, June 7, 2015

DIY Lego Pinata

Anyone else have a hard time paying over $30.00 for a pinata that a bunch of blindfolded children are going to whack to kingdom come in less than 30 minutes?  I admit:  I do!  Especially when a pinata is such a delightfully simple thing to make.  Especially a Lego Brick Pinata!

 So, if you have a youngster in your home who loves legos and who has a birthday soon approaching, as we do...well, then here you go!

Your do it yourself material list for this one is relatively easy to gather:

An empty shoebox, with two holes cut in one end.  

A couple of toilet paper tubes, or a paper towel tube, or foam tubes (we used these last).
A length of sturdy rope

I've mentioned how easy paper mache is to prepare in a previous blog, here: 
(We made Sir Reginald Binky, our faux deer bust out of that and a few balloons.)  But if you need a refresher, here it is: 

For a perfectly excellent paper mache mixture, you simply mix flour and water together into a gooey, somewhat watery mess and then run pieces of newspaper through it, getting rid of excess so that it will dry more swiftly. 

That's pretty much all we did here.

Toilet paper tubes or foam tubing (which is what we used) work for the bumpy parts of the lego.  Just make sure your paper mache is covering all of it. 

Let it dry on that side, then turn it over and fill it with candy and toys (A 2 pound bag ordered from Amazon filled ours to the brim).

We inserted the rope through the two holes in our shoebox, and knotted it securely inside.  Then we paper mached the back of the box, also. Add a coat of paint...and Voila!

This pinata is ready to be destroyed!  Bring on the small children in blindfolds ready to wallop something hard with a good bat!  And for me, one more birthday to-do is checked off the list.  :)