Sunday, May 4, 2014

Random Notes from My Desk

Our school year is over and I'm cleaning out the classroom so that we can paint and begin rearranging bedrooms to make room for the baby.  I've got random notes and things on my desk that need filing or tossing.  Some of the notes I want to hold on to for later reference but not necessarily keep the paper.  I figured I'd share those with you so that you might use them too!  I'll update this list as I go through this pile.  It may take me a few days as I'm only working in spare time.

199 Fun Family Activities-  A great book of fun family activities!  I got this book as a free book from the christian bookstore when I purchased other books from the clearance table.  I know it's easy to come up with fun stuff for the family but I thought that this book may have some things I hadn't thought of.  IT DOES!!!!  From outside activities to fun ideas for getting everyone involved with household chores, this book is a great little find.  
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An Email from a friend with websites and info for helping my kids with speech problems-  

      For instruction to make specific sounds, try these:  www.rachelsenglish.com  www.soundsofenglish.org

      There are also some excellent YouTube videos...  You can type in "how to make the s and z sound" and all kinds of things will pop up.  There are lots of ways to make the sound, so you might have to try a few before he gets it.  There are also developmental ages for each sound and that is easy to access also.
      The site that speech therapists love the most to purchase all kinds of wonderful things is www.superduper.com.  They have so much neat stuff and wonderful games for learning vocabulary and enhancing reading skills.

      There is a book you can get from Amazon called "The Road to the Land of S"...  It's a drillbook to help you learn to make good S and Z sounds.  I personally don't teach in drill, because we don't talk in drill.  I would rather teach the sound while teaching a learning skill.  It gives the need to produce the sound more importance.  

      These are some websites that I love, love, love:
            www.zacbrowser.com  (This website was developed in England where their incidence of autism is much higher than ours).  This site was developed by mothers of autistic children, but I use it with all of my students.  They love it and so do their parents.  Once it pulls up, they can get on it without messing up your desktop or getting to your settings.  You hit Ctl-L to get back to your normal desktop.  Down at the bottom you will see a row of icons... a tv, aquarium, soccer ball, and stuff like that.  It takes you to different activities.  The movie selection and tv section have a lot of phonics clips that are wonderful.  There is a game section with a huge selection and the kids never get tired of it.  There is a stories section where actors read the stories out loud, LOVE IT!!!   There is a music section and a section for writing, which even includes a cute little squirt bottle to clean the board.  My grandkids love this site so much, they fight over the computer to get to it.

            www.zoodles.com accesses a wealth of sites and has tons of activities also, but I am partial to zacbrowser.  When X#X#X# was homeschooling C$C$C$C$, she preferred zoodles.

            www.educationworld.com  A ton of stuff on there for every grade and level.

            www.readwritethink.org  Love this site and use it often.  Just taught a wonderful unit on Letter Writing that went along with the book Santa Calls.

            www.topmarks.co.uk  This is a British site that is a lot like our pbskids.org.  It is wonderful and my students absolutely love it.  I screen some of the activities, because some of the British stuff can be a little "cheeky".

            www.tumblebooks.org  I access this through the Bossier Public Library website (also available in Caddo Parish and many other public libraries across the US).  It is an awesome resource.  They have books on all levels and it will read them out loud (good for modeling those target sounds and building vocabulary) or you can read them manually.  There is an amazing amount of books on this site and you will love it.

      I hope you like some of these.  I know the list is a little overwhelming, but I absolutely love using technology to teach and it is nice that I can access things that the parents use at home.  There is so much more to access now than there was when I homeschooled my children briefly.  All my homeschooling friends had was the library and educational supply stores that we couldn't afford.  
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Home Educating Family- a great magazine that an unknown friend gifted me with a subscription.  You can find more info at www.hedua.com

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Home Organization 101: A 14 Week program to get your home organized- this is a great tool that I found on www.abowlfulloflemons.blogspot.com  It goes through each room of your house, one a week, for 14 weeks.  You clear away clutter and work on organization.  There's a checklist for each week, instructions for cleaning that space and also a Cleaning Schedule with daily/weekly/monthly/semi-annually and annually chores.  I have a stack of about 6 different charts that I printed along with this.  There are no websites listed but I believe that I got them all from the same site.

      I have been working on getting our house in order but needed it done much more quickly than 14 weeks.  I joined a group on Facebook called 40 Bags in 40 Days that has been a great motivation for me to clear my clutter and organize my home.  I've been working for about 3 weeks and have made great progress.  Now I've got to maintain it and keep pressing forward to finish the house.  We have way too much stuff and need to clear out about half of it!!!

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Flylady.com This is one I've gone back and forth with for years.  It worked great before kids, decent after kids, I haven't found a way to make it work with homeschooling though.  It's been a few years since I've tried so once I have gotten our house settled from moving rooms around, I may give it another go.

      She has detailed cleaning lists for each room of your house and sends daily emails (this part drives me crazy) to encourage you to do the chore for that day.  She starts out with BabySteps to help you set up a routine and make it a habit.  It really is a great site and she has some really good tips.  It just seems hard to keep up with when you homeschool.  I find myself having to make the decision each day as to what needs more attention that day, school or house.  Her plan doesn't allow for skipping days though she does say just jump in right where you are that you are not behind.

      Like I said, I do want to try it again once we've finished our massive decluttering projects and moving the rooms around to accomodate the baby.

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Alright, that's it!  The desk is cleaned off.  Everything is filed away where it belongs.  I can see the surface again!!!  I hope that you are able to use some of the things that I have shared.  If you find great resources, please share them!!!

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