Archive for the ‘
Useful Resources (websites books etc) ’ Category
Monday, June 10th, 2013
Catch up with what’s free out on the web. Check for daily deals and freebies for homeschooling and teaching at these websites:
Free Homeschool Deals
Teaching with Cents
Surviving on a Teacher’s Salary
Teachers Pay Teachers – Has a huge selection of free resources created by teachers.
Get your homeschool life organized with free planners, calendars and more!
Donna Young homeschool planners, calendars, chore lists, attendance sheets and more
Get organized for Christmas — It’s not at all close to Christmas, but this website is so useful, I thought it was still worth a mention. It has free printables on any subject you need to get ready for the holiday season — gift lists, holiday budget, holiday cards, stocking stuffers, cleaning goals, and more!
If I plan to teach about a specific theme or topic I almost always start by searching these websites:
Making Learning Fun – Lots of free printables for tots, preschoolers and kindergarten.
Activity Village - They have craft ideas, coloring pages, printables for most any preschool, early elementary theme you can imagine! A wonderful resource
File Folder Fun – free file folder games for preschool through 3rd grade. There are games for the young ones on colors, number recognition, phonics, and get more complex in the older grades (skip counting, fractions, multiplication, history, science, language arts (punctuation, for example) and more.
Freebies from the Homeschool Den — I may as well mention my own freebies, right? I’ve shared everything from a free Rocks and Minerals packet and human body notebooking pages to grammar practice worksheets to preschool math practice, math game boards, fun multiplication sheets and more.
Free Preschool Materials and Resources:
- Free “Sam” Phonics Readers — 52 phonics readers shared by Dr. Marriot at his website. This beginning reading program was developed in 1977 and since it was federally funded, federal law requires that the program be placed in the public domain. I used the entire series with my preschooler last year. From there we went on to a wonderful program that we purchased called Primary Phonics Storybook Starter Sets. We started with 1 and 1A and continued up through set 6.
- Starfall: Free web-based learning website for kids. Wonderful games that build early reading skills. Learn letter sounds with these cute online activities/videos or learn to read with these easy online readers.
- 2 Teaching Mommies – Has a HUGE selection of preschool packs on a wide variety of topics. Their units includes animals, places, seasonal activities, the community, summer, All About Me and more.
- Confessions of a Homeschooler-Erica is always sharing great material from preschool and kindergarten printables (see her ABCs and 123s tab, for example) to menus and giveaways.
- PreKinders – Lots of free printables for preschoolers for playing math games, etc.
- 1+1+1– She offers wonderful preschool packs, Montessori printables, lapbooks and much more.
- Homeschool Creations – A huge variety of preschool printables such as the alphabet, preschool math and more.
Free Elementary Resource for Lapbooks:
Dynamic 2 Moms – This is a great site for homeschoolers in elementary school. They offer lots of free lapbook, notebook and unit studies materials. Topics include Ancient Civilizations, Daniel Boone, the Rainforest, Lewis and Clark, Westward Expansion, Carnivorous Plants, Toads and much more!
Free Math Resources:
- Timez Attack – This just has to go first in the list because this online game is so amazing! It’s a program for learning, review times tables from 2-12. The graphics are impressive. There’s a free version and a paid version.
- PEP: Multiple Ways Multiplication — free 295 page multiplication program that has kids skip counting, playing card games and filling out various multiplication sheets to learn the multiplication facts
- PEP: Acing Math, One Deck at a Time — card game ideas for K through gr. 5 using an ordinary deck of cards, 69 pages
- Mathwire.com – has wonderful, hands-on math activities to bring math to life. You can look up any number of themes (children’s books, holidays, animals, and on and on). Go browsing if you have the time!
- Dad’s Worksheets: Over 6,000 free math worksheets. You can print them or work online.
- Softschools — A place you can make free math worksheets -http://www.softschools.com/math/worksheets/ or including http://www.softschools.com/math/fractions/
- Number Nut – http://www.numbernut.com/
- Kids Count 1234–Looking for great math games, printables and ideas for your kindergartner or 1st grader? Be sure to check out the material shared by Shari. Look down the list and click on Math Centers and Games.
- Khan Academy: Literally hundreds of videos, from basic arithmetic up to advanced math like calculus and trigonometry.
- Math Tub Fun–This collection of one teacher’s math tub ideas is really terrific.
- Mental Math and more – A new website I heard about for grades K-5. Need to look through this more!
- Stop the Clock – These games are great for practicing time (to the hour, half hour, minute, etc.). These games are geared at grades 1 through 5.
- Cool Math – Online Math Games
- Ghost Blasters — Math, Addition Game
- Math Mammoth: Free 5th Grade Math Worksheets rounding, addition to 4,5,6 digits
- Grade 6 Math Lessons–videos you can watch with your 6th grader math student on perimeter, fractions, angles, prime numbers and more.
Free Grammar Resources (Elementary):
Free Science Resources:
– has lots of great science experiments to do with your elementary student.
Free Art History Lessons
Concordia University Chicago
– Free Art History Lessons for grades 1 through 8 with sections about the artist, about the art, directed observation and things to do.
Purchase at a Discount:
Homeschool Buyer’s Co-op
– Before buying any curriculum from preschool on up, be sure to check this co-op which gives homeschoolers more buying power. It’s free to join and the savings are often up to 45% off. For example, right now you can get 25% off Rosetta Stone, 25% off Reading Eggs and 25% off BrainPop.
Used Homeschool Curriculum:
I have used Homeschool Classified
a half-dozen times and find it a great place to buy used homeschool curriculum. It’s not free, but I thought it was worth a mention since I have saved so much money buying gently used materials!
Family Activity Ideas, Money Saving Tips, and more:
General Money Saving Tips:
Thrifty Frugal Mom
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– One of my fellow bloggers here at Parents who shares lots of money-saving tips.
classroom freebies, free classroom materials, free homeschool curriculum, free homeschool materials, free teaching resources, homeschool freebies, teaching freebies | Categories:
Homeschool Den, Must Read, Planning and Preparation, Preschool (Age 4), Preschool and Toddler Activities, Preschool for ED - Fall 2011 (age 3 1/2), Useful Resources (websites books etc)
Friday, May 17th, 2013
Scholastic Dollar Deals are back! I noticed that they have their $1 sale on ebooks until May 19th, 2013. I have bought dozens of books over the past couple of years. Just thought I’d mention it for anyone who might be interested –
Here are some of the things we’ve bought ($1) and used:
Instant Habitat Dioramas
Banish Boring Words
Various Writing Prompt Books
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Friday, May 10th, 2013
It has been a while since we’ve done any lapbooks. I saw this free robin lapbook over at Dynamic 2 Moms and asked the girls if they would be interested in doing one on robins. ED and DD both said, “Yes!” So, I printed everything out and the girls set to work.
If you’ve never heard of a lapbook, it is a cute way to display small folded mini-books, flaps, pop-up books, and/or folded display material. The lapbook can include photos, drawings, or anything else that helps them learn about the topic at hand. Kids can add their own information, include questions to quiz themselves on or other interactive activities. They glue their finished pieces into a file folder (see the second photo below).
What I love about lapbooks is that the kids are drawn back to them again-and-again, showing them off to family and friends… even pulling them out to admire their work and repeat the activities.
Here’s a picture of ED as she was putting in the finishing touches… she glued in some extra photos of robins.
Here is a picture of the front so you’ll see how the file folder was folded (the front and back of the folder were folded to meet in the middle). I have to say that ED was horrified when I started to cut her drawing in half, but quickly saw why I was doing that! Whew… catastrophe averted!
By the way, ED signs everything “McKenna…” Her obsession with her American Girl Doll continues as strong as ever!!
In this particular lapbook, the girls learned what robins eat, what predators eat robins, where robins live in different seasons, the parts of the bird and the life cycle of the robin. If you look closely you can see how some of the parts unfold… that’s what makes the lapbooks so appealing and interactive!
ED has brought out the lapbook a number of times (to show Daddy and to look over her work). I love that! Here she is reading the words (egg, juvenile, adult) and matching them to the pictures:
In the picture below, ED is telling me what the colors mean in the map. Lapbooks are a great way to reinforce material and make it exciting!
Here’s another lapbook on bears I did with DD when she was 3 or 4:
As you can see, it was pretty interactive. Below she is feeding the bear (the mouth is open so she could slip the berries, fish or whatever into its mouth)
In this lapbook, I taped in another page in the middle so I could add a few more activities like the color matching activity below (she obviously colored the bears in!):
One last example is this bat lapbook that LD made when he was in preschool:
He was so intrigued by bats! I can’t remember exactly where I got the parts for this lapbook. It might have been from Hands of a Child. I used them quite a bit for a couple of years. They have a free lapbook you can download on Metals.
Here’s a glimpse at the inside of a butterfly lapbooks DD did. You can see more of our lapbook projects here:
Where to Find Free Lapbooks:
I absolutely adore all the free lapbooks shared by Dynamic 2 Moms (Thank you so much Kelley and Tina!). That’s one of the first places I head if we are itching to do a lapbook. I especially love all their free history lapbooks.
Another incredible resource for free lapbooks is Homeschool Share. I bet there’s two or three hundred different lapbooks to choose from there!
You’ll find some free science lapbooks based on the Magic School Bus series over at Yee Shall Know.
Just ask your child what he or she is interested in learning about and give it a try!
One more thing before I go, these days we still use a lot of these flaps, foldables and little envelope sleeves, but we often include them in our science or history notebooks, but the lapbooks themselves seem to have a satisfaction-factor that just can’t be beat. It’s a finished product that the kids can show off and review over and over. That’s why we did so many when the kids were 3-7 or so.
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bat lapbook, bear lapbook, free lapbooks, free robin lapbook, lapbooking with preschoolers, what is lapbooking? | Categories:
Lapbooks, Must Read, Nature, Preschool (Age 4), Preschool and Toddler Activities, Science, Useful Resources (websites books etc)
Thursday, December 27th, 2012
I wasn’t sure just quite when to share this material with the holidays and all, but I thought it was definitely worth spreading the word about these useful materials. The U.S. Department of Education has put out a number of publications in the past few years on the topics of safety, crime and violence.
Personally, I didn’t want to tell the kids about the tragic events in Newtown, Connecticut… but then when it turned out that LD’s two gymnastics teammates lost their cousin (that post is here) that horrible day I was glad I had prepared him a bit. We haven’t gone into much more about it with him since then, but we are definitely keeping our ears open — especially at that precious snuggle time at the end of the day.
I found this publication, “Helping Kids and Families Cope with Trauma,” filled with some good tips and behaviors to look out for when kids have had to deal with stress. Here are a few screen shots:
This is also available in Spanish.
There is also a brochure on Crisis Planning: A Guide for Schools and Communities which is a guide to cope with everything from natural disasters, to medical emergencies, bomb threats and more in your school, your church, or during youth group activities. There are simple reminders like make sure you have fire drills and tell kids where the emergency exits (and meeting points are). I definitely found this useful and worth the time to read through because it brought up things I hadn’t thought of (like reverse fire drills for coming inside quickly). This document also has quite a lengthy section on recovering from a crisis.
Here are some other publications available from the U.S. Department of Education if you (or your school) wants to explore this topic further.
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Friday, October 5th, 2012
Plato: Knowledge that is acquired under compulsion obtains no hold on the mind.
This past summer we chose not to participate in our library’s reading program. At one point, we were chatting with a librarian and she asked if the kids were doing the library’s summer reading program. She was shocked when I told her we weren’t participating this year. “May I ask why?” she wanted to know. I had a hard time articulating why exactly I didn’t want to have the kids join, but it was clear from her demeanor that she thought I was doing the kids a disservice. I replied that my kids love reading and I didn’t want them to equate reading with getting prizes. Beside, my son would only read one or two huge, thick books this summer and would feel frustrated not to have read the huge numbers that the girls would be reading. Nor did I want him selecting easy books just so he could fill up a prize sheet. The librarian actually said to me, “well, this is a competative world and your son should just get used to it.” I smiled politely and left it at that. But in all honesty, I was glad I had the studies on my side that show that reward systems don’t benefit long-term learning goals.
Studies have shown that the reward system doesn’t work. The best learning comes from intrinsic motivation. In one study, a series of nearly identical faces were flashed across the screen. Seventy-two nine year old boys were asked to tell the two faces apart. Some of the boys were paid when they got the right answer; the others were simply told whether they were right or not. The surprising findings? Those that were paid made many more mistakes. That study was in 1961 and since then lots of similar studies have been made. Some third graders were told they would get a toy for working on some “games” (actually IQ tests). Those who expected toys didn’t do nearly as well as those who didn’t expect anything. Among artists, creativity (as judged by their peers) actually dropped after signing a contract to sell their work upon completion. (See Kohn’s and Jensen’s books for more details.)
I had a friend who got paid for all the As she received on her report card. I remember mentioning this to my Mom (I was probably about 13 at the time) and my Mom said, “Liesl, you shouldn’t get paid for learning — that has to come from your heart. You’ll be learning your whole life long.” And yes, I’m the nerdy one who packed 20 books for our 10 day vacation!!
So why do students who are rewarded (with stickers, prizes, good grades) do more poorly in the long run? The use of rewards actually increases anxiety over the task at hand. The ability to do higher-order thinking or create more complex relationships is hindered when the brain is stressed (for whatever reason).
Also, the reward system sets up an implied certainty — either success or failure. Since the learner wants to reduce the certainty of failure he/she will often choose tasks which they know they will be successful (rather than striving towards more challenging work). Often a learner will do exactly what is necessary to get the reward (the A on the test, the money), but nothing more. Thus, rewards actually discourage risk taking and creative thinking. People are less likely to challenge themselves.
In Kohn’s book he cites this experiment: College students were asked to work on an interesting spatial-relations puzzle. Half were promised money; the other half were not. They completed the task and were rewarded (or not). Then the experimenter told them that it would be a few minutes before the next phase of the study would begin. The subject was left alone in a room to wait where he or she could continue playing with the puzzle, daydream, read a magazine or whatever. That actually *was* the second phase and the subjects were secretly watched to see how they spent their time. Those who had been paid to work the puzzle now spent less time working on the puzzle than those who hadn’t.
The more you want the reward (whatever that may be – the gold star, the chocolate bar, the money, the little prize), the more you may come to *dislike* whatever you have to do to get it.
What can you do instead of offering rewards?
- Provide a sense of control and choice.
- Keep learning engaging and support a sense of curiosity and fascination in the subject at hand.
- Allow for self-assessment
- Share success stories about others who have surmounted obstacles to succeed.
- Work together with children to create learning goals.
- Have positive rituals.
- Provide lots of opportunities for creativity.
- Allow for student control and empowerment in their learning.
- have good discussions – think and talk about the tasks at hand
- Try not to give praise (even if it’s a positive judgement, it’s still a judgement) instead increase your support, encouragement and affirmation (“you’re on the right track” or “give it your best effort”).
- Encourage the learner to take risks and tackle challenging tasks.
- Model problem solving (balance the checkbook in front of the kids, mentally add up the groceries as you walk through the store, calculate (aloud) how much you save in that 20% off sale)
- Be enthusiastic – the more excited you are about learning, the more motivated your kids will be.
- Explain why you love or are passionate about your job/hobby… finding new recipes, keeping up with a sports team, reading the latest best-seller. Explain how learning never ends!
- Model the love of learning (read and write in front of the kids and share your enthusiasm… “Hey, listen to this!” type moments)
- Instill positive belief in what they’re doing.
- Give learners more choices (Allow them to pick from a list of ten problems, issues or topics. Choose this or that topic.)
- Provide time for kids to talk about what’s important to them.
- Make sure you have an emotionally-safe environment where it’s okay to make mistakes, ask questions and offer contributions.
Remember as educators, parents, and important people in our children’s lives we strive not to control, coerce, manage, or manipulate we want our kids to feel a sense of value in their work, feel excited, curious and compelled to know more.
“Reward and punishment is the lowest form of education.” – Chuang Tzu
If you’d like to explore this topic more, the two books I highly recommend are Punished by Rewards: The Trouble with Gold Stars, Incentive Plans, As, Praise and other Bribes by Alfie Kohn and Brain-Based Learning: the New Science of Teaching and Training by Eric Jensen.
More terrific quotes about education (like the Plato quote above).
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