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Election Resources for Children

Every first Tuesday after the first Monday in November we have the opportunity and civic duty to vote for our government officials. I am thankful that we live in a country where we have that right. As part of teaching Social Studies, you could teach about the election process and have your daughter/son learn about our government. When you go to vote, why not consider giving them a firsthand experience by going to the polling place with you.

How Voting Works is packed with a plethora of information. It even has an option to have the page read aloud and a ten question quiz at the end. There are additional resources about the government that your pupil can learn about should you wish.

Congress for Kids is a site that has everything about elections, from Election Day all the way through to Inauguration Day. There are videos and book lists (fiction and nonfiction) too for your student.

Duck for President is a fun way to learn about the election process. This website has a video of the book too.  If you are interested in doing a lesson or want more ideas for the book, Duck for President, Scholastic has some great ideas.

May the best candidates win! ~Lisa~

Overcoming Procrastination

I have a stack of tri-fold boards to grade and I am just stuck on getting them graded. It isn’t that I don’t want to do them, I am frozen in knowing that there are over 30 to grade this weekend and it is going to take hours.

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So, I just avoid the stack and think of a million more things I can do instead of grading them. Things like answering emails or writing a blog post… 🙂 Have you ever been stuck like I am right now? Here is what I am going to do to stop pushing off this task.

  1. Write down what I have to do. Grade boards, enter grades on the grade book website.
  2. Take the first step. Gather up supplies needed. (timer, grading rubrics, a pencil, a marking pen, computer)
  3. Set the timer for 60 minutes and begin grading the first board. This is the only way for me to stay focused on a task like this one that I know is going to take a long time. Other projects require different ways of tacking things. For instance, house cleaning. I clean all of the bathrooms and then I dust and vacuum, and then I sweep and wash the kitchen floor.
  4. Do the next thing. I will grade the next board and the next… Think of your task broken into smaller pieces. I am estimating that I can grade ____ number of boards in an hour. I have no idea how many that will be as some are easier to grade than others, but I do like to make sure I am aware of time so I don’t dawdle over one particular board since I have previously looked at them.

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This is my helper, Oreo, checking to see if I graded correctly.

5. After the timer goes off I will get up and move! Shake the legs, get a drink of water, put in a load of laundry, etc.

6. Get back to the task at hand! Set the timer for another hour and grade more boards. Enter the grades into the grade book. If you cannot devote hours at a time to a task, then break it into 10-15 minute segments of time. You will feel sooo much better once you have started on your task rather than avoiding it.

Things to consider:

  • Putting on some music to help you focus. ( I sometimes listen to instrumental music if a lot of brain power is not required.)
  • Rewarding yourself once the task is completed.
  • Sit back and look at what you have accomplished. If it was a monumental task, take a picture of what you did. No one needs to see the picture but yourself. 🙂 I sometimes do that as a reminder that I DID accomplish more than what I thought I could do to help me conquer the next task.

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After just an hour I only have 12 more boards to grade! Huzzah!

Guess what? I have more than 30 more boards from my other class to grade this week too! Looks like I will be applying this strategy all over again. 🙂

Have a great week of teaching! ~Lisa ~

 

5 Steps to Organizing Homeschool Paperwork

At this point of the year, you probably have completed several weeks of school and if you are not filing papers, there may be a pile of your scholar’s graded work growing taller each week in a corner of the schoolroom. Believe me, I struggle with this myself! This is currently what I have on my desk. It’s a manageable pile right now, but if I don’t clean it up you know what’s going to be happening. It’s going to look like a mountain in a short time.

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Here are the steps I am going to take so that I can organize those papers and get them off my desk (hopefully).

1. Determine a place for each paper. Use binders and triple hole punch the papers. You can add tabs if you wish that would be according to month quarter, or semester. I find it easier to organize by subject, but you can do it however you wish.

2. Determine the number of papers you are going to keep. Do you have too many papers? After you have checked your daughter’s or son’s work, decide which papers highlight the week. If you are doing a portfolio review/assessment, save the papers that show your student is: learning a concept, or is developing knowledge of the content, and/or papers that show mastery. As I stated previously, keeping the papers in one large binder or separate binders with the subjects labeled will help keep things organized. You do not need to keep every single piece of paper. Now, if your student is working in a workbook, use a bin to hold your workbooks or a shelf on which to keep them.

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As you can see from the picture, my bookshelf has some shelves that are taller than others, so I have a mixture of binders and books. The other thing that I am not showing you is that it is located in a clothes closet so that I can hide my binders. My husband and I share a small office space and he is much neater than I am. I try to keep my things from spilling into his space. 🙂

3.  File papers often. Do not wait until you have a pile that is so high that you just pick it all up and throw it in the recycling bin. Although, that is extremely tempting to do, isn’t it?

4. Make filing and organizing a part of your daily routine. If you do this every day then there won’t be a pile! If you do not have time to do it, then have your daughter or son file those papers. You can show her/ him where you would like the papers to be kept and, “Wa!La!” it is finished. Not only is there not a pile of papers, but you are teaching important household and organization tips that will serve them well for a lifetime.

5. Take pictures! If you have lots of artwork or projects, display them for a time and then let your child know that you are going to take a picture so that you always have a record of what they have done. You can create a photo collage at the end of the year that will be memorable.

5 Tips on Beginning School

apples-3616102__480It seems like summer has flown by (again!) and I like to start out the year with a few tips that I liked to do with my children.

  1. Begin the day with something fun. How about a fun read-aloud or a favorite breakfast? Not sure what books would be good? Here are some titles to consider: Swiss Family Robinson; The Great Brain; The Secret Garden; Caddie Woodlawn; Little House in the Big Woods; Miracles on Maple Hill are all books that the family will enjoy.
  2. Let your children know what you expect of them. I thought it was important to come to class dressed (no pajamas). This may not be the case in your house, so do not mention it if does not apply. We also discussed the importance of a good attitude and completing assignments cheerfully and on time.
  3. Get out the school supplies and let your son/ daughter label and organize their things. Let them choose what color notebooks they want for math, science, history, reading, etc. They can decorate their binders or notebooks too.
  4. Start out with a few subjects and gradually add more as the week progresses. We always had reading and math each day and started the year off with these. I would include a fun outdoor activity that was science related (a nature hunt or examining something such as a plant) and would try to end the day with a game of some sort for PE such as bike riding or swimming.
  5. Celebrate the first week of completing school with a favorite movie and some popcorn or go out for a treat.

Have a great year!  ~Lisa~

 

 

 

Teachers Pay Teachers

Sometimes I am just fresh out of ideas for teaching. You too? If you haven’t heard of Teachers Pay Teachers then may I suggest that you check out this amazing website? There are so many activities, PowerPoints, ideas, and worksheets that you could spend hours looking at all of the great items that are there. Tomorrow they are having a back to school sale for the things you want for your class. Use this promo code BTSBONUS18 to save up to 25% sitewide on A+ back-to-school resources.

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