Thursday, April 25, 2013

Movable Alphabet

If you're familiar with the Montessori method, you know all about the movable alphabet. My daughter attended a Montessori school and I found this to be a fantastic way to teach reading. My kids are both in public school now, so I made my own to teach my son how to read.

A movable alphabet is basically loose letters that the kids can use to build words on a board or even on the floor. I used mine even with Emmy now that she's in First grade. I think she likes hunting for the letters and seeing if she can spell the difficult words I give her. I try to make it more like a game instead of a "learning activity".

If you can shop, you can make one for yourself; there is no crafting involved here.

What you'll need:

1. Loose Alphabet Tiles
- you can buy them plain or with magnets on the back. I bought
                                          mine with the magnets so they would stay put on my board.
                                          I bought mine on Amazon here:

2. 11x14 Magnetic Board - really you can use any size but I think this one is a perfect fit
                                          for little kids or you could even use a Dollar Store cheapo cookie sheet
                                          I bought mine on Amazon here:

3. Picture Cards - I bought my colorful cards a few years ago at Walgreen's but you can find
                                         these in pretty much any educational section. You can also draw
                                         your own simple pics on unruled notecards.

4. Carrying Case - You'll need some sort of divided container. I found mine at Joann's.

Some tips for success:
  • Start with simple CVC (consonant vowel consonant) words like car, sun, dog
  • Then start adding some blends like ship, shop shut 
  • Keep adding more and more blends and reviewing ones they've already mastered
  • A great way to reinforce spelling is to have your child write each word they've made on paper


Tuesday, April 23, 2013

To Do Board for Work

I have spent a long time working out the best system of staying organized at work. It can be very challenging because like many people, my job is constantly changing, and I'm always switching gears. One thing I've found really useful is this giant dry erase board that I keep above my desk. I use it to keep my weekly and monthly projects tracked. I was finding I was getting sidetracked with other unexpected projects and my weekly to do's kept getting pushed back. Now I have a list of things I MUST do for the week and then I can fill in with some of the monthly tasks.

The nine motivators at the top of the board are from a TED talk online that I found really interesting. It was about the qualities of successful people and I thought it might make a good reminder. Of course, like everything else on the board, I change out the motivators as needed.