Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Crafty Classroom How to Write a Paragraph Review

Crafty Classroom

The Crafty Classroom has brought us a great new product called How to Write a ParagraphThis is a 12 week program set up to be used 4 days a week. It is designed for grades k-2. It is a downloadable unit that cost around $9.00 and comes in PDF format. My 3rd grade reluctant writer is the one that used this program. Most of the time I get simple one sentence answers from her. She is easily overwhelmed when it comes to writing assignments. She cant figure out how to put everything she knows together into something that makes since. 

How To Write A ParagraphFrom the teachers end of this program it is crazy simple. Their is NO-Prep work to do. Simply download print and go. The hole file is roughly 78 pages, so be sure to have some printer ink ready. Most of the download is in black and white but we did find some color pages. The colored pages are the ones that I would put up on our wall to remind her of the steps she needs to take when writing a paragraph. I had to recruit my sister to print these since I only have a black and white printer. For now these reminder pages are hung on our wall but once we complete the unit I will put them in her writing binder so she can use them as a reference any time she forgets. At the beginning of each week you will find a weekly outline. I found the outline to be similar to a lesson plan. It has everything from a run down of what is going to be covered to teaching tips, reminders and any materials that you may need to complete the lessons that your student will be doing that week. 

How to Write a Paragraph is simple straight forward and was easy for her to understand. Each page was simple enough for her to follow and broke things down in a step by step format. She does well with programs that use a step by step method. She liked that the instructions were on the work pages. It includes things like reminders, goals and check list right there where she could see them as she worked. The pages are designed to be written on. We were both happy to see the smaller lines. They are bigger than college ruled but not huge like the lines you would find on most kindergarten pages. She does not write well on large lines still ask if their was a smaller line option. She seemed to enjoy the writing assignment and had very few melt downs over the assignments, which surprised me. Each daily assignment or lesson took her between 15 and 20 minutes to complete. 

Over the course of the 6+ weeks that we have been working with How to Write a Paragraph I have seen some improvement in her ability to put more than one or two sentences together. Today when she was ask to write an answer down for science she put together a decent sized answer with what, where, and why she gave the answer that she did. She is still referring to the reminder pages that we have on the wall quite a bit but she is using them when she writes for other subjects. I think with time she rely on these reminder pages less and less. I feel that we have taken a step in the right direction to getting her on the road to being a good writer. I cant wait to see how she is doing when we finish up the last few weeks of How to Write a Paragraph.

Other Reviewers tried out different products from The Crafty Classroom and I would love to see you come on over and take a look.

Crafty Classroom {Reviews}

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Monday, July 24, 2017

ACTÍVA Rigid Wrap and CelluClay Quik-Sculpting Kit Review

ACTÍVA Products
Rigid Wrap and CelluClay Quik-Sculpting Kit
Good morning crafty homeschoolers! This morning I bring you a fun craft kit from ACTÍVA Products . We were blessed to receive the Rigid Wrap and CelluClay Quik-Sculpting Kit. This Kit contains 2 roles of Rigid Wrap and a bag of CelluClay.  In case you have no idea what Ridgid Wrap is its basically a gauze type material that has been coated in plaster. To use it you will dip it in water and then sort of wring it out and then it is ready to use. CelluClay is unique because it is instant paper mache They also offer the ACTÍVA Products' Favorite Sculpture KIDS CRAFTS this is a free activity book that has some great idea on how to use the Quik-Sculpting Kit. 

Their are a lot of different ways you can use the Rigid Wrap and CelluClay Quik-Sculpting Kit. We chose to use it for our family hand casting project. I have done several small hand castings of the girls when they were smaller but this was our first large hand casting where we needed to use Rigid Wrap. 

Hand castings are made by using a alginate to make a mold. Alginate is  basically a substance that turns to a flexible rubber when it sets. How ever because it is flexible you will need to back the mold up with something that is not flexible so that your casting does not loose its shape when you pore in the plaster. This is where the Rigid Wrap comes in. 

You cut you Rigid Wrap into strips first. You will then dip it in warm water and gently wring it out. Once the wrap is wrung out you will need to straighten it out. I like to use my fingers to rub it a little so that no holes are showing in the wrap. You are basically distributing the plaster evenly across the gauze. Next you will lay it on top of your Alginate mold. Press it firmly against the mold. It will take several layers and you will need to criss cross them in different directions to give it adequate support. Then you do the hard part you wait and wait for it to dry. The more layers you have the longer it will take to set up. I let each layer dry about half way before I added the next. We also allowed a fan to blow across it while doing each layer. After all our hands were under that thing and we couldn't take them out tell the Rigid Wrap was dry. Took about 20 minutes for it to dry and become hard enough for us to pull our hands out. 

After you take your hands out let the Rigid Wrap dry the rest of the way so its good and hard with our humidity and a fan it took about an hour to be mostly dry. The last part of the project was to mix the plaster I had to make it a tad thinner than the recommended ratio because it makes it easier to get the air out of the mold. To fill a mold like this you should put in around a third of a cup of plaster and roll it all round the mold, this helps to reduce air bubbles. Then you slowly fill it up and tap tap tap tap tap tap..... to make sure all the air bubbles rise to the top and leave the visible surface of your casting smooth and bubble free.

The longest part is waiting for the plaster to dry. I always wait 24 hours to be sure its dry enough before I begin to take the mold off. You know all the Rigid Wrap you pain painstakingly applied to the back side of the mold. You are now going to take it off. Ours was fairly easy to get off as it had reabsorbed some of the water from the alginate and got soft. Once you peal off all that Rigid Wrap you will be able to see the mold. You will need to peal the mold off slowly so you don't break off any fingers. The plaster will not be completely dry at this point. It will take several days to completely dry after the mold is removed. Now for the part you have been waiting for .....

Feel free to OOOO and AHHH over it. 

It came out beautiful thanks to ACTÍVA for the Rigid Wrap and CelluClay Quik-Sculpting Kit. 

We made one large hand casting and two face casting out of the Rigid Wrap.  The Rigid Wrap is some of the best quality that I have used. Be sure you seal any plaster items you make as they will absorb moisture from the air over time and this can make them soft and crumble. I use a good quality non yellowing spray on sealer. 

The kit also had CelluClay which is that instant paper mache that I mentioned earlier. This is nifty stuff and we are in loving it. We got started on this part of the project a little late since the castings took so much time to do. My youngest daughter has started using it to make a fairy house out of a jar. We found the idea on youtube it had a huge list of ingredients to make some sort of clay. I realized that CelluClay would work in place of this other type of clay and way better. It's easy to use she basically mixes the CelluClay with water to get it to the consistency you want for your project. She mixes hers to feel like a soft clay. We make small amounts at a time because I am afraid it will dry out before she can use it all, she is a slow crafter. It molds and shapes very similar to clay but seems to dry faster than regular clay does even when it is thick. She seems to be able to work it into the shape that she wants a little easier than standard clay, she said it feels softer and mushes. So far we like it a lot and I can see us using this on quite a few other projects in the future. I will post an update with the fairy house when she gets it finished. 

Fairy House Update. She got all the CelluClay on today and now we are just waiting for it to dry so we can paint. 

Check out what the other crew members crafted with their kits by clicking the link below. 
Rigid Wrap and CelluClay Quik-Sculpting Kit {ACTÍVA Products Reviews}

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Monday, July 10, 2017

Home School in the Woods-Make-a-State Activity Review

Home School in the Woods

This time we are reviewing the Make-a-State Activity and Activity-Pak by
Hands-On History Activity-Paks: Make-A-State
Home School in the Woods. Home School in the Woods is a hands-on history company. We have reviewed for Home School in the Woods before and they never fail to impress me. This pack is a digital download cost is around $18.95. You can use this pack with any history program you are already using. It is geared toward grades 3-8 and everything is printable. It has around 20 projects and I believe it has a little something for all 50 states. Projects incorporate things like research, mapping, creative writing, drawing, elections etc. It is designed to be used as a Lap Book.  In case you are un familiar with what a Lap Book is you can see a picture to the right. A Lap Book is basically a couple of creatively taped file folders that you will glue and tape all these bits of information that your child learns about. Ideally your child will be doing all the taping, gluing, coloring and filling out. If you thinking this looks complicated have no fear Home School In The Woods includes some great instructions that are easy to follow so you can assemble your Lap Book with ease. These are a nice way to keep all the information on a unit together in one place. They are also a handy dandy way for your child to review what they learned when it comes test time.

We mainly focused on doing the state of Missouri, since that is our home state. Each state pack will have a variety of cut out with information to help you study about that state. As you can see in the example above their is a good amount of information on each state. We tried out some of the other features that were included in our download. My favorite part was the State Pages. We recently did a cross country field trip and we used these pages to go back and learn some additional information about each state that we visited. It tells you a brief history about the state then down at the bottom it gives you some information like state flower, bird, fish, tree etc. We printed and put all of these fact pages in a little binder so we can use them as reference guide during the school year. 

Our next favorite part was the Recipes. This pack provides a recipe for each state. It is designed so that you can print the recipe and put it in a little pocket in the Lap Book. Since cooking is a big deal in out house and we sampled a good chunk of these recipes. The girls chose to affix these in their cook books. I printed each recipe and laminated it and we glued the pockets in each of the girls cook books. By the way the Missouri Gooey Butter Cake recipe is yum!

Hands-On History Activity-Paks: Make-A-StateTheir is a bonus item included in this Pak. It is called "Name That State". This is a file folder game, I am sure most of you know what a file folder game is, I played them in school as a kid. It is designed for both younger and older students and my girls has some fun with this game. It basically teaches your child to recognize each state by its shape and placement within the U.S. It also help with learning the state capitals. If you plan to use this long term I recommend printing the pieces on card stock or laminating them. Don't forget to do any coloring before you laminate. The girls had fun with this game we actually took it on a camping trip with us recently and played it when we were stuck in side on a rainy day. I was surprised to find that I could place most stats in their correct location. How ever I was found to be a little lacking on identifying the correct capitals.  

I wanted to mention that Home School In The Woods has some new products available. They have 50 new a la carte projects. These are smaller bit sized projects like file folder games and file folder projects. These are reasonably priced from $2.95 to around $7.95. So if you are looking for something special take a look around they just might have what you need http://homeschoolinthewoods.com/alacarte.html.

If you click the link below you can read about some of the other products the Crew is reviewing like the U.S. Elections Lap-Pak or the Benjamin Franklin Lap-Pak.

Hands-on History {Home School in the Woods Reviews}

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Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Wordless Wednesday 
I have no words for these goofy girls