Did you have a good Christmas? I hope so. We took a two month break from our regular bookwork to enjoy the holiday season as well as pursue other interests. It was fabulous. Now though, Jan 7th looms large and I am scrambling to be ready for our first official school day of 2013. Perhaps scrambling is not quite the right word. We primarily use Sonlight for our curriculum and they have everything so well thought out that it’s possible to just follow their lesson plans and have a great year, but I can’t help myself. I’m compelled to put my own spin on the lessons and in the case of Brother’s spelling that is a literal “spin”.
We use the Explode the Code series of books. The lessons are not too long. The pictures are a little quirky but fun and there is just the right mix of “circle this” and “write that” to keep Brother from completely rebelling on the handwriting front.
Pretty much the format is lesson,
Sonlight schedules their spelling words and practice to coincide (mostly) with the Explode the Code lessons. Sounds great in theory but even with all this repetition Brother was not retaining the information. He would rush through the lessons paying attention just long enough to get the right answer and then it was as if he blew the information into a balloon and set it free with the wind never to be seen again.
At least that was true until I introduced some competition. Each week I created a simple game that he and I played together after his worksheet pages were complete. It worked great but it was a bit time intensive on my part so today I created a new game. A reusable, work with any lesson, any topic, spin your heart out game.
I picked up a set of these spinners (but you could make your own), cut a large cardstock circle and divided it into 8 sections with a Sharpie. I actually only needed 7 sections for my purposes but 8 is so much easier to divide. I laminated my circle for durability and stuck the spinner in after that.
From the Explode the Code book I copied the test day page (copy at 50% and you can fit 2 per page … did you see those mad math skillz … clearly, I am qualified to teach my children) and cut out the cutie pictures. One for each section and a “player’s choice” pie as well.
I also added numbers for scoring. (These are written with Vis-à-vis so I can change them later if I want to.) Play goes like so: First player spins and spells. If he spells correctly then he spins again to determine his score for the round. Then it is the next player’s turn. First person to accumulate 25 points wins.
Simple. Effective. And besides, spinners are uber cool.