Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Lap Books, Math Manipulatives, and Weaving Crafts

One of the suggestions for enrichment this week was weaving. Mrs. C our teacher called me and asked if I had any weaving suggestions. I told her no. The next day I got a Family Fun Magazine with a cute woven tree in it. Since then I've found the same tree on the that artist woman blog so if you want instructions I would suggest visiting her excellent instructions.

Here is C with her tree.

The first thing that drew me to the that artist woman blog were her adorable woven baskets using yogurt containers. Here is K with her basket.

This weekend I spoke with one of my dearest friends on the planet. She homeschooled her (now grown) children and now is a homeschool examiner in Florida. She told me all about this phenomena called lapbooks. I looked them up and knew they would be perfect for my very tactile youngest and my born journaler oldest.

I put the elements of this together for K to do yesterday. I did it very quickly because I wanted to show this to the parents so they can see what the potential of this is. C is jealous and wants to do her own. Mrs. C has asked I gather elements so that the kindergartener's can do some next week.

Here is K's book.

When I gather the elements for the kindergarteners I will share more about lapbooks and how I did it.

K is my tactile and kinesthetic child. Last year she absolutely struggled in kindergarten when it came to counting. I would talk to her teacher and she would tell me how they tried and tried and K couldn't do it.

I would come home and give K a jar of buttons and she was fine.

Now K is doing addition. It has been a struggle. Yesterday she was working on a work sheet where the kids are given a sum and then are give a series of six problems and they are supposed to indicate which prolbems yield the sum.

I was frustrated and so was she.

I remembered buttons.

I grabbed three applesauce cups (I never throw out apple sauce cups. I have three towers of them next to the microwave and four or five in my craft room) and the marbles I keep in the living room for decoration (yes, I am odd).

I told her to count the first addend in one cup and the second addend into in another cup and then to count them as she moved them into a third cup. It worked like a charm. I was proud of myself and called to tell my husband. While I was on the phone with him, K comes up to me and tells me "Mom, this is weird. I have five plus zero. See, I have five in this cup and the other cup is empty so the answer is five."  She was excited and I was thrilled. We had not been able to get her to understand that a digit plus zero remains the digit.

The only problem is that if my highly distractable daughter looks away when counting the sum she might forget which cup is which. So yesterday I spray painted a ton of applesauce cups, with the idea that she could use two of one color for addends and the third for the sum. I did lots of cups because I figured it could be used for long addition too.

Here is K working a simple sum as an example.


  1. Melissa it is amazing what you are doing for your girls.. all kids (people) have different strengths and you know how to help K to achieve her goals :)

  2. Hey Melissa,
    Thanks for the link, if you look at the small print in the Family Fun mag you'll see I'm referenced for the Woven Tree craft. Your daughter's version looks awesome and I love that woven basket by your other daughter.
    Great work!
    Would you be interested in submitting these photos for the art gallery on my blog?

  3. that's great! I love it when my kids have a breakthrough like that when learning. Children learn in so many different ways, I'm a very visual person and if I don't write things down, it's very hard for me to remember later. I'm happy for your daughter, she seems really excited to have found a way to learn that works for her.

  4. good for you Melissa for figuring out how to teach your child. children, are all different and learn in different ways, don't they? it must be so rewarding as a parent to know that you can help your child make this kind of breakthrough. awesome momming and teaching!

  5. I save red Jif peanut butter lids.
    I've NO IDEA why. But someday I'm sure I'll come up with the perfect idea for them...

    LOVE the weaving. Must check out that site.

  6. Great finds! The basket is cute.

    Lapbooks are terrific--for some kids. I'm glad it works for you. I tried to use this with a class of third- and fourth-graders; most of the girls liked it, but most of the boys were resistant.

    And yes to math manipulatives, too! We started out using things like buttons, then purchased Cuisenaire Rods. We found the rod track useful, too, when it wasn't being used as a sword! http://www.rainbowresource.com/prodlist.php?sid=1285766164-1644422&subject=10&category=2351

  7. the tree is great! I've checked out that artist woman's website, it's lovely with some great ideas.

    I echo the other comments - it is amazing what you do with your girls, they are blessed to have a mother like you!

  8. Gail has a lot of fun projects on her blog. Good for all ages.
    Love that you found a way that works for your daughter to learn her math.
    Oh and both weaving projects are beautiful and the lapbook looks great.

  9. You are just amazing! What a great idea to help your daughter succeed at Math!
    I love the woven tree, too!

  10. You're just full of great stuff, Melissa! I love the weaving! I'm in charge of crafts at our homeschool gathering on Friday and I am so not crafte. Basically, I'm just bringing a table full of collage materials and some glue guns and we'll see what the kids can create!

    It's such a good feeling to see a math breakthrough, because it's so abstract and scometimes there's nothing you can do but keep trying until it clicks.

    Gotta love marbles and yogurt containers. I have heaps of each, too!

  11. I love the math cup story! Those math manipulatives are so great. And don't you love how God gives you a creative solution to our math problem. Fabulous! Lisa~

  12. Awesome projects! I homeschool my 1o year old daughter,and we have done lapbooks, too. I am amazed at how our learning styles are different. When we do lapbooks, she can remember the facts forever...long after I have forgotten them. When I try and make her learn the traditional way, I remember, and she forgets.(i am talking about stuff I never did in school, like dinosour names , and etc)

  13. I have an award for you at my blog for all the sunshine you give us.

  14. Everything in this post is wonderful, lady! Great story about adventures in math, adorable crafts and great pictures. I need to weave!