Thursday, August 27, 2009

Dollar-store stuff to make workbox charts

Something we did this morning: used some of the stuff I bought to make workbox "laminated" number cards and completed-work charts. I can't really take a picture (or maybe I could and blur part of it?) because the girls' first names are prominent. But here's what we did:

I went to the Workboxes Yahoo group where there are a lot of files uploaded with fancy number sets. Most of them are too fancy for us because we have only a black-and-white printer; so we settled for number-plus-happy-face, one set printed out on yellow (surplus store) cardstock for Crayons, and one set on blue for Ponytails. I cut those out and covered them in (dollar-store) clear sticky plastic (wow, you don't get much on a roll these days!--the tags took most of the roll).

I cut a 14-inch square of blue (dollar-store) posterboard and one of yellow, and arranged the numbers on each one. Then the girls used (dollar-store) scrapbooking alphabet stickers to put their names at the top, and used some of their own favourite stickers to jazz them up around the edges. Finally I put (dollar-store) Velcro (or hook-and-loop fastener if you prefer) dots on the back of the plastic-covered numbers, and on the places on the charts where the numbers go, and attached them together. If we had decided to plastic-cover the charts themselves, I would have done that first, but we decided that the poster-board charts were about as durable as we needed them to be. (Besides, most of the plastic was gone.)

I ran a strip of weird, gooey, double-sided foam scrapbooking tape (dollar store) along the back of each chart, and attached them inside the doors of the cupboard where their (dollar-store) magazine holder-workboxes will be. If you're ever doing something like this, just check to see that any raised areas (like pieces held on with Velcro) go BETWEEN the shelves, not against them. I got one chart hung too high and the door wouldn't close right, so I had to start again. (And that tape was kind of messy to get off the cupboard door.)

I had two 16-dot packs of Velcro dots, which gave us enough for the charts (12 apiece) plus eight of the prickly-side dots to put on the magazine holders. I need to buy another package of dots to get enough for the other ten holders. If the math on that doesn't add up, it's because there's room on each shelf for only nine magazine holders, so that's how many workboxes each girl will have. However, we went with numbers 1-12 on the charts, just in case and to accommodate things like an extra-reading basket.

If the purpose of all this isn't clear by now (and I'm not even sure if the girls totally get it yet), Mama Squirrel loads the boxes/magazine holders with work each night. (Some of our boxes won't change from day to day, some will.) The Velcro numbers go on the boxes in the morning. As the work in the boxes gets completed, the numbers get put back on the completed-work chart. When the chart's full, school's done. (I know learning happens all the time, but you know what I mean--the assigned, scheduled work is completed.)

That isn't exactly the way Sue Patrick's system works. But that's how we're going to try it for now.

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