Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Mini Office--Getting Ready for the School Year!

Well, we've been getting ready for the new school year to start and made these "mini offices." (A mini-office is a specific application of lap-booking, where you put together information they will use throughout the school year for their work). They were a lot of fun! I had the kids fill in their multiplication chart, names of shapes, prime numbers, Roman numerals, names of states etc... It was my sneaky way of doing some summer school ("really, this is a craft...").

Here's Zac's cover...

Anna's cover:

(She says that's a "Rainbow Crystal Cave" on the front of her's.)

Inside when you first open it up are some language arts tips.
(We hid magnets under the "COPS" on the left and the "run-away train" on the right; these hold the flaps closed. I saw something similar on another office online and the kids liked that idea, so we borrowed it!).

"COPS" is our acronym for editing--Capitalization, Organization (neatness etc...), Punctuation, and Spelling. Under that are "rule-breaker" words (We're using All About Spelling; they send rule-breakers to jail!) The right side shows sounds for OUGH, and the jobs of E.

On the middle panel, I remind them to "Spell with their ears (ie listen to the sounds/write the sounds) and Check with their eyes (did they choose the right phonogram for that word etc...)" I also had vowel sounds, which I thought might be a handy reference, but found them unnecessary after they learned them in AAS. 

The whole middle page flips up too, here's the inside fully opened:

I had the kids label all the states, and then in the middle is a place for them to record spelling, capitalization, and punctuation rules, plus samples of cursive letters, both caps and small letters.

The left flap has an additional tab that opens to show more "rule-breaker" words. The tab covers these up and has a place to put "this week's list" so they can study words that don't follow phonetic rules each week. I was going to make this a pocket on the flap, but then I saw that a dry-erase marker can write on and wipe off of the laminate, so we're going to try that instead. (This is another aspect we didn't end up needing to use).

This is the back:

I didn't take a pic of it fully opened, but all of the math concepts are on the back of the folder--so the items you saw on the cover picture show on the same side as the back when it's opened.

The kids had a lot of fun doing these and have thanked me about a zillion times, so I hope they'll be helpful this year! Both kids have already taken them to their own desks in their rooms, so I also hope they won't be lost before the school year starts, LOL!

Update: The math facts and how to spell math words ended up being the most used aspect of the mini-office for us. My daughter referred to hers for several years, actually.


Anonymous said...

Hi Merry,
Those look really great! Did you have a website that you took the info. from or make your own?

Thanks for sharing,

Nancy said...

Great work , Merry! I did that last year too, but yours are prettier!a12200

Unknown said...

Hi Merry, I am a new HS'ing Mom. I love your kids' books. I have read a little about lapbooking, notebooking and you used another term, office? But I don't know too much about it. Can you tell me or direct me to where | can learn more about this? I would also love to hear more about these books you;ve shown, what was the inspiration for them and how exactly will they be used this year and how do you decide what to put in them? Thanks so much. I hope I haven't overwhelmed you with all my questions. God bless you, Kim

Merry said...

Hi Rebekah--I got a few from the web, but most I made up. If I knew how to do a word doc attachment in blogger I'd do that! But you're welcome to email me if you want copies!

Merry said...

Hi Kim! Here are some links where you can learn more:

A mini-office is a type of lapbook, only it's a more general resource (something the kids can refer to throughout the year like multiplication tables) rather than a subject-specific topic they've studied (like info on their state or all about beavers etc...)

I looked at some online links (the 2 sites I linked above have lots more links to view!) and thought about what kinds of things my kids have to do in math & LA, what they ask etc... & might use. For example, I included shapes because my kids have to write the names of all the shapes in their math books but don't remember how to spell them all. Things like that.

HTH, I love questions! Merry :-)

Jules said...

Merry, I just love the mini-office you did with the kids. What a super summer activity!! Smart mama you are! ;)

I just love lapbooks but wish I would have found out about them sooner so dd could have benefited. However, ds does lapbooks for some of his 4-H projects and it has a HUGE wow! factor. :)

Your dc's personalized covers are special. How cute! :)

Anonymous said...

Thanks so much Merry. I am looking forward to looking at those websites when I have a few minutes!! HA! LOL!! I am very interested in doing something like this with both my boys, altho the youngest will be much simpler, he just turned 5. Thanks for sharing and I love reading your updates and blog. God bless you, Kim

Alyssa said...

Oh Merry, this sounds so great but I can't upload or see the pictures on this blog post. I'd love to "see" how you did this. I've never even heard of mini-offices in all my 12 years of homeschooling. Hope you see this!

Alyssa said...

Hi Merry, This is Betty (using my daughter's google acount). I can't see any of the pictures for this post but I'd love to. I've never heard of mini-offices in all my years of schooling! I think this would be really helpful! Thanks! Let me know when you see this!

Merry said...

Hi Alyssa,

Yes, I'm not sure why the pictures got dropped--I'll try adding them back in!

Merry said...

Hi again! Ok, I was able to find several of them and reload them--I hope this helps! By the way, a few comments above yours, I put some links in my response to Kim--see if those still work, as you can see a lot more pictures of mini-offices. Otherwise, you might try googling. Let me know if you have any questions!