Sunday, March 27, 2011

4th Grade Mini-Office

I have lamented my lack of wall space in this house & our school room/kitchen eating area since we bagan home schooling. Having been educated in a public school class room, I have the notion in my head that I need to have all kinds of visuals hung up for my 'students.' But I do not have space for much more than a large map of the world and alphabet flashcards around the top of the room. I have managed to put our list of important 'scriptures' in a tiny spot and have hung a bit of grammar examples on the window.

I have noticed that Reagan sometimes mixes her letters up and seems to search for something to copy (the alphabet is up high, behind where she usually sits) and will look for examples of grammar on the window with each weekly grammar lesson. And even though Jefferson is in 4th grade, he will sometimes forget a cursive letter, composition revision symbol, or grammar example as well. Since we don't have space, I cannot have reminders for these things on the walls for them as they write and learn.

So, a friend from our home school clued me in to these cool things called "mini-offices" - lapbooks which are fiiled with reference charts for the child to have when working. I made one for Jefferson first. The idea is that you take small versions of graphs & charts that a child would normally find on the walls of a school room and you put it in a lapbook that the child stands in front of his or her workspace as he or she works. This space acts like their own little 'office'! It provides all the basic reminders they might need as they write & learn and also helps to block out some visual distraction from other kids. Each mini-office can be tailor made for the student or for the grade or for a specific subject which is being focused on.

I find that Jefferson uses his mostly when he is writing something but he'll often refer to it for the maps or spelling words (days of the week, months of the year) as well.  I will try (I seriously can't recall where I found most of them!) to provide links to the sources of some of the charts & graphs if I can so you can make your own! Here are some photos of what his looks like:

This side holds:
The Writing Process
Key Proofreading Marks
Months of the Year (ours is homemade)
Skip Counting Chart (from our math  book)
Fraction Chart (from our math book)
(I also had to paper clip a list of 'transition' words after I laminated. It wouldn't fit but it seems to help Jefferson's compositions)

This side holds:
A Celsius & Fahrenheit Chart
World Map (Continents & Oceans only)
Map of the United States (state name & abbreviation)
American Wars list (homemade)
Books of the Old Testament
Books of the New Testament
Presidents of the United States (photos & dates in office)

Here are some more links & resources for mini-offices for various ages:


Monica said...

THANK YOU for sharing this! I'm excited to create some of these for my kids. I love it that they would be able to take it anywhere they are working. Great idea!

Becky @ BoysRuleMyLife said...

What a FANTASTIC idea!! Thanks for sharing! Just curious - how did you laminate this? I don't think my laminator would be large enough. Did you take it somewhere? Thanks again!!!

Andrea said...

I took it to sta*ples to laminate it. I saw some other 'offices' online that have center flaps but I couldn't figure how to laminate that. Considering how much time it took to pull together & how much he uses it, I HAD to have it laminated.

I also tried to stuff a LOT of things on one instead of having one for LArts/History and one for math/science. The cool thing is that you can make them ANY way you want to! :-)

Kellie said...

Very neat! We also have limited wall space, but we were able to fit a bulletin board above our kids' desks that serves the same purpose. Our hs convention is this weekend and I was planning on getting the IEW folders that are kind of like what you have.

Andrea said...

Kellie - What are the IEW folders?

Kellie said...

Andrea, it was so good to see your comment on my blog recently -- I've missed you! I know you've got to be so busy, but I did tag you in a meme to see if I could lure you back to blogging. : )

And I'm sorry, I didn't even notice you asked me a question about the folders! Here's the link: