Teaching With Odds n’ Ends
by Katie Kubesh
You have just purchased a new Lapbook from In the Hands of a Child. It is titled “Mollusks” and you are wondering what other activities or “things” you can incorporate into the unit to make it even more fun and exciting for your child! How do you make snails and slugs exciting to your child? Well, if that child is a 6-year old boy, you probably won’t have a problem…. but, not all kids like snails and slugs. Before you decide not to teach that particular subject to your students, look around and see what you can do to catch their interest!
We all know how easy it is to find fun things to tie into units like Curious George. I was amazed one summer when we did the Curious George Lapbook and I found so many great things to accompany our study! For example, we bought the Curious George movie soundtrack and took time out from our reading and writing for a little Phys. Ed as we danced to the tunes! The girls had lunch at a fast food restaurant with Grandma and came home with Curious George toys. When I did a workshop at our local library, I went with Curious George stuffed animals, books, CDs, you name it! Obviously, Curious George is a fun topic by itself, so that was an easy one.
How do you take a topic or unit study that might not be as exciting as others and make it interesting? Well, it’s all about the odds n’ ends! Look around your house or community and see what objects you find that will tie into the current topics you are studying. Take a more difficult topic like World War II… Why not visit a flea market or antique store and try to find some postcards sent from that time period. Or ask “Grandma” or “Auntie Gertrude” if they have any postcards or letters that were sent during the war that they could share! Who knows, “Auntie Gertrude” may have more than postcards or letters! What better way to learn about an event in history than to talk to someone who actually lived it!
If Great–Grandpa was in the military during World War II, ask if he has a sample menu from his time in the service (I recently found a Christmas Eve dinner menu from when my Dad was in the Navy in 1954. I made a copy of it and that will be sure to go in our Navy Project Pack some day!). Visit a military museum or memorial and include the brochure in the lapbook. Pearl Harbor is a big one, but not many of us can just fly our family to Hawaii, so check in your community or state to see if there are any memorials near you. We visited the zoo this summer and took pictures of the signs that had information about the animals. After we developed the pictures, we put them in our lapbooks – one picture of the animal and another telling about it! The same thing can be done when visiting a memorial or historical site. What were the dates of the event you are researching? Try to find pennies or other currency around your house from that time period.
There are many things that can be incorporated into lapbooks and studies of all topics! Even “Mollusks” can be made interesting…you might have to rent a “Sponge Bob Video” and have your student try to spot how many mollusk characters he or she can find, but at least it will add a some more fun!
Some other examples of “odds n’ ends” that you can use in your unit study include:
- Newspaper articles
- Old letters
With just a little imagination, and some interesting odds n’ ends, your student’s studies will come to life and you will be putting laughter and learning together in the hands of YOUR child!