A Homeschooling Tool for Personalized Teaching

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In his 2015 book “Creative Schools: The Grassroots Revolution That’s Transforming Education,” veteran teacher Ken Robinson emphasizes that students learn best at their preferred speeds and in their preferred manner. Engaging them as individuals is the heart of raising achievement.”

The personalization of education is limited in the classroom setting, yet in homeschool scenarios it allows learning to thrive.

According to a 2009 study of standardized testing, homeschoolers scored in the 86th percentile, regardless of  parents’ income, amount of education, teaching credentials, and level of state regulation. Research also suggests that homeschooled kids get into college more often and do better at the university level.

Tools for Home School Personalized Teaching

Laminating Customized Flashcards

Flashcards of been a standard for teaching for many years. They engage active recall and help students self-evaluate personal progress.  On the subject of languages, 93% of teachers say that flashcards help students learn more effectively.  Yet due to costs and limited classroom budgets, flashcards provided for schools tend toward more generic subjects and the most common lesson plans.  Offering customized flash cards in a homeschool setting, allows the teacher to “learn” what engages the student most in different subjects  and create customized flashcards that fit the student’s learning path. For example, creating alphabet printables that incorporate a child’s love of animals makes the lesson more accessible. Similar free printables can be found online or created for math, science and other subjects.

Personalizing Worksheets

A creative homeschool teacher can also craft an assignment that fits a student’s daily experiences with personalized worksheets. For example, play time, crafts and other school activities can become a lesson in telling time. Laminate this telling time printable (which is dry erase, so it can be reused every day) so that activities help a student learn scheduling and  time.

By laminating the personal projects you create for your student, you provide durable learning tools that align with the student’s aspirations and interests and make learning more than just fun–they make it personal!

Select one of these personal laminators  for your homeschool teaching tools.

Organizing Classroom Bulletin Boards for the School Year

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As a teacher, you probably have awesome bulletin board ideas for your classroom already planned. But the prep work involved can be time-consuming. So it’s important to get started early (preferably before school starts) by preparing bulletin board backdrops ahead of time, you can make the final creative decorating less stressful. Also get a bulletin board storage box to keep all of your bulletin boards clean and protected throughout the year. Storage box folders keep each bulletin board theme separated, along with add-on bulletin board supplies (photos, cut-out letters, etc.) that you will need for final decorating.

Organizing Your Bulletin Board Ideas

Make a list of your bulletin board themes. Of course your list is huge, but narrowing your themes down to boards that will be most helpful and useful to your students can make your boards a big hit. Date each selected theme so you know when it will makes its appearance during the school year. Perhaps start with a welcome back to school board on the first day of class, shift to a holiday board around Halloween or Thanksgiving, etc. The dates will ensure you stay on track when it’s time to swap out themes.

Preparing Your Board Backdrops

Whatever type of bulletin board you use, a backdrop theme color is essential for organizing  your idea by color or material. The backdrops also keep you focused on each theme.

Here are some cool backdrop materials to considers:

Plastic Tablecloths left over from summer picnics make great board  covers. Also the plastic is durable and acts as a clean background for colorful pinups.

Eye-Catching Aluminum Foil– Very cool backdrop for science project boards or Christmas boards.

Versatile Cotton Fabric. A trip to the fabric store before school starts gets the creative juices flowing with colorful options and even patterns that will make a fun and engaging board that is easily covered with staples or glue.

Create a Add-Ons List

Now that you have the board backdrops ready, make the list of add-ons you will hang from each board. If you are not quite sure what add-ons to use, include the essential materials to make the add-ons into the bulletin board storage folder so you will have them when the time comes.

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Bulletin Board Storage Box Folders have handy list areas where you can write your add-ons that will go on each bulletin board.

 Show Time!

The day before each board gets seen by the class, simply hang your prepped board, pin up or staple up the add-ons and you are ready in no time.

Check out more bulletin board backdrop ideas at Organized Classroom.

What is the Safest Laminator for Children?

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Laminators can be a fun and helpful tool around the house. You can make crafts with the kids or even create learning templates like flashcards and reusable dry erase worksheets.

But laminators, like any other machine, can be harmful without supervision. The average laminator can reach temperatures of 200 degrees!

Here are some helpful tips to ensure safe laminating:

1. Make sure your laminator has HeatGuard. This feature ensures that the exterior of the machine stays cool to the touch.

2. Make sure to unplug your laminator when you are finished using it. If you tend to be forgetful, get a laminator with Auto Shut-Off.

Here is a laminator with Auto-Shut Off

Here is a laminator with Heat Guard Technology

Top Summer Laminating Projects to Keep Kids Busy

 

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When the kids get bored during the summer, bring out your home laminator and get the kids involved in fun crafts. Download the free templates below and get laminating!

Summer Games. These games keep kids occupied and they are dry erase!

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Free Download Here! Laminating Ideas

Play Doh PlaceMats.   Forget the video games, these old school play doh mats help kids get creative with their hands.

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Free Download Here! PlaydoughMats-ShapeMonsters

 

Mask Cut-Outs. Though Halloween is months away, summer is still a great time to play dress-up. Kids can make their own laminated masks.

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Free Download Here! Fellowes_IdeaCenter_Child-Mask-Cut-Outs

 

Summer Reading Bookmarks. Engage kids in reading by letting them laminate their own bookmarks. They can take them to the library or the bookstore.

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Free Download Here! Fellowes_IdeaCenter_Bookmarks

 

 

Choosing the Right Laminator to Fit Your Classroom

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Laminators are essential to teachers. However, laminators come with many different features and in many different price ranges. How can you decide when a more expensive laminator has more bells and whistles than you need? Or when a low priced laminator not up to the laminating demands of your typical school day. Here are a few questions educators can ask themselves to better select a laminator that fits their classroom.

Performance

Having a laminator that heats up faster or laminates at a faster rate may seem like a luxury, but it can be worth the extra cost. These efficiency features help you get your laminating done a lot sooner, which means more time with your students.

The Saturn 3i 95 is a reasonably priced laminator that features 1-minute warm-up with InstaHeat Technology. It can laminate a document in roughly 60 seconds.  Other laminators can include smart features like AutoSense, which allows you to change pouch and document thicknesses without making any adjustments to the machine-another great time-saver!

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Saturn 3i 95

Safety

Working around children means taking extra precautions with your classroom equipment. If this is a concern, you may want a laminator with built-in safety features. HeatGuard Technology keeps heat inside so the laminator is safe to touch. This allows you to keep your laminator out on your desk without worry.

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Price

For most teachers, classroom budgets are the primary factor in purchasing a laminator. If you can compromise on other features, you can get a good laminator workhorse for a low price. The M5-95 is a light performance laminator, but it does the job. The compact size makes it easy to be stored in the classroom, or even taken home at night when you have more laminating to do for the next school day.

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M5-95

 

 

 

A  Makerspace Guide for Librarians

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What is a makerspace? Simply put, a central location for creative endeavors. As public libraries have changed from becoming archival resource centers to interactive learning and community centers, the makerspace concept has become an important development.

Maker spaces essentially promote learning through play. In a typical makerspace you will find simple hand tools and materials to work with metal and wood.  But a makerspace is not just for tech tinkerers. Promoting artwork, a makerspace may offer drawing materials or sculpting materials from clay to crayons.

Crafts are encouraged with laminators and paper cutters for creating paper projects, or even a bevy of craft odds and ends from buttons to string for inspiration.

In the end, it’s not the equipment that is important, but rather what the overall space promotes.

If you are a librarian looking to create a makerspace, start with this list of objectives:

  • Foster play and exploration
  • Facilitate informal learning opportunities
  • Nurture peer-to-peer training
  • Work with community members as true partners, not as users or patrons
  • Develop a culture of creating as opposed to consuming.

Whatever space you develop within the library, it should encourage all of the above.

Bringing  Kids Back to Paper in the Makerspace

Crafts with paper re-engage kids with  the tactile aspects of art. An inexpensive laminator can help kids (and even adults) create fun and interesting crafts.

Make sure you get a laminator that is safe around kids and that has the versatility for lots of users.

Other Laminator Options for a Makerspace

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Callisto 125

  • Advanced system allows users to change between different pouch and document thicknesses without waiting-Great for varying pouch projects
  • Hot lamination for 3- or 5-mil pouches as well as cold pouches
  • Reverse mode disengages pouch for re-centering or removal
  • Unique HeatGuard Technology™ keeps heat inside so laminator is comfortable to touch-Keeps kids safe around the laminator
  • 12-1/2” entry width accommodates multiple document sizes
  • Ready in 5 minutes, laminates in one minute
  • Auto shut-off prevents overheating when not in use

 

Need inspiration for laminating projects? Offer these fun and free laminating templates at your Makerspace.

Reintroducing kids to paper books

A makerspace in a library also gives children the opportunity to write and illustrate their own books outside the classroom. Provide an easy to use binding machine as part of your makerspace so kids can be literary creative.

The best binding machine for a makerspace should be easy to use.

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Starlet 2 Plus

  • Light duty comb binding machine for personal use
  • Manually punches up to 12 sheets at a time
  • Binds up to 120 sheets with a 5/8” comb
  • Enhanced accuracy edge guide for pinpoint punch alignment
  • Document thickness / comb guide helps user select proper comb width

Holiday Gifts for the Home Office

Completing that perfect home office can mean finding the one thing that you really need, but never got around to buying.  Add these home office perks to your holiday wish list, or consider someone who needs that one office item they have been talking about buying for months.

Fundamental Identity Theft Protection

From unwanted credit card applications to old tax returns, your identity on paper is vulnerable to theft and fraud. Keeping a shredder in your home office is one of the simplest measures you can take for ID theft prevention.

The 79Ci cross-cut shredder features the 100% Jam Proof System to eliminate paper jams and power through tough jobs. The SilentShred feature ensures quiet performance. Especially important for the home office where kids and pets are present, SafeSense shuts down the shredder when hands touch the paper opening, preventing accidents and injury.

Must Have for Home & School Projects

Many times the home office becomes the place to finish projects for the classroom. When kids need help, usually its where you keep the computer and office supplies that they end up heading. To create great projects for class, a Cosmic 2 laminator comes in handy.  Laminating creates an impressive and protected finish for maps, artwork and dry erase diagrams.

There is even an idea center where you can download free templates for lamianting projects for home, school and office uses.

The Gift of Comfort

Even in the home office, long hours at the computer can lead to pains and aches. For those suffering in the home office chair, comfort gifts such as a climate control footrest can keep feet toasty warm or cool during the summertime. The footrest also  adjusts as needed to keep feet comfortably elevated. This unique gift will be appreciated long after the holidays!

 

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