Thursday, October 20, 2016

Thinking Tree books in Categories! (& Ideas for using them!)

 We have loved using the Thinking Tree books for over a year now (and longer if you include the Dyslexia Games books that we have used on and off for about 3 years too!  Which started back when I was learning about Right Brain dominant learners.)

There are SO many books by them and they are a different style than we are used to seeing (great for the right brain dominant learners!) But that can make it confusing to know which to pick.  I thought it would be helpful to share some ideas about the types of books (in categories) and a few ideas on how someone could plan to use them.

To make the links in this post easier to see, all words with links to books will be in red and all links to blog posts will be highlighted in pink.


Many people have wondered how these books work and how they can use them.  I've broken the books down into a rough 8 categories to make it easier for people to see what types of books are available.

This first category of books will easily fit with other curriculum choices and I am going to call them the "Add on" subjects.

The "Film Study" is an example of a book you could add on to any curriculum.  You can use documentaries or educational shows that fit with whatever you are currently learning and one page will have prompts to write the title, write a review, do some coloring and so forth.  Similar to this one is the "Reading Time" book that is also a place to jot down some info about any books your children are already reading.

Poetry Teatimes Continue!

We have been doing "Poetry teatimes" for long enough now that we have started writing our own poetry at the end almost every time!  It might be silly or short or not that great, but still it is fun and a great creative time.  I shared a few posts ago how my 8 year old likes to type out her poems on my old red typewriter and my 10 year old is using a magnet board with hand made magnet words to move around to create her poems (and then she copies it into her book.)  My 5 year old writes in scribbles and part letters her own language to help her come up with poems and then also tells me what she wrote so I can write it for her in English.

Not too long ago I even wrote my own poem about our poetry tea times!  Here it is.

Happy Mess

Poetry teatime-
  wiggle, dribble, rhyme
Interrupt, eat a snack
  Stop a squabbly-smack to dine
on nuts and cheese
  forgetting to say please.
Read aloud with running littles
  Questions loud and formed in riddle
  Stop and answer
    take a picture
      eat a cookie
watch the candle flick and flicker

Puzzles, singing, pick and bicker
Excited for chocolate cookies
  and chapter books and coloring
Little poets rhyming rookies
   Write a poem blundering
Celebrate the sweet forget the grime

     That's our glorious tea time.

When I read it to my girls after I finished they all said, "That's exactly what we have been doing!"  Yep, I basically just described that tea time in rhyme.  The pictures show the highlights but leave out the spills and sibling squabbles and things like that which are apart of all our days.  I like pointing this out so you all know the reality and can be encouraged when the poetry tea time needs adjusting if certain things don't go well.
One of our tea times this October was with the Daddy at Starbucks!  My girls love coffee so it was a special treat to get "White Mochas" for our tea time!
Everyone took turns reading a poem or two.

Also, laughing ensued during the poems that were silly.

The older girls really enjoyed hearing the poems that Daddy chose to read to them, but the little one was antsy after her mocha was gone and so she and I colored together.

For another poetry tea time this month we made gluten free breadsticks that we twisted into pretzel shapes!  And we also made our own version of Butter Beer.  Which is basically cream soda, butterscotch, butter, and heavy whipping cream.  I made my own butterscotch and used Zevia for the cream soda and I liked the heated up version best actually.  Anyway, it was fun to experiment.
My 10 year old was inspired by our read alouds of Harry Potter to make a Gryffendor scarf, so she has been doing a great job knitting!
I got these Jamberry wraps to wear for our poetry tea time too!  They have lasted a few weeks so have made me happy for more than one poetry tea time.  :)  You can find "Afternoon Tea" Jamberry wraps at this link.

Another fun idea for poetry tea times can be making these little mug buddies!
Pipe cleaner, poof balls, and self adhesive google eyes!  No pattern, just let the kids bend stuff around till it looks like a little monster that has little legs it can hold onto a finger or handle with.

Other ideas for getting the most from a poetry tea time is that if you have a chalk board or white board you can write a poem for display!  This is especially great if the poem was written by a child! Our chalk board apparently now has a new job and it's going to be displaying someones poem or a math concept this year now that we finished with the alphabet themed designs.
Adding some flowers to the table is always lovely for a tea time.  If you want to add some science into that you can buy some white carnations and put them in water with food coloring so the kids can see them change color!

As you can see, messy tea times!  Actually, this doesn't even look that bad compared to some days.  The point is everyone is having fun and enjoying the poetry.
Also, add a pet!  Pets can be great inspiration for poems too.  They can describe how their pets fur feels and you can talk about different ways to say and describe "Fluffy" and have fun rhyming or making up silly words.
Not as much about Poetry tea time specifically, but speaking of pets... and to continue the saga of the new homeschool pet!  "Pumpkin" has been a delight and I am so happy that my wiggly 5 year old that keeps changing activities and says she is "bored" so much has a little friend to go to and doesn't bug us as much for attention while we are trying to do work.  The hamster has gotten used to being woken up several times a day for 15 minute increments for some play time though in the evening she still runs around her ball when she is most active.
The page the hamster was exploring is from the "Hobby Time" journal by the Thinking Tree and has a lot of pictures to spark story telling and writing.  Most of the pictures tend to be on the boy ish side, but she has enjoyed putting tutus on the dragon and adding a stick figure to the inanimate objects and such.  We make up funny stories to laugh at and sometimes I will write them down for her.
This particular book was a free pdf at one time so I have been adding parts of it into her new Binder.  She has loved her Binder and packed it full of other coloring books and I think it must just make her feel grown up.  Never underestimate "new" school supplies to add some excitement into your school time!  This zipper binder was mine was I was a kid and it is green which is her favorite color so it was a perfect fit.