Friday, March 19, 2010

Creating a Unit Part Three: Choosing Materials

So you've picked your topic and figured out your time line--now for my favorite part--choosing materials. I really do love this--it's a lot like shopping. In fact, some shopping may be involved.

First you need to figure out the main way you're going to reinforce your material. As I've said before, I like flash cards. Pick somewhere between five and ten key concepts for the week. For example, this week we're learning to identify boat, car, truck, air plane, and train. Start really basic if that's what your child needs. Remember, a medically fragile child won't have as much real-life exposure as typical one. I know that my non-verbal child doesn't ask me "whass that?" like my friends' kids do, so he's missing out on some vocabulary. It easy to build once you have a good base.

So, pick your main activity--flashcards, books, songs, videos, and then make sure you have enough stuff to get you through the week. I make my flashcards on Sunday nights. I also spend Sunday nights on the computer looking through my local library's data base. I get a nice list of possible books and DVDs and head over there first thing Monday morning.

There are tons of great places for materials--here are a few suggestions:

  • Local library

  • Craft stores

  • Dollar store

  • Second-hand store

  • Your child's room--you'd be shocked all the junk they have in there

I also try to think of cheap day trips we could make. Obviously you could go to the zoo if you're studying animals, but some other topics might be tricky. Another great idea is to put in a key word like "train" plus the name of your town into your favorite search engine. That's how I found out there's a toy train museum in my area--who knew???

So go get your materials--up next, actually teaching your child.

Pictures of Charlie and the air plane mobile. His hair is still a little wet from his bath so please excuse the craziness.