Being a mother sometimes means that once in a while your kid will come home with extra homework that will take some extra attention and time from you – School Projects. Many parents complain about it. That was never my case. I don’t have the perfect formula, but school projects do not intimidate us! My daughter and I always have so much fun doing it…. so there must be something we’re doing right and this is how we do it.
I let my daughter choose the book/theme. She must love it! …if not, the project will become a torture and I will most probably have to finish the project myself. Never forget to check with the teacher if the chosen book is appropriate for the report.
Make reading time productive and fun! I LOVE books in their paper format but I find that using my daughter’s tablet for book reports is the most productive and fun way to get her engaged in the project: besides having endless assortment of books to choose from with reviews to help her choose, she also does not need a good night lamp to read it, she can read it in any position, can mark special words and check the meaning of it just by tapping on it. That is a big time saver and my daughter’s favorite feature.
Me and my daughter read the book together, usually on my bed, under the blankets, side by side, making comments about each chapter, laughing together, and taking notes of each chapter. These notes will be a big time saver when it is time to write the report.
Use a few simple questions as a guide to write a report with clear, organized information. These are the four questions my daughter must answer in order to complete a book report.
1 – Who is the main character/what you learned about this character?
2 – What is the main subject/problem/event of this story?
3 – How did the story end or how was the problem resolved?
4 – What did the main character learned from this experience and what did you (my daughter) learn from reading this book?
She then writes a paragraph per question giving complete answers to these questions in this same order, I revise it to spell-check and make sure no important facts were left behind, and she copies it after with impeccable handwriting! Book report is DONE!!
Again, like the book report, she needs to be in love with the theme/scene to be a fun project! If it is a diorama about a book, she will choose a favorite scene or favorite picture in the book, if there is any.
Now, for materials we always use the same “recipe”…
Assortment of materials for the background and ground/bottom
Hot glue gun
Wide ribbon or duck tape
– No matter what scene you choose, there will always be needed a 3D subject in the middle of the diorama, and for that I find that homemade flour clay is the best material for small hands to build any subject. It is affordable, made with things everyone has at home, can be made in less than 10 minutes, can be stored for 5 days, your child can model anything with it and sure have lots of fun.
Homemade clay recipe – Mix 2 cups of all-purpose flour with 1 cup of salt and 1 cup of cold water. Knead it for about 7 minutes and it is ready to be molded. When done molding, bake it in a warm 250 degrees oven for at least 20 minutes. Depending on its thickness, it might need to bake for longer period of time. Just keep checking it. Let it cool off.
– Acrylic paint it is the fastest paint to dry and therefore it is the only one I buy to paint the homemade clay and the background of the shoe box.
– Hot glue gun to attach any material and creations. Only hot glue gun will dry fast enough and strong enough for a diorama that will be handled and carried around in school. Be mindful that it is very hot and depending the age of your child you need to assist in this task.
Now, to hide all the labeling that comes with a shoe box, just use wide duck tape or glue a wide ribbon around the box. I usually choose a ribbon that will match the shoe box color.
And that is all we do every time.