For Father’s Day, I made “A Book About My Daddy” workbook for the Dumpling to fill out as a personalized gift for jigg. The template contained typical sections to fill in her dad’s name, age, eye color, reasons she loves him, etc. Unlike typical “feel good” versions, however, I made sure mine contained opportunities to have a few laughs at my husband’s expense. She got to rate jigg’s skill in various categories, compare his abilities with mommy, and divulge what he sucks at doing.
The Dumpling’s brutal honesty did not disappoint! My kid is savage. Never ask her any questions that you do not want to know the answers to.
A number of people has asked me to share the book template, so here it is! I made a few edits to my original version so that the questions and answer options can be applicable to more people. Even though Father’s Day is over, this would make a funny birthday gift for dads as well.
I enjoy re-reading books that I once read as a kid with the Dumpling because I now get to see the story from an adult’s perspective. Almost 30 years after my first reading of “Harold and the Purple Crayon,” I was finally able to understand the abstract (and even dystopian) ideas in the book. To the Dumpling, however, it is understandably just a story about a baby doodling with a crayon. As I compiled our lesson plan, I decided to sneak in a few abstract discussions to see her response…
Click here to download “Harold and the Purple Crayon Lesson Plan.” Please note that the content was tailored specifically for my four year old, so it may not reflect typical classroom material for a kindergartner.
I began using PowerPoint for the Dumpling’s Covid-19 homeschooling because I wanted to create custom games and interactive activity sheets without any coding knowledge. Since PowerPoint was not intended for such use, please note that there are limitations and extra behind-the-scenes work involved in using the file. I toggled between “normal” and “presentation” mode as I went through the deck. The drag/drop and draw functions needed to complete the activities were done in “normal” mode, where content is editable, so I was constantly on Ctrl + Z (“undo”) duty.
PowerPoint also did not automatically load the “Draw” toolbar for me if I did not have my drawing tablet connected. To manually pin this on, go into the “customize ribbon” settings and make sure “draw” is checked.
There is also a pen option in “slide show” mode located in the lower left corner; this is great for any drawing/tracing/writing activities but note that objects cannot be dragged/re-arranged here.
The Dumpling and I reviewed what two colors make up purple and tested mixing different proportions of blue and red food coloring to create it.
As we experimented, I sneaked in a discussion on color symbolism and psychology. These were not new concept since we have a copy of Kathryn Otoshi’s One at home, so I was hopeful. I mentioned the commonly perceived associations of purple, such as “royalty”, “spirituality”, “magic”, and “creativity” but unfortunately lost her completely within seconds. She asked to “do her own thing” and emerged 30 minutes later with a glass of purple “wine” for me.
Harold literally creates his own reality with just a purple crayon and his wit, so I included a few drawing tutorials and a blank canvas for the Dumpling to release her imagination. These slides are best done using the pen function in presentation mode so that the timing of the animated steps can be controlled.
Because I always get shafted when sharing food with the Dumpling, I thought teaching fraction would be a path to more equally divided portions. As a side project, we made pies out of play dough and practiced slicing them into halves, thirds, and quarters.
We reviewed consonants, blends, and digraphs sounds.
The Dumpling used to be all over the place whenever she told stories, so we practiced recounting events in sequential order.
Since the book blurs the line between reality and make-believe, I included a few choices to reflect this duality. There was no “wrong” answer as long as the Dumpling explained how a selected item could be used to perform the task. Her answers did not disappoint; she called on magical creatures to her aid and opted to shoot herself across the ocean on an arrow.
Reality vs Make-Belief
Having a philosophical discussion with a four year old was trippy, but interesting nonetheless. According to the Dumpling, her drawings are not real because they are just pictures.
When questioned about her sketch of something that made her happy (stick figure of her dad), however, she said that was real. From what I could gather, only drawings of people, places, or things that she had direct experiences with could be considered real.
I then asked what about Harold’s doodles? She replied, “Harold’s adventure was make-believe but also real, because of magic!”
I have been homeschooling the Dumpling since February due to Covid-19 school closures, and playing teacher has been one of my toughest (and to be honest, crappiest) SAHM tasks.
With the Dumpling resisting me every step of the way, I have bribed, threatened, pleaded, yelled, and gave up countless times in the last three months…only to renew my efforts the following day. Under different circumstances, I would have aborted mission completely and just let the Dumpling enjoy her days off — she should be playing with her friends and exploring the great outdoors. Everyone, unfortunately, is stuck at home; everything is cancelled; and I was going mad listening to Blippi on YouTube all day.
The first thing I did was enforced a daily routine and dedicated a slot every afternoon for our “classes”. Secondly I stopped following the school’s curriculum because I am unable teach the way her teachers teach. Instead I prepared my own lesson plans and activity sheets using a tool that I am familiar with — PowerPoint.
I like being able to easily customize the content to the Dumpling’s interest and progress. It took a few days for her to get adjusted to using a mouse and drawing tablet, but she loved the interactive aspect once she got the hang of it. The downside was that we were working in an editable mode within PowerPoint (more on this below), so the Dumpling would sometimes accidentally change things on the slide. As a result, I was constantly on Ctrl + Z (undo) duty.
We’re Going On A Bear Hunt
The first deck I prepared was a lesson for “We’re Going On A Bear Hunt”. Its content was tailored specifically for the Dumpling, so it may not reflect typical classroom material for a kindergartner. It took us about a week to go through the slides, sometimes the same ones on repeat across several days.
Before diving into the content, here are a few administrative tasks I did on the sidelines:
Throughout our lessons, I toggled between “normal” and “slide show” mode. Activity slides were completed in “normal” mode, so that the Dumpling could draw/write or drag/drop objects. It is important to note that these functions can only be done in “normal” mode, where content is editable.
PowerPoint did not automatically load the “Draw” toolbar for me if I did not have my drawing tablet connected. To manually pin this on, go into the “customize ribbon” settings and make sure “draw” is checked.
There is also a pen option in “slide show” mode, but note that objects cannot be re-arranged here to complete most of the activity slides.
We discussed how to read a map and its major components, such as the title, legend, scale, and compass. Thanks to Blippi, the Dumpling already knew what a compass is along with the cardinal directions.
As a side project, I magnetized a pin and floated it on water to show the Dumpling how one works. The pin head pointed to north no matter where it was moved — as verified by the placement of the morning sun and our compass app!
The story text contains many opportunity to introduce digraph (sh, ch) and blend sounds (sp/spl, sq, st, sw, tr).
The Dumpling used to be all over the place whenever she told stories, so we practiced recounting events in sequential order.
As part of building up her storytelling skills, I encouraged her to use more adjectives. We reviewed the descriptions the author used for each destination, and I asked the Dumpling if she could think of others.
We reviewed “over”, “under”, and “through”.
I have included a maze, word search, image arrangement, and pattern completion activity throughout the deck to keep the sessions interactive. There were certain puzzles that the Dumpling wanted to do more of, so I made additional versions that are included as extra slides in the back.
As part of our homeschooling curriculum, the Dumpling and I have been learning about space the last few weeks. When I say homeschool, I really mean watching YouTube videos on the subject…the same ones over and over and over again. Repetition is key, folks! Even better if the information is in a song.
For the art and craft portion for our theme, we made a tunnel book of the solar system. I was inspired after seeing one on Pinterest, but it had no tutorials so I’m sharing mine.
According to Wonderpolis.org:
“Tunnel books are made up of a series of pages that are held together by folded strips of paper on each side. In fact, the sides of a tunnel book might make you think of an accordion. The overall effect of a tunnel book is to create the illusion of depth and perspective.
Tunnel books are “read” through a hole in the cover. Each page features openings that allow the reader to see through the entire book to the back cover. The images on each page work together to form a three-dimensional scene inside the book that helps to tell the story.
Making one is actually easier than it looks. My version, however, differs from the traditional form because it is only bounded on one side. I left the right side open so that we could flip though it like a book.
Cardstock (8.5″x 11″):
Blue cardstock (10x): we used a mixture of different shades
Scoring tool (alternatively, an old credit card, ruler and towel would work as well)
Coloring materials (we used craft paint)
Scissors and/or X-Acto knife (recommended)
Print out the templates — “solar system” template on white cardstock and “orbit” template on blue cardstock.
* Please note that while the templates include a page for the sun, I decided to exclude it from my book (I used my phone’s flashlight to represent our star instead), so you will not see it in my pictures.
Color and cut. We used craft paint and also splattered/smeared some white on the blue cardstock to represent faraway stars. Only cut the shaded circles from the middle of each page on the “orbits” template (an X-Acto knife is recommended). Mark the page number, which are in brackets, for each cut item with a pencil for future reference.
DO NOT CUT OUT THE CIRCLE FOR THE SUN on page 9 of the “orbit” template.
Glue the planets onto the orbit circles by matching the page numbers. Play around with placement — spread them around so that they are not bunched together and have at least 50% of each planet “stick out” of the circle cutouts. The goal is to have all eight planets visible from the front page.
Glue the sun cutout in place as indicated on page 9 of the “orbit” template.
Create the spine. Using the last blue cardstock placed in portrait orientation, draw vertical lines that are 0.5″ apart and score along the lines. Scoring is extremely important when working with heavier paper because it helps create clean, crisp folds. If you do not have a scoring bone, place the cardstock on top of a towel, align a ruler along the lines, and run an old credit card along the ruler to create a score.
Make accordion folds along the scored lines.
Glue each page onto the spine. Start with Neptune on the first page and work your way back. Imagine each accordion fold as a hill, and glue the pages onto the downward slope.
The photos on my phone are an un-curated mess, filled with blurred, unflattering, or accidental shots that should have been deleted long ago. As a result, the Dumpling and I would often get distracted by the 10,000+ images other than the ones I want to show her.
After our recent family vacation, I printed a few photos that highlighted our trip and bound them into a miniature book. Sharing real, physical pictures was such a refreshing experience in this digital age. The format helped the Dumpling better recount the events in chronological order and served as a keepsake of our holiday.
The photo book, which measures 3″ w x 4″ h, was made from folding a standard 6″ x 4″ photo in half. The below tutorial shows how to print two images per spread. To create one image per spread, just print directly from your phone.
1. Adjust slide size to standard 6″ w x 4″ h photo dimensions in a blank PowerPoint presentation.
2. Delete any text boxes on the slide. PowerPoint inserts the title and subtitle text boxes on the first slide by default, so select both and delete.
3. Insert 3″ w x 4″ h rectangle on the left half of the slide. PowerPoint uses a blue rectangle and black outline by default. While it does not matter what the fill color is, remove the shape outline. This is where the picture on the left spread will be.
4. Duplicate the rectangle and place it on the right half of the slide. This is where the picture on the right spread will be.
5. Fill the rectangles with photos. Instead of filling the shape with a color, select the option to fill it with an image. Repeat steps 3-5 on additional slides until reaching the number of desired pages (my recommendation is approximately 10-20).
(Pro-tip: Add text on top of the photos to tell a story!)
6. Convert the slides in JPGs. My local print shop only prints photos from JPGs or PNGs, so I had to convert my PowerPoint file into the acceptable format. I could not figure out how to export the images without compromising on the resolution (even though I checked all the settings!), so my workaround was to first save the slides as a PDF.
8. Score and fold each printed photograph in half. Scoring creates a cleaner fold, especially on thicker paper stocks. If you do not have a scoring board, layer a folded towel under the photo, place a ruler on where the score line should be, and run the edge of an old credit card along the ruler to create the score line.
9.With the edges aligned, tape the back of the photos together using double-sided tape. I applied tape on the top, bottom, and outer margins of the photo, but not the inner margin located along the fold.
Once the photos are taped together, they form the inside pages of the book and the folds make up the spine.
10. Press the photos together under something heavy (i.e. textbooks) for about 24 hours. This limits the pages from puffing open on their own.
11.Tape the spine tightly together and then measure its width. This width varies depending on the number of pages, weight of the photo paper, and how well the pages were compressed together. For example, the width of my spine was approximately 0.5″. If unsure, add no more than 0.125″ to the measurement.
12. Create the book cover in PowerPoint. The process is similar to creating the inside pages of the book as demonstrated above, so I did not splice the demo video up into individual steps. In summary, adjust the slide size to US Letter dimensions (11″ x 8.5″) and insert a rectangle with the following dimensions: (6″ + width of spine spine) x 4″. For my example, it would be 6.5″ w x 4″ h. The rectangle should be placed at least 0.25″ away from the edges of the slide to prevent the image from being cut off during printing.
I have also added lines (at the 3″ and 3.5″ mark) to help indicate where I needed to score the book spine.
When “filling” the the rectangle with an image, PowerPoint automatically stretches the picture, so manually change this setting by switching to “Fit” under the “Crop” drop-down. To enlarge or shrink the image proportionally, click and drag the white circles on the corners AND hold down the SHIFT key simultaneously.
13. Print. I used standard 8.5″ x 11″ card stock. When printing, select “Actual Size” in the setting to prevent the printer from changing the image size.
14.Score and fold where spine ought to be, then cut out the cover.
15. Tape the cover onto the first and last page of the book. Again I only taped the top, bottom, and outer margins. Do not tape the spine of the book onto the cover because there needs to be wiggle room for the book to open and close.