Thursday, August 29, 2013

Woolzies Dryer Balls {Review}

For the past month (or so) I have been trying out Woolzies Dryer Balls
These handmade, 100% pure New Zealand wool dryer balls are great! We have sensitive skin in this family and dryer sheets and fabric softeners make us itch so we had been dealing with static and wrinkles and not so soft fabrics. With the Woolzies Dryer Balls we have soft fabric, less wrinkles, and no static (even in very dry Arizona)! Woolzies claims that they help dry clothes faster thereby saving you money on electricity. I really have no idea if this is true as we had to purchase a new washer and dryer set at about the same time we got the Woolzies but I think they are worth it even if they don't dry your clothes any faster. Woolzies are easy to use...just put your clothes in the dryer and toss in the dryer balls! If you want, once your clothes are dry, you can take out a dryer ball or two and put a drop or two of essential oil on the balls and run the dryer for about 10 more minutes for a lovely scent of your choice!

In a Nutshell:
~Softens Naturally
~May reduce drying time by 25%
~Reduces Static
~Helps eliminate wrinkles
~Chemical Free
~Safe for people with wool sensitivities
~Handmade from fine New Zealand Wool
~$34.95 with FREE SHIPPING to anywhere in the US (yes, even Alaska and Hawaii)
~Ship anywhere else for $6.95
~Box includes 6 XL Dryer Balls
~Guaranteed to last 1000 loads (that makes them just 4 cents a load)

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One Minute Reader App by Read Naturally {Mosaic Review}

Today I am reviewing a reading App for the iPad by Read Naturally.
About the Product: 
I was given Level E of the One Minute Reader App to review. I chose this level as Ladybug is a struggling reader and Monkey reads at the same level as she does. 
 One Minute Reader is very easy to use. Download the App, have your child choose the story he/she wants to read, type in their name and go. First your child will read the story for 1 minute. 
 This is called the "cold read". After they finish the story you will see a thermometer that shows how many words they read during this "cold read". Next, they touch the highlighted words to learn their meanings. They earn points for every highlighted word they touch. After, the have done all the vocabulary they listen to the story 3 times. 
 When they are finished listening to the story, they move on to the "hot read". Now they read the story again, and after 1 minute they touch the last word they read. Continue practicing reading the story until they get a "hot read" score they like. Then they move on to see the thermometer again. This time it will compare the "cold read" and "hot read" scores (words per minute). Be ready to see some awesome growth! 

After each story there are some comprehension questions and a crossword puzzle to solve.

 In a Nutshell:
~There are 6 Levels (E, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5)
~The FREE App has a placement tool
~Each Level has 25 short stories and is $19.99
~Read Naturally has many other reading products

Our Thoughts:
Monkey loves it...but he loves learning and reading and the iPad. So, he is not a good judge for this. Ladybug doesn't hate it or fight me when I ask her to use it! This is AMAZING. She is a struggling reader and usually fights me on anything that may actually help her improve her reading fluency. She likes this because it is quick, she can earn points, she can SEE her improvement (the thermometer and graphs) and she doesn't have to do it all in one sitting. I, like Monkey, love this app. While the price is a little steep for me, I will be getting more levels as Ladybug and Monkey progress. Why? Because, in just a few short weeks I have seen Ladybug go from hating to read to tolerating it AND doubling her cold read scores (from 9 to 21 or more words per minute). I am willing to pay for anything that will help her learn to enjoy reading while at the same time help her become a more fluent reader.
About the Vendor (from the website):
As part of her master’s program in special education, Candyce Ihnot developed a unique and highly effective strategy to help struggling readers achieve fluency. She combined three research-proven methods (teacher modeling, repeated reading, and progress monitoring) into a simple set of steps that would later become known as the Read Naturally strategy. Eventually, this strategy would help hundreds of thousands of struggling students read more fluently. Along with her husband, Tom, a high school economics teacher and basketball coach, Candyce founded Read Naturally, Inc., in 1991.

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Monday, August 5, 2013

Back to School Sale at Compass Classroom

Compass Classroom is having a "Big Back to School Sale" August 5-12! 
All DVD's and Downloads are 25% off
We have used Visual Latin in the past (and LOVED it) and this year we are using Economics for Everybody! 
Click below to check out their sale (affiliate link).
Compass Classroom
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Friday, August 2, 2013

LeapFrog Paper Based Learning Products {Mosaic Reviews}

If you are like me your knowledge of LeapFrog products probably consists of the expensive electronic equipment and possibly of their educational DVD's. Today I get to share with you some affordable LeapFrog Paper Based Learning Products that are from MEGA Brands America! Monkey and I got the privilege to try out 5 of their 35+ products.
These LeapFrog products by MEGA Brands are available for purchase (MSRP $0.99-$24.99 for children ages 3+) at major retailers including Toys R Us, Michaels, Joann's, Target, OfficeMax and Costo. At Target and Walmart, look for them near the stationery and writing instruments, rather than toys or school supplies.

First, we have Sight Words I Flash Cards for K-1. There are 55 word cards (double sided) and 1 activity card. I don't have any action shots of this one because it is hard to hold the flash cards and a camera at the same time! ;)  Monkey had a great time with these. He loved the challenge of reading the sentence that accompanied each word. The cards are high-quality and have an angled corner for easy sorting.

Next, is a Numbers Dry Erase Activity Book (with dry erase marker/eraser) for K-1. There are 8 coated cardboard pages that are 5x7 inches (perfect for little hands on the go).  Little ones can practice the numbers 1-30 and some addition and subtraction problems.
Then we have a little workbook for K-1 called Ready for 1st Grade Math. This is a 60-page workbook with 60 reward stickers! Monkey LOVES putting the stickers on each page as he finishes! Skills that are practiced include: Patterns, Numbers 0-100, Sequencing, Counting by 2's, 5's & 10's, Addition and Subtraction.
Printing Dry Erase Practice (K-1) is up next. This product is 16 reusable dry erase pages with a dry-erase lap board at the back. Skills practiced include: Proper letter formation, Improving fine motor skills, and Upper- and Lowercase printing.
Last (but not least) is Printing, Numbers, Math & Shapes Dry Erase Workbook K-1 (with Dry Erase Marker). This product has 6 dry-erase coated cardboard pages and is 11x11.5 inches.
Other products include: pencils, pencil grips, success charts, dry-erase/chalk boards, journals, play money, reading & math flash cards, reading & math workbooks/dry-erase books, chalk, dry erase markers and MORE! Again, these LeapFrog products by MEGA Brands are available for purchase (MSRP $0.99-$24.99 for children ages 3+) at major retailers including Toys R Us, Michaels, Joann's, Target, OfficeMax and Costo. At Target and Walmart, look for them near the stationery and writing instruments, rather than toys or school supplies. You can also find them on individually and in kits, just be sure to search for them in Office Products.

Monkey has had a blast with these products. In fact, he ASKS to use them. Even Ladybug has been seen getting in on the action! I love how many of the products are reusable and that the kids LOVE to use them. I also LOVE the prices!

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