Friday, June 6, 2014

Schoolhouse Review: Learning Wrap ups

Have I got some fun products to tell you about today! This latest review had us really wrapped up doing some neat hands on activities to help with both reading and math. Learning Wrap ups were created by a teacher who was looking for a new way to teach math facts to students who were not responding to flash cards and drill sheets. Now they are adding even more products that are trying new approaches to reach students. Having a daughter with Down syndrome who responds more to hands on learning I thought I would give these products a try. For the purpose of my review I was given all of these!

Learning Wrap ups Basic Math Intro Kit w/o CDs $44.99
Learning Wrap ups Vocabulary Intro Kit $35.99
10 Days to Multiplication Mastery Wrap up and Book Combo  $12.99
10 Steps to Addition Mastery Wrap up and Book Combo  $12.99
(I already had the wrap ups so simply got the books but these are great if don't want to buy the entire kit.)

1st Grade Math Learning Palette 1 Base Center Kit $71.99
3rd Grade Reading 1 Base Center Kit $61.99
LearningPalette.com Subscription $60.00 for up to 5 users. Currently you can get a 20% discount if you use the coupon code: Homeschool






Let me begin with the Learning Wrap ups Basic Math Intro Kit. The kit includes a wrap for addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, and fractions. These are great for beginners learning these facts or older students who need practice.


They also included the addition and multiplication books that come with the combo packs. Gess really struggles with her math facts. Even at the age of twelve I can not get her to memorize them due to her special needs, so I was anxious to give these a try.

The wrap-ups work by taking the string and starting with the column on the left you say that number +2 (or whatever one you happen to be working on) and pull the string over to the answer. Then you come back to the left column and find the problem below that and do the same thing. The back has lines on it that match the answers. If your string covers those lines you wrapped it successfully.

It took us a couple of tries to get the feel of it. At first I was afraid Gess would never get it but after a couple of sessions she was wrapping away, at least with help from me. It's still too much for her to hold it and wrap but she needs help with lots of things like this, even tying shoes. Kids who don't have those struggles will do just fine.


The workbook was rather simple, but it was helpful. I liked the way it introduced adding twos which was a frog hopping over one lily pad to get to the next. Now Gess will say out loud "2+3=hop over 4 it's 5" Hopefully she will get past that part, but at least that helps her do the math in her head. They also had word problems, pages to mark down when you practice your wrap up, practice problems, and hands on activities.


In spite of Gess struggling working the wrap it has been a tremendous help in learning her addition facts. Being able to visually see the answer and then wrap the string around it does something for her, and she is learning them! Other than 2+1 and 2+2 she didn't know any of these consistently, but here she got some answers that she never had before. I had trouble shooting the video and helping her at the same time so I end it abruptly, but here she is doing a few of the problems. You can also see how the wrap works.




The Learning Wrap ups Vocabulary Intro Kit is a similar way to practice reading skills for children on any level who need to practice these skills. It includes a wrap for antonyms, synonyms, homonyms, and compound words. We would randomly use these as extra practice, but some were tough for her to do because of her special needs. The vocabulary level seemed to be on a middle elementary level with words like rein, boastful, and inventive. The compound words were tough for Gess too, but we actually improved her vocabulary as we discussed them. I think it would be fun to combine them with our vocabulary and spelling lists. In the future I might make a list based upon a wrap, study the words and practice by wrapping. I bet her test will turn out really well then!


We really liked all the wrap ups, even if Gess needed help. The only problem was that sometimes the string might be hovering over a potential answer making it hard to see. Otherwise they were a fun tool to use.




Next we got to review their Learning Palette. When I saw these online I was interested but I was a bit concerned that the cards might be too hard for Gess to read. I figured the print would have to be really small to fit it all in. However, when they arrived in the mail I was super impressed! These things are very large so they work really well for her. You can get a feel for the size as she holds it.


The concept is fairly simple. The middle of the card has the questions while the outer layer has the potential answers. The problems are color coded and you place that particular disk in the slot. After you have answered all the problems you turn to the card over to see if you are correct. You can see in the second panel how the outer section of the answer card is color coded to match the disk that should be placed there.




While we used the 1st Grade Math Learning Palette Base Center Kit the math kits are available for grades 1-5.


Since Gess still struggles with math we started with the basics. This kit comes with the Palette and 6 card sets that each has about 12 cards in it. You can also purchase the palette and card sets separately if you don't want to purchase the entire set at once. The topics covered in my set were:

Numeration 1.1 - Numbers 0-10 and Introduction to Addition and Subtraction
Numeration 1.2 - Numbers 0-100
Numeration 1.3 - Money, Simple fractions, Addition and Subtraction through 18
Algebra Concepts
Geometry & Measurement
Probability and Statistics

We jumped around and have done a little from each category. While Gess struggles with adding, much of it is review.


I love that some of the cards have visual helps for the concept and others do not. For instance the earlier cards let you use a number line to add while later ones do not.




The 3rd Grade Reading Learning Palette Base Center Kit was also a fun way to practice reading skills. These kits come in grades K-3.


While Gess' reading skills are bit above these, due to her special needs these particular skills are important for her to practice so I got the highest level they offered.  This kit also comes with the Palette and 5 sets of cards. These titles include:

Prefixes and Suffixes
Reading Comprehension
Synonyms, Antonyms, & Homophones
Vocabulary
Grammar

I was impressed with some concepts that she knew that we had not really covered very much. I also found that these were helpful in building her skills as she was unfamiliar with some of the vocabulary words. Here she is working on pronouns.


I think these were a bit tougher to do for her than the math ones. It's easy when the answers all are numbers, but to have to match words to definitions there were just too many choices and she would often overlook them. I had to teach her to work on ones she could find easily first and then use deduction to find ones she may not know.



The last product I reviewed was LearningPalette.com. This site is for grades K-5 and allows you to have access to all of the learning palettes in a digital format.


When you log on you get to choose whether you want to do math or reading. Then you choose the level of tiles you want to use. They actually call it levels rather than grades which is nice because children like my daughter sometimes are bothered by doing work they know is in a different grade. Then you choose which pack and which particular card you want and then click the load button.

We had the hardest time getting this to work on our school computer. It simply would not let it finish some cards and therefore it didn't log them as if they were done. The tiles were in the correct spot but it wasn't giving proper credit. It did work on my computer but we didn't know that until later in the review. It will depend on the size of your computer screen as to whether or not your child will be able to read all the cards easily, at least for children with vision struggles like Gess.

These work exactly like the physical palettes. While it was nice to have access to all the cards this just didn't seem as much fun to Gess. Maybe she would have enjoyed it more if she didn't have the physical palettes at home but she would much rather do those than play online. I agree with Gess it just doesn't seem to quite lend itself to a fun online experience and I struggled to get her to use this.

They do have a progress report so you can see how your child did, which is at least something you can't do with the actual palettes. It is also convenient if you want to work on many different card and level sets at one time.

LearningPalette.com offers a free Demo if you want to try it out. You may find that your child likes it much better than Gess did.




While the online experience was not as fun for us, Gess really loved doing the physical Learning Palettes. She never once complained about having to participate and one time asked to do a Learning Palette for our family board game night! I am all about making learning feel like a game and it seems they have done that for Gess. We use them often!

Gess also preferred practicing her math facts by using the Learning Wrap ups. While they were hard for her to do by herself, she did seem to enjoy them. I actually love that it works her motor skills as well as her math and vocabulary! She definitely seems to be learning from them. I think all the wrap ups are a great way to practice anywhere. We even took some on a road trip with us.

To learn more about all these products from visit the Learning Wrap ups website or see what other members of the Schoolhouse Review Crew thought about them by clicking on the banner below.

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1 comment:

Erica B said...

I love reading your reviews and watching how your daughter used the products. It really seems like she enjoyed this one! :-)

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