All About Spelling with NEW Magnet Board!

Mira started Level 2 of All About Spelling earlier this month and we couldn’t be happier with the program so far.  With the guidance of this curriculum Mira now spells confidently and boldly.  Sure, she may make a mistake- like today she spelled human ‘humen’- but we work our way through the rules together and chances are, more often than not, she’ll figure out how to correct her error.  AAS makes spelling fun.  We’ve become word detectives solving puzzles.

All About Spelling takes the pain out of spelling for both the student and teacher.  We do our spelling lessons three times a week (Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays) for roughly 15-20 minutes per session.  The prep work for me is minimal which allows me to spend my precious planning time other subjects that do require more attention and energy.  AAS is already planned out in perfectly proportioned doses; and if we need review or additional work on a step it is very easy to add in.

One of the additional resources recommended for this program is a large magnetic board to use with alphabet tiles.  Sadly, we ended up doing all of Level 1 without the board and instead would set out the tiles in front of us on the kitchen table prior to each lesson.  It was a bit more work but doable. I wanted a magnetic board; I just couldn’t justify the extra expense.  I kept my eye out and hoped to find it on sale or stumble across a cheap one at Costco.  I just couldn’t find any under the $40-100 range for the size I wanted.  I was thinking big. Then one day I stumbled across a blog where a mom used a large oil drip pan from an auto store to play with large alphabet magnets with her toddler. Did I mention it’s big?  47×25 inches to be exact.  And did I mention this large magnet board costs only $10? (If you can’t get to a local auto store you can pick up this same size pan on Amazon but for quite a markup. Here is a 36×25 inch alternative for a more reasonable price.)

Yeah, I pretty much ran out and purchased one the next day.  The only downside to this board is that there is a large stamp embedded on it.   I haven’t been able to track one down that doesn’t have some version on it.  When it’s not covered it’s pretty noticeable.  You can see it here: But for me, I can handle the slight imperfection on our new learning tool.  It’s easily covered behind the AAS Jail where Mira likes to lock up those naughty rule breakers (by sword-point, no less!).  {I did cut, color, and laminate the jail for durability- I plan on using this program with all three of my girls.} As an added plus I placed the board at a perfect height where I can leave the AAS tiles on and they can’t be reached by little siblings’ prying and semi-destructive hands; yet the bottom of the board is accessible to them.  After lessons I can place larger learning magnets on it for the younger girls while leaving the AAS tiles along the top and still have plenty of play space.

EDIT:  I mounted the drip pan on the wall using these velcro picture hanging strips.  I picked up two boxes ($2 per box) for a total of six strips and placed them on the corners and top and bottom of the middle of the board.

ADDITIONAL EDIT:  Read the follow-up post on using markers with this board and creating a portable mini-board here.

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19 Responses to All About Spelling with NEW Magnet Board!

  1. Michele in MN says:

    How did you mount the drip pan? It looks awesome!

    • Kristen says:

      OH! Thanks for reminding me. I meant to mention that! I used the 3M Velcro Picture Hanging Strips(medium). They came with 3 sets of strips so I bought two boxes and used three across the top of the drip pan and three across the bottom. It works perfectly and keeps it flush enough against the wall that it doesn’t buckle but far enough away so that it doesn’t scuff the paint.

  2. Love this, but I wanted a white board to write on so in the end didn’t go with this option.

    • Kristen says:

      Someone on a homeschooling forum recommended covering the drip pan in chalkboard paint. I’m thinking of attempting it and if I do I’ll post a follow-up and let you know if it works.

  3. Jenny says:

    Very cool! And they will learn to spell “drip pan” pretty soon too. 🙂

  4. Michele says:

    Where did you get the jail picture from? Thanks!

    • Kristen says:

      The jail came included in the student packet for Level 2 of AAS. I simply colored it with permanent markers to make it more visually appealing, cut it out (including straight-edging the bars on the windows), and laminated it to make it extra durable. It was a bit of work (especially those darn prison bars!) but I plan on using it with all three kids and I want it to last.

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  6. Ah, this is great! We ended up getting another white board that we can store when we’re not using it, but I like your solution!

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  11. Michelle says:

    Yes! Going through the same struggle, but you have given me an answer and i will be getting a drip pan too! OTomorrow! They also make contact paper that provides a whiteboard surface, as well as whiteboard paint. I think i will try this with the contact paper, sounds easier.

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  14. Alicia says:

    Stumbled on this and my boys will love it! Especially going with me to the auto store to get it 🙂 I like the idea of dry erase vinyl on it…although the texture of using chalk on chalkboard paint is supposed to be good for the kinesthetic learner… loving my options! I kicked around the individual tri-fold boards I saw on another blog, but having it up all the time for him to “stumble” upon visually seems like a good fit for the one needing the most help. MANY THANKS! Now off to the auto parts store…

    • Kristen says:

      I’m so glad you found some inspiration here. I had seen the tri-fold option too and I like the thought of that type as a traveling system. But like you, for my house, I wanted something my kids would stumble upon frequently. Our magnet board is a regular fixture in our home now.

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