Included with the cubes were a DVD and CD-rom, 2 spiral books with information about the stages, and some charts with at-a-glance information. The CD-rom contains a teacher's guide and the printables for the workbooks which contain some specific activities to do with the cubes. The DVD is titled Teaching, learning and 'sounding out' with Debbie Hepplewhite. I haven't watched the DVD yet, but it is on my to do for this school year.
They came in a nicely packaged box, organized into groups, but when I first opened them I didn't realize that the groupings were important to the layout and stages of the blocks. So, I don't have that nice packaging anymore. Lesson learned, don't get rid of nice packaging until you know for sure why it is like that, and read the material! I can see very clearly now why they were packaged the way they were, and it makes total sense now. For some reason it didn't make sense why when I first opened them, and I didn't feel like organizing them all the time. Luckily there are numbers on the cubes (very small) so I can sorta organize them and use the ones that are needed for certain lessons. I will just have to do something like this (picture below) each time I want to find the important blocks.
The Can Do Cubes can be used with any spelling or phonics curriculum, but there are many activities within the items given that they can be used alone as well. I chose a few of the activities from the template book to see what fun things we could do with them. First my kids just enjoyed trying to build words. That is one of the suggested activities is to just let them play with them a little and build words!
I had my Kindergardener match some of the letters with the ones on the page. We sounded out the letters, and pretty much tried some of the instructions at the top. He needs a lot of help with some of these sounds still, but he enjoyed finding the letters.
At first I could not figure out why 2 blocks had a string going through them, but again this was before I read everything. The 2 blocks contain all the vowels! This was great review for my 3rd grader! First I quizzed him about those 2 blocks, and asked why he thought those 2 particular blocks were the ones on there. I read the letters to him, but he didn't get it right away. I had to give him some hints, but eventually he figured out that they are all vowels.
One of the other activities that was suggested in the printable book was to give the children 3 blocks and have them try to build words with them. First they could just try to build a word using any side, but then there was the suggestion to have them roll the blocks and use only the sides that were facing up. That is how we ended up with "tchores." He was trying to spell chores, but those are the only blocks he had. They can get creative and even make up words to see what works. It's kind of fun to make up words too.
These blocks are a great resource for any age, but especially for those learning to read. I love the feel and look of them, and they would be great for those children who really need some hands on learning to help them along.
If you would like to see what others had to say about the Can Do cubes you can click on the link below!