Thursday, April 29, 2010

School Day

Me Too worked his way through all four of the sound bins I had on the shelves today. I will be busy keeping sound bins stocked and ready because I think he is suddenly very interested in this. He mostly works on materials that allow him to practice hearing the sounds in words. The materials in the bins that deal with matching that sound to the image of the letter he leaves alone, as is appropriate at his stage.

Looking at a book of pictures of things that all begin with the "I" sound.

Looking at loose images of things that begin with "I."

Sitting on my lap to work on the "I/J" I Spy book.

Feeling the sandpaper letters for M/m.

He read the "M" picture book six times in a row, each time exclaiming "the end" when he finished.

Me Too also worked on cards with multiple pictures of things that began with the target sound as well as object boxes containing the same. I didn't get a picture, probably because I was busy helping Kal-El with this:

He asked to work on the Europe continent box today. His favorite part of the boxes are the flags. I think this is mostly because he likes putting them in the little holes on the map board. We have flags for England, Ireland, Spain, France, Italy, Germany, Poland, and Sweden.

If you are thinking "my 4.4 year old can't do that" don't panic. He just learned where "Europe" was today, he does not have all the countries of Europe and their flags memorized (yet). With Montessori, that does sometimes happen by now...but not for us. What we did today was as follows: Kal-El found the general area that is "Europe" on the map. He pointed to a country with a "hole in it" and asked me which country it was. I told him, then turned the map over and found the name of the country on the back of the map and showed him the picture of the flag that was next to it (what? You think I know all the world flags?). Kal-El found the match in his collection and placed it in the proper hole. Lather, rinse, repeat. Afterward he spent some time laying the flags on the rug in different patterns and just exploring them visually.

In order to go further than this at his level of development I will need to make a different material. This material is appropriate for a child who already knows the names and placement of the European countries and can identify their flags. Kal-El would need a control map with a picture of the flag on the appropriate country and this map is simply too small to make one from.

Lining up his European coins and counting to see how many he has (18).

Driving a little toy car around the streets on a street map of Paris.

Enjoying his Pinocchio pencil from Italy (thank you to my swap partner!)

Earlier this week we talked about the parts of a bird. Kal-El pulled out this practical life work and amended it to practice his new knowledge. He announced which part of the body he was going to "make" and then filled in that section of the bird (duck) with marbles.

Me Too worked on this later and mastered the tongs for the first time. He was so excited he came to get me (I was reading Under the Dome in a nearby chair) and demonstrated several times repeating "tongs" and "I can do it!"

Later Kal-El borrowed the marbles from the duck activity and some counters from his math shelves and made a pattern.

Matching handwritten labels (dry erase on laminated card stock) to the CVC objects in his objects "treasure chest."

Ahhh....color boxes.... If I had to name one material I purchased that has proven to be completely useless, it would be the color boxes...all three of them. Neither of my kids wanted to work on these. On the rare occasion they pull them off shelves, this is what they do with them. Make a train. However, they both know their colors, can make "matches", can grade from light to dark, and know the vocabulary (light, dark, lighter, darker, etc.,). No harm, no foul.

I presented the binomial cube to Kal-El today. He really enjoyed the presentation, but when it was his turn put it away and said "that looks too hard for me." While I wanted to say, "No, really that's period two and you are in period four now..." instead I said "okay." I don't know if that's what an experienced directress would have done (well, an experienced directress wouldn't have forgotten about the binomial cube on accident and waited this long to begin with) but I figure the seeds are planted.

I also presented another forgotten item, stereognostic bag one. He really enjoyed this as you can probably see from his smile.

I didn't buy the stereognostic bag sets. We own the Guidecraft 3D Feel & Find which will be appropriate after he finishes the sequence of stereognostic bags. I used the bag from that set. Or you could make a cool bag from this tutorial (Mom, I need a bunch of these bags...wink, wink). The first set is ten wooden cubes and 10 rectangular prisms. I found ours in a box of antique wooden alphabet blocks that my husband's 98 year-old grandmother saved for us.

If you are unfamiliar with this activity, what Kal-El did was reach into the bag, blindfolded, and pull out an object. He felt it with his hands and declared whether it was a "rectangular prism" or a "cube." Then, he placed it (supposedly still blindfolded, he like to peak for this part) into the appropriate group on his mat.

The second bag is supposed to contain buttons of various sizes. The third will contain beads of various sizes. Afterward, they are ready for what is called the "mystery bag" which contains eight small, interesting objects such as a nail, an acorn, a spool, etc., The Guidecraft bag would be a variation on that. Obviously, all of these are very easy to do at home for free and there is no need to buy them.

It has been a week since a posted. We had house showings, big events at my husband's job, an overnight with Grammie and Bumpa, I hosted 14 people for playgroup yesterday, and on Saturday my father-in-law is coming for a visit from out of state. Tomorrow we have three different places to be (I hate that): chiropractor, haircuts (both boys), and then swimming. We found a place we can swim in a 90-degree indoor pool weekly for THREE DOLLARS for the FAMILY (not per person, for the whole family) and plan to do that every week from now on. I wish the haircuts were only $3! As it is more important that I find time to do things with the boys than write about doing things, on weeks like this I don't write much. Don't worry about us! It just means we are having a great week.

The boys spent a lot of time yesterday "racing boats" in one of our ponds (the small one Mom) and Me Too fell in yesterday (the small one Mom). It was hard not to laugh because he was very upset to have gotten his shoes wet. Next time he needs to pick a longer stick to retrieve his boat with!

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  1. I have a story about a king and a queen that goes with the binomial cube to help with learning how to put it back together. It may help with getting him more confident. Do you want me to let you know it?! Sorry, not teasing, just don't want to write it if you don't want it!!

  2. Hi!
    You blog has truly inspired me. If it means anything at all, I am thirty seven years old. It took me two weeks to master the Binomial Cube and three weeks to do it blindfolded. Keep Inspiring!

  3. I had a teacher gripe at me once about not journaling. He said, "A life worth living is worth writing about."
    My response, "If I'm living a life worth living, I don't have time to write about it!"

  4. Annicles, I want to know the story!

  5. Annicles,

    Yes, I would LOVE the story if you would e-mail it to me :)

    Discovering Montessori,

    Thanks! I'm glad :)

  6. Hi,
    You have been featured on The Montessori Goldmine, please pop over and have a look, if you are not happy with the post please let me know, I will happily remove it. If you are happy, please help me spread the word, help yourself to a badge and tell all your friends. Thanks,

  7. Hello, I have an award for you -

  8. Oh man I am glad to see that the color boxes are useless. I didn't think they would be a big deal purchase, so I'm glad to hear they aren't. Also, great idea on the coins for the countries! I will start asking friends from different places and relatives that travel to get us some!