The boys are absolutely on a Geography binge today. After their five-hour work period this morning, Me Too ran around the house in circles holding a miniature Emu while Kal-El chased him holding a miniature Tazmanian devil. Me Too came down from his afternoon rest and immediately asked, "Can we do more geography?" My husband finally made it home at 6:00 and he's been listing to Kal-El give him a presentation on what he learned about Australia today while Me Too has been working with fraction circles.
Phew! Anyway, I took a lot of photos during their work session this morning.
Now that Kal-El is a strong reader, he has been rediscovering the definitions cards we have around the school room. He asked to start his work today by reading the definition of "Geography" to me.
This idea, and the definitions, are from the Karen Tyler albums.
Next, the boys played the "globe game" they invented. They each take one of the globes...Kal-El usually starts with the sandpaper globe and Me Too starts with the continents globe. I get to shout out a continent and they try to be the first one to find it on the globe. After we get through all of the continents they switch globes and we do them all again. Here they are after the switch (Me Too has the trickier sandpaper globe). They have just found South America:
After the globe game they asked me to show them "something new." We talked about the Earth being made up of land, air, and water. Then, they did a land/air/water sort of plants, animals, and transportation.
Here they are checking their work by sorting the photos back onto control cards:
The compasses were taken off the shelf and the boys placed the cardinal directions arrows:
Me Too had enough geography at this point and chose to work on even and odd with his numbers and counters while Kal-El spent some time exploring the Australia continent box.
I put this photo (above) in even though it doesn't look like much is going on because the boys are so often like this and I want to remember it. They are each doing their own work, but are always excitedly reporting their progress to one another. In this picture Kal-El is looking up from trying to memorize where the rivers are in Australia (he was scouting a good place to put a miniature crocodile) because Me Too is reporting "Hey 'Kal-El', eight is even."
Later Kal-El, so happy he can read them on his own, worked with a labelled photo glossary of Australian animals and matched them to the miniature animals he has.
Afterward, we explored some photo and information cards (I think from Target, the "Animals of the World" card collection from the dollar section). He specifically wanted to discover which part of Australia his animals were from so he could place them in the "perfect" places on his map.
Today he place the taipan, saltwater crocodile, Tazmanian devil, kangaroo, koala, and emu. He also learned about the great coral reef and asked for a hammerhead shark and green turtle to place in the water just off of the east coast of Australia.
Unfortunately, I didn't get a photo of the map all loaded up before Me Too stepped in to completely dismantle the map and see if he could get everything back in the right place himself.
...until I surprised him and pulled out a miniature brass version to replace the spool.
He was SO excited. He couldn't stop telling me how beautiful and special it was. He carried it around for the whole rest of the day. You will see it in our post about the rest of our school day as he carried it around from work to work like a spectator. I have quite a few landmarks like this. They are small brass pencil sharpeners and you can find many on eBay.
After learning about the kangaroo the boys had questions about kangaroos boxing so we watched this great little video from the BBC that shows both adult kangaroos and joeys boxing. Kal-El thought it was sad that kangaroos only live about seven years. Today's work opened a lot of doors for zoology. The cards reported the names of the groups of animals and the names of their young, as well as mentioning the animal family. Kal-El made the connection on his own that the young reptiles (taipan and crocodile) were called "hatchlings" because they hatched from eggs and that both young marsupials (kangaroo, koala) were called "joeys". We haven't done the typical "animal groups" or "animal young" vocabulary works because I wasn't interested in trying that until he could read the labels on his own. It's great that we will be able to do that now right away. We haven't started our "elementary albums" yet, but Kal-El certainly thinks like an "elementary child" now and this is exactly how Montessori elementary is supposed to work. Our work in one area is natural leading to another. The subjects (in this case geography and zoology) are intertwined and it seems like we could just keep going down rabbit holes like this forever. I find that this is changing my planning structure a little bit. I used to just have columns for each subject on a dry erase board and would write in some presentations when I felt I needed a reminder. Now I find I'm definitely needing a reminder so I've switched to a larger dry erase board and my notes are in the form of a cloud diagram or flowchart of some kind. I'll try to get a picture and post about planning sometime soon.
More time was spent with the atlas. Kal-el likes to compare and contrast the types of maps (physical, political, etc.,).
He also likes maps that show other things like temperature, occupations, or in this case, population.
Of course the flags made an appearance.
In the background of this photo you can see that Kal-El pulled out some sandpaper letters to help with his reading. He pulled the "or" because he was having trouble reading "aboriginal". He pulled the "au" just for fun because he says "Australia is my favorite thing that begins with 'au'."
We also read this book today: Look What Came from Australia. It was much better than the continent book that we own from the box, at least for Kal-El's age. Great pictures and just the right amount of information is provided. This book will have us chasing down a few more rabbit holes this week. The boys want to make a boomerang and a didgeridoo. Aboriginal "click sticks" were mentioned in the book and are very similar to the rhythm sticks that the boys have. Me Too wants to compose a didgeridoo and click stick duet. Kal-El also planned an "Australian meal" for us to cook this weekend. My shopping list suddenly includes Vegemite and PVC pipe.
When my husband was home all three of them looked up the size of the saltwater crocodile and used a 12-inch ruler to measure out 24 feet on the floor (saltwater crocodiles range in size from 15-24 feet long). This was coincidentally quite close to the distance a kangaroo can jump (25 feet).
This post is already HUGE, so I might put up some of their other work in a separate post later. Hopefully this isn't too much detail, but I know some of you like to get a feel for what our days are really like when we are working.
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