Tuesday, September 4, 2012

School Day, Part One: Geometry, Fractions

Woot!  This is the first "school day" post of the new academic year!  I am on the mend, but still a bit wobbly following my Montessori Elementary Panic Attack last week.  So, I just pretended we were in "transition" like we were at the end of last year and continued with business as usual.  The real purpose of today was to get back into our routine and to try out my new record keeping/planning method (more on that at a later time).  Things will feel more like "elementary" next week when I kick off the week on Monday with "God with No Hands."

In the meantime, Kal-El needs a small amount of remedial work in geometry before we delve into the elementary geometry album.  All of his remedial work revolves around his refusal in primary to learn the names of some of the quadrilaterals and ALL of the polygons.  We are starting the year by picking up some of that vocabulary using the geometric cabinet.  This will allow us to revisit the constructive triangles and use them in a less sensorial way.  Otherwise we are ready for elementary!

The good news is that Kal-El is actually interested in learning them this time around (funny how that works).  He enjoyed working with the polygons so much (all I had planned for today) that he also worked with the quadrilaterals and curvilinear shapes afterward.  I think it helps that he can read.  He would only put up with so many 3-period lessons in which he was dependent on me.  Now that he can read words like "septagon" (which he thinks sounds a lot like "Decepticon") he can remix the cards and repeat the work as often as he wants without it becoming pedantic.  I wrote the number of sides on the cards as a control of error (he read the names aloud, so wasn't just matching the numbers) and so that Me Too could use them as well.  The next time Kal-El does this work he will use cards without the number and check his work against a control chart.

I have multiple elementary geometry albums.  Kal-El will beginning geometry in an album from Mid-America Montessori because it is the only geometry album I have that begins with the geometric cabinet. It provides presentations for the cabinet specifically geared toward an elementary child rather than a primary child.

Another reason Kal-El had trouble learning the polygons was that he had trouble keeping track of where he started when he counted the sides.  For example, he would start counting the sides of a pentagon in a clockwise fashion but wouldn't stop when he returned to the first side.  He would count seven sides on a pentagon, or thirteen sides on a decagon, etc.,  Me Too is having the same trouble.  As he always likes to do what ever Kal-El is doing, this was a good day to address that issue so that he will be ready for elementary geometry next year.

I gave Me Too a bowl full of pennies, the cards with names and numbers, and the polygon drawer.  He placed a penny along each side of the polygons.  This allowed him to count the pennies as he laid them down, move them slightly as he counted them after laying them down, or put them in a line to count them at the end.

He was did this work after watching Kal-El and can read just well enough to figure out the words by sounding out the first three letters.  He needs someone nearby to help him with the names if he forgets them altogether, but can otherwise work on this independently now.

Me Too also worked sensorially with the fraction circles today.  He has a really rough time with this even though he is a wiz with the knobbed and knob-less cylinders, red rods, pink tower, and brown stair (Isn't all that indirect preparation so cool?.  He really has trouble differentiating a 1/9th piece from a 1/10th piece and the like.  In fact, this reminds me that I have to go back to the cabinet and straighten these out for tomorrow.  I think he put them away incorrectly.  We are done with the circle and rectangle drawers in our geometric cabinet so we store the fraction circles there.

There's a lot more!  I'll continue this post in "part 2" later this afternoon!

Montessori Monday


  1. Where do you find all of these different albums? LOL. I searched high and low and didn't come across these. I clicked on the link and couldn't find the albums.

    The polygon drawer is very interesting a post from The Movable Alphabet is inspiring me to do some more work with DJ. Right now he can identify them by counting, passes the three period lessons, and then forgets them when he returns to them a week later. Love your blog I always learn something new. Thank you for sharing.

  2. DM:

    I am like Montessori lint...albums just stick to me.


    Today Me Too picked up the pentagon from the metal insets and said "look mom! a pentagon!" Kal-El was floored and said "I can't believe he remembered that! How does he do that?"

  3. I love the idea of using pennies to help identify the polygons! It looks like you're doing an awesome job! I just think you have to find the balance that's right for your family with Montessori elementary. Following the child is really the most important part of Montessori anyway. And I learned that even if things aren't perfect, there's plenty of time with homeschooling for kids to learn what they need in the long run.

    Thanks so much for linking up with Montessori Monday. I featured your post at the Living Montessori Now Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/LivingMontessoriNow. Have a great week! :)

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