Friday, September 14, 2012

School Days

I didn't write a big "school day" post this week, but here are some glimpses taken throughout the week.

Me Too has been continuing his work with the golden beads.  He is also working his way through tens board presentation in which we count from 1-100 using the boards, cards and beads.  He only wants to do about 20 numbers each day.  This week we made it to 70.  After we finish he can start the 100 chain and he is REALLY EXCITED (but not excited enough to power through the ten board in a day!).

Kal-El has been working on what is sometime called "addition chart 5" (if you lump all the controls and charts together and number them all).  You can see all of the charts and instructions on this page at the Montessori Primary Guide if you have forgotten how this fits into the scheme of things.  I tend to refer to the control charts as "control charts one and two" and the addition charts as "charts 1, 2, 3, and 4."  So in my world this is "addition chart 3," please forgive me if I have confused anyone with my chart numbers!

In this photo Kal-El is working on All About Spelling.  When people say that it is "very Montessori" they aren't kidding.  The level one book I purchased is much too easy for Kal-El.  In fact, he is getting extremely angry because Me Too will shout out the answers a split second ahead of him every single time.  This is while Me Too is supposedly across the room doing his own work.  In the picture below Me Too was shouting out answers left and write while he worked with the hammer board.

We worked through four of the 24 steps in AAS level one this week.  Most advice about spelling programs encourages you to use each level even if you think it is too easy because reading and spelling are opposite processes.  Over the next two weeks or so I will spot check Kal-El's understanding of each step and move on to the next level (which might also be too easy).  If a child has learned to read and write the Montessori way they have already done these spelling activities...particularly if they learned using the AMI or Dwyer method as opposed to the Pink, Blue and Green series.  What the books seem to be so far are "I Spy" activities, the movable alphabet, the phonogram dictionary, and reading folders combined.  For this reason I would highly recommend the series to anyone!  These are not dry, workbook-style lessons.  I chose to add a spelling program because I've heard there is an art to incorporating spelling into a Montessori environment at the upper levels.  I discovered this week that it is quite clearly already well-incorporated at the lower levels.  I also discovered that once we catch up to the right spot this is the perfect program for us.

I obviously didn't buy the magnetic letters set from AAS.  We can just use our movable alphabets for that and do the standard Montessori exercises.  I let the leapfrog letters pinch hit for a day to check his understanding of the alphabetic sequence.

Above is a "tank" that Me Too made with the Hammer Shapes.  You often see these in a primary environment, but I pulled them out for the first time this week and can testify that elementary kids love them as well.  These are basically tangrams for "boys that like to whack things with a hammer."

The boys have been doing a lot of math work that requires me to work with them one-on-one.  Kal-El still needs me to hover during the stamp game.  Me Too definitely needs me by his side for golden beads and the tens boards.  What I find is that a kid who has just finished a ten equations with the addition boards, four equations with the stamp game, and a word study isn't likely to run and start assembling the map of Asia or labeling polygons while you work with his brother.  He needs something relaxing.  One of the keys to tag-teaming lessons between two children at home is enough practical life work on the shelves to keep them occupied while you work with the other sibling.  I find that the science shelves will keep them busy as well, but I haven't refreshed ours lately.  As soon as I do they will COMPLETELY TAKE OVER.


  1. The other night I was going to purchase this spelling program. I felt it would work well for Ken and DJ, but I didn't know if I was feeding my "inner curriculum junkie self". Thank you so much for posting about this. You have strongly encouraged me to make the purchase. Don't worry I won't hold you accountable if it doesn't work for us:) Love the" School Days" postings, always interesting and a joy to read. Thank you for sharing.

  2. We have to start with that chart!!#5 I love watching your boys in action!! The look soooo concentrated!! I have to place the silence card ALL TIME!!LOL

  3. What a great blog! I've just finished reading your 7 part Dwyer blog. Then, I stumbled upon this one and found that you're using All About Spelling as well. Are you combining the Dwyer approach with AAS? Wondering what your thoughts are, are they compatible, or do you find AAS more suitable for you? Thank you...