Monday, October 24, 2011

School Day

Kal-El was presented with the short bead stair today. This means that he is comfortable enough with the golden beads that it is okay to start transitioning the way he identifies a number from "one ten, three units" to "thirteen." It won't be long before I introduce the tens board and he will transition from "three tens" or "four tens" to "thirty" or "forty." A lot of people introduce the teens and tens earlier. One of the math albums I use, Montessori by Hand, makes the point that the child needs to be comfortable categorizing the numbers the other way (specifying the categories) before clarifying the language. I felt that reasoning was sound.

First, we worked on identifying each colored bead bar and memorizing its color as per the Gettman presentations (this takes some time, but it will help our work go faster in the future). Afterward, he built and counted all the numbers 11-19.

When he was finished, Kal-El had the inclination to put them all in a line and tried to count the total number of beads. I did not encourage him to do it differently by putting the ten bars together and then making tens with the smaller bars as he once did with the number rods. I am leaving that for him to discover on his own later. I think this is a boy that is going to be enthused about chains!

Me Too pulled out numbers and counters because he was intrigued by the new number cards and counters I put out for fall to freshen things up (squirrels and nuts).

I was glad to see that he has internalized the layout. Even though the format was slightly different he still laid the counters out on the card neatly in pairs and identified whether they were even or odd.

It was clear that he has mastered this work. He had almost no trouble putting the numbers in order (our intense work with the number rods has paid off). Questions about nine versus six were the only lingering problem. He was very definite about what was even rather than odd.

He enjoyed the fact that this layout takes up a lot of room and he needed two rugs. It was fun to observe Kal-El's interest in Me Too's work...a work he had done himself a year or so ago. He was cheering Me Too on and complimentary of his work. He pointed out that he noticed there was a pattern "even, odd, even, odd..." I thought it was lovely evidence of how a multi-age classroom can work. Me Too is inspired to see the works he will do in the future as Kal-El does them, and Kal-El gets to revisit works again at a new level of understanding as he sees them through Me Too's eyes. I wish that Me Too could have that experience as well, matter how many children I have, someone will always have to be the youngest.

Kal-El chose to work with his "f" reading folder today. He likes the "big" words in the "ph" book like "telephone" and "elephant."

Speaking of elephants, Me Too reviewed the "e" sound today and worked through a sound bin. He liked that the "envelope" was "empty."


  1. It is so cool to see this working so well.

  2. What a beautiful sun lit work day! Did you make your short bead tray? Did Me Too work with the spindle box before the numbers and counters? I love how you have related works out for the boys. I noticed that you included both short and long /e/ words. Did you draw attention attention to the difference? The english language is so confusing! Thank you!

  3. This is really cool to see! I have read your blog from the begining. Your works are cool, and your boys are growing into two incredibly hard working boys. Good Job Mom!. Your boys rock!! Oh yeah, everytime I see a picture of your sound boxes they inspire me. Thank you so much for sharing.

  4. Anon,

    Thanks :) Yes, Me Too did work with the spindle box. There are several posts about it, this is just one:

    I don't know where you are from, but where we are from ALL of the objects I included in the box use the short "e" sound. Me Too will do a box along with the sandpaper letter "ee" for the long "e" sound. Out of curiosity, which object(s) did you think start(s) with the long "e" ?

  5. Anon...

    I meant to put it in the post but forgot...

    I did make my own short bead tray! It was super easy. I cut the square and triangle out of foam board (like you might buy anywhere for a presentation board). Then, I glued the first board to a second so that it had a bottom. Done!

  6. It's always a pleausure to know your work with your sons' education and to see how they learn! Congratulations!

  7. I looked over the pictures/objects again and it was a difference in pronunciation vs. the long vowel sound that caught my eye. The objects were egg and eggplant as I hear a long /a/ instead of a short /e/ sound. There is a pronunciation note in this dictionary that describes the difference Sorry about the confusion. You do an excellent job collecting an interesting assortment of pictures/object that represent the target sound. I have also tried to use objects in my son's sound boxes that are a true representation of the sound without blends or differences in pronunciation caused by surrounding letters but it challenging for some of the sounds. Thank you!

  8. I'm curious, do you say the /e/ in eggplant the same as you do in envelope? When I say envelope, it sounds more like on-vel-lope :) If there is a difference, do you explain that?

  9. Mel,

    The /e/ sound that WE use in our geographic area sounds exactly the same in every word that I used for this sound bin. In ALL cases it sounds like the "e" in "bet."

  10. Mel,

    I meant to also say...if the sounds DIDN'T all sound the same, then I wouldn't have used them in the sound bin. Each bin represents a specific sound, not a specific letter. That said, you can't use an object that makes that sound spelled another way because it might influence spelling down the road.

  11. Ah, I thought as much, but wanted to make sure I wasn't missing something. Its weird, it sounds normal to me to say it either way, but I'm sure that saying 'on' is wrong. Thanks for clarifying.... again :)

  12. Mel,

    Not wrong, just different.

    I would just be sure of whether it is appropriate before I put it in a sound bin.