Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Part 2 Week 14 Nov. 25, 2013

This is a short post, believe it or IS before Thanksgiving and my cooking list has just I'll be signing off for a few days and bringing out all the cooking and baking tips and tricks my mom taught me over the years while I stuck my nose and my eyeballs in her pots, mixing bowls, and over her shoulders.

Happy Thanksgiving to all those in the US, and a happy Chanukah to those around the world who celebrate, and a blessed first Sunday of Advent for still others.

We have been learning the Rosary. I picked up this pamphlet at our church and it has some nice simple language and descriptions younger children can appreciate. The kids already knew the Hail Mary, so since August, we've been working on the Our Father and the Hail Holy Queen. Now we are on to the Apostle's Creed. 
We start our morning by opening the classroom, turning on lights, opening curtains and shades,(turning on our space heater) and putting random things back in order. Then we come together, sans D usually, in a small circle to do morning prayer. Sometimes I lead, other times the kids lead. After prayer, I talk about any announcement type things, like we are going on a field trip, today there will be no afternoon school, or R & O are coming over.

They always ask to gaze at these colorful illustrations after we do morning prayer.
The back of the pamphlet for your information.
S is doing the hundred board. She found it really hard the first time. It's those tens and teens. At first it was all messed up, but then we worked together to put it in the right order and she did just fine. Then we pointed out some of the patterns you'd see vertically and horizontally, and I am hopeful that this will help her construct the hundred board in the future.
There is a board that has printed squares on it and a raised wooden boarder and is accompanied by a separate box of number tiles that are printed with the numbers 1 through 100. Also, not pictured here, is our control chart. The initial primary lesson guides the child through placing the tiles 1-10 in order across the top. After that, the child may place successive numbers up to 50 and then up to 100 in order on the board ascending from left to right, and top to bottom. Grouping the tiles into sets of 20 initially will make this work more manageable for the child. This work helps the child consolidate his/her knowledge of the numbers 1 - 100.
My Center for Guided Montessori Studies Math manual also gives some additional exercise ideas like: Play "far, far, away" by placing the board on one table and the tiles on the other side of the table. Play "Fetching" ask the child to bring "one after" or one before" a tile place in position on the board from a remote location away from the board. Invite the child to write 1 to 100 after completing the hundred board on a blank 100 square grid paper. Suggest this last exercise only after the child has sufficient motor coordination and is ready for this level of abstraction.
Again, another word about ordering materials carefully, (though don't know how this is really possible considering you can't SEE the exact materials before you order them) but this hundred board is from Montessori Outlet and the grid is off. It is just off center, and so the tiles, yes fit fine, but they don't line up with the grid. Anyone in their sensitive period for order, like D, would have a very hard time with our hundred board.
I had set this work up on the table, to see what would happen. Would D be interested? Yes he was, until he got interrupted by visitors and got "shy." I had set up the blocks in a triangle pattern and had left out block number 4 (the diameter of each cylinder remains constant, but the height increases, or decreases depending on how you orientate the whole thing) BUT, D, decided to change it up. You can see that he rearranged everything and added knobbed cylinder block number 4. He removed all the cylinders and carefully snaked them around in a spiraling rectangle, and then didn't want to figure out how they went back. There is always next week.
VERY careful placement.
R and O joined us again today, and here R is working with the fraction skittles.
O always goes for the pink tower!
Some unintended pink tower/brown stair extensions. Literally, extending past the reach of half of our students.
Did not know this: T knows almost all of western Europe by memory. Had a little trouble with the low countries, but other than that, zipped through the rest. Okay, now for the eastern half.
Okay, while we are on the subject of where to get materials, and whose are best...well I don't know whose are best, I got all of our pin-maps from Alison's Montessori. I think I received these all in April? We got the one for Europe, North America, South America, and Africa. When we first got them the pins didn't fit into the holes. REALLY? I called the company, and they were cordial, and told me that the product had been sitting in a warehouse for a while with low climate temperatures. They recommended that I let the maps acclimate for a week or so and that the holes should swell. They also said, I could try to gently force some of the pins in to stretch the holes, and this could help too. AND if the paint were to chip that they would replace the maps at no charge. So, they turned out to be OK, a little tight, but do-able after a week or so. And the paint does chip. These things are REALLY delicate. Though the ones I saw in our old school elementary classroom also had paint issues around the holes. So get them from here? I don't know. I guess for a classroom that only has three students, I'd go discount. But for a classroom with 25 students, you really need the real thing.
R is doing metal insets. She left the inset on the shelf, and her tray is upside down per-S. But the idea behind this work is to help the child develop pincer grasp and wrist coordination and strength thus making it easier for them to transition to writing language.
After doing the pin map of Europe, T did the puzzle map of Europe without the control map at all. D helped a little.
O was being a little loud voicing her dissent.
Introduction to the Stamp Game. Here we have the Introductory Tray of the Golden Beads and our number tiles. This is one of the first steps in the child's passage to abstraction. S completed her dynamic addition with the physical quantities, using the golden beads. Now on her way to doing addition with pen and paper only, this is the next step. Each tile represents a certain bead quantity. The green tiles that display the number 1, represent 1 unit. Each blue tile that displays the number 10, represent a single golden ten-bar. Each red tile is stamped with the number 100 and represents 1 hundred square, and each green 1,000 tile represents a single thousand cube. We'll use this Montessori material for static and dynamic (carrying and borrowing) addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. After the child has completed these operation exercises with the stamp game, he/she will move onto the Dot Game and or the Bead Frames.
These are story problems I downloaded and printed from Helpful Garden. She calls them Beginning Math Sentence Cards. They are beautiful cards and very nicely done, but they are far too easy for T and S. That is D's hand you see there in the shot reaching out to inspect what S had been up to. S used cards and counters to help her keep track of what was going on in the problem and to find the right sum.
R is doing color tabs box 2 with her mom. Box 2 has 22 tabs, or eleven pairs of colors. The aim of this Montessori work is to increase visual discrimination, and to prepare the mathematical mind (order, and one-to-one correspondence.) The suggested age for this box is 2 1/2 to 4 years old. D likes this work too. My CGMS manual gives a lot of extensions for this lesson like: pairing far, far, away, and finding color matches to other objects in the room. During the first presentations of this work, the child will not know the names of the colors. D does not know all the names, but I am pretty sure that R does as she is about 4 years old. Other activities can include, choosing one tablet and showing it to the child, and then ask him/her to remember the color and while leaving the tablet on the mat, he/she would walk around the room and note things that are the same color, or alternatively, the child could bring same-colored items back to the mat.
D is helping R put away the color tablets.
Here D is reluctantly giving up the color tablets so R can put them back in the box.
O is working on a practical life activity using a eye-dropper. I've color matched the sponge to go with the orange tray, and the liquid inside the small bottle is just water. She is aiming to drop the water into a cheap plastic paint mixing tray and any mistakes she can sponge up or dry with the accompanying cloth.
S is taking a picture of the sage plant that will NOT be consumed in our Thanksgiving dinner.
Marigolds blooming.
Have a wonderful holiday everyone!


  1. Just discovered your blog. It's great! Did you get your knobbed cylinders at Montessori Outlet? That's where I'm considering getting mine from. How do you like them? I'm homeschooling 4 kids 3-4.

  2. Hi Thanks! We did get our knobbed cylinders at Montessori Outlet. I wrote about D's work with the knobbed cylinders, posted a video of him working, and added my comments about their pros and cons earlier in the week on this post: Overall, I like Montessori Outlet for their prices. Most of their items have turned out to be okay, but I'd also say many display some sub-par construction and low durability. My comment in the previous post was about an inaccuracy D found in the cylinder block. He is pretty attentive, and aware, and I did wonder after unpacking them if he'd find that...and he did. But luckily it didn't derail his work. I have three children, two of whom are older, so being rough with the materials isn't an issue. If your 4 need a few reminders to keep the classroom and materials beautiful, then I'd say definitely pay a little more somewhere else for better quality. Hope that helps!

  3. Thanks for the info on the pin maps. I have been seriously coveting your pin maps. I have the materials to make my own and have been dragging the ole feet. Seeing yours has made me want to just buy them, but your review pushed me back into being content to make them. I seem to remember reading an experience Montessori elementary teacher say that she preferred homemade ones (laminated paper maps on top of cork) for this because the paint chips on the real thing. So...why spend money I don't have on maps that will chip. THANK YOU. Although, I think my heart will hurt just a little every time I see yours in action. I have to remind myself I bought the Waseca biome map cabinet instead to replace that work. Do you have separate cabinets for each continent then?

  4. So glad I found this again. I'm definitely bookmarking your blog this time. Thanks so much for answering my question!