Thursday, December 12, 2013

Part 1 Week 16, Dec. 9, 2013

I've been spending a little bit of time being unplugged. We had an ice storm Sunday and then a snow storm right after that. The ice knocked over trees which cut the power for just a tiny bit, but then the power-turn-on wiped out our cable/phone/Internet line. Being unplugged was a hard adjustment. I think I complained a lot. And now, after the Verizon guy spent 15 minutes interrupting our 3 hour work cycle today, we finally have a connection back up and running.

So here it goes, the drafted-not-in-Blogger-version of the first half of our week.
Math - Skip counting
Physical Geography - Latitude Longitude - printable cards
Practical Life - Nut cracking
Botany - getting into nuts as seeds
Practical Life - Orange juicing

We started out the week at Halmoni's house. She had power. We brought a few things over to work on. It was interesting...distracting, mama-led...and I was glad to be back in the classroom the next day.
Here is a bit of what we did away...

We did some handwriting practice. I've gotten the Handwriting Without Tears workbooks for cursive, and I'll just let you know, the title is bunk. For S, it is Handwriting WITH Tears, let me assure you. We've barely scratched the surface here, and she hasn't tried all the exercises, but tracing just the letter forms puts her in tears. We try to do this in very short bursts, and then leave the work on a good note.

T has less issue with these workbooks than S. But, he still way-prefers to write in print, with a mix of uppercase and lower case. He also struggles to relax his pencil grip. His little fingers go white, and he ends up with indentations on his finger pads.

After the handwriting, we tried skip counting. S did the two's and T did the 4s. And D just did it on any old way. They are using dot markers, which bleed through the page if you aren't careful, or if children are using them. UNDERLAY people!! USE an UNDERLAY!

Here S is sitting at a low Korean dining table. When you have a like 20+ people over for Thanksgiving or New Years, like one side of my husband's family, and everyone needs a place to eat, we take out 4-6 of these low tables and everyone sits on the floor to eat their meal. These tables are also ideal for children with projects.

Another Blogger-let's-rotate-this-for-no-reason-and-put-a-crick-in-people's-necks-special here for you.

I have perfectionists, so each child was very distraught when they dotted the incorrect number on the hundred board paper print out. Even with a few incorrect dots, you can still see the general pattern very well. And T did just that. He figured out the pattern and stopped skip counting, and just filled in the rest of the pattern, not in numerical order. I figured as much, and that is why we do a lot of other types of skip counting exercises. (Thanks to My Boys' Teacher for this idea.) Skip counting prepares the child for multiplication table memorization. 

After that, we did some coordinate work. This lesson is from the Keys of the Universe Geography album, The Lines of Latitude and Longitude. The lesson extends from the Rotation of the Earth and its Consequences, where the child examines how the rotation of the earth around itself produces what we know as night and day. This latitude and longitude lesson points out that all of the locations along one line that runs north-south along the globe experience the sun over-head, or midday, at the same time. These imaginary north-south lines are the lines of longitude around our earth.

The lesson also points out that the lines that run around the belly of the earth, and also above and below the belly, are called latitudinal lines. These lines run east to west and are measured to the north and south of the equator.

We discussed the directions north, south, east and west, looked at the compass on the map and also talked about the equator and the prime meridian. Here you can see the children indicating on their bodies their equator (their tummies) and their prime meridian (their mid-line, or in this case, the middle of their faces.)

Oh, that prime meridian.

After I told them that we can find special locations on our map by measuring their latitude and longitude in degrees. We discussed the degree measurements along the perimeter of the map and then went to work locating a few cities using the cards I'd made up.

These cards have the coordinates on the front and the city and country name on the back. S was very quick to pick up the measurements, and which direction we go from the prime meridian and the equator. T wasn't very interested in participating.

After using the cards for a few rounds, we then found the coordinates of a city they selected, Seoul, Korea, by measuring the map. Then we looked for the card I'd made (I just happen to make this card) to check our answer and we were pretty right on.

The kids had to be careful as they traced the coordinates from the perimeter to the center, to make sure they stayed their latitude and longitude.

But they thought that the equator and prime meridian lines on their bodies were so funny, I doubt that they will ever forget this lesson.

You can find these cards
here. (I am trying ScribeD again and I don't remember if you need a log-in. Do download it as a .docx to preserve the formatting. I chose to go with ScribeD for now because they have the best preview that retains the Word-Doc formatting and images I choose to put on the labels. This way the label formatting doesn't get tweeky when I export to a PDF format.) I printed them on Avery 8363 mailing labels and then pasted them to blank index cards, and stuck them in an index card box. (Oh, and if you find errors, let me know!)

It is hard to find a map like this for free, but this one is a Random House Wall Map, Euro and Africa-centric. Most maps are in the Mollwiede projection, (the one that is more like an ellipse) and this one is considered a cylindrical mercator projection. It's just easier to follow straight lines when measuring latitude and longitude. Goodness, the random things I learn when researching materials for a Montessori classroom.

I was glad to resume class in our home-classroom the next day.

Here D is doing a categorizing lesson. I've put out a lot of articles, (mostly because he seems to get bored when there are only five of each) and we named them and then began to put them in piles according to category: food, cooking tool.

I chose to add real food to the lesson, or rather add fake food, to the lesson to have more items. I think that the mix was a mistake. He kept eating the grapes, but I think it was because he felt there were so many other things it didn't matter if he consumed part of the lesson.

Here he is putting his mat away.

S is inspecting her plants. This verbena may just bloom for us at some point! I don't know that I have any shots of the growing area, but we have had to lift the light a little bit. Our sage and verbena were growing up in between the light bulbs. Luckily, I've rigged the grow light such that we can easily shorten or lengthen the chain.

This started out as a practical life activity and a revisit of our states of matter lesson on solids from last week. (We used some force to alter the form of our solids, but all the pieces remained solids nonetheless.) But in the end, this activity turned into so much more.

Around the holidays there are always displays in the grocery store of bagged nuts still in their shells. I don't know what that tradition is. Maybe it has something to do with the scary looking nutcrackers in the Dollar Store, but I do know that it takes a heck of a lot of work to get anything out of its shell, and that I'd rather buy any nuts I am going to put in brownies already shelled.

We started by cracking the nuts on a large piece of MDF, with a hammer. The kids were ENTHRALLED!! I think the cracking stage lasted 40 minutes or more. We wore eye protection to be safe because the force we needed to crack the shells generally sent little bits flying in all directions.

They were amazed that there was this little piece of something on the inside, and they became like little-chipmunk-children obsessed with getting the meat out.

So, by the end, they had a rather sizable bowl of almond, walnut, Brazil nut, and pecan pieces. This prized result of a lot of toil and hard work was, in the end, all handled and massaged by small hands, and ended up not really being the kind of thing I'd want to put into brittle, was good enough for a fun practical life activity.

T began asking questions. Where do nuts come from? Is a nut a seed? Are all nuts seeds? Who eats nuts? What kids of trees grow nuts? And on and on.

Just when I ask, "when is independent learning EVER going to take hold," it does. From an advanced practical life activity.

So T drew the nuts.

He matched the inner meat to the outer shell with no difficulty.

He labeled his drawings.

T separated the nut pieces.

And he started a question and answer report that he hopes to make into a book when he is finished his research. (I think we need to put some time limits and parameters on this investigation and report, both to ensure an end and success.)

He even took out some of our card material to look at the different parts of a seed. (The Elementary cards lined in green, wall charts, and booklet materials are from Montessori R&D, Elementary Botany set...BEFORE the re-design...and the nomenclature 3 part cards are from, I think, Helpful Garden.)

And then he took a juice break because....

D was squeezing oranges as his practical life activity! He brought over the tray of items I'd placed on the shelves, and got right to work. I showed him how to wash the orange, dry the orange, cut the orange (which he still can't do independently) and then how to squeeze, discard, pour, and serve the juice.

Then we went over how to wash and clean up our dishes and work area.

Then Noona took over and finished off the oranges.

And that was about all we did the first part of the week.
(Oh, note to others, that is my husband in a few pictures. He was home Tuesday because his work had closed due to the snow that was coming down during the morning rush-hour. He got in a lot of practical life work too, nut cracking, vacuuming up little nut pieces, juicing, cleaning sticky juice bits off the table and putting together my pin-map cabinets.)

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