We started up in the classroom again Monday and things got off to a much better start than I would have thought.
First S spilled a billion clock cards on the floor. This was actually a good thing since they needed to be sorted anyway. So S and T got to work and a little bit later, all the cards were put away.
Then S marveled at the lettuce that she planted a couple of months ago. I THINK I've figured out that we water WAY too much and that is what is rotting our plants. So, way less water for them.
Then they got to work in their own ways. I didn't say a word during their first work cycle about what they should, or shouldn't do, but I figured they'd go for the relaxed work since it has been a while since the brain had to focus on "school" work.
So what we did this first part of the week was:
Math: division and addition facts
Geography: a little bit of puzzle map and atlas work with the Safari Toob monuments
Practical Life: tonging, washing
Sensorial: Pink Tower, shape matching
Language: A tiny bit of reading, and some movable alphabet writing
Other: pencil grip
T, "Why is Easter Island so far away from South America?"
Mama, thinking **YESSSS! This is the kind of exploration we are going for here!!!!** but said, "I don't know. Why don't you look at a world map that depicts volcano activity in the atlas book?"
T, "Oh look, there is a volcano where Easter Island is located!"
The atlas work lead to a brief build it outside the puzzle session with the Asia puzzle map.
And then T wanted to build the United States map outside the puzzle map.
It was cold on Monday, but colder on Tuesday. Here S is trying to toast her fingers like mini marshmallows in front of our space heater.
D wanted to do some puzzles, and S decided to help him out a little bit. Here they are revisiting those works we haven't seen in a while!
Roll, roll, roll your mat,
Roll it nice and tight,
When you roll it nice and tight,
It will fit just right!
Sung to the tune of Row, Row, Row Your Boat
D sings a version of this each time he rolls up his mat.T did a lot of reading our first day back in the classroom.
So did the other two.
I am unsure where this extension came from. T announced he wanted to make a Native American head band. And so he did. He figured out it takes two and a half lengths of copy paper to make it around his noggin.
Here we have a little sand table.
D is using a great five-finger pencil grasp to trace his metal insets. As I've discovered, reading a ton of OT material over the past couple of weeks, this is entirely developmentally appropriate. His pencils are still too long for him though. And someone I know should be very happy about the hand he is using in this picture. He does seem to pick up the pencil in the left hand most of the time.
"I did it!!"
Here T is doing some division. The single digit problems he just did in his head since he noticed the pattern that happens with the remainders.When the problems got a little more complex, he used the unit division board to help him out. I have been encouraging him to discover the patterns that come about, but he wasn't really into that. So, maybe he will discover them, and maybe he'll discover them later.
He did think that this work was entirely tedious, so I am questioning whether he is going to need to go through the entire two booklets I made. This was his first introduction to remainders, but he immediately understood their concept once we went over this point.
His goal is to get through these booklets and learn the division facts that he needs to know to do our division race car race.
Oh, the booklets I made are here, and here, and you can get them via my Primary Printables page. And I know that My Boy's Teacher has another printable version here.
Here S is designing a plant watering chart. Yes, it is right to left, and yes, it doesn't have real days on it...each symbol stands for a different day of the week, and they are all in order. So we have some work to do on charting. Nevertheless, this chart is to help us remember when the last time was that we watered said plants, so we don't OVER water.
I had this little thermometer inside where it was a balmy 62 degrees. I stuck it outside and the kids watched as the mercury dropped. We could actually see it dropping and they were amazed it was so cold outside! Not as cold as some places around the country though!
This washing was a little bit impromptu and it all wasn't presented like I would have hoped it to be. But in the end, D really did a wonderful job setting up, washing, and cleaning up. His focus was second to none, and his balance and coordination with the bucket of soapy water (which you don't see here) was great.
This is his modified Ikea end table, we cut down the legs, and the enamel basin and pitcher are from Montessori Services. (The basin and pitcher were expensive, but very worth it terms of quality.) The pitcher and basin fill very appropriately for a toddler. The soap is a small hotel soap my dad picked up on one of his many business trips. This size soap is perfect for small hands. And the brush is a small scrub brush we picked up from a regular big-box store.
There are so many details to note about washing and I will not go into all of them here. As a lay-person I would have never thought that washing one's hands would be such a process. But it is for the Montessori trained child.
Ideally, all of the materials for this set up would be placed together on a dedicated washing table. I just can't justify spending this much for one child, since there is no one coming after him and the table would be way too short for the other two kids to any kind of washing. Oh, and the storage space?? Where would I put this in the classroom and then store a fixture like this?
The guide would first demonstrate the entire set-up, washing, and clean-up procedure for hand-washing to the child before they could take a turn washing their own hands. The child would have already learned how to carry water in a bucket and how to pour. Here I cooperatively helped D think through the steps he needed to take to wash his cars, not his hands.
We set out our materials (apron, basin, pitcher, two towels, soap in dish, brush, dirty cars, and a bucket. S reminded us we needed a sponge to wash cars.) We put on our apron and filled up the pitcher with water at the faucet. And then brought the heavy pitcher to the table. D filled the basin with water, and set to work lathering, sponging, wiping, and rinsing his cars and set each on a clean towel. When he was finished washing his cars, he came and found me and together we decanted the soapy water into the bucket and poured it into the sink. We rinsed the bucket and brought back fresh water to help us clean our materials and basin. He used the sponge to wipe out the basin, and the soap dish. And we dried the basin, pitcher, and brush with a towel. We brought the dirty water back to the sink and poured it out. After rinsing the bucket, we dried it with a towel and replaced it with the basin and pitcher for next time. We placed the towels on hooks to dry, and hung up his apron, and then he went off to his next work.
So, after all that, D didn't really get a good first washing lesson, so we'll try to do that in the near future. For now, this process works fine for his alternate car-washing lesson.
D and S had a little pink tower fun. This is a material no one has touched in four months. I guess absence makes the heart grow fonder.
Hyung-a was taking a picture, can you tell who is hamming it?He is still hamming it.
And still hamming it up. Goodness.
T and S very tickled by their photographic results.
After all that, D had a little trouble putting the Pink Tower back in its place. After a couple of prompts, "which cube is the biggest?" he figured out their placement no problem.
This is one of the cheapest Melissa and Doug products I've come across so far. (Pattern Blocks and Boards.) The pieces and the boards are just not painted! Both the board, which is very tough to get out of the box, and the geometric pieces have bare spots. For $20+ that is a sham!
The train is one of two patterns that interests D. I think the other one is a boat. All of the others are animals, or butterflies, or flowers. D is just not that interested in the others.
A tiny bit of Bob book reading here. This is one of the Rhyming Series.
I am kind of feeling like I am at crossroads with S and her reading and I am not sure which way to go. It took her such a long time to gain confidence with the CVC family, and she still struggles a tiny bit here and there. I'd really love her to keep building confidence in this area, using these words, reading these words, and writing these words.
But alas, the world cannot be described only with CVC words, and so we must move on. I am not sure if I should pull out my blue word cards with the consonant blends, which would be a baby step enough perhaps, or if we should more closely follow Dwyer, and really start in on the phonogram, double letter sounds, and let the blends come as they do. I do think the latter would get her reading faster, and perhaps that could build confidence as a real reader.
In the photo above, these are some Pink cards to use with the moveable alphabet that I think I got from the Helpful Garden. My entire PBG series is modeled after the Montessori R&D Language Manuals 2-4. I made most of the Pink and all of the Blue from scratch myself over a VERY LONG month and then had mind enough to purchase the green series from Montessori R&D.
You may be able to tell that I organize all of these cards (they are 1"x2" and 2" x 2") in clear plastic name tag holders with white sticky labels on them. Each card is coded either on the front or the back with it's sound family and folder number.
S did just fine sounding these out and selecting the letters to spell each of these words.
S is just beginning to work on addition facts, here with the "wrong" addition strip board. (The board is actually for the subtraction strip game...) She did the Table of Ones all by herself in her head. And like her older brother pretty quickly caught on to the ascending pattern in this first booklet. (For my copy of this booklet, go to my Primary Printables page.) She did use the strips to get each page started, but then went on independently to answer the problems in the first five pages of the booklet.
I was a bit surprised since I didn't know that she'd be open to such abstract work. AND she only pitched a fit when her "2" didn't come out correctly, it was printed backward. Other than that, she wrote all her numbers just fine. And very neatly too, I might add.
Okay, notice that wrapped thumb? That is isn't a correct pencil grasp. If the child uses this grasp, it means lower motor mobility for the rest of the fingers and the pencil tip since it is "caught" under this thumb. In that traditional tri-pod grip the thumb is supporting and guiding the tip of the pencil. I've read that this is a typical hold for children who don't have well developed hand strength. The wrapped thumb offers stability, though not mobility, to a pencil grip that feels wobbly.
Since the wrapped thumb grip inhibits movement and normal finger articulation that guides the pencil tip, the child will compensate by moving the arm, wrist, and hand to create his/her letter forms. Since moving more body parts requires more muscles, the child will likely tire of writing more quickly than the child who is able to use a tri-pod grip. Likewise, inhibited pencil mobility will also likely mean messy penmanship and poor legibility.
Unfortunately, it is very difficult at 6 years of age to correct this grip. Reminders and strengthening exercises can help correct this issue.
To avoid this problem entirely, make sure your child is using a CORRECT PINCER GRASP, not a "locked-out-finger" pincer grasp. AND work to develop the child's hand muscles through scissor work and clay-work. (I'll try to take a few shots of the kids doing each of these things in the coming days and show you by the end of the week.)
For S, she is lefty. She likes to cut with scissors using her right hand. This, I learned two weeks ago, is NO GOOD. She NEEDS to use her left hand to cut because this is one great way to strengthen the hand. As it was described to me, it is better to have one dominant hand that can do everything, than two seemingly ambidextrous hands, each of which can only do half of nothing. So I ordered four pairs of lefty scissors. She thinks they are weird. But if you observe her carefully, she can control them MUCH better.
Tonging. He has been shown the correct way to tong with one hand, and he did start out with one hand. And then he regressed to using two hands.
Initially I invited him to do this work. He did it, put it back on the shelves, and then hasn't touched it since.