Friday, January 31, 2014

Part 2 Wk 4, January 27, 2014

Life is filled with ups and downs, twists and turns and sometimes even loops. We had tried to adopt a couple of very nice kitties this week, but it was not meant to be. The children and I prepared by talking about the needs of animals. We went shopping and set up our home to welcome these new souls. But in the end we decided that they needed a loving home that was not ours. S turned out to be VERY allergic to cats. Over a 24 hour period, her short visits with the cats began transforming her into a crying, moaning, runny tomato faced girl with hive-ridden hands. She looked and sounded terrible. Well really beyond terrible...horrible. So, we decided to let these kitties find another home filled with family who are not allergic to them.

The kids are overwhelmingly sad and that is certainly to be expected. I wonder what I could have done differently, but I also realized that there was no way we could have known she would be so allergic. We've visited the homes of friends who have cats and she has never had this type of reaction before. But over this 24 hour period her symptoms really escalated to misery and there was no other choice but to not adopt.

So this is where we are for now. When we experience the happiness and the sadness, we know we are alive.

The children have been keeping it low-key in the classroom these past few days. Here is what we did in the latter half of the week.
Sensorial: Color Tab Box 2, rough and smooth touch boards
Language: Handwriting, spelling with the moveable alphabet, double letter sound games
Math: skip counting, test tube division with four digit divisors
Geography: puzzle maps

This is Color Tab Box 2. (The Color Tab Box 1 has two tiles in each of the primary colors.) This box also contains secondary and tertiary colors and black and white. In all, there are tab pairs in each of the following colors: yellow, blue, red, green, orange, purple, pink, brown, grey, black, and white. All color tabs are housed in a small wooden box with a lid. (I ordered this material from Montessori Outlet and this box arrived in fine condition and the tabs are nicely colored plastic, and very uniformly colored. I actually kind of like this material. Now Color Tab Box 3 from Montessori Outlet, well, that is another story for another day. If you are buying now, making your own would be best if you care more about function.)

D can match the colors VERY easily. First I removed from the wooden box the blue tab pair, the red tab pair, and the yellow tab pair and placed them in random order on the rug. After replacing the box lid, I placed the first red tab at the top of the rug and the second red tab underneath it. D took over from there stacking the tabs and matching the colors. After the primary colors tabs we repeated this process with the secondary colors: green, orange, and purple. After that we repeated the process with the tertiary colors: pink, grey and brown. And finally we did the same thing with the black and white tab pairs.

D called the entire thing a whoo-whoo (or a train.) In a little bit, think we'll introduce nomenclature.
While the guide is supposed to hold the tabs using only the white parts, the child can touch the colored part, though he/she should be dissuaded from doing so as finger prints may make smudges on the tabs.

The amaryllis is standing tall and so is S. She is so puffed up with pride that she took care of this plant all by herself. 

She decided to take a picture.

And D also decided to take a picture. And then he decided to take another 1,000,000 pictures until the 4GB card said it was full. Now I have to go through all that wonderfulness and delete the silly blurry stuff. FUN.
Anyway, inspired by the very cool amaryllis flowers, T took out this book and had a closer look at pollen grains and their reproductive role. I plan to do more botany in the later spring when nature starts waking up again outside.

More handwriting practice for lefties.
We are back to the double letter sandpaper sounds with S. She still doesn't remember what they are after segmenting them, sounding them, saying them, drawing them, and "feeling them." So, we played a little game. 

Mama, "Put "ch" on your head."
S: *giggle giggle*
Mama: "Put "ai" under your arm."
S: *laugh laugh*
Mama: "Put "ee" under T."
S: *laugh hysterically and fall off the chair*

She got the sounds right. And then we had to repeat this game six more times.
Little D doesn't know his sounds yet, nor his letters, but he wanted to get in on the action too!

Then I started asking S to "hide" the double letter sounds. And of course, little D got into it too.
Here he is hiding "b" under the globes.

and a letter behind the stool...
And under the table...
And under the sand-table. (We kept "finding" sounds all over the classroom the rest of the week.)
Puzzle Map of Africa. A primary work. A little bit of help moving Madagascar around. D actually helped put this back in the puzzle form.

S whipped through all of the CVC picture cards (I think I got these from Helpful Garden Pink Set 3, but I think that this site may be changing its format and the Pink/Blue/Green series may be going away.) in just a couple of weeks, spelling each one using the moveable alphabet. Also, she has gained a lot more confidence identifying cursive letters.
In the beginning she mixed up her "b" and "d." I always review her "writing" with her, helping her to sound out each letter as she's written them. She thought that "dug" and "dus" were pretty funny and made their corrections immediately. (Again, a traditional Montessori child wouldn't be making these kinds of "mistakes" since they would have learned the sounds and symbols in a different order than S. Also, at the time traditional Montessori children begin to write using the moveable alphabet they typically write sentences, segmenting sounds to create complete spontaneous thoughts, and they would not know how to read what they have written. So please have in mind that this is not the traditional Montessori sequence here.)

After I mentioned to her that the last picture was a "tub" she thought that "daf" was pretty funny too. That IS how the children say bath, "ba-f." I wonder when they grow out of this. T practices phrases like this on a regular basis with his speech therapist.

 D needed a little bit of help from T to do this puzzle map of Oceania.
 This little guy thinks that doing puzzle maps is the best!
T really likes doing puzzle maps when he needs to relax his brain. Imagine learning the political geography of Asia as a soothing and relaxing activity.
S decided to take out some of the short bead chains. (These short chains are also known as the square chains since they represent squares. The green chain has to 2-bead bars. The square of 2 is 4.) The child will label all of the units in the first bead bar, and then he/she will place the number tickets in ascending order along the rest of the chain all the way to the square of that bead-bar. (You can see more examples below where 3^2= 9 and 4^2=16.) 

These chains are used in many primary and elementary lessons, but until now, I was starting to think that we weren't going to get our money's worth since the kids have never really touched them. T did all of the chains, including the thousand chain work, in Primary, though he didn't work on memorizing any of the numbers. Maybe now it is S's turn to take advantage of the skip counting lessons.

T did more racks and tubes!! This time with larger divisors into the thousands. Somehow this didn't phase him a bit. It is my hunch that he just remembered it all from our Division with Ninjas work a few months ago.

Have a wonderful weekend!


  1. Great week! LOVE the little guy getting in on the sandpaper letters...hiding them everywhere :) I STILL have not cut the tape on the racks and tubes box :o


    Keep it up! Soon they'll be as addicted to bead chains as my guys.

  2. Hi Abbie,

    Have a look into Siberian cats - hypoallergenic cats. Beautiful, long haired cats that have the characters of dogs. Our little girl, Chester is one years old, follows me everywhere, chases and brings back her toys, loves cuddles. Such a little blessing in our home. Initially you need to bath them regularly to keep the saliva on their fur minimal, while you get used to them.