Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Part 1 Week 6, February 10, 2014

Goodness the pictures this week are a little weird. I tried to do a little post-processing and now it just looks like I used the flash. Oh hum. I've researched a couple of flash options, now I just have to choose one.

Anyway on to the rest of it:
Math: racks and tubes, stamp game
Language: moveable alphabet, handwriting
Sensorial: a new cube lesson D made up...
Geography: the earth's axis
History: Fundamental Needs of Humans - chart of Food, and chart of Defense
Other: the cleaning out the cubby
THIS work was completely unexpected. I looked up after giving someone a lesson, and noticed that D had put THIS together entirely on his own. I don't believe the primary albums I've read have a lesson for this. And I don't recall any of the children stacking the bead cubes in this manner before. So he didn't learn this from us.

In the elementary math album that this stacked configuration can be built for a lesson on cubing numbers. I guess D is just ahead of his time at 2 years and 9 months old. (If you know of a primary lesson for this configuration, would you let me know? I am curious to see how this sort of thing would be presented. I think the patterns this configuration demonstrates are fantastic.)

D was very proud of his work and wanted to take a picture. "Ukk Mama, tower!"

The racks and tubes again. This problem is slightly easier because it contains a two digit divisor, and a smaller dividend. T solved this equation taking the notation down as before. T says he doesn't like "take-aways." 

Do other coping-mechanisms for subtraction work with children? For example, I always make tens in my head. 13-8 is, well, 13 is 3 away from ten, so 3 and 5 make eight, so after I take away the 3 from 13 to make 10 I need to take away 5 more, and therefore the difference is 5. Do you introduce this concept to the child? Or do you just let them memorize these subtraction facts? Or do you let them come up with their own way of putting it together to find the correct difference? (I am asking for the child who didn't memorize these facts in his absorbant period.) I am sure the more we do this the easier his "take-aways" will seem.
S is on to MORE moveable alphabet. We ran out of "l"s this time. I am working on a printed cursive tile alphabet. I just need to remember to make more of each letter than is in the traditional printed alphabet. Another laminating project. Ugh.

In other news, I am realizing that there are so many other multi-letter sounds that Dwyer doesn't cover. "ing" and "all" in our region of the world are pronounced differently than they are spelled. Do I just need to cover these as double letter sounds as well? Do I introduce them on as we come to them in our lessons? 

S wanted to write "ball" so I introduced a new letter combo "all.". After that mini-lesson she started rhyming, tall, small, mall, fall...and subsequently decided to use a few of these rhyming words to complete a couple original sentences. 

You can also see in the upper corner of the picture our green double sandpaper letters S was using as a spelling reference.
Here little D is getting in on the small object part of S's moveable alphabet work.
S has such a difficult time "seeing" the letters. She needs to trace, trace, and re-trace those letters. She isn't like me. I can see something and recreate it on paper with a pencil, especially if it is already two dimensional. (3-d to 2-d is harder for me.) This is how I've done all of our geography charts. S just can't do that. 

Most albums I've read don't recommend tracing letter forms with a pencil. So what do you do? She has traced sandpaper letters again and again, but still the letter forms don't seem to sink-in and she is always near tears when she faces a paper with lines.

On the other hand, S is very comfortable with the both static and dynamic stamp game addition. I think it is time to move on to multiplication. 

I always try to encourage repetition, but my children really don't like doing things over and over again. Even D. After his magical 5-times, he calls it quits. (Maybe D's exception is puzzles.) S will not fill up a page with 9 stamp game problems. She always prefers to put the work away after two MAX, even if those problems only took 3 minutes.

Children in the second plane of development typically are the messiest. T is no exception. Here he is organizing all the on-goings in his cubby. I didn't think that we did much with paper and pencil, but I guess my estimates were wrong!
He filled up this entire 1" binder.
In the Keys of the Universe Elementary Geography album, this lesson is the first one about the tilt of the earth's axis and how that tilt impacts our view of the sunrise and the sunset, as well as the length of day and night over the course of the calendar year. 

We discussed when the solstice occurs (in the winter and the summer) and its Latin language roots "sol" meaning "sun," and "sistere" meaning "to stand still." 

Then we used this clay ball on a knitting needle and a lamp to demonstrate the length of night and day can vary depending upon where the earth is in relation to the sun. 

Okay, the "new schedule" is so not working. We all can't seem to make it down to the classroom much earlier than 8:30 AM and the longer play time in the afternoons makes it harder for the kids to choose work in the classroom. They complain about going to "class" and how they just want to play, and that everything in the classroom is so boring. My nerve-endings simply feel like they are on fire!

Today, they went to the classroom first and surprised me when I arrived with a bout of poised work ethic. That lasted for about thirty seconds. After that, they put their cursive books away and wandered. I collected everyone to do a geography lesson and to regain some focus. After recapping the ball and stick demonstration we'd done not even 24 hours earlier I only got blank looks. I asked questions, inquiring about fact and opinion. I still got blank looks and utterances of, "uhhhh." REALLY People?

So I stopped the lesson and put them to work. T's work and S's work were both works they had previously undertaken, independently and unprompted. I decided today was the time to finish these works. (And then bridge into new schedule planning.)
A few days ago, S had started thinking about a Fundamental Needs of Humans Food chart. We started by talking about the foods our family eats. (Though the foods she named aren't necessarily foods SHE eats.) Then I printed out some other icons from the Keys of the Universe History Albums and she added the ones she liked to her chart.

We talked about categories, descriptors, sub-categories, plants and animals. S did A LOT of cutting, a bit of drawing, and even a bit of research to find out what a crab looks like.

This was her final chart we "laminated" with contact paper.
T also did a Fundamental Needs of Humans chart. His focused on Defense. He used his brain and two books for research and put together the chart below in just one morning. 
I guess it was a fairly productive day after all. 


  1. Love D taking pictures with his camera! Me Too liked his own geometry work so much today he went upstairs to get his own camera to take a picture. I guess that's what happens with a blogging mama.

    Subtraction coping: I don't see why not. The boys are really really good at this with 10 and under and it is TOTALLY because of the black/white, grey/white bead bars in the snake games. It's the same concept, just bigger. I think a lot of extra practice with the snake game teaches them to do that with the bigger numbers without "telling them" the strategy. They find it on their own. I was surprised the other day to see that Milwaukee Montessori has the kids memorizing and chanting "ordered triplets." You can see a video about it on their website here: It's the video called "Flashcards." I see why it works, but it didn't seem very Montessori today...drilling, chanting, no self-discovery by the child. I don't know. Maybe I'm just paranoid.

    I don't know specifically what your regional pronunciation is for "all." For us the "a' makes the short-o sound in that word and "a" as short-o will be covered in your AAS program. I believe the Dwyer is supposed to cover 44 "key sounds" but those are not every tom-dick-and-harry sound, period, or every spelling variation. That is what "word study" is for, but the kind where you are supposed to "observe and take advantage of real-life opportunities to encourage the child words in their journal or spelling diary. And over time, they will start lists, adding as they learn so that the list of 'a' as 'short-o' words gets longer and longer." Right. That's why I did all of those word studies out of the OPG. There is a page on ing/ang/ong/ung words, a page on each spelling for short-o etc.,

    I just ran into a spot in the biome curriculum that jumps us back into that section of the geography albums so I was up late prepping those lessons last night. You'll see us doing that soon. The biome curriculum gets really superficial right in this spot so we'll be solidly in KotU for a while then back in the biome album. I realized I have a bunch of working charts to make. shudder.

    1. Oh thank you fountain of information!
      I'll get T to do some more snake game...I don't think he'll mind. He DOES mind the boards like Jessica was mentioning below.

      I think I'll do just that with the spelling and dwyer double letters, just go over them as the come about. I'll also try to keep up with the All About Spelling sequence so I can know how to fill in any gaps as they come up. How far ahead did you purchase in that sequence? We've done a few lessons from books one and two, just because they have come up that way...but I wasn't sure if this would be enough for now, or more of the sequence would be helpful for reference.

      I am still interested to know how you weave in the biome stuff with the regular elementary geography stuff. It is my plan to follow the KotU geography albums pretty closely for elementary, but I haven't decided yet what to do with little D.

  2. I forgot to mention, I LOVE the defense chart!

  3. I was going to say what MBT said - snake game! That is what shows those patterns you see in your mind (I see the same pattern, and I didn't have Montessori as a child either ;) ). Here is one area I need to note/improve in my own elementary albums - the subtraction and addition snake games can definitely continue into lower elementary (otherwise there is a several year gap between using them in primary and doing the negative snake game in middle to upper elementary). So for a child who hasn't yet memorized and isn't interested in the boards, the snake games might be very helpful.

    Tower of cubes - well, most 2 year olds aren't touching those cubes since they get to use those when they are doing the long chain work with the bead cabinet - so if a 2 year old DOES get to touch them, I would expect him to build what is essentially the pink tower. Those are the shapes/size he sees and he knows the pink tower - so, in his mind, this is just an application to the rest of his life. Let it be an extension and come back to it later ;)

    Tracing letters: does she use a sand-tray at all? writing in the air? writing on a large easel? larger paper? then smaller unlined paper? These things help to get the shape into the child's muscle memory, becoming increasingly more intricate. And they help the child who doesn't want to keep tracing the sandpaper letters over and over. The banded lined paper helped my son A LOT - for the longest time he just couldn't function on any other paper - only entirely blank or banded-lined.

    I LOVE their fundamental needs work! What a perfect combination of the original inclusions and adding one's own! Not all of one or the other.

    1. As I read your comment about the tower of cubes, I was thinking, and 2 year olds don't usually touch the hundred board, or the grammar solids, or the pin maps, or the bead name it. He takes all of these out, and imitates his siblings to the best of his ability. And then asks someone for help. :) He is surprisingly, or maybe not so surprisingly, isn't rough with the material at all, and from observation, knows how the material should be used. (He, of course, can't complete the work, but does a very nice imitation.)

      And as for tracing letters, S pretty much has a panic attack when she sees a blank piece of paper that is meant to be written upon. She does like using the sand tray. Maybe I'll bring that out again. I do see that even when tracing the sand paper letters, her lines aren't smooth and controlled yet. T gets very nice round O's and the like. S's O's look like car tires that have been through a 15 car-pile-up. She has had tons of practice tracing and tracing and tracing the sandpaper letters, trading on paper, the wooden guided letters, and seeing the letters themselves...but yet,she still can't form them with a pencil and a piece of paper. Any ideas why? What is going through her head? What is the disconnect? Will more tracing really help?