Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Part 1 Wk 5 February 3, 2014

The start of this week was a swift one. I think we all were ready to get back to work. There aren't as many photos in this post because I was the one giving lessons the first couple days. And, after a couple of whopper 80+ picture posts, I think I am due for a little bit of a break. (I'll use the extra time to work on fraction charts.)

This week we covered:
Math: Long Division Racks and Tubes, commutative and distributive properties of multiplication with beads and number tiles, finding multiples with bead chains
Language: spelling, writing, open and closed syllables, grammar boxes
Sensorial: color tabs box 2 extension lesson
UPDATE: As it was just pointed out to me (Thank you!! Jessica) we are a long way from being completely done with the Racks and Tubes. In one week, after hours of work, we've done four digit divisors with zeros and remainders... and now it is onto abstraction.

I was going to say that this was a good work finding like-bases...but now that I look at that triangular pyramid sitting on that cube, well, I now decline to comment on this geometric solid work.
S found something in our environment that was very inspiring. It was lurking over in a particular corner near the moveable alphabet.
So, she decided to write about what she found.
 After sounding, segmenting, and sorting she came up with...
 And then we digressed to this.
After all the giggles about the last phrase had subsided, I was able to gather T and S for a little syllable lesson. S first read the word "got." I asked T and S which letter was the vowel. No one knew. So I pointed out that the "o" was the vowel. Then we reviewed what a consonant was. I asked them where the "o" was in relation to the other consonants and S said the "o" was in between the other consonants. I pulled the "t" away from "got" and asked T to read that word, and he said "go." We discussed that the sound the "o" makes in the word "got" was the short vowel sound and the sound the "o" makes in the word"go" was a long vowel sound. We also discussed that when the "o" is in between two consonants it is "closed in," and that makes it a closed syllable. Likewise, when the "o" in "go" can run away, because it isn't closed in, we call that an open syllable. Both T and S caught on right away and we went through a couple of other closed and open syllable examples.

I got these lessons from the All About Spelling curriculum. I am not one for a work-book/boxed curriculum, but as a terrible speller, I needed some help making sure T and S learned the rules of spelling. I'll talk a little bit more about why I chose these books in another post.
T said that "fast" was a closed syllable word.
Just a little someone acting very proud of himself.
D and I did a color box 2 extension lesson. He picked out the pink color tabs, matched them on the rug, and, while leaving the tabs on the rug, went to retrieve many pink items from our classroom environment. This kind of exercise, where the child must find items that match a certain tab color, is introduced after the first color tab box lesson.
T and I reviewed the commutative property of multiplication...
and the distributive property of multiplication.
And then he went into abstraction. There are no signs in this problem. Hummm. Maybe next time. 

(For all who are wondering, these are the Grey and White Number Tiles that can be used with the checkerboard, decimal checkerboard, flat bead frame, and other math exercises. Typically the child will start with the grey and white number tiles that have numbers printed in red, blue,or green, so they can more clearly see the different hierarchies. These number tiles, which are printed in all black, are said to be the "advanced" set, (by Nienhuis) since they don't differentiate hierarchies. Way back when, I purchased these in error. But when T used them with the checkerboard, he didn't seem to be confused by the black tiles. I haven't thought about whether I'll purchase the "right" first box of number tiles for S.
S is using the movable alphabet again to write.
Here is her first attempt. She completed these words independently. When I review it all with her, we read the words together just as they are spelled. She is still having some issues with the cursive "n" and "u." They do look pretty similar and they are next to each other in the box.
We ran out of "t's" so we made an extra one.
Here, I asked S to choose three of her favorite objects and write a couple of original sentences. This is what she wrote. THIS is what the moveable alphabet is really for. It allows the child, who can sound out his/her words, to express themselves in writing before they can actually form the words with a pencil and paper. So THIS is what S was thinking!
Here T is finding common multiples using the cubed bead chains for 6 and 8. (There are short square chains, and long cubed chains. The short chains span from 1^2 to 10^2. The long chains span from 1^3 to 10^3.) T kept shouting out common multiples to me at random times, which was highly disruptive since I was giving S a golden bead division lesson. 
I am getting ready to give him some more formal multiple and factor work soon.

Finally, at my suggestion, because he was wandering again, T got out some grammar box work. He found a typo in one of the cards already, which he thought was pretty funny. Thank goodness for my young editor's skills, because if you've been reading this blog at all, you can probably tell my editing skills are terrible.


  1. Interesting conversation about those white/gray tiles - I have rarely used the hierarchically-colored ones with any of the children and they always do fine. I think a lot of it might be the work they do in primary - how strong of a foundation was laid? I'm not sure :)

    You mentioned the operation signs. My albums/training don't use the signs at primary, but the classroom I am subbing in right now DOES, so this is an adjustment for me. Then my elementary albums introduce the signs at various stages, but generally after we've manipulated the numbers a lot. I've still not decided where I am at personally with introduce the signs earlier or later... or if the particular timing matters at all? I will say that as my son moves into algebra, I do like that he can visually handle have "7y" means "7 times something" or 7(8) means "7 taken 8 times" without having any hang-ups over needing that sign there. :)

    I am amazed that 2 years' worth of work on the racks and tubes was done in a week :) My son started this work a bit late (introduced short division in primary; but was away from the material for quite a while), when he started again, he moved very quickly as well ---- but I have found he had to go back to it for review every week or so for a few months (probably because he had gone through all the lessons so quickly). Now, at age 9, he can do all the work on paper and hasn't touched the racks/tubes in a long time. I just love when it's the right kid, at the right time, with the right material - what they can DO with it!

    Finally I LOVE LOVE LOVE your children's movable alphabet work! The more they come up with themselves, the more creative they will be, the more challenges they will set for themselves and actually meet those challenges with joy. Love it :)

  2. Well, you are amazed because we aren't finished with racks and tubes. I somehow thought most of the abstraction would come from subsequent lessons and materials, so we still have a ways to go. Thanks for pointing me back to those album pages...*sigh* that is exactly where I get caught! trying to keep up with the children and only being able to prepare lessons late at night when I am tired. :) thank goodness for people like you who keep me on track. T was very eager to do the next racks and tubes lesson.

  3. Abbie, That is funny! You and I have the same brain it sounds like :) I have done the same thing over and over - must be a "homeschool mommy" thing.

    I didn't mean to make more work for you, but I bet you'll have more fun with the racks and tubes, right?

    For comparison, I did go back and check through work journals for my son - it looks like he received all the presentations for the racks and tubes over about 1 month, but continued to work with it for several months before really easing off of it (he'd go back a lot and check his work). So it can certainly go faster with the right timing and interest.

    I'm preparing a review post right now for adolescent Montessori math... an algebra album that is available. So I'm preparing for adolescence already. Sigh. The time just flies too fast.... :(

  4. Jessica, I can't thank you enough for your encouragement. You surely know how to calm a frantic soul. I feel I am running into this a lot...realizing that the lines could be better blurred just so, and these paths could be better smoothed in that direction. Nevertheless, we live and make mistakes, and learn...and T will probably never know or be the worse for it.

    He was just filling out his Taekwondo belt test application (there is a portion for the student to fill out too) and he said that he was very enthusiastic about the racks and tubes work. :) So we'll see where this leads. If I had done this differently, I would have brought him through the notation with small problems before introducing larger hierarchies. It is just T and how he does things because I know your albums recommend the child have ample opportunity at each level. With T, he loves scooping up the beads into the tubes so much he balks at divisors with fewer than 7 in each place value. These types of problems always last a long time! I always get the place values with 2, or 4. I am thinking that T will be about like your son, 1 month and then work on it a bit more. He is that child that likes to go all-in and focus deep before letting up and transitioning to another material.

    Adolescent math! I read your comment about that on your blog and I can't wait to hear what you have to say about it all!

    And for the operation signs, I think I agree with you. I hadn't thought about the 8y, and the (8+9)8 notation, but yes, it would seem that just knowing the operations are there in the beginning would help the child when the operation signs are then eliminated later on anyway. I am continually amazed at how Montessori sequence (which I can't seem to follow very closely) really takes these kinds of things into account. The Cultivating Dharma albums, from where I pulled these lessons say to introduce signs in one of the last steps of this lesson sequence.

  5. Man, you two make head spin :)

    I was just getting over feeling dizzy when I read that Jessica was gearing up for the adolescent albums when I *think* her son is only a year older than Kal-El; then, I read that yours had finished what I anticipate being two years of work in a week. I feel a little sick.

    I find that Kal-El needs to review materials a LOT. He *always* understands when I present something and then proceeds to do the work flawlessly for a few days. Then, a week later you pull, say, the large bead frame out again and he doesn't know what to do. I re-present, he does the work flawlessly for a few days. A couple weeks pass. Boom. "Mom? I don't remember how to do the large bead frame." That's just one example. Me Too is a bit better, but MAN. 12 days in a row of perfect fraction practice and then on day 13 I look over his shoulder and see "2 over P plus 3 over g equals 32." Huh?

    You must be doing something right because I have to say that is the most "as it was intended by Maria Montessori" movable alphabet work I've seen coming out of a Montessori homeschool :)

    1. Legoboy will be 10 in April. Two more years, yes; not near long enough.

      We do a lot of review in our homeschool - if we don't get to some things with the co-op children (we meet very infrequently these days), he's not seen it in a while and I like to pull things out and have him do more with it - actually more often than that HE is the one to pull it out for review. If we had more children here every single day, there would be more inherent review (observing others, helping others, teaching others, etc.) - but that's not the usual life of a homeschooler :)

      These boys of ours :) They're all doing so great!

    2. T is 7 1/2 yrs as of last month.He is a super star in math, but not necessarily in other areas.
      He also needs review, but it is difficult to get him to do this because when he deems he is finished with a work, he doesn't want to pick it up ever again.

      We went over some of the numeration later last week for racks and tubes, and today at Sunday brunch he told me that the take-aways are too hard. (He didn't act like they were too hard last week.) So I think that this work will take a little while longer.

      And thanks for the moveable alphabet comments...I forwarded them on to S and she just beamed with pride that she was able to write so well. NOW, we just have to get the pencil writing up to speed!