Friday, February 14, 2014

Part 2 Week 6, February 10, 2014

We got hit with a foot of snow and I didn't have class that day. The kids were just happy to be out of doors in the snow and the rain. A couple of very interesting things cropped up at the very tail end of the week, and I have my prep work cut out for me this weekend.

What we did this week:
Math: stamp game subtraction
Language: moveable alphabet - with some very inventive spelling, handwriting, advanced grammar - auxiliary verbs
Geography: Pin Maps!!
Other: a new Taekwondo Green Belt
This is just a tiny preview of the HUGE project T and I have undertaken. He loves maps. And he likes finding things on the maps. So I suggested he do a more in-depth physical and political geography study of the United States. He thought that was a great idea and got busy writing down in cursive!! all the names of all the states and mountains he wanted to mark on his map. I got busy researching how to make a pin map...and then freaked out after finding that these things are NOT easy to make. There is more information coming soon, but for right now, this is what is consuming my life. Well, pin maps and grammar are consuming my life.
This is how T feels about grammar. This is NOT how I feel about grammar. I don't remember learning grammar in school, and I don't remember ever liking any attempt I made at learning grammar in school. I didn't learn grammar the Montessori way.

In the picture above, T is working on one of the interjection grammar boxes (9-2 or 9-3 I believe.) Since I introduced all of the basic parts of speech, he has been working with the grammar boxes at random, but only when I suggest he stop wandering and pick a work. WELL, today, after picking this work the grammar fire was ignited under him again and we are off to the races.

T came across a phrase card that read something like, "[some interjection I can't remember]! Where do you think you're going?" He asked me what "you're" was. I said I didn't know and after some research, we found it could be an auxiliary verb (the Montessori grammar symbol is a red circle with a white concentric circle) or a linking verb (the grammar symbol is a red circle with a concentric white triangle) or a "being verb." 

I am certainly no authority when it comes to grammar, but I deduced that for a contraction like "you're" it needs to be split apart and each part belongs to its own part of speech. So the "you" part T confidently proclaimed a pronoun. The "are" part turned into the issue. As it turns out, after a lot of research we were dealing with a "being verb." Funny enough, most forms of the verb "be" do not have "be" in them. "Am," "was," "is," "are" and "were" are all "being" verbs. "Has been," "should have been," "may be," and "might be" are also "being" verbs. 

T came up with a seemingly parallel sentence to illustrate "being" verb usage, "I am going to the phone." In this sentence, "am" is the form of "being." And then we got caught up in linking verbs. 

Linking verbs are verbs that can sometimes be action verbs and sometimes can be linking verbs. There are 12 linking verbs my book points out: appear, feel, look, remain, smell, stay, become, grow, prove, seem, sound and taste. To find out of these 12 verb suspects are linking anything you use this test: if you can substitute a form of "be" (am, is, was, and all the others I listed above) and the sentence still makes sense, the verb is a linking verb. A sentence like, "The soup tasted too spicy" would test as "The soup [was] too spicy." The latter sentence makes sense, so "tastes" in this case, is a linking verb.

In the sentence, "I tasted the spicy soup," "tasted" cannot be replaced by a form of "to be" and still make sense. "I [was] the spicy soup," made T laugh really hard. So in this example, "tasted" is an action verb.

An auxiliary verb is like a "helping" verb. These verbs join the main verb and help enhance the mood, tense or voice of the verb. Common helping verbs are: be, do, have, can, and may in all their forms. In the sentence, "I may eat the spicy soup," "may" is an auxiliary helping verb.

At the time, I wasn't sure if this usage of "are" was a linking verb or an auxiliary verb. But now I believe we were talking about a "being" verb. (Wow, that sounds really nerdy.) There are a lot of grammar resources on the internet but I've found many are not correct.

I plan to furiously read up on ALL the advanced elementary grammar lessons I thought we'd get to next year. T said that he can't wait to do MORE advanced grammar on Monday. 
By the way, does anyone have any good grammar resources? I already have and really like, The Only Grammar Book You'll Ever Need: A One-Stop Source for Every Writing Assignment by Susan Thurman and Larry Shea. Though, contrary to its title, I don't believe this book has quite enough depth for all the grammar questions T is going to ask in the years to come.
This is S's original, very inventive, spelling. I think we might need to practice segmenting a lot more. AND I need to finish the tile alphabet! (I already made a tile alphabet in print, but since I am going for cursive first, or in S's case second, I want to use a cursive tile alphabet.)

I glanced over at D and wondered what he was doing in the language area.
Five minutes later, I glanced over and D was doing this. My little lefty was practicing his cursive. I was thinking we'd do our first writing lesson in about a year.
S started Stamp Game Subtraction today, and so did D apparently.I decided to do the subtraction after the addition since the initial set up is similar. 

S first recorded her problem on her squared stamp game paper and then set up the tiles to illustrate her minuend. (It is minuend - subtrahend = difference.) She counted out enough tiles to represent all the thousands, hundreds, tens and units.  For static subtraction (no borrowing) she "took-away" the number of tiles in the subtrahend. What is left on the table mat was the difference. She counted the tiles left under each hierarchy and noted down the difference on her paper.

We ended up getting somewhere near a foot of snow. The kids were SO excited. We just don't get snow like this in these parts.

And T earned his Green Belt in Taekwondo. In the picture above he is doing his beginner sparring with an adult who was standing in. I think this was his ax kick. This little guy is very flexible.
Congratulations T!


  1. I particularly enjoyed grammar/English in school (except diagramming - I have never EVER met someone who enjoyed diagramming sentences!) but reading all that wonderful information had my head swimming and I will admit to re-reading it two, or three times :) I am working toward getting to the advanced grammar with my oldest. Some of it she most likely understands more than she realizes, due to teaching it in part in the past, but I am hoping to get it in her head GOOD this time! :) I look forward to reading about your maps - I eventually would like to do something similar, if not full blown, in that area. And, congratulations T!!! :)

    1. I had to re-read what I had wrote about the verbs a couple of times before I got it too, and I was the one writing it all! I am no grammarian that is for sure. But it is interesting to learn it all in the Montessori way for the first time. It makes so much sense and I can kind of see why T likes it so much.

      Oh goodness, up to my eyeballs in little flags and maps that have so many dots on them they look like they have the measles. I can't WAIT until this project is over. Then I can work on the World Pin Map cabinet! :)

  2. The fun (and frustrating!) part of the grammar work.... is that grammarians (the alleged experts) don't even agree! So I come to this work focusing on exploration, less on finding the "one right answer".

    Keep the pin maps simple - you do NOT want to wear yourself out on this particular material. Simply not worth it. ;)

    My son goes for brown belt (did I JUST TYPE THAT!?) in early April.
    BROWN!? Where DID the time go!? And he held off a couple of promotion tests over the 2 years he's been in.
    Tell T congratulations! And awesome ax kick! Legoboy's leg doesn't stay that straight that high up - he's getting better though!

    Not to "sell" anything on your blog... but I do have downloads for the cursive tiles - in a variety of colors. If you've not finished them yet!

    1. WOW brown belt! I just told T that and he wanted to know how long Lego Boy has been doing Taekwondo. I told him about two years, as you said. He was excited and asked when he could meet Lego boy and have a playdate. :)

    2. It will be 3 years this coming July.

      Anytime - just gotta dig out of snow (or, well, now it's swim out of the floods ;) ).

  3. Montessori Material Makers (.org I think) has free cursive tiles downloads designed to print front/back with capital/lowercase. I didn't print them back to back, just printed them and ran them through the laminator and cut them apart. Those are the ones you have seen on my blog before.

    1. Thank you for this tip. I had completely forgot that the capital letters are on the reverse side! I already have a cursive font and a set of tiles that is already sized to the box we have...but now I'll remember to make them correctly! Thanks!

  4. Heidi,

    Are these the ones that have vowels one color and consonants another? Or is each alphabet an entire color?

    Years ago, I downloaded for free a beautiful cursive font one - that was entirely opposite-colored of the movable alphabets. I was able to switch them out somehow, but later lost the entire file and just created my own.

  5. What are these cursive wooden letters? Also, where can I get that board of letters that he was tracing? Thanks!

    1. The cursive letters are the moveable alphabet. You can purchase them through Neinhuis, or any Montessori materials supplier. The little guy was using our guided letters by Hello Wood. They are a wonderful company located in Tennessee, but they ship all over.