I've decided to change our schedule around a little bit to accommodate D's new "no-nappy" schedule. I am moving up our start time, slowly, keeping our end-time the same which seems to be flexible anyway, and then switching to no afternoon classroom time. Our before schedule was, classroom time 5 days a week, 9am-12pm, and then 2pm - 3:30pm, while D napped, except on Tuesdays, when we had speech and no afternoon session. NOW, my goal is to shift our classroom time to 5 days a week, 8am - 12pm-ish and have no afternoon session. I figure a summer schooling schedule will be again slightly different, and once D can handle an afternoon session, we may work a different schedule then too. I am wondering how this will all work,and if this all will work. I guess the only way to find out is to try it.
Okay, now for the good stuff,
This is a little of what we've been doing:
Math: skip counting, golden bead division - static and dynamic, stamp game - static addition, racks and tubes - calculating distributions and remainders
Geography: puzzle maps
Practical Life: setting a table, supposed to be tonging-turned out to be whole hand grasp
Language: writing with the moveable alphabet
I figured out how to make Blogger NOT rotate photos...which is SO annoying. I am on a PC, so I drag the photo from the drive file to the desktop, double click on it, and orientate it the correct way in Windows Live Photo Gallery. Then I upload the photo to Blogger from the desktop and it loads with the correct orientation. Goodness.
T always goes for the puzzle maps when he needs a little R&R. Learning the political geography of Asia doesn't seem like R&R to me, but who am I to judge?
One thing I noticed was that the maps have "changed" and not for the better. I got these from Montessori Outlet which I'd say has a good price but their product is only so-so. First, the knobs keep falling out, which is okay because the kids are super on top of this and I can glue them back in. The kids are always telling me the knob fell out before those little white pieces of wood roll away somewhere to be gone forever. I feel like I am gluing SOMETHING nearly every day. This time I had to glue Moscow back into Russia.
Also, the puzzle pieces are beginning to warp a little bit. You may notice on the photo above that Russia doesn't lay flat any longer and its edge comes up above Mongolia and China. Also, some of the pieces have shrunk. (SHRUNK? REALLY? Now how can a country shrink?) In the picture below you can see a gap between India and Myanmar that wasn't there a year ago. I don't know about your child, but mine are very picky. That tiny little bit of wiggle room in the puzzle will drive little D nuts. He almost abandoned the Africa puzzle last week because Angola didn't fit in tight against Botswana and Namibia. Anyone have an idea about how to get Myanmar to grow a little? Maybe a hot humid summer in the bayou would do it.
I can't tell you about the shrink-ability of other brands, but if your environment gets cool and dry in the winter, or any time of year for that matter, don't order your puzzle maps from Montessori Outlet.
S is finally into, and almost done with, Golden Bead Division. I took our lesson from the Montessori by Hand Primary Math Album. (So sorry for the wonky, dark pictures. I am trying to figure out another flash situation that isn't going to be so heavy it makes my arms feel like they are going to fall off as I wait for the shot.)
First we set up our Golden Bead materials. Typically this lesson would involve three children, one for each unit divisor. The Guide would compile the large number cards and select a quantity that divides evenly by three. Three sets of small number cards would be laid out on a mat a ways away from the work area. Each of the three children would bring a separate tray to the mat and the Guide would collect the bead quantity she has chosen and indicated with the number cards.
In our case, since S was the only student, we used green skittles from the stamp game to represent our "children" and divided our quantity up among them.
I chose a dividend quantity, or a quantity to be divided up, and laid out the corresponding large number cards. S counted out the quantity in golden beads and began to distribute it evenly among the three skittles, starting with the largest hierarchy fist, the thousands. After distributing the thousand cubes, we verified that each skittle received the same amount. We also did a verification after each distribution for the hundred squares, ten bars, and units.
After S had distributed the entire quantity, we counted what one unit skittle received and selected the corresponding small number cards. Then she selected small number cards to show the equal quantities the other two skittles received.
After this, I pulled a small number card for 3 units and placed it to the right of the large number card dividend quantity and stated, "3,728 divided by 3..." As I placed one of the small number card quantities to the right of our equation, I completed my sentence by saying, "equals 1,242 with a remainder of 2." (We had 2 left over we couldn't distribute evenly, so this became our remainder. Typically in a first presentation, the Guide will choose a dividend that divides evenly by three. This wasn't our first presentation.)
The first presentation of Golden Bead Division the dividend would divide evenly with no remainder. As the child progresses he/she will explore dynamic division in which there may be exchanges and remainders.
To give you an idea of where S is in the continuum, over the last 5 months we've covered golden bead static/dynamic addition, then static/dynamic multiplication, then static/dynamic subtraction, and now golden bead static/dynamic division. She has started some Stamp Game work with static and dynamic addition and has just begun skip counting using the bead chains. Next we are on to more Stamp Game, the Dot Game, and the Large Bead Frame. We'll continue using the bead chains as well. S is now officially 6 years old, and would have been a third year Primary student.
I FINALLY prepared this table-setting work for little D. He did it about five times in a row, and now hasn't touched it since. I'm beginning to realize that this is the way he likes to do things: get in there, do it multiple times, and then leave the work and move on. If you reintroduce the work many months down the road, he is game for another five go-arounds before he loses interest again.
I purchased the place mat from Walmart and traced each item with a Sharpie. The napkin I made from an old curtain way back when, the plate is from Ikea, the small glass is from GoodWill, and the flatware is heirloom sterling silver and the spoon is from the local Church sale.
S wanted to put a title on her clock, "what time is it?" We've been learning the green double letter sounds, so I've been encouraging everyone to use the Dwyer "key" spellings for writing works. For the long "i" sound, the key spelling is "ie." I think the cursive moveable alphabet inspired S.
Afterward, S did a lot more writing with the moveable alphabet, using the double letter spellings. (You can see the sandpaper letters up there in the corner for reference.) During this particular session she required a lot of support, but she wanted to keep trying.
Translation: The monkey ate the candy cane. The sheep came and saw the candy cane was gone.
So, I have a question for all you Montessorians out there, what do you do when the child runs out of letters? I helped her here cut out extra paper letters. Is it just that in a regular classroom the child would have access to multiple moveable alphabets and therefore wouldn't need more paper substitutes?
She was very proud of her hard work.Here T is doing some light research into the Fundamental Needs of Humans and their need for defense. I was sorry that we needed to transition just as he was getting to this work, so I hope to encourage him to open the books again at a later date.
Here, S was able to note the addends and the sum with no difficulty using the black and white paper. Then she quietly got her colored pencils and shaded in the squares green, red, and blue accordingly.
And T is back at the racks and tubes.
This time we moved toward abstraction. He has finished all the initial presentations that involve just beads and boards. He's done the zero place holders, the larger hierarchies, and the remainders. What is left is transitioning to just pencil and paper.
We started off with Jessica's Keys of the Universe Math album exercises which include easier problems such as 7,872 divided by 32. There are no zeros, no remainders and easier-to-work-with numbers. After a sullen *sigh* from T we got through the first presentation. T then said, "there were no 9's. I like it when there are 9s so that there are a lot of beads to pick up." I said, "why don't you pick the next problem?" He picked THIS one with zeros, large numbers, and a remainder. T did the problem just fine.
We actually skipped a lesson altogether. Partly because I thought the sequence was a little confusing and partly because I thought that T would get the logic in the next lesson.
So, what DID we do? In the first Racks and Tubes presentations the child will record only the divisor, the dividend, and the quotient. Now, the child will begin to do some of the number work that goes along with long division and at the end of the process, will be able to perform long division with just a pencil, a piece of paper, and their brain.
Our first step was to note what we were distributing. For our first distribution, we had 7 million beads, 3 hundred thousand beads, 7 ten thousand beads and 9 unit thousand beads. T found that we could carry out one distribution and he wrote the number one in the thousands place since that is how many one unit skittle receives.
Then we counted up how many beads we distributed, or how many beads were on the boards. He came up with 3 million beads, 9 hundred thousand beads, 4 ten thousand beads, and 2 unit beads. We noted this number down on our paper below the dividend number, lining up the place values. Then T subtracted through, borrowing where needed, to find out the difference between what we had to distribute and what we actually did distribute. This difference was the partial remainder and the quantity of beads left in the cups. Finally, we checked the cups to verify that our "math" and our distribution matched.
Then we exchanged our 3 million beads for 30 hundred thousand beads to be able to distribute 34 hundred-thousand-beads. After we brought down the next four cups to distribute: the 34 hundred-thousand beads, the 3 ten-thousand beads, the 7 unit-thousand beads and the zero hundred beads. Likewise on our paper, we needed to drop the zero hundreds place holder in the dividend and add it to the partial remainder. (This is essentially the lesson we skipped. In that lesson the child would record the partial remainder only, and then drop down the next digit to note what he/she has to distribute again.) Then we did a new distribution. We recorded the beads on the boards, subtracted through, and verified that this partial remainder matched what we had left in the cups. Then we cleared our board, exchanged, brought down four more cups and started our distribution again.
All and all, T did very well with this work. He still needs a lot of work with his math facts and I think that is what holds him back. But the concept is pretty easy for him. I am amazed he just gets it since I am just now learning WHY long division works!
D does these four cylinder blocks in all sorts of formations. I just don't know how he keeps track of it all! I don't prefer him to work with this material on the table since he can't get a good "bird's-eye-view" of the work because the table is so high. I don't remember every reminding him to put this work away. In D's world that means he really really likes the work.
And finally, a little bit of Valentine's day tonging.
Hope everyone has a wonderful weekend!