Monday, November 3, 2014

Week 3 Part 2 October 27, 2014

I am really sorry, but I don't remember everything that happened in the last bit of the week. And because I was working on materials, I didn't always get shots of what was going on. I'll do a better job of documenting and sharing next week, I hope. (Also, I am very frustrated with my flash. It doesn't recycle as quickly as I need it to, so I end up loosing a lot of shots because the flash hasn't recovered. Arr, need to find another solution I can afford and that will not hurt my arms. Some of those really nice flashes are just too heavy!) 

Even without a husband at home most of the week there was still a flurry of activity that took me away from this blog space. A flurry of orders came in, I put in a flurry of orders, and made a huge flurry of cards. (Thanks, thanks, thanks, Jenn and MBT for helping me out with info sources on these.) 

I am finally done with the Geography and the Botany Command cards. Whew. I feel like I am running around in Elementary sneakers all the time and I need to sit down and put on my Primary running shoes so that D doesn't fall too far behind. I was reading Jessica's Montessori Nuggets post and I was pleased to see that little D is just about where he should be at this point. (Just a mom-bursting-with-pride funny moment, if you would indulge me: I was downstairs working on card material and heard little D on the potty upstairs, with the door wide open, saying things like, "s-s-s-soap, t-t-t-tub." We've been working on sounds, but it made me feel super excited to hear him working on them independently. He doesn't always get these right mind you...sometimes it is "b-b-b-tow truck." REALLY? Okay, now back to our regularly scheduled mom who says things like, "it looks like you really worked hard on that! You must feel very proud!")

So, on to the rest of the week report:

We got to the 4th and 5th Great Lessons!! We did the 4th Great Lesson about the Coming of Signs last year, but we never got to the 5th Great Lesson about Numerals. THIS year, we did all of them early in the year, with no obstacles. Hopefully next year, I can create more buzz around each Great Lesson that will REALLY entice the child to dig a little more. You see I am learning year by year too.
This is the quarter coin board set from Hello Wood.  (I also got the other dollar, nickle and dime boards as well, but in this first lesson, T and S are using the quarter set.) These boards are all wood, and well made. They are expensive for a lesson sequence that isn't really covered in the regular albums, and they take FOREVER to come in the mail. Because of this expense, I waited until this year to purchase them, even though I thought that both T and S could have used them last year.

There are a ton of other ways to present the concept of money, but these boards and their sensorial experience just made sense to me and made this activity seem "fun."

So, the idea is that you have your quarter board, and you have a bunch of nickle, penny, and dime inserts that fit into the quarter board in combinations that equal 25 cents. The child will figure out which combinations work and which don't by trial and error and then by using addition. 

The set comes with a coin tray that also holds a bunch of coin stamps and a paper roll so you can stamp your answer on the paper as you can see S did above.
T has been chomping at the bit to do more bells work. (And I am eager to help him along.) Here he is using our new white discs from Nienhuis to name each bell. 
Last year T worked on matching bell tones, and grading bell tones. This year we are working on adding the language that makes music accessible. Here, T is listening to the pitch of each bell and naming that pitch. I have good relative pitch. T has good relative pitch. So, I don't know that he'll just be able to hear a pitch and name it. I do think with some practice he'll be able to hear "c" and then sing "g" if I ask for "g."

After the initial lesson and a tiny bit of practice, he started to digress and started hitting each bell and singing the Do a Deer song, over, and over, and over....all weekend too. I am totally over that song.
I told him that I needed to make the card materials before we could go any further. I just finished laminating and binding everything today. (Thanks Jenn for posting on the KotU message boards your nomenclature cards set, you saved me a ton of work.)
S finished the North American biome continent readers from Waseca. Here, she is putting the material for South America in our reader box. (This is so much laminating since Waseca sends you only cards...but their products are really, really pretty. I almost don't mind.)
Then she picked out D's favorite animal, the chinchilla, and read the book to him. (Note to self: make sure you put a Chinchilla in any Primary materials that require pictures of mammals.)
D sometimes doesn't wait for lessons and kind of gets into a pickle. Here we haven't done the touch boards yet. These you match and grade from rough to roughest. You can see he is happy about the activity and not knowing what to do. And the fact that he hasn't cleaned up his last lesson.
This was after he had received a tasting lesson. This set of bottles and holder is from Alison's Montessori. Here D puts a small bit of liquid from the bottle onto the spoon using his pincer grip and the eyedropper. He then re-caps the bottle and then tastes the liquid. He will place this bottle to the left side and taste the next bottle on the right to try to find a matching taste. If the first bottle isn't a match, he will put this bottle to the far right and continue to taste the next bottle on the right side of the board until he does find a match. Finally, he will cap both bottles that have matching tastes and place this pair to the far left and proceed with the next bottle on the left.

He didn't really do this. He got the form down: opening the bottle; getting the liquid in and out of the dropper; tasting; and the closing of the bottle. But we missed the matching part. We have time to iron things out. He also declared them all "yucky tasting." 

Oh, I used flat-diluted tonic water for bitter, sugar water for sweet, salt water for salty, and diluted apple cider vinegar for sour. If you are preparing this lesson, be sure to taste each sample yourself. You don't want the guide, or the child falling out the chair.
The tasting lesson is supposed to hone the child's senses so they can better explore their world, and in this case, of course, he is developing his sense of taste. Also, my nit-picky self is looking at this shot and realizing that D didn't actually taste the sample with his whole tongue, which is preferable. He incorrectly sampled it with the tip of his tongue, which if you know the tongue, doesn't sense all tastes, thus he didn't really get the full experience.

Another pondering: if the child has allergies, or has a stuffy nose a lot, this could hinder his/her sense of taste and smell, right? Would a trained guide encourage the child to do a lesson like this a lot? Or would the guide try to find another way to hone this sense? Or would the guide just skip this area of training?
Here D is working with his land, air and water mat from Waseca and is placing his wooden animal cut-outs in the wrong habitats. The material is beautiful. I can't say the same for the performance.

 D is still cutting upside down, with this left hand.
We got a little lip action going doing those zoology puzzles.
D is really coming along with his initial sounds. At this point he knows, "p", "t" sometimes, "b" and "c" very well. It is nice to see that he finds this work enticing. These cards are from here.
And, S helped him out with his sound objects again.
S threw a HUGE fit working on the US puzzle map. Somehow Nevada was extremely frustrating. Then, in time, she got over it and managed to put the entire puzzle map back together with the help of the control chart.
More dynamic stamp addition stamp game. She chooses this everyday. 
 And somehow usually sits like this everyday.
How long should I let her dwell in this work? Until just before being bored? I think she likes it because it is relatively easy to her now. I am glad to help her reinforce these skills and let her dwell here for a while. I think one of the things I do is move everyone along too quickly. When I see them come to a plateau of grace and ease, I swoop in and move them on to the next challenge instead of letting them mentally rest a bit and celebrate their new accomplishment.
S kept plugging away with the animal folders. Here she is reading about the sea squid. 

Koreans eat a lot of cuddle fish and squid (not the fried calimari type squid but the salted shredded dried squid type) especially when while drinking soju. At 15 months old S used to sit in the middle of the living room chewing on a piece of halaboji's ojingeo, 오징어, as happy as can be. When I told her that story, she looked at me like I had just come back from the looney bin.

It just occurred to me that I think I am done making the parts of this set of Animal Stories for Elementary. Whoo-hoo!
Our Daily World Problem books came in the mail, finally. I am pleased with these books. Since the material is pretty easy for S she can get comfortable with the problem solving part of it all. (If you are looking for a book review, MBT posted on here.) Here T is helping S out with her world problems. I have marked with pink removable highlighter tape the problems I think she can tackle. She puts a pencil "X" on the tape pieces for the problems she completes. This way, when D needs these books, I can just take off the pink tape pieces and stick on blue tape pieces for his problems. 
S officially started the bead chains!! Yeay! Here she is working on her hundred square chain...which is upside down in the picture. 

Even though she breezed right through the teens and tens boards, she still had a tiny bit of trouble with the tens on the chain. Time for some repetition perhaps.
I've also been encouraging both S and T to re-look at those phonogram sound folders. Both are not proficient in this area and have lots of gaps. Here S is reading through the "s" sound and the "f" sound booklets and then sorting the sound cards into their appropriate folders. (We are doing the Dwyer reading and writing sequence.)
Poor little no-light alfalfa seeds didn't grow so well.
T and S are writing down and illustrating their scientific observations from the Needs of Plants, botany activity from the KotU albums. The "no water" and the "no heat" got a "no-grow" diagnosis. The "got everything" was the best growing and greenest of them all.
I printed these number charts from the KotU support albums. T and S wanted to explore these right away. I think it was totally my fault for presenting this just before the furniture delivery guys were coming and we were to break for lunch. Note to self: leave a lot more free time when presenting a lesson that can be followed up with "art-work." (Again, you can see a dark shot, with no flash!!)
We've gone back to the easy-peasy beginning stages for the LBF. T finds writing and creating numbers super easy, but pleasantly so. I am hoping that this sets us up nicely for a tiny challenge when we start multiplying, rather than the huge, daunting, "I don't know what I am doing" monster that comes around a lot when there is a new lesson.

I feel we bumped around a lot last year and got our toes wet. It seems that over the summer break and during the move all of that learned knowledge leaked out of everyone's brains and evaporated. Now, we are needing to head back to square one to review, to re-train, and to re-learn every single lesson we did last year. At some point it will feel like we have forward momentum again. At some point!
After the coin boards, T and I sat and did a few money-related Challenge Math word problems. It was very, very difficult for T to say the least. We need more practice I say!
And finally, T started the simple fraction addition with like-denominators. There are no sums greater than 1, and both addends have the same denominator. He says it is a funny work because it is so easy. In actuality, it is pretty easy for him. He doesn't use manipulatives at all, just paper and pencil. But he feels pretty proud and independent to be doing work that is calming and easy, so I think I am going to let him finish the problem cards before moving onto the next level.

So, that is it for the second part of LAST WEEK!! This week is in the making...though the time change has really messed me up. We need to live in Arizona, or Hawaii, or something where the time doesn't "fall back" an hour...I am waking up at like 4:30 am. And, I am not sure if I'll have an end of the week update this week. My parents are coming into town and I don't know how much we'll be in the classroom doing actual work. If nothing else, I'll be reading your blog, and I'll see you here later this week and then again, at the beginning of next week!


  1. Love love love the money boards!!! I forgot to see them! Everyone looks like they are doing lots of work! Thanks for sharing. Oh and now I totally need to update my blog now that it's posted...ack!!

    1. I am so sorry, no pressure! I'll take off the links if you want!! Sorry!!

    2. NO Abbie don't! Force her to update her blog!

    3. Lol! Yes MBT, I was not a Montessori child so I absolutely NEED external motivation to do things! Leave the links and keep linking to it so I can feel the burning pressure! I already took a few pictures and plan to have a post on Friday :). And be forewarned, my camera is horrible! Maybe we'll get a nice shiny new one for Christmas! :)

  2. Ooo...I love how you have your different papers in those wall pockets. I want to do that. I don't think I have any walls left, but I want to do that.

    I'm glad you like the daily math story problems. Phew. Sometimes I recommend something and people hate them (like how you feel about ETC right about now) and then I wonder if people think I'm looney.

    Did keeping your plant by the air conditioner keep it cold enough? Cool!

    I'm the opposite of you on work. You keep 'em moving, I really like to beat a dead horse. So, I don't really have any valid advice.

    I'm with S. Nevada can be a very frustrating state. I don't know if the elections will make her feel better or worse :)

    LOVE the sequence of pictures of D doing his work wrong with a big grin on his face. Priceless. When he's older, Me Too can give him a practical life lesson on storing pencils between his toes. I think they are soulmates.

    Your post makes me feel guilty about skipping the Waseca readers. Oh well.

    1. You are funny. I was trying to figure out how I was going to store some of the limited paper that I want floating around. If the kid uses a piece of that paper that is in one of those holders, I have them use scissors, clip the problem from the page, and tape it into their working notebook. I do NOT want papers flying around this year. Oh it was a mess last year.

      The Daily Math was spot on for S. She still needs to gain confidence, but I think the MATH is easy enough for her to start catching those key-word-problem words and phrases. I also got book 2 right out of the gate, not knowing which she'd be ready for first. These aren't easy for her...she gets frustrated and needs a tiny bit of help reading it all, but she powers through that stubborn girl of mine. Just like with Nevada and those other 49 pesky other difficult states, she tackles 10 of these word problems at a time...fuming and kicking her legs all the way through.

      Air conditioner...HA! It isn't quite THAT warm here anymore. :) I stuck it in our kimchee fridge over night and brought it out when it could get light during the day. Last week the evenings were only like 68 outside for a low. I had thought about adding heat under everyone else, and making the temperature differential go the other way, but I was too lazy to find my seedling heat mat.

      You shouldn't feel guilty about the readers. Your boys had plenty to read. I got them for S for reading because this is about what she needs at this point, and I wanted to stop all the Bob Book nonsense and start her reading real stuff. I just haven't gotten around to making all the Primary I am trying to buy them. :) The kids are lobbying me for a pet chinchilla.

    2. Ha! A chinchilla! My kids spend several hours each day lobbying for a puppy.

    3. My eldest was trying to trade his rabbit for quail eggs. Because November is the perfect time for that. :) That was in between discussions of whether he would prefer cichlid or tetras or...some other type of fish I cannot remember because I may not have been giving my undivided attention to the five thousandth fish conversation we've had this week. :)

  3. So fun seeing all of your work! I like the idea of the biome readers; we're needing some simple readers that aren't Bob-style books, too. But, I will probably be writing them myself since they need to be in Spanish! I completely understand what you mean about concentrating on elementary materials for a while, and needing to switch gears back to primary to keep that child going! It looks like all of your children are working hard and making progress. I understand about younger children giving themselves presentations, too...yesterday my two-year-old was passing out decimal number cards and golden beads. :) Who could stay away from the shiny bead material?