Friday, November 21, 2014

Week 6 Part 2, November 17, 2014

Where do the days go?? I remember being in third grade and thinking that an hour took forever. I also remember being a high school junior and realizing that the period had just passed in a whisper. That was the first time I remember time seeming to speed up. And it doesn't seem to stop. Each turn, each month, each year, everything spins by a little faster. I wonder if when I am 100 years old if it will seem as if I just woke up right before I go to bed.

We were busy this week. Sometimes a good lecture about "responsibility" works wonders.

Language: noun gender, reading poetry
Math: LBF - partial products multiplication, money problems, linear counting, stamp game - static subtraction, Challenge Math word problems, 
Zoology - animals of North America, animal riddles "who-am-I?"
Bells - matching notes on the staff and naming pitches
Sensorial - brown stairs - missing stair exercise, color tab 2 - matching from afar
Practical Life - dressing frames

T finished the traditional noun grammar boxes. I think we have 4 boxes. I made these up on the fly using the KotU albums and support albums as a guide. This is the Noun Gender lesson. Most of the English language does not rely upon gender distinction any more the way other languages do. Korean words differ depending upon if the speaker is male or female. S calls T "oppa" because she is a younger sister. D calls T "hyung-a" because he is a younger brother. Spanish also relies upon the gender distinction and the article often makes this distinction as does the last vowel, though the latter doesn't always hold true. "El libro" ends in "o" and "el" indicates this words is masculine. "La chica" ends in "a" and "la" indicates this word is feminine.

Though usually gender neutral, English does still have a few particulars that denote gender specificity. I introduced T to two sets of masculine/feminine cards and one set of masculine/feminine/neutral cards. T arranged the cards he thought were male, female, or neuter and we used the dictionary to find the definitions of words he didn't know.

After this lesson we will move on to noun classification and proper/common nouns as well as concrete and abstract nouns. (These materials can be found in the KotU support albums. Thank you Jessica!)
T picked back up where he had left off with the animal stories. (I wrote about this work earlier in the week here.) In this second packet he honed in on the flatworm, probably because these too kind of make me feel icky. 
We looked up "flatworm" and "tapeworm" in particular. He did a tiny bit of iPad research. (Personally, I don't like researching on the iPad too much because even with filters on, you never know what you are going to come up with, and some of it can be pretty inappropriate for, well, any eyes.
Then we took out our Montessori R&D nomenclature booklets to read a little bit more about the phylum platyhelminth and then he chose to draw a picture of his favorite looking flatworm and wrote a few sentences about tapeworms. I think they went something like: "they lay eggs" and "they live in human bodies especially in the brain, eye, and heart." Disgusting. It didn't help my stomach to know that there are more than 3500 different species of flatworms around the world. Ugh.
T surprised me this week by remembering a lot of the long bead frame multiplication. Humn. Some days there is just an empty cavern up there in the space where their brain should be, and sometimes that empty cavern lights up and has ideas and remembers things. Go figure.

I used Keys of the Universe elementary albums, and this isn't the first LBF lesson which I was 100% prepared to give. We did review that 2 x 20 is the same as 20 x 2 and that when you multiply any number by 10, you simply add a zero to the right.

Then instead of writing only the finished product and using the bead frame for the arithmetic, T decided he wanted to notate all of the partial products and do the multiplication (or skip counting in his case) and addition on paper with a pencil. I am all for motoring forward, if it doesn't create large obstacles and giant gaps in the long run. So we did. And he did fine. 

I took MBT's advice and stayed with him while he did his problems this time instead of moving away. I have also taken to reminding him, and the others, to avoid distraction and focus on his work at hand. These reminders work very nicely and he actually finished three problems. You should have seen that look of triumph on his face when he figured out he had gotten the right product...AND when he figured out that skip counting helps him figure out multiples. (Thanks for that one MBT.)
Here you can see a little of his notation. He is multiplying by a two digit number here, so we deconstruct the multiplier. Here his multiplier is 38, so we decided to multiply by 8, and by 30 and then combine these partial products to get our final product. 

His notation on the upper right side is his deconstructed multiplicand. He just separated out the hierarchies, and will multiply each by "8." Then he did the same in preparation to multiply everything by 30. Then we decided it was simpler to multiply everything by 10, and just add a "0" to the end of each number and THEN multiply everything by 3. His deconstructed multiplicand (multiplied by 10) ready to be multiplied by 3 is on the lower right hand side. He calculated each partial product and then added through on paper to get his final product. 

Hallelujah for skip counting. He didn't get far with this material last year because he didn't know his multiplication and addition facts. This year, he knows most of his addition facts and can skip count and these skills made this material SOOO much easier.
This one of those measurement lesson topics we need to cover sans album support. I think the albums say, "oh, don't forget to cover this." I am a literal, calculated, judgmental mind and leaving me with, well, nothing makes me feel queasy. 

You may have already seen our sensorial money materials from Hello Wood here. These are the new cards I purchased from ETC that cover money in a bunch of different ways. (I will not go into all the ways, but over time, if you click on that "money" tag at the bottom of the blog, it will cull all the money-related posts for you. I intend to get some shots of each stage of this material.

And for the love of ---, if you are going to order this, get it laminated, or printed on plastic (if you like really slippery cards that don't stack well.) I have to laminate all of these, and it is a HUGE pain and time sucker. Ugh. And I can't even watch Korean dramas on TV while I do this mind-numbing work because I need to read the subtitles.
Anyway, T did one set of cards that adds coin denominations under $1. I cut these, laminated them, and cut them again (you never know when someone is going to dump water all over your cards...I didn't want paper edges) and then stuck answer stickers (I made) on the reverse side as a control. It annoys me that I haven't yet found a suitable container in which to store these. (When I grow up and have to work outside the home I am going to be a plastic container/envelope/little folder/basket/wooden box/metal tin purveyor.) 
Then he tackled these cards which add denominations larger than a dollar.
This set comes with a bunch of plastic coins. I was reluctant to let the kids have this set since I think it would be much nicer to have real US coins on hand, but we belong to a Credit Union that doesn't have a branch out here and we haven't transferred anything to a brick and mortar bank out here unless I send back to VA for some rolls of coins (or create a hassle getting cash back at the grocery) it is plastic coins for now. They are a lot lighter. 

T is kind of like me. He likes to know what to do and the right way to do it. These cards are pretty one dimensional and he feels pretty comfortable adding these denominations, so he was way into this material this week. (I need to get my butt in gear and laminate and cut the rest of the sets before I need to start making Thanksgiving pies.)
Here we are back to Challenge Math. (I first posted about this material here.) T took this out again, and lo and behold, skip counting came in handy again. 
I have him use his working notebook as "scrap paper" and to write his equation. AND I can see here that he did a little music notation, and pasted that in upside down. Oh, dear.
T loves working with the bells. He has a pretty good sense about this material. And I can't say that he has practiced that much. Humn. Some just have it I guess. Here he is working with the matching cards Jenn so nicely shared on the KotU message boards.

I realized that we had forgotten stems, so we quickly went over that the stems either extend up or down. They extend down for notes that hit at or above the mid-line of the staff and for anything below that point, the stems extend upward.

There are two identical sets of cards in this material packet. Each card shows the staff and a single whole note. These notes range from middle c to the c one octave above. On the back of each card, I stuck a sticker with the note name on it in one of two colors. In the above photo T is looking at the note, naming it, placing it in front of the bell and then singing the pitch and then playing the pitch.
In this photo, he matched both sets of cards and "wrote" each pitch on our green staff boards. He'll likely need to practice all of this only once, or possibly twice more, before we move on from here. He used his C-Major control chart to check his answers. The direct aim of this lesson is to help the child memorize the sequence of the placement of the notes of the C-Major scale on the G-clef staff. 
 And then he made this face.
S got a new material this week, our Waseca biome animal cards for each continent. (Don't get me started about how difficult it was to acquire these cards. Let's just say that there were many shipments from Waseca, a number of phone tag episodes, and lovely customer service that paid for all the extra shipments while I waited an extra two weeks to get my hands on the right materials.) Needless to say, after all that waiting, S was delighted to get her hands on these cards.

These cards don't come laminated. (Read my note above about purchasing non-laminated items...arrrh.) So, after laminating just the cards for North America, and sticking them in their cabinet, S finally got to explore them. (Waseca makes these awesome cabinets that FIT THE MATERIAL!! We have primary drawers and will need to get different drawers when I want to display the elementary materials. Our cabinets, we have two, sit on the shelves behind D's Practical Life shelves.) 

We set out the picture cards and talked about bodily features, like skin covering, appendages, color, etc. Then we labeled them and checked our work with the control card set. After this she got to work coloring, very precisely and very scientifically, these animal pictures to make her own field-study booklet. (These cards come with blackline masters.)
T saw S coloring in her Waseca biome animal pages and he really wanted to do this work too. He said he only got the chance to complete the field-study pages for Europe when he was in his Montessori Primary classroom. (Must have been because they were doing a Europe continent study. It made me feel really good to know that we have card sets for all the continents.)
T and I went over these cards a little differently than I did with S. First we laid out all the cards according to class, mammal, bird, fish, mollusk, arthropod, etc. Then we examined all the cards and took a gander at labeling them using clues from the pictures and our brains. Then we used the control cards to check our work. 

A note to others who have this card set, and also have a child like mine who is a stickler for details: in the Wetlands set, the card control for the snail says it is an insect. It isn't. Snails are mollusks, not arthropods. T didn't like that this set was mis-labeled. It IS a primary set so maybe there aren't mollusks in primary sets, but I would have thought either they would have omitted the mollusk, or labeled it as such. Oh, well, kudos to T for picking this out. He ends up being my tester for most of the materials and always picks up on my mistakes.
More stamp game for S. (First posted here.) This time with static subtraction. I don't know if you can see it in the card holder, but we marked the first card in the set, so she can tell when she has cycled back to the beginning.
S is practicing her chain counting. (First posted here.) Here she is doing the hundred chain. Linear counting is a primary work but S hasn't done this yet, so we are going over it now.
 Reading, reading, reading. Everything in sight.

In this picture you can kinda see how small D's table really is.
Oh, D was really really D this week. You can almost experience his little-big personality right through the photos on the blog. *sigh* I wonder what real Primary Montessori School would have been like for him. He is such a ham. He has a lot of energy and he is an extrovert feeding off of the attention of others. When he is up to his antics no one can work.

I've been trying to focus on him a bit more lately, giving more lessons, sticking closer by him, checking in when he needs some redirecting, and generally being more focused on his development and progression through the materials. Sometimes this works, and other times he does what he likes. 

You can see above, he is exploring our weights set. (I need to get an additional set of customary weights to be able to use the card materials that I I haven't formally presented this lesson to anyone yet.) D is trying to find how many geometric solids and how many weights he can get into the scale buckets.
We worked a bit on the brown stair this week. First we constructed the brown stair on the mat. Then D closed his eyes and I removed a stair piece and reconstructed the stair. Then D opened his eyes, and figured out where in the sequence to replace that missing stair. And each time he completed the stair he needed to "walk down" the stairs.

D has already constructed the brown stair from a random set up. He can construct the stair using random prisms located across the room and not available for viewing at the site of construction. Now we are doing this extension and later we will hide prisms around the environment and construct the stair by selecting them individually.
We also worked more with the Color Tabs box 2. Here he is making color matches from across the room. We put a single tab of each color in the set on a tray and placed it behind T's chair. Then at the mat, I asked D to find the matching "red" color tab. He left the red-tab on the mat, walked across the room to the tray, selected the matching red-tab and brought it back. If the tab did not match, he went across the room and searched for the red-tab again.
This is what pj's looks like in the middle of the morning when everyone else has decided to "get ready for the day."

After these exercises that required a lot of heavy lifting (brown stairs) and walking around (color tabs) we needed to quiet down a little bit, so we read a number of passages from this book. It has great illustrations, real literary words, and great topics and themes. We highly recommend it.

And after a bit more independent literary exploration we got back to....
...our regularly scheduled D-programming. Goodness.
I will leave you this week with this very cute, if I may say so, set of shots of D doing his dressing frames. This is the snap frame. He also did the hook-eye frame and the button frame. (I am not going to go into what these are all about here, but I promise to write about these sometime very soon when I give a formal lesson.)



A bit about next week...I am making Thanksgiving dinner for friends...a bunch of friends. I fully intend to do school Monday through Wednesday and possibly Friday, if the tryptophan and carb-overload has worn off. I don't know how much blogging I'll get to in the first half of the week between vacuuming and making gluten-free pies, so you may just see a huge post at the end of the week. (All our guests are local so no one is sleeping over at our house on purpose.) I hope you and yours have a wonderful Thanksgiving celebration! 


  1. Oh boy, where to start! I love these posts :)

    Have you seen these three-part card holders? Might fit something you have someday. I just throw cards like those money cards in a 6x9 envelope and call it a day (the boys have to sort out the categories by size before they do the work) but you, INTJ, probably not happening. Probably why your environment is so much prettier than mine too. Totally envious of your Waseca cabinets. Not in the budget over here. No space left either. More stylish 6x9 envelopes :)

    Love D's Pj's. Am so glad I'm not the only mom with her kids plastered on the internet doing homeschool in wild pajamas. Me Too also likes to contrast tops and bottoms. He face framed by the dressing frame needs to be the cover of the new MRD practical life album.

    Love S's reading.

    Love T's "face" picture.

    So happy that the children are able to embarrass you regularly now by showing off their skip counting skills in public. We wouldn't want people to start thinking homeschooled kids are normal, now would we?

    I see you have an additional set of weights to go with your balance than what came with the balance. What are they? Also, you mention you need an additional set. What set would that be? Do you think I should get those ETC money/time/measurement cards?

    I am confused about Waseca again. So, are you saying that if I own the North America biome cards I DON'T own all of the animals and people of the continent cards? If so, do you agree I shouldn't worry about it because those are primary cards anyway?

    Now I'm digging through my zoology booklets and cards. They are Montessori Print Shop. I wanted to read the description on their site but it is DOWN. Wonder how long that's been going on or if it's just today. Anyway, I pulled out my Snail book and it says it's a gastropod, which is of course the class. It doesn't mention the phylum anywhere. Now I have to dig through all that more and make sure I'm covering our phyla properly.

    Of course, when we buy the cards pre-laminated they have paper edges. How can you stand it ;)

    I like S's wooden box for her equations. I haven't mentioned it on the blog, but I caved and bought the Nienhuis activity sets for Long Division, Checkerboard, and flat bead frame. They are just equations, but I needed some sets and really dislike making equation sets for some reason. FYI, when you get a little further on checkerboard the set you made doesn't included four-digit multipliers. I made some to add to it for Kal-El. I can share the file with you, but it won't match your format perfectly which will probably drive you crazy. You'd probably rather just add to your own file. I'll probably wind up getting the Fractions Activity set 2 so I don't have to make a bunch of equations for unlike denominators.

    I'm going to go order that poetry book now. I still haven't found a poetry book I like for the kids. Maybe this will be the winner.

    1. Link to the card holders again please! Want to see. I know, I know, this INTJ is really holding up the classroom construction. I actually have refrained from purchasing silver letter holders because the rest of them we have in the environment are black. It needs to be perfect, when perfection is unattainable.

      Those Waseca cabinets are a bit bulky, but they FIT the materials. I actually shouted with joy. (I think I complain a lot, probably too much about this topic on the blog.)

      T loves shouting out multiples of 4, 6, 8 and 9 anywhere and everywhere, and at any time. S does the turtle skip counting dance on a regular basis. I should post a video of her. Totally hilarious.

      The additional set of weights was because I didn't know what we'd need to weigh and I didn't want to limit the kids much. Also, I need some larger weights for the states of matter activities in the KotU geography albums.
      These are from here:
      A note about these though...when they arrived the box was completely obliterated. I am talking 1,000 pieces. And there was a hole in the envelope bag, but luckily, none of the weights had been lost. (the hole was that large.) I contacted the company and they said sorry, they'd give me $10 to keep since I didn't want to send the product back. I told them to keep their money and make sure that this doesn't happen to someone else. I wasn't going to get another box for $10, and I didn't want to send back the weights because I needed to use them...
      I also got this set of weights too just in case:

      Ah Waseca...I got the complete set of Biome Readers, which you've seen S reading, these cards are part of the Complete Set of Animals for all Continents. (They kept sending me the Biome Cards for the Continents which is an Elementary work. 2 times before sending me the right set.) I think that you can a North America Animals cards set...which I think is differen than the biome least it is listed separately...
      The Elementary Biome Cards for the continents (I don't remember how these sets come apart...we got the entire set at once because I love laminating that much...and because they had already sent it, I decided to keep in this year instead of returning it and purchasing it again next year) does include animals and people. BUT, I think that these cards are geared toward elementary and aren't 3-part cards. And now that I look at it I think my Elementary Biome cards might include the people of the continents cards. (I had originally wanted the people of the biomes cards and not the Elementary Biome cards, and now I somehow have both. Goodness, need to resolve this now.) But I am not sure about this last bit, since I am tired and I haven't gotten up to look.

      If you want your children to learn more about animals...then get the primary cards. There is some good information on the back of them. But, they they are typically used in a more primary fashion, so could be review for your guys. I am thinking here in our neck of the woods, they will inspire further study since they are easy to use and correlate with the readers, and because I am unsure how much exposure they got in Primary to class, phylum, and other classifications. You may not need them if you think they are getting enough other zoology exploration. And you may not want to bother if your children will get attached to a specific animal like say the Chinchilla and decide they want to go to the mountains of SA to get one.

    2. I haven't done much with the animal Kingdom and classification stuff yet. Heck I can't tell what the hierarchy of it all is yet. Gastropod sounds right, but is a subset of Mollusk. I was just going off the MRD book/card materials we have. (MRD re-did their books just after I purchased our set.)

      No paper edges. I've learned the hard way. I don't allow liquids in the classroom either, but I am sure they going to be doing some of those botany/geography/you-name-it command cards in the kitchen near something wet.

      Ahh, 4 digit multipliers. Will have to add those to my existing set, so they match perfectly!

      Yes, fraction cards, just made a set of those. Horrible experience. I don't laminate these, but rather print mailing labels with the equations on them and stick them on index cards with no lines. And there are only a few more sets to make.

      Ah. Sorry for the horribly long replies. Hope this helped answer somethings. Let me know what you think of the poetry book.


    1. Interesting. They take up a bunch of linear shelf space, which I guess is fine if you are a primary and need that visual, or actually have the shelf space. Humn. I'll see. Good to know these are available. Now, if they made these in silver mesh, or clear acrylic...

  3. I am right with you on the time flying! I remember it seeming like December lasted FOREVER and it would never be Christmas; now it seems so short between Thanksgiving and Christmas!

    I'm curious why you and MBT don't just let your children write their own equations to solve?

    We got a set of hooked weights from Home Science Tools. You need the 1 kg weight for some of the geography presentations, and the hooks will work well with other experiments that use force meters and such; definitely going to last through high school. We will get a set of precision weights in grams for the small weight work with a double beam balance in the future.

    My son did long multiplication on the large bead frame without knowing his facts, too. He really started to progress (and stop fighting any multiplication presentations) when I said he could use the multiplication chart as often as he needed. It took the pressure off of him, and he could concentrate on the work instead of on figuring out facts. And, he memorized more facts just from looking up the ones he needed. That worked well for us. We needed to get moving and go on to areas of math that would really engage him. Long multiplication on the bead frame is not it. :) He really wanted to work on negative numbers, so we jumped over to the negative snake game today, and that was a nice change of pace for him, while still making forward progress!

    Thanks for sharing all of your work!

    1. Thanks so much for stopping by!!

      I can't speak for MBT, but I like to have prepared equations for the kids partly so I can ensure that they are getting practice with all the little things like 0 place holders, carrying, borrowing, different numbers of digits, etc. The other reason is that my kids like to have something to look at. Not always,but usually they prefer to take a prepared card, rather than think up a problem they aren't sure they can do. I can see the value in the latter exercise and think it is good that they challenge themselves, and sometimes they do this, and other times they don't want to.

      Negative numbers, that sounds like fun!

  4. Printing on the mailing labels and sticking them to index cards is a good idea. Now why didn't I think of that? I sometimes WRITE on mailing labels and stick them to index cards (so I can use a pen, but so the kids can't see through the card) but it never occurred to me to print on them. Maybe it's because my printer hates me. Miserable hunk of junk.

    1. Okay, I am going to post about the Waseca cards and then the measurement cards. Also, I don't think that I answered your weights question. I have the two extra metric sets I linked above, and then I need to acquire a set of conventional masses for the ETC cards that ask for a lot of measurements in both ounces and grams. Unfortunately, the conventional ounce measures are hexagonal, not cylindrical. I was so happy that the metric mass weights came in the same shape as the knobbed cylinders!

  5. Ok so I'm hoping your blog helps motivate my kids to WANT to do this stuff. Since we haven't had a chance to actually work in the same classroom as you guys, maybe pictures will replace that! They get excited when they see their friends on the internet, especially doing the same work! Everything looks so good and I'm getting so jealous!!!! I need to make more materials. I'm moving like a turtle over here. Baby is all over the place too! He's using our map cabinets and school chairs to pull himself up now and he's constantly going after the bead cabinet and the maps that the kids pull out. He loves those itty bitty countries! I'm realizing now that I need a bigger I thought space for a combo elementary and primary classroom was perfect but turns out I need space for an infancy area as well...ughh. A triple living area downstairs would be perfect :). Anyway, good to see all these posts. They keep me going. One day I'll get some updated pictures and it will probably be a long post summarizing the first half of this year ;).

    1. We can't wait to get together to foster a little bit of peer pressure. And then you can have your hands free to do the baby stuff, and let T, S, D, M, C, and Te do their stuff, without having to worry about Denmark, or Sierra Leon. :)