Thursday, January 22, 2015

Laminating, laminating, laminating

Week 4 Part 2 - January 19, 2015

Laminating is seriously the story of my life right now. A long while back I purchased my laminator to make labels for organizing things in my home. After using it a few times it got left in the dusty basement. At the time I kept trying to give it away but no one wanted it, so I hung on to it. And today, it is my biggest nemesis best friend. Sometimes the world works in mysterious ways. (In case you are wondering what I am laminating, and I know you are wondering, I am laminating, Animals of the Biomes of the World (South America), Biome reader cards, Measurement task cards, Money cards, grammar command cards, bells matching cards and other labels for the classroom.)

Okay, there are a lot of pictures this second part of the week. I think I was making up for the dry spell last week.
Guess which work D started off with on Wednesday? Open and closed! (I don't know if I posted this but I got these little containers from Montessori Services. And the green cinch bag is from a rosary.)
This time it was money. I believe that this money is all from Thailand, Korea, Canada and Mexico. I don't think that any from Spain or Japan made it in this collection, but I could be wrong. I have to swap these "surprises" out pretty quick when D isn't looking. He actually finds me to try to see what is next.

If you want to see the other "surprises" I stuffed in his containers you can go here and here.
And again, the same work, but with different surprises, on a different day, wearing the same pajamas. This time I stuck rosaries in most of the containers. In the smaller containers D found a tiny cross, a locket, and a pendant of Mary.

He removed the containers and wanted me to take this photo with just the surprises.

I don't remember where I wrote this comment, maybe IN the comments somewhere, but I didn't go out and recently purchase any of these items. Everything I've stuck in these containers we had on hand around the house. The mementos box was like a gold mine.
S finished out the Biome readers for South America. So I had to laminate and cut Africa really quickly.
This is how S feels knowing that she is a reader. Please ignore the huge mess in the corner. I am working on some shelving for all my albums in that area.

D also pulled out some tonging. This photo has me wondering if he is really righty or lefty. I know I talk about this ALL the time. Sorry, skip this section if you only have children who have chosen their dominant hand. It will probably continue to be a puzzle to me until he really picks a hand. Here he is using his right hand, which is likely stronger?? to tong the small erasers, which are in the shapes of land, water and air transportation units. He DOES do a lot of strength tasks with his right hand. BUT he picks up his spoon and his pencil with his left hand. Always. AHH. Yesterday I decided to just make him focus on his left hand. (As my husband says, #youwillbelefthanded.) I drew a smile face on his left hand so he'd remember, maybe, which hand to use first. Does Maria Montessori write anywhere about teaching lefties versus righties?
 And then we took the manipulatives to the floor.
D also did some glass polishing work. I mean, D also did a HUGE AMOUNT of glass polishing work. In the end he polished two magnifying glasses and three mirrors.
Okay, D had a bit of an eyedropper bottle accident, but he wiped it up by himself. We've done the wipe-up-a-spill lesson, but laying on the floor wasn't part of it.
After the mess incident D got right to work on the polishing glass lesson. This lesson is in the Care of the Environment section of the Primary Practical Life album. I purchased from Montessori Services the glass polish but everything else we had on hand. Including the glass items that got polished that day.

Above is some of D's work space set up that progresses from left to right. (In that photo I think he's already used the cloth to apply the polish. There is a cloth under his work space to protect the table. We are missing the apron part of this polishing exercise mostly because D puts up such a fuss about the apron and will refuse to wear one even it if means not being able to do the work. 

To the far left is a bit of water in a glass bottle that has an eyedropper top. Next to that is a very small dish. After that there is a small cloth to apply the polish. Next to that is the cake of polish which I must say is VERY difficult to get open. Next to this is the buffing cloth.

The child will grasp the eyedropper bottle with his sub-dominant hand and unscrew the dropper with his dominant hand. A prerequisite for this work is prior experience using an eyedropper and washing hands. The child will put a small quantity of water in the dish and then screw the dropper cap back on. The child will dip the polish applicator cloth in the water and then rub the damp cloth on the cake of polish. (The album suggests using a circular motion. We chose a counter-clockwise circular motion since this is the way many cursive letters are formed and this directional motion is less intuitive for lefties.) Then the child will apply the polish to the glass object using a similar counter-clockwise motion. Then we let the polish dry on the glass. It will have a hazy look. After, the child will use the buffing cloth to remove all traces of dried polish on the glass moving the cloth in the same counter-clockwise motion. Then we note how shiny the object has become.

After the polishing work is finished, the child will replace the dropper bottle, small dish, under lay cloth, and polish cake back on the work tray. D also places his polish cloth and buffing cloth to a special hamper basket we use for the classroom. And finally we head to the bathroom to wash our hands.
This picture is kind of freaky, but this was one of the items he polished. We have three of these enormous magnifying glasses, one for each child of course. 
D ended up polishing two magnifying glasses and three mirrors before washing his hands. We are going to have very clean glass surfaces in this house.

What noona is drawing is always interesting.
It was T's turn to change out the flags this week. (I wrote about this last week here.) He picked Panama, Cuba, Colombia, Jamaica, and Honduras. The flag for Colombia (that we purchased from Alison's Montessori) isn't the same as the Colombian flag in our flag book. (I couldn't even find a link on Alison's web page for this material.) Nor is the flag the same as the flag that is on our pin maps that we also got from Alison's. The colors are different and the flag is missing the emblem in the middle. Thus, T had a hard time finding it in the flag book.
S is starting the grammar box sequence. Here she is doing grammar box 2-B for definite and indefinite nouns. You may recall that T, who is a year ahead of S, just did this box. (You can find that post here.) T did all the introductory lessons for all the parts of speech last year and he is finishing the filler boxes this year. For S I decided we'd go in sequence and do pretty much all the noun work before moving on to adjectives.
In this box the child will find cards that explore "a/an" vs. "the." "The" is a definite article. "A/an" are indefinite articles, meaning they refer to one of many. "The" refers to a specific item.
After we discussed which nouns would get a, an or the, she placed the grammar symbols above each category of card and labeled them.
Oh goodness, T has just blown through all the parallel exercises on the bells and now I have to prepare the sharps and flats lesson. (He has been asking for sharps and flats since our Nienhuis signs and notes pieces came in the mail.) There are four card exercises the child can do in parallel. The cards you see above are from our matching set. He looks at the note on the staff without the note name and matches the two sets of cards. The cards are coded on the back so he can turn them over and see that he matched everything correctly.
Here T is using one set of the matching cards and creating the same note on the green staff boards. 
And here T is naming the notes he created. He also wanted to use stems so that is what he is using.
These cards are the grading cards. T organized this set of cards from lowest pitch to highest pitch, without the note name. He is using the control chart above to check his work.
This is the first set of definition cards. T read the definition card and then matched the picture cards to the definition card. He checked his work by looking at the control booklet that is pictured below.

The KotU elementary albums say that the guide should present the customary lesson for introducing definition cards. What IS this? I don't remember seeing it anywhere else. Basically what happened with T was, I said, "please take the definition cards out of the...." and by this time he had already removed the material and was reading the definitions and matching them with the picture/name cards. (Thanks to MBT for the thumbnail confirmation that this is indeed how the lesson usually goes with elementary children.)

This set of definition cards has separate name cards and definition cards. The child reads the definition card and matches the name to the definition. (The name card is that tiny red card with the note letter name on it.)

This is the last definition card set where the definition card has been cut up into two pieces and the child must find the right pieces to create the correct definitions.

These cards were created by Jenn and are available on the KotU discussion boards. (Check out Jenn's blog if you haven't already! She is posting about some really cool Montessori stuff over there, and she has 4 different ages!) 

For the booklets, I printed the pages back to back, laminated them, and the brought them to an office supply store to have them spiral bound. I just have this THING about comb bindings. They remind me of the 80's, along with those mimeographs.
Here T is checking out the sharp and flat pitch name notes. He is very excited about the next lesson!
Back to the bank game and this time with a three digit multiplier for the last time. I have to say that working with the LBF all the way to pretty much abstraction REALLY, REALLY helped launch T ahead in the multiplication lesson sequence. He just got this material right off the bat. There was a little fussing with the zeros and the placement of the number cards since they move around, whereas on paper, the zeros don't move around. Today he did a few problems all by himself and got completely correct answers. Then he came and asked me to do the checkerboard tomorrow.

I wonder if he'll be skip counting his entire life, or maybe the checkerboard will help him see real products. T is great at the skip counting, but it takes him a little longer to skip count to 81, than to just know that 9*9 is 81.
S revisited our congruent and similar lesson we did here earlier in the week.

 I know she really, really likes cutting and pasting things.

We are slowly plugging away in the physical geography department. Here I've set up for the latitudinal and longitudinal lines lesson. (This is lesson is of course in the KotU Geography album.)

First we discussed the sun in relation to the earth and that when the sun is overhead it is lunch time here in Texas. Then as the Texas spot on the earth rotates around away from the sun our day turns into evening and then night time. Subsequently, we talked about when it is lunch time in Texas, it is also lunchtime for everyone else who lives directly north and south of us. I told the children that there are imaginary lines that run from the top of earth to the bottom of the earth and these are called longitudinal lines, or meridian lines. We also talked about the big blue line on our, terribly constructed political, globe which is called the equator. This line runs around the belly of the earth and there are other imaginary lines that run around the earth either above or below the equator and these lines are called latitudinal lines. We went on to discuss that these lines are only imaginary, but they can help us locate anyone anywhere. 
Next we pulled out this work I created more than a year ago. There are cards with different coordinates on them and when we find these coordinates on the map we can figure out what city is on the back of the card. (Sorry for the blurry picture, both children were moving and probably so was I.) I posted about this work last year here. Both kids were only moderately interested in this work. I think these photos are a bit deceptive.

You can download these cards via a link on my Elementary Printables page linked at the bottom of this page.
Now, this globe!! I completely didn't check it out when I purchased it at Costco. I should have guessed that you get what you pay for...are all globes like this? I would hope not. Many longitudinal lines are missing where there is a seam. And between the tropics, most of the country boarders are misaligned. GREAT. Now I need to get a new globe and these things aren't inexpensive. No idea what brand this thing is. Darn.
The kids didn't seem to mind as much as I did.
S is onto the addition strip board. Now that we did this lesson I think that she already did this work last year. (I am going senile before my time.) The lesson just felt very familiar. Yup, you can read more about it here. Should have checked the blog first! Anyway, this will be a good review. She kind of stagnated on the Addition Snake game, (posted here and here and with a description here) and so we moved onto this material. I suspect she'll will not need the entire sequence, and we'll be moving onto addition finger charts very soon.

This is what it looks like when you let a camel suck on your hair, you think it is 90 degrees out (it was rainy and only 48 degrees out) and are really into reading. T is reading the Doll People by Ann M. Martin. 

Last summer I was researching "should read" and "must read" titles for children and young adults and this was one of the books that popped up in my search. I am sorry that I don't remember where I got that reading list, but it could very well have been from an elementary school website for grades 3-6.
This is a new thing we are trying though it isn't a novel lesson in the albums. Dictation is probably mentioned somewhere around 11 million times in the albums I have. I guess, but don't know for certain, that the main thrust of dictation is spelling practice. I also would go so far as to guess that dictation works on penmanship skills, aural awareness skills, and vocabulary skills.

Since there are a million topics to choose from, I chose to start our dictation with pink, lavender, and blue word cards. (These are from the elaborate set I made for the Montessori R&D albums BEFORE I decided to go with the Dwyer method.) I plan to use the All About Spelling curriculum to tie up spelling gaps the kids have, and at this point, there are a lot. I'll check back in after a time and let you now how this is all working out. So far the kids think it is fun.
Oh, I should mention that I encourage S to use cursive, and require T to write in cursive for these dictation exercises. S is still learning her cursive letter forms but T knows all of his already. 

I say the word and then the child writes the word as they hear it. Then after we are through with the list I let them see my list and correct any words they think need correcting, anyway they feel they want to correct them. So this isn't a test, it is an exercise, and it is only I who keeps track of who knows and doesn't know what. 

It is my plan to introduce spelling "rules" as we run into them but not dwell upon each rule as I hope reading will enhance their awareness. I am a terrible, terrible speller. I need to Google every long word I write but I get along okay. They aren't going to die if they can't win a spelling bee. (And with T, maybe we need to stick to banded paper when writing in cursive.)
And finally at the end of class today all the children helped me organize the overwhelming pile of laminated card material I had just cut up. Here S and D are organizing the Biome readers for Africa. T was somewhere else organizing the stack of measurement task cards.

I chose to post again mid-week because I had so many photos after only Wednesday and Thursday. I plan to do another post, maybe this weekend to recap tomorrow, Friday, and elaborate a bit more on how our work plans are shaping up. So, see you back here soon!


  1. WOW! Fantastic work. I am totally inspired. BTW the name of the country is Colombia, and the flag is yellow, blue and red (horizontal sections), with the yellow section being bigger than the blue and red. Normally the flag is not depicted with the emblem. I hope this helps.

  2. Hi, thanks for stopping by the blog. Thanks for the spelling correction there! (I am a terrible speller!) And yes, yellow, blue, and red horizontal sections was what we were looking for. The flag we purchased seems to be without the emblem and have an orange section instead of red section, especially compared to other red sections of other flags. The flag book includes the emblem,and our pin map seems to display the flag the way you describe it.

  3. And I didn't see until I clicked over to your blog, Hi!! We met at Jenn's home last month. It is good to "see" you online too!

    1. Yes Abbie, I remember. Good to see all your great work here! Blessings.

    2. Yes Abbie, I remember. Good to see all your great work here! Blessings.

  4. I love reading about your children :)

    Regarding Montessori and left-handers --- the idea is that we sit on the proper side for the children to see our presentation (so that is determined by OUR dominant hand); pitchers and the like should be placed hand-preference-neutral (so pitcher handles facing the child for example) - so they can choose the hand they want.

    Reality is? Many more people would be ambidextrous, if we didn't emphasize one hand over the other and just let them choose entirely of their own accord. I am right-handed, but with a bit of practice can write quite nicely left-handed and in high school could serve tennis better left-handed. I wish I'd been encouraged to practice both ways as a child. :)

    1. You know, I've been less uppity about D's handedness lately and he still uses both hands. He uses left-handed scissors with his right hand. And he still eats and writes with only his left hand. I am letting it be fore the moment until we start writing for real. S had such a hard time writing and she still does because of her ambidexterity early on. Now she is firmly, firmly, firmly lefty. BUT, unlike D, who could just be ambidextrous, S had a lot of premie issues too boot which could have/did, slow and hinder development. She is pretty normal, you'd probably never guess now that she was an impossible baby and toddler. She's just a little behind. D never had any delays or development issues, so we'll just have to see. My dad is lefty, but only to eat and write. He does a lot of other things righty. We'll see wouldn't we, following the child.

  5. Great post! Love seeing all the work they do!