Week 8, Part - first and last, February 16, 2015
Sometimes there are distractions. This week there was a lot that distracted me from blogging. So to not get further distracted from blogging, I'll just jump right in and start; there is a lot to cover.I don't remember where I mentioned that we circled back around and are going through the elementary geography lessons again. So I'll mention it again. We started from the beginning of the Sun and the Earth section and this lesson is the Tilt of the Axis lesson. (I wrote more about this lesson here.) During this lesson we talked about how the earth doesn't rotate around itself vertically, but rather at a tipped angle. When the kids tried to rotate around themselves at a tipped angle they had a pretty hard time. Then, we explored how this affects how far or close we are, here in the US, to the sun at any given time of the year. During the summer months, we are tipped closer to the sun and during the winter months, we are tipped away from the sun.
T chimed in that this is why in the summer it feels hotter since we are tipped toward the sun.
This was the first tipped earth demonstration with a clay ball on a knitting needle and a tack in it that represents our continent (even though it is yellow. Somehow I didn't think grab a North America orange tack.)
Then T took out our DK Eyewonder Weather book to look at this diagram.
We were going to proceed with the next lesson about the seasons and the two tropics, but you'll see below we got pulled in another physical geography direction.
S finished addition chart 1, which is the first chart in the entire primary math memorization sequence.
So she started on addition chart 2. It is sort of hard to see in this picture, but there is a single column of addends to the left in red. The child will select a problem card, (from the same set as was used for addition chart 1.) If the problem reads 3+5=, the child will typically place her right finger on the 3 in the red column, and her left finger on the 5 in the red column. The right hand would track right, to the end of 3's row, and then track down to the 5's row. The left hand would track right in the 5's row until both fingers meet in the square with an 8 in it and this would be the sum. S is using different hands to do the same thing. The child generally notes the equations and answers on squared paper and can use the control chart to check his/her work.
There are two more different addition charts in the math memorization sequence. After these charts we will begin the subtraction snake game if she is interested.
Those are little paper "Shopkins" on her fingers. They start out in different aisles and then meet at the same place in the store. I don't know where to go to find out more about Shopkins, and I don't know where my daughter found out about these silly things, so if you do need more information about this ridiculous toy, Google it.
We finally, finally, finally, got to some of the first primary geography lessons. This thread of lessons is tucked away at the very end of the Sensorial album under the Sensorial Aspects of the World. This is the World Puzzle Map lesson.
D has already had experience with both the sandpaper globe and the continents globe. Presently, he isn't very interested in either of these materials.
In this lesson we use the continents globe, on which all the continents are painted a different color, and the world map that shows the two hemispheres. Each continent is a cut-out puzzle piece and is painted different colors that correspond to the continents globe. (You can see all the colors in the shot above, so I am not going to list them here.)
First I asked for D's help in gathering all the materials. He fetched the rug and the continents globe. I showed him where the world map was located in our classroom (right at the top of our map cabinet) and I gathered our other lesson materials.
First we found all the matching continents on both the spherical globe and the two dimensional map. Then I explained that even though one representation was spherical and the was other flat that they both actually show us the same thing.
I had a ball of clay to represent our spherical globe. I cut it in half with a butter knife and then we squished each half sphere out flat to represent the 2 dimensional map circles.
(This is not the in the KotW albums, but after reading about MBT's lesson I chose to insert this into our presentation.) I, very poorly, approximated the continent outlines on this blue rubber ball using a Sharpie pen.
I had to approximate and plan the layout a bit in advance since I needed to get that huge bar code thing to be in the middle of an ocean. Sorry Guam.
Also, you can kind of see here in this shot that I made some cutting guidelines in marker too. When you cut the ball in half, and the air deflates, it is hard to tell where you are cutting, and if you are actually cutting the sphere in half evenly. So, a note to future doers-of-this activity, make some inconspicuous cut markings BEFORE you let the air out of the ball.
Then we cut the earth in half and flattened it out.
Then I made some extra snips to make the halves lay a little flatter.
Then after all that cutting, we started working on the world puzzle map. With this material we introduce the names of each of the continents. In this initial lesson I stuck to the 2nd period, asking D things like, "would you please remove North America?" and "please replace Africa." We did 5 out of 7 continents and T and S helped ask D questions too. Next up, we'll continue taking out and replacing all the pieces until we learn all of the continent names.
We also, finally, finally, finally, got to the first Land and Water Forms lesson. (This lesson is also in the Sensorial album in the Sensorial Aspects of the World section.) It just took me a LONG time to figure out what clay to get for this lesson, and then to locate that clay. (Thanks mom for the tips here.) I ended up using EZ Form Modeling clay, like this, but I bought it local so it didn't cost this much. This stuff smells...a lot. And it is hard to wash off your hands. But it works REALLY well for these land and water forms. I bought two multi-color packages but I only used 2-white 1-black, 2-brown, and 1-green.
I finally gave in and stopped searching for the "right pan" and just used these Glad-ware containers left over from Christmas (that is why these are red.) They have covers, which is perfect for protecting the clay, and preventing the stinky smell to permeate the house.
I warmed the clay up on the microwave for a few minutes before I got to kneading it and blending it into one color. I was pretty satisfied that it all came out: a darker, brown-ish grey color--very neutral. The best way to knead this stuff, since it can stain clothing and counter tops, is to twist it in your hands. Just twist, twist, twist, and the colors meld nicely.
Here we set up with all of the clay in one container, in this case it was the container on the right. The container on the left was empty, but D gladly filled it halfway with water from a pitcher we filled in the sink. Then I, with a blunt knife, cut out an irregular figure from the middle of the clay layer and placed it in the water-filled basin to the left. It is important to make sure that the clay figure is not submerged and that the water level is lower than the top of the clay figure. Then the child can pour water to fill the empty spot in the clay cut out in the container on the right.
Then I gave D the language that goes along with this land form and water form. The water form on the right is called a "lake." The land form on the left is called an "island." Then we confirm this nomenclature using the three period lesson.
To clean up, the child will slowly and carefully pour the water from the containers into, in our case, the sink. In a regular classroom, he/she may be pouring into a water bucket on the floor to be discarded in a sink area. Then the clay in the water form container is dabbed dry with a cloth and the clay from the water form container is set inside with the rest of the clay. Then D dried the empty water form container with the same cloth and put the top on the clay container. (We used cloth diapers as drying rags.)
After the initial presentation, we explored other pre-formed land and water forms. (I think mine are from Montessori Outlet and they are hard plastic. I sanded each down and painted them green and blue, could have done this in brown and blue??, with outdoor patio paint. This paint is just water resistant and is different than regular acrylic paint.) The pair above represent a peninsula and a gulf.
This pair represent an island and a lake. Our other pair represents a straight and an isthmus.
D commented that he wanted a boat to float on the water. I snipped some small pieces of balsa wood so he could float a boat around the island. He said that his boat had no where to go in the lake.
T got into a little embroidery this week. He is working with yarn, a tapestry needle, and plastic canvas. Here he is filling in. I think that this is a Mario Brothers star. And that other figure is a Mario Karts racer.S is starting the Bells Notation sequence. T is at the other end of this thread but I am positive that S is going start gaining on him rapidly.
Before the lesson you see above, we did a lesson examining whole steps, half steps and tetrachords. I didn't get any pics of S doing this first lesson. I thought that I posted about this when T did this lesson, but if I did I can't find it. Sorry...maybe I'll get to post about it when D gets to this.
So the next lesson is naming the bells. (This lesson also comes before the lesson you see in the shots above.) In the initial presentation we are simply playing a pitch and naming the pitch orally. I'd strike the d-bell and say, this pitch is called "d." Then we'd pick another pitch and name that pitch. S caught on pretty quickly and figured out that the names span from a to g.
After reviewing the note names orally, we pulled out the white note name disks and labeled each pitch. S thought this was pretty neat. The next lessons are games that help give the opportunity for the child to develop perfect pitch.
D is revisiting the metal insets. (I wrote more about this lesson here and here. The first link, for those who are so inclined to revisit it, is a summary of a Montessori Reading sequence seminar I took with a Montessori Foundation representative. It was a very rich talk with lots about childhood development and theory. Pop by if you'd like to read some great not-in-the-albums tips including some regarding metal insets.)
There are ten metal insets in the set. All have a pink 5"x5" border and a blue figure in the middle with a small knob for removal. (If you are curious to know all the figures, Google Montessori metal insets.) These insets are to be used with colored pencils, 5"x5" squared paper, and a tray with two sections, one for paper, and one for the inset and groves at the top for pencils.
My album states that the prerequisites for this material are the geometry cabinet, tactile materials, some sandpaper letters, the leaf cabinet and the cylinder blocks. The child will have already done a lot of finger tracing with the geometry cabinet and leaf cabinet pieces and this will help them trace the perimeter of the insets. I would image that the tactile materials aid the child in properly feeling the sandpaper letters and also help the child develop the lightness of touch needed to achieve proper pencil pressure. The cylinder blocks also have small knobs at their top and using this material aids the child in developing the correct 3-point pencil grasp.
Of all the prerequisites I see here, I am unsure why the child would need to have begun the sandpaper letters before starting work with the metal insets. As I understand it, the sandpaper letters typically have a very short life in the child's 3-6 classroom experience. The Dwyer/AMI sequence suggests that children only spend 3-6 weeks with the sandpaper letters only after they have learned all of their aural sounds. I can see that handwriting comes a bit after the child begins to be able to write. But when the child is practically ready to move on from the sandpaper letters and begin writing as soon as they begin the sandpaper letters, I can imagine that it might be wise to begin with the metal insets earlier than beginning the sandpaper letters. The only things I can think of is that I may have my sensitive periods mixed up and that the sensitive period for touching the sandpaper letters does indeed come before the sensitive period for designing with a pencil using the metal insets. Or, that the time between first beginning to write after the sandpaper letters and beginning to hand-write on paper is long enough to allow sufficient practice with the metal insets.
My albums suggest the age for starting the metal insets is 3 1/2 years. Perhaps children in a true Montessori classroom would be able to segment any word with any number of sounds and would have started sandpaper letters before this age. D is 3.75 yrs and can segment any 3 sound word that includes any of the 40+ sounds. Still we have a little ways to go so we before starting the sandpaper letters.
Anyway, as I mentioned before there are 11 stages to this lesson and work with this material extends into Elementary.
First we invite the child to a lesson and introduce the material. I showed D where I kept the inset board, his colored pencils, (I have a container of Prismacolor pencils for each child instead of keeping 11 pencil holders each filled with different colored pencils) the papers, and the insets themselves. I showed him how to load the inset onto the board and carry it back to the table.
I removed the blue inset figure and laid this aside. Then I overlaid the pink frame over the paper and checked to see if there was paper through the frame. (If there is no paper, or the child forgets this step, he/she will end up writing on the tray.) Then I chose a color and deliberately placed my fingers in a tripod pencil grasp. (I actually modeled this lesson using my left hand. I am righty.) I secured the frame with my right hand and then, starting in the upper left corner, I traced clockwise around the inset, stopping when I reached my first mark. (At this point because I was giving this lesson on the fly so I didn't complete the rest of the lesson. The next step would have been to remove the pink frame, place the blue knobbed inset piece exactly within the lines, choose another color pencil, and then while securing the blue inset with its knob, trace around the inset clockwise, starting and ending at 5:00. You would start and end at 7:00 if you were righty and holding the blue inset knob with the left hand. Then we would have removed the inset to reveal the double line. Then with a third color we would have filled in the inside of the shape using a single continuous stroke, moving the pencil down and up from left to right, making all lines about 1 cm apart.)
There are many, many additional stages to this lesson, all of which aid the child in gaining finer pencil control. I will not go into all of them here.
D muttered the entire time I re-presented this lesson, "I already KNOW this work." He holds his pencil with the proper grip, but incredibly low. I am thinking I should hack his pencils in half. Anyone have a band saw they can lend me? When your pencil is top-heavy it is hard to control your line and it makes writing uncomfortable. I have a fountain pen I use on a semi-regular basis for important correspondence and it is one that doesn't post. Every now and again I'll forget, and stick the cap on the end of the pen, and about a quarter of the way down the page I realize what has been messing up my penmanship and remove the cap.
After all that muttering, D did one metal inset tracing and then was done with the work.
We've been working so hard on moving down the math and language threads, I think the kids have gotten a little bored. So, I pulled out the iPad the other day and started working on sparking some new interest. First we watched some PBSVideo videos on tornadoes here and here. (Warning, these internet pages contain PBS Kids logos, so if you are opening these pages while your children are around they will probably want you to click over.) We paused along the way during each of these videos to discuss the science that people know, or don't know, behind tornadoes. I also made these tornado 3-part cards, and am working on a short definition booklet. (I modeled these after these great ones here. She offers free printables!!) And I ordered a couple of tornado-specific books from Amazon.
Then we looked up some science experiments about tornadoes. We found things like a "tornado in a bottle" but after watching these videos, I felt that these types of demonstrations, well, don't actually demonstrate what is going on inside a tornado. In fact, scientists don't understand what is going on inside a tornado, how they form, or why they form. After watching the videos, I felt that the best way to give the kids some more information about the weather conditions that could create a tornado event was to turn to the KotU geography albums and the lessons about the Work of Air.
Ahh, the kitchen torch was useful again. (I used this torch to make S's ice castle cake, and to light my husband's birthday candles (there were a lot of them) and now to make this experiment work. Oh, and yes, I have used it make creme brulee but not yet for sous-vide.)
This was the Preludes to the Winds 2nd demonstration from the KotU Geography album. The shot above involved, well the set up you see above. The black stuff is clay that is keeping the aluminum knitting needle up-right. The pan is a disposable aluminum brownie tin, and the spiral is made out of regular copy paper. I punched a tiny hole in the center of the paper spiral with a large thumbtack and placed it over the tip of the knitting needle.
The albums suggest you place tea-lights below the paper. Supposedly the tea lights will heat the air below the paper. This hot air will rise up and make the paper spiral rotate. MBT had a very difficult time getting this to happen. (Visit her blog to see her funny videos!) So I turned up the heat but not as much as a gas-range burner...(the Itwani torch burns at 9,725 BTUs at the top, but I didn't need that much for this demonstration) and this seemed to do the trick. The paper rotated beautifully. I didn't take any video because I was holding one seriously hot item while trying to keep it low enough to not catch the paper on fire. (Oh, darn, I could have totally put the GoPro on D and had HIM film everything!) I wouldn't suggest using bamboo knitting needs for this activity.
Okay, getting back to the tornado thing...apparently scientists seem to think that one condition that is conducive to a tornado event is hot air mixing with cool air. Here, in this demonstration we could see the effects of hot air rising, and that it makes things move. In a tornado event, there is very often cold wind sheer, "scraping" over a flow of hot air. The hot air lifts, hits the cold air, cools and then sinks again. When the cold air crosses the hot air, this lifting and sinking can cause vertical wind rotation. One of the parts that scientists don't understand is how this vertical rotation sometimes turns horizontal to present a true tornado event.
Anyway, after these Prelude to the Winds demonstrations we will definitely be doing more Work of Air lessons and tornado investigating.
A bit more polishing. I found a cup that was in SERIOUS need of some polishing. D was glad to do the job. I talk about this practical life work more here. (There are other back posts linked to that post.)
And some dressing frames for D. I think that S sometimes helps him with his pajama buttons and he watches. He was able to complete this dressing frame laying down on the floor much more easily than when he was sitting in a chair at a table.
The dressing frames are part of the practical life, care of self sequence. They are preparation for the obvious dressing and undressing we do in real life everyday.
D did the snap frame, the hook-eye frame, the button frame, the zipper frame, and the buckle frame all by himself. (Our frames are from Montessori Outlet.)
And then there was a little play.
I've been working on getting card material set up for primary. I so very much wish that I had discovered the Keys of the World and the Keys of the Universe albums at the very beginning of my journey. It wasn't until an entire spring (during which I had only one child who napped and two in school all day) and a summer (which was completely unscheduled) and a fall passed that I found these resources. I guess I am glad that it was later rather than never. I feel like I've been on "catch-up" duty ever since.
I am finding that D knows of, and has had experience with, a great number of things. But, he doesn't always know the names of these things. I asked D if he knew the names of any of the items in any of the cards. He pointed to the blender card and said, "smoothie." Close. I explained that we make smoothies inside a blender, and that the item in the picture was called a blender. So, we are reviewing card materials for items he has already experienced in real life. These are considered "social classification" cards and they are part of the early primary language sequence.
I had originally purchased a set of "kitchen" cards from Montessori Print Shop. They are perfectly nice cards but the images didn't reflect the items we actually have in our kitchen. (You can see in this post that the "fish spatula" card he is holding doesn't match our actual spatula.) So, I re-did the card set to reflect the actual brand and model of the items D sees and uses every day. (Oh, he also called the tongs "grabbers" and made crab claw hands. Very cute.)
This is how T and D like to do sandpaper numerals. You can see more action with this material here and my thoughts about D starting this material here.
And then afterward, this is how they read books together. (I think that this is an Amelia Bedelia book.)
D is about 3.75 years old at this point and we are working hard on the sound games. Here we have a ton of sound objects and here he is playing with the sound objects. He does focus though and answer questions and voluntarily assign sounds. We are working on middle sounds now and he doesn't seem to get confused working on multiple sounds at one time. What I mean by multiple sounds, is that he can segment, "church" right after "cat" right after "read" right after "boom." He can successfully segment three sound words about 95% of the time. I am seeing that consonant blends are more difficult for him to segment, perhaps partly because he doesn't yet pronounce all of these words clearly. "Truck" is pronounced, "ch-r-u-k" and he segments it "chr-u-ck." I wonder if this is the same for other children.
I'll also note our sound work is done outside the classroom the majority of the time. When we are eating, or on the potty, or looking at pictures, we will segment words and cover new sounds. Now that we have arrived at middle sounds, I am introducing many more double letter phonogram sounds.
I think a few areas we need to focus on again are, the I-spy game, and the "can you think of a word that includes X sound" game. We usually just play the, "hey there is soap, what are the sounds in soap?" game as we are washing hands. After he becomes proficient at segmenting multi-sound words I will introduce the sandpaper letters.
S continued on with the constructive triangles boxes finding equivalent, congruent and similar figures. This is the large hexagonal box. These lessons are in the elementary geometry album. (You can read more about S's work with these materials here.)
S finished the dynamic stamp game multiplication. So, we are headed back to the collective golden bead exercises to do the first division lesson and then division with bows before finishing up with stamp game division.
Maybe we did this flip flop again because it was how T did it. He was so eager to get to racks and tubes and hadn't done division in Montessori school that we went right from ninja division to the racks and tubes. Maybe this made the new division perhaps easier to go from one material directly to another without having to cycle through all the other operations again?
Maybe I have it in my head that breaking down numbers is harder than building them up and therefore have projected my sorry adult notions onto the children. Whatever it may be, this is how it came to be for us. I skipped golden bead division with S and chose to circle back around to it once we were at a place where we could start it and carry it through to a new material right afterward.
So in the shot above, S is getting ready to give each tray an equal amount. To back up a bit, we had already laid out three sets of small number cards on a rug. (The numbers aren't small, the cards are just smaller than the ones that you see in the shot below.) And the golden beads are laid out on another rug which we called our "store."
I selected some large number cards to represent our quantity, and then selected the corresponding number of beads. Then S worked to divide up the beads evenly among the three trays.
She thought it would be nice if each tray was represented by a baby. In the shot above, you see that we followed the rules of division and started dividing up the beads in the largest category first, or in this case the thousands. Next we divided up the hundred squares, then the ten bars, and lastly the units. (Please note that our rug set up is not like the set up in the KotW albums. We were a little short on space and participants, so we used stuffed animals instead and the cards and other things are arranged differently.)
Here S changed out a few of the babies, from left to right, we have, Hot Cocoa, Baby, and Marie.
Next we found the small number cards that represent the quantities that each baby received.
Then we read our equation, 9960/3 = 3321. S did fine with this concept. The layout is a bit arduous, though if you've been doing the collective exercises for a while just prior, maybe laying out four sets of number cards isn't a big deal.
Or first problems divided evenly, and didn't require any borrowing, nor did they have any remainders. We'll cover these concepts with the golden beads next, before moving on to division with bows. S is super, super, super excited about division with bows.
T is on to one of the last multiplication checkerboard exercises.
This time we are multiplying by category. We place the same number tiles as always and we multiply the same combinations as before, but instead of working horizontally we work diagonally. Our first combination is units x units, or 5x8. Then we work the tens boxes, or units x tens and tens x units (4x6 and 5x4.) (T also did all of the multiplication in his head, and bead bar exchanging immediately, so that what remained was only a single bead bar in each category box.) After this we work the hundreds boxes and then the thousands boxes and so on. Afterward, we slide all of the bead bars down on the diagonal, making sure to keep them organized by category, and then count them up to find our final product.
Here is is final answer. This is exercise one for Category Multiplication. (This lesson comes after geometric multiplication.) The next iteration will require T to hold all the carries in his head, and then we will move to paper and pencil.
This is a bit of S's crazy cursive. We were doing dictation here, focusing on plural nouns that require "es." I think nouns that end in "x, ch, sh, z, and s" get an "es" at the end. I always lay out, cut, and laminate word lists each week for dictation. This way at the end of the session I can give the list to T and S and they can check their work if they wish.
And this is the binomal cube. T is helping, or hindering as is sometimes the case, D to construct the binomal cube outside the box. This work gets a lot of construction crane animation. Since D has already constructed the cube outside the box in layers, the last work with this material is to build the cube without the use of sight inside the box.
And that was one LONG post. Whew! Have a great weekend everyone!