Friday, August 28, 2015

Getting a Groove

Or maybe it is a little early for that yet. I still have light expectations in the classroom at this time. We'll see how the children respond to new topics, added materials, and different key lessons this year. Our other activities haven't started yet, so it still remains to be seen how we will really flow along.
D got the first bells lesson. This is the matching lesson after first lesson when we show the child how to strike a bell and use the damper. D probably could have started this work earlier, but alas, he was too short to reach the bells cabinet well. (It is 19" inches high.)

This material consists of two sets of 13 bells in the chromatic scale from middle c to c. The bells bases are brown, white, or black. Our mallets and damper came with the set. You can purchase the boards which are green, black and white that go under the bells. I chose to make a felt underlay. I also custom made our bells cabinet. It is 5' long, and about 18" deep and it stands about 19" high. Our bells and other purchased materials are from Nienhuis.

In this initial lesson, we carefully moved all of the brown bells to his low table. Then we matched them. He would strike a brown bell, remember its tone and then walk to the white bells (or hop in his case) and find the matching tone. He was able to do this very successfully. (To move these bells, we place the dominant hand fingers at the base of the stem, and the subdominant palm supports the bell base from underneath. Skin should never touch the metal part of the bells as this can impart oils onto the metal which will change the pitch of the bell.)
When we were replacing the brown bells they got mixed up, so he systematically graded them, or in other words, reordered them by ear. His middle-c, d, and e were all in the right places, so by the time he got to what should have been f, he could hear that it didn't follow. So we pushed aside the "wrong tone" and played up the scale again, middle-c, d, e, and then the next bell in line, which also happened to be incorrect as well. He repeated the process and in the end successfully ordering the bells in graded order and than finally played up and then down the bells.

I first posted about our bells here and I posted about giving D his very first bells lesson at the end of this post here. 

This is our mystery bag by Guide Craft. I wrote more about this work here.

D decided to a little bit of work with the blue triangles. No lesson was given here.
S finally go into the grammar command cards. I think that she enjoyed them. Perhaps she was a little slowed down by the owner of that knee you see in the shot above. D decided that he was going to help her out. 

Here they are working with the first adjective task card packet. (All of our grammar card materials are from Montessori Print Shop in the traditional colors. I re-formatted all of the word cards you see, but the command/task cards are in their original format.) A card like the one in the shot above may say, "Pick your favorite color tab hue, lay out the set in graded order, and label it with the cards." The cards included in this exercise could be, "darkest, dark, lightest, light." 

Command/task cards give children a physical experience of both classification of the parts of speech as well as antonyms and synonyms. Grammar boxes (the ones with all of the colorful compartments) give the child a questioning perception of the parts of speech as they sort each word in the sentence and classify them. Permutations, which are hard to post here on the blog, are when we take the word cards in the filler boxes and switch them around: "dogs lay down" becomes "down lay dogs." These exercises help the child understand the order of words in our language affects meaning.

Command cards are usually worked along side the grammar boxes.

This was another grammar command card.
S also did some angle measuring, adding and subtracting. I first wrote about this lesson here.
T did a bit more squaring. I didn't get shots of all of the complete sequence since my camera card ran out of space. (I need to get a new hard drive, since my other one crashed onto the floor and completely broke, so I can dump the pictures on the card to make more space!)

We ended up reviewing exercise 4: Using Graph Paper, and exercise 5: the Binomial Square Expressed Algebraically  in the Transforming a Square lesson sequence, before moving on to the three Passing from One Square to Another exercises, all of which T found ridiculously easy. 

This lesson comes after this one. 

In this lesson we begin using graph paper to prolong the child's work in this area. First we'd do this exercise with a binomial. In this exercise T has moved on to the trinomial square. Above, T colored in, 92 = 12 + 2(1*3) + 2(1*5) + 32+ 2(3*5) + 52, or (a+b+c)2 = a2+ 2(ab) + 2(ac) + b2 + 2(bc) + c2Then he expressed all of the terms algebraically. All of the squares are on the diagonal and in every binomial there are 4 terms and in every trinomial there are 9 terms.

T can and should, though he probably will not, choose to draw other binomials and trinomials on his own as follow-up work. This work gives the child experience with squaring and is preparation for working with square roots.

The album suggests that early work for this lesson start at 7-71/2 but it also notes that age is not as important as experience in this case. The scope an sequence suggests that this lesson be introduced in the 2nd year of lower el and finished up in the 3rd year. T is just barely 9 years old. Since we held him back in Primary, T is still doing work as a lower el student this year. So in terms of number age he is "grade behind" behind, but in terms of "grade level" he is more right on target here. 

I'll try to get a few photos of the Passing from One Square to Another before posting about the lessons here.
And D pulled out our equivalency materials and did a little bit of puzzling...and stared off into space.

We'll be back with more! How is your kick-off to the new school year going?


  1. Kal-El LOVED the grammar command cards. Me Too HATED the grammar command cards. He disliked them so much I only had him do a few and put them away. Weird because Kal-El did them too old and Me Too did them right on time. He was just "over it." I'm glad Sydney likes them!

    D is sure cute! (As are all your kids, he just is stealing the show in this post)

    1. Every kid is so different. Even when they are genetically related. Funny.
      D's soccer coach just said the same thing, that this profile pic is "super-cute." I guess being a VERY small 4 y o with chubby cheeks and dimples helps. Remember when he used to ham it for the camera all the time and photo bomb his siblings.