Friday, August 21, 2015

Little Bits and Pieces

With not everyone back to normal health yet we are in the classroom in bits and pieces for now. 

T finally was able to join us today and I am making it my mission this year to not push him, but to enable him. Oh, don't get me wrong I certainly have aspirations to "catch-him-up" to the level he should be, or rather could be. But we'll see how it all starts to flow and if my aspirations are actually anywhere in the ball park of where he would like to be. For now, he is focused on Garfield, playing-because he is feeling better, getting his third dentist appointment over-with, going to the arcade with his buddy for a little birthday-fun, getting his video games restored, and welcoming his cousin (my husband's cousin to be exact) who will be coming to stay with us for a few months during his internship. Generally, T has a lot on his mind that isn't school work. 

But even with all these distractions, he still got into some logical analysis and tone bar work.
The tone bars were our *big* purchase this year. I think it was mostly a function of my husband not wanting to hear me talk about the "tone bars" any more. 

Anyway, somehow it is that I just realized that there is the "rest" of the music album. I'd been dwelling purely in the bells section and didn't realize that are lessons about rhythm, listening, singing, movement, expression and more.

Here T whipped through the first lesson that S figured out earlier in the week. He was done with "exploring" the major scales with the number strip in about two minutes. S showed him what to do.
S started at the white left-most tone bar and found, by ear, the c-major scale. Then she used a piece of poster board and created our number strip which represents the diatonic major scale with the proper whole and half steps. 

The tone bar material consists of two black and white boards that resemble a piano keyboard, which you will notice underneath the tone bars, and 25 tone bars covering two consecutive octaves, each housed in a white or black box. We use one of two mallets made of hard rubber. All of our materials are from Nienhuis. (I have yet to acquire numbered songs. A question for anyone who knows: Where do you get these? I suppose if I had the time I could make my own.)
My albums suggest that the child begin tone bar work after he/she has the ability to match and grade the diatonic major scale, has knowledge of the diatonic major scale pattern and the chromatic scale pattern, and has familiarity with the staff, the treble clef, note names and the notation of the bells on the staff. T has this knowledge.

After the first exploration, we proceeded with the next lesson, Naming and Notation of the Tone Bars. T used the number strip and our note names to label the notes in the C-major scale, the F-major scale and D-major scale. We ended the lesson before we got to note these down on paper. 

T figured out that the C-major scale includes: C, D, E, F, G, A, B, and C. (Sorry to those reading who have way more musical knowledge than I do, and notice that my notation is painfully incorrect.) 

He also figured out that the F-major scale includes: F, G, A, B♭, C, D, E, and F. He found out that it was a B instead of an A♯ because of a tricky rule I had never known about. When we come to the black bar that could be B or A♯, we need to pick one. The rule in music writing is that each line and each space must be used in turn and each letter of the alphabet must also be used in turn. If we were to say that the F-major scale includes F, G, A, A, C, D, and E, "B" would be missing. This is why we chose to name that tone B, instead of A

Using the same logic, T figured out that the D-major scale includes: D, E, F, G, A, B, C, and D. 

In our next lesson, we will continue notating the major scales for A, E, DF, and G and then focus on writing these scales on the staff.
This is T's (and later S's and D's) new sentence analysis card set. I purchased this card set because I felt that I wanted all the children to have a more comprehensive guide through out this area of exploration and I wasn't going to be able to provide them with that. These are the Sentence Analysis 6-9 cards from ETC Montessori. Had I gotten my eyes on this material before purchasing it, I would have found that T is past a lot of this sequence. Not only because of the work he's done prior, but also because of his nature and general reading comprehension. Is this material a waste? No. I have two more children who will be happy to use this material and for T the beginning 3/4 will be a review, but the last bit will help enhance and hone his skills further. 

MBT has a great description of this material and what it is all about. I think you can *almost* make a decision whether to buy it or not from her description. It only took me 12 months to make that decision.

You can see here that the card set starts out pretty basic. T didn't need any of the Logical Analysis materials to do these first cards. He just read it, wrote it, and used our stencils to symbolize and diagram everything. I didn't happen to use the same paper as MBT here. Maybe this came with the card set? Maybe you find this elsewhere? I don't remember. If you want to know, look at her blog. I think that the work T did on his lined notebook paper, which I now see is collage ruled, (I had intended for him to use wide ruled) worked out just fine. 

As we were writing this exercise T and I paid special attention to capitalization and punctuation. We haven't done this before, though he knows most of the rules already. At this point I am okay with him writing in print instead of cursive. I write in a hybrid of the two. He already knows how to write in cursive, so I don't mind if he chooses now to write in print as long as he isn't sticking capital letters in the middle of words and sentences where they don't belong.
D and S hung back a bit today. They both repeated works that I posted last time and they both did a little drawing. D worked on his pencil coordination.
S made up some silly sentences and then used our grammar stencil (from Alison's Montessori) to draw the symbols for each part of speech on top.

And this is about the extend of our week. Hope you have a wonderful weekend!


  1. Great to see you back and posting! Thank you for the tidbit about the ETC sentence analysis material. I think D is well beyond that material. We did tons of practice with the MCT practice island material. This year I got the 9-12 grammar materials from ETC and hoping that it would be the perfect fit.

    1. Ahh, I didn't mention it here, but I was thinking about purchasing that set as well. Do share how that goes for you and D and how well you feel the material covers more advanced sentence analysis topics like ellipticals, nominal predicates, the voice of the verb, transitive/intransitive verbs, and compound and complex sentences. (These are the other topics in the KotU album.) I know that this material doesn't align well, but I am wondering if the set gives children practice working with these topics nonetheless. Thanks for stopping by!

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    3. I cut and assembled the cards today. I love the task cards, that should be enough practice with all these advanced concepts. Does the sentence analysis material cover any of these advanced concepts? I am just making sure that I am missing anything by not purchasing this set!

    4. I think that we should all have a card materials pow-wow and get together and look at what all of these materials we must order on line without ever having seen them, are really like: what they include, what topics they cover and don't cover and how they deliver/guide content. Wouldn't that be nice!! I have a number of sets from ETC and I am usually very pleased with their quality, but I have yet to receive something I thought I was going to receive. Everything has turned out to be a bit different than I thought it would be. :)
      In regard to your question, let me check again, I think that this set does not address the advanced concepts at all, or at least very much. That is why I was considering purchasing the set you have, and I think that MBT may have this too? Not sure. MBT if you do, post about when you all use it!

    5. I love the idea of a card materials pow-wow! I was going through the mid America albums yesterday and found that there were additional sentences on these advanced topic towards the end of the album. I think I will use that for SA when we get to these concepts. Between that and the ETC advanced grammar, we should be all set! Hopefully!

    6. Ahh, Mid-America albums. I need to go through those then. Thanks for the tip as always. I don't think that you are missing anything by not buying this 6-9 set. I *think* most everything is something you have already covered, or will cover with the advanced set. I'll post more about subsequent sets as T goes through them. Maybe this will help. I don't know when this will be seeing as how he is caught up in Garfield-Geography for the moment. :)

  2. I'm so sorry the kids have been sick! Kal-El got really sick at Yellowstone and we left a couple days earlier than we otherwise might have. One of those throat tickle coughs that make you cough every 10 seconds for TWO DAYS. Yup, 20 hours in the car coming home from Yellowstone with him barking every 10 seconds. I bought some Ricola cough drops and chain fed them to him.

    Me Too finished his round of anitbiotics and had his tooth pulled. The next day we discovered he is allergic to Peniccilin/Amoxicillin/etc., because he woke up with a crazy rash all over his torso, arms, and legs and eventually his face. We are on day four of the rash. On day two his body and face swelled up. Fun times. The doctor checked his chart and that was the first time he had ever been on antibiotics.

    I hope the kids didn't have anything serious.

  3. Ugh yours sound worse that ours were. Ours had fevers for days, and then were just really sluggish and tired for about a week more, and then had lingering coughing for at least another week...worse at night. And a bit of gagging and throwing up. Generally easy, it just dragged on and on. First S, then when she recovered, and then T and then a week later D. D is still recovering the other two are better and can't understand why we can't go swimming.
    Ahhh, the dentist. Good mouth thoughts are being sent your way...along with the benefits of fermented cod liver oil and grass-fed butter. And mineral-rich bone broths. And I don't know what soothing thoughts to send along regarding his allergic reaction. I hope everyone there gets all better soon.