School Days - April and May
*WARNING - LENGTHY POST *
A little peek at the odds and ends pictures taken over the last 3-4 weeks (has it really been a month since I've given a school days post? eek!)
~~~~~~ LM ~~~~~~
I don't always get a chance to get as many shots of LM working as I do with some of the others. I am usually working with some of the younger children, and she is working steady in some other part of the house (or reading, if she can sneak off and do that for a while!).
A quick shot of Hoss and LM working together doing some *group work* in one of our BFSU science lessons.
As I have read through CD's (Cultivating Dharma) Language Album, I try to catch any little gaps that maybe we haven't specifically covered in Language/Grammar and cover them. I have these singular/plural cards from Montessori Print Shop, separated by rule, and we reviewed each of the rules, one at a time.
We also used these for spelling words while reviewing them - she worked on both the singular and all plural spellings and studied them on her own through the week after getting the lesson on that particular rule. This is a quick shot of her copying them in to a small section in her binder reserved for any type of Spelling work.
Thankfully, with our successful work journals method in place, the much-neglected fractions have been in use again. In the picture above, she actually showed me this set up that led right in to a quick lesson on improper fractions and mixed fractions (while adding fractions with like denominators). Below, she is working on reducing fractions to their simplest form -another unexpected review (because she had already caught on to this on her own, for the most part) that came up while she was working on adding fractions.
What the pictures don't show: LM loves to make her own work. She does this often in language/grammar, reviewing for herself what she has learned by writing stories using different concepts and word studies.She is finally mastering WELL the concept of multiplication and division, which is going to cause a large breakthrough in these areas and the ability for us to move on much farther. She reads all the time - any time she can sneak away, she can be found in book-land on her bed, oblivious to anything going on around her. In fact, she gets a great deal of History in her day through personal choices in reading content.
~~~~~~ Hoss ~~~~~~
Hoss really likes working with the younger ones, helping them with their work. Here, he is working with Miss Priss and the geometric solids, identifying them using only the sense of touch (Tactile). This is a popular thing lately, with the difficulty increasing depending on the child.
He is also currently working with the dot game. He has just begun to use the dot game for multiplication, but really enjoys it. Both Hoss and LM have a good time making up their own equations, much to my relief - I don't have to have a great deal of prepared equations for this work. The only thing I have to watch for is to make sure he is choosing some that end up with exchanges (dynamic) - this was more a problem when he was using it for subtraction, since those exchanges come quick in multiplication.
Just this week, Hoss decided to tackle a long (cubing) chain for the first time. He has never had any experience with any of the long chains, and which one did he pick? The cubing chain of 9. I knew the minute he said he, he probably had no idea how time consuming it would be, and indeed it was! It ended up taking him the better part of the morning, but he was so glad to see it completed.
Oh, those many bead bars and arrows!
Miss Priss came in to help about halfway through, and her help was welcomed greatly!
Hoss wanted to be sure to get good pictures of his work when it was complete. Notice how the chain ran the length of the table almost 3 times. Our table seats 8 - it's huge! That gives you a good idea how big this work is, if you've never seen it. I hadn't until he did it.
Our printable cubing chains were found at Making Montessori Ours' Printable Page. We bought both the Golden Beads and the Complete Bead Cabinet PDF files. Although the full sensorial feel isn't there, there is so much that can be accomplished with the PDF version, and Cherine has done an amazing job with these!
The celebration of a job well done! What you can't hear is the excited 'woot-woot!' that accompanied this picture. :)
~~~~~~ Miss Priss ~~~~~~
I really have to sneak around to get a picture of Miss Priss working, or else convince her I'm 'just taking a picture of her work'. This time, I think she may have caught me :) She has been working on the last subtraction chart (the blank finger chart). We have not done all the exercises for the charts that you can do. I know her well enough to know that she would get tired of it after a while, and so I am watching her to make sure she shows mastery. So far, I am fairly certain she has not only nailed the concept of subtraction (she pretty much had that after the first concrete lessons), but has also shown a fairly quick mental subtraction as well.
One thing I think is rather interesting is that she does this work almost daily. Although she is far past the need for sensorial work, she still loves the cylinder blocks. She also tends to do them close to the end of her work period, which makes me lean towards thinking she probably uses them to decompress after working on harder things. I introduced her to working with the cylinder blocks with a blindfold, and she thought it was fun, but hasn't asked for it again, which adds to my conclusions that she just wants something relaxing.
Although she is past the Golden Beads, I wanted to give her a fast-track introduction to them, so she could concretely prepare for multiplication.These are from the Golden Bead Material PDF files from Making Montessori Ours. I was afraid at first that these wouldn't be enough, because of the lack of the sensorial experience. However, that is what I could honestly afford at the time, and so far it seems to be working just fine. I took these pictures the first day she worked with them, which has probably been a month ago now, and since she has moved through addition and is doing equations with subtraction. She doesn't choose this work on her own, and I only asked her to choose it once a week. I am secretly hoping she will enjoy it more as she goes on, or we will just get through it and be done.
I included this picture to show that it's not uncommon for her to bring a few 'friends' with her to school. :)
One thing she really DOES like is the stamp game. After she had her introduction to the Golden Beads and had a good picture of the difference in units, tens, hundreds, and thousands, I also introduced the stamp game. I am letting her move at her own pace with this one, and she is still really enjoying addition with the stamps. She uses the large number cards from our GB materials to build her own numbers (She makes her own equations, and she loves the magic slide!) and then sets them out and does the math. There have been a few times that I have given an occasional equation, or she has chosen the augend and I have given the addend, when she began dynamic addition, but now she is pretty good about picking out numbers that will have exchanges. Whenever she is ready, we will move to subtraction.
We have also been slowly having new lessons in Geometry. I am lacking almost all the primary geometry materials, and some I feel are important before moving on. Soooooo - I am thinking on ways to make up for it the best I can, and then we may just have a geometry explosion - maybe.
~~~~~~ Bug and Buddy Boy ~~~~~~
Bug has diligently been working away at her handwriting in her binder. We do have a version of the sandpaper letters, although she doesn't use them very much anymore. She likes to see if she can keep up with Miss Priss in her handwriting.
Bug and Buddy Boy have also been enjoying a simplified version of the blindfolded geometric solids. We usually only use 6-8 of the solids that they are familiar with.
Buddy Boy really enjoys new fillers in the small sensory box I try to keep out. These pictures were from the Easter theme sensory box. I try to make sure there is the ability to do something educational with what's inside - we did a lot of counting of poms, beads, etc, and listening for what's inside the eggs.
Bug has also been very interested in reading, and is doing very well. We work casually on it whenever she feels the urge to. I am still very relaxed with her as far as when/if/what she works on during the day. Here she was reading through a book that she had fairly memorized from it being read to her. She does, however, read to me from the Abeka Reading Handbook that we have.
What we are still having a hard time with usually, is that neither one of them openly choose a work very often. Call it distraction, lack of concentration, disinterest - I don't know. It's harder than I would have thought keeping new things out to catch their eye - if I focus on one age group, the other gets neglected, or vice versa. Anyway, I could tell there was a need for something to work more on concentration, so I created a small polishing tray.
Buddy Boy - on his own - began calling this the 'quiet work', which I thought was neat to see him notice that element :)
This is the only semi-good picture I was able to get of Bug doing it, and you can't even see the tray :( she's just too fast for me!
One day about a week or so ago, Bug came and asked me what "3+3+3" was. I told her it would be a great idea to find that out, and told her to run and get our homemade bead bar box. She ran and got it, pulled our 3, 3-bead bars, and was so excited to discover the answer - we're talking, ear-to-ear grins and real joy of learning. That small event in the day caused a fountain of adding to spring up, and for the next 3 to 4 days, all she wanted to do during school was grab the bead bar box and see how many bars she could get and add them all together. Sometimes she would grab 8-10 of like quantities, and sometimes she would 'go in a pattern' getting 3 or 4 different bars and laying them out several times in the same pattern. Then, we would count them and lay the answer out vertically underneath. This is so similar to the snake game, in a way, and she has been introduced to the snake game as the beginning of the addition sequence was started, but I guess coming up with this idea on her own made it more exciting!
Then, one of those days, she asked what "10+10+10+10+10+10+10" was, and that led to the 100 chain lesson. You can see the mat to the left, where she actually laid the chain out and labeled it with arrows, and then we compared our unit bead, ten bar, and 100 chain to show how much bigger 10 is than 1, and how much bigger 100 is than both the others.
There is still so many other little things that go on behind these scenes - but I feel like I've already written a book in this one
little big post, and this gives you glimpse through pictures of some of what we've been doing lately (and gives me something to look back on!).
If you are reading this, I hope you are having a wonderful school year, as most are probably getting to the end of their year. :)