DJ worked with the red rods quite a bit this week. These are supposed to be solid red at this stage and are used to get a sensory experience of the difference between 1 to 10. The basic use of these is to set them out in random order and then line them up from longest to shortest, with the left side aligned to show the different lengths along the right side.
In this photo you can see DJ has three bars (8-10) in place and he has selected #7 to move next. If you look really closely you'll see he has a little red truck in his hands. He was using the truck to pretend that it was towing each piece into place. This took a long time but he actually stuck with the activity and completed it all the way to the shortest rod.
DJ can consistently count objects to 3 now. If he tries to count more than 3 objects it comes out as 1-2-3-1-2-3. 😜 While many children DJ's age might have been taught to count by rote to as high as 10 or more, Montessori avoids memorization until after there is comprehension. So he won't be expected to count to 10 until he understands what a group of 10 items is, or in this case a length of 10.
I finally introduced the Touch Tablets to DJ this week! He has had the Rough/Smooth Boards (also seen in the picture) on his shelves for months now, but I held off on the Touch Tablets for two reasons, I didn't think he was ready for the blindfold and he doesn't really like to match things.
After our recent blindfold game, he has been eager to put it on several times so I figured now was a good time. The Touch Tablets help develop the sense of touch with his fingertips, which is a key part of the sandpaper letters that are used to teach writing & reading in Montessori.
I presented the activity as described in my albums but things went a little downhill once he had the blindfold on. He is so used to being able to see that he's very clumsy without his eyesight and fumbled with the boards as I handed them to him. A couple of times he felt the back of the board instead of the sandpaper side and then declared the pair the same. Heh, well they're all on the same wood so it was just confusing for him. This is the first time that I've wished I could see an experienced teacher giving this lesson. I'll have to see if there is a youtube video before we try this again.
DJ selected a knobbed cylinder block again. He's worked with these so much, I decided to try one of the extensions - a distance matching game where we put the cylinders across the room, then I put a stick in one of the holes and instruct him to go find the matching cylinder. He did well with the largest and smallest that I chose first. But when I tried to choose a random hole next, he said no and moved the stick to the next largest hole. I told him that wasn't how the game was played, that I select a hole and he finds the match. He relented, looked at the hole I chose and ran to get the cylinder. But when he returned with the wrong one, he just moved the stick into the hole of the cylinder he'd brought over. Doh!
DJ also selected the folding activity again which I'm glad to see after it sat unloved for so long. Only this time he did them all in the double-horizontal fold, ignoring the markings showing that two had diagonal folds and the other a single horizontal fold into a rectangle. But I didn't say anything. Folding them all into squares is good practice so it didn't really matter that it wasn't completely correct.
This week I made up this Plants vs Animals activity since DJ had shown such progress with the Living vs NonLiving activity. I had expected this to be an easier task for DJ, but it was definitely a lesson for me to see the world through a toddler's eyes as strange and confusing. There is SO much for him to learn and I take his abilities for granted so often.
After talking with DJ about the difference between plants and animals, I showed him the cards and said let's sort them. Looking at the first card, DJ said it was a butterfly. I asked him if it was a plant or animal and he said, "It's a butterfly". I listed off the characteristics that made it an animal and said, "A butterfly is an animal." He looked at me strangely and said, "No, it's a butterfly." Haha. Yeah, we're going to have to work on this some more.
Next we looked through the /a/ sound box. We've been doing a lot of sound games in the car each day. Every so often I see a glimmer of understanding from him but it hasn't really clicked for him yet. Today he happened to be eating an apple when we started this activity and he had fun pretending to eat the plastic apple too.
While working with this box, he started shrieking /a/!! So I laughed and said, "What does alligator start with?" He shrieked /a/! "What does astronaut start with?" He shrieked /a/! After a few more, I said "What does dog start with?" He started to say /a/ but stopped himself. He thought for a moment and then said /b/. Yay! Ok, he wasn't right, but that's not important. What's important is that he understood what I was asking him. Slow, slow progress, but definitely progress.