Friday, November 14, 2014

School Day

The past few months have been a whirlwind of activity that has amazed and excited me. But at the same time, I've been noticing that DJ hasn't been settling into his schoolwork. Instead of being more focused, he's been flittering from one project to the next. Instead of procedures becoming good habits, he's been avoiding even the steps, like using a work mat, that he initially enjoyed. In my reading, I've learned that one way to get back on track is to return to Practical Life activities. We've done a lot of Practical Life around the house, but I've never had much of it on the shelves.

So this week, I added a rice pouring activity to DJ's shelf and he noticed it right off and took it to his table. I presented it to him, showing him to pour rice into the glass until each was about 3/4 full. The first time he tried this, he was uncertain how much to pour so he filled each glass a little and then went back to fill each one until the rice was gone.

DJ has done a lot of pouring and is able to pour his own milk and juice from large containers, but this wasn't about learning to pour. My hope was for him to repeat the task and practice careful movements and concentration. He did repeat it many times and although he did very well, he wasn't perfect and some rice was spilled. I've told him when he's able to do it without spilling any I'll replace the rice with water, so he's very focused on being careful.

After finishing with the pouring activity, DJ decided to play with his playdough, most of which is Play-doh brand and is mostly dried and brittle. You can see it in the photo behind him. DJ really loved playing with homemade playdough in art class a couple of weeks ago so I asked his teacher for the recipe. There are tons of playdough recipes on Pinterest but this one is simple enough: 1 1/2 C flour, 1/3 C salt, 2 teaspoons cream of tartar, 1 1/2 C water, 1 1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil, glitter (optional), food coloring (optional). Cook on medium heat until dough comes together. DJ had fun making it and then only played with it for about 15 minutes. Hah.

When he finished, I presented the Parts of a Car 3-part cards that I made for him. He did really well matching them together and I named off the parts as he matched them.

After that, we played a game with this set of rhyming cards. Each set has a matching picture. I started out giving him one set while I took the other. He selected one card at a time and I gave him the matching card. After awhile, I began setting out two cards to his and asked him which of the two matched.

The goal is to get him to hear the sounds in the rhyming words. I've been playing sound games with him for awhile and it still hasn't clicked for him yet. His interest in books is promising though so I just keep at it as long as he's willing.

After a lot of card work, DJ turned to the Brown Stair. He's clapping for himself in this photo because he built the stair in order without any effort.

Next, he added the Pink Tower along the side. He was having a lot of fun with this. When he finished, I showed him a picture of an extension on the Internet. He studied the picture for a bit and then went to work.

The whole time he was working he kept saying "I'm doing it, I'm doing it!" He was so sure of himself, I just watched and marveled at him. When he finished he said to me, "Let me see the pictures if me doing it! Let me see!" Doh!! I hadn't taken any pictures. Mommy blogger fail!

Next DJ selected the M-sound box. This includes milk, mug, mummy, mop, mirror, mountain cat, magnet, mailbox, man, mouse and a picture of mommy (me). The box also includes a monkey flash card, the sandpaper letter m and the I Spy Phonics Fun book for M & N.

Then he did this 3D-2D matching activity. He's done this again and again so I'm always amazed when he selects it. I just bought 5 new Safari Toobs so I'll probably make up a new matching set soon.

Next he worked with the circles drawer of the Geometric Cabinet. After letting him play with these more free form, I've been trying to get him to trace them with his fingers. The reason for tracing is to prepare the fingers for writing since the shapes of the Geo Cabinet have the same shapes as letters. After he's done this tracing for awhile, I'll show him to use a stick as a mock pencil to trace the Botany Cabinet.

DJ then finished off the work day with some knobbed & knobless cylinder work.

A couple of days later though, DJ found the vase I had used for his flower arranging tray. I had taken it off the shelf awhile ago because he hadn't selected it for a long time. But when he saw the vase he immediately demanded his flowers back.

He's pointing up in the air and saying, "the plants use the sun to make food." Go plant vs animal lessons!!

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