Monday, March 30, 2015

School Days

Geography: I presented the USA puzzle map last week. This is a BIG work for DJ. In this photo he's pointing to the state where we live. I showed him the states where his dad & I was born and all the places we've each lived. I also showed him where his grandparents live.

We then placed all the pieces on the control map and he replaced them as I named them for him. For some reason he insists on starting with "the little states".

As he saw me taking photos, he had to stop to get his camera too. Someday I'll get him to wear pants, right?

This is about as far as he made it before giving up and insisting I finish. I encouraged him to keep going by choices - pick the largest piece, the weirdest shape, the last yellow piece - and gradually we got them all back in place.

Finally we put the Safari Toob miniatures on the map. It's hard to see but we have the Statue of Liberty, Empire State Building, Mount Rushmore, a NASA space shuttle and a saguaro cactus. I also have a lot of animals, but we didn't pull those out this time.

I tried to show DJ all the neat cards I have for other landmarks, but he was already distracted by the space shuttle. Zoom! There is time yet for the cards.

Language: I purchased this new card set for DJ. I thought it would be easy for him but it was hard and I had to change the way we did it. The yellow side has two pictures, one on each half, and when put together the blue side has a single picture. For example, the yellow side might have a wheel and a chair so the blue side shows a wheelchair. There were two difficulties with this - DJ didn't know a lot of the vocabulary, horseshoe, wheelchair, cowboy, pinwheel were all new - and he seemed to struggle with the idea that two separate words could make a new combined word. He was really confused by what a safety pin, bike wheel and pinwheel have to do with each other. Lol.

I also presented two new letters. This set includes invitation, iguana, igloo, instructions, insect and inch (the shiny piece of metal on i card). The Alphatales book was really frustrating, aside from naming the iguana Izzy they couldn't seem to think of any short-i words and most of the book talks about ice cream, icicles, ice skating, Iceland; you get the idea - very ICE focused.

I also presented the AR double phonogram. The objects include star, shark, car, army man, heart and armadillo. The Alphatales a-book came into play again because it includes all a sounds so we read it again looking for words like artist.

Math: DJ has been loving counting lately. The book he has open is a Montessori-ish book that has each number cut out of the page (so it's indented a bit and allows the finger to follow the shape). It goes to 20 but we stop at 10 and have read through it many times. This day he matched the Number Rods to each page, traced the book, traced the sandpaper number, counted the objects in the book and counted the segments on the number rods.

We then added number cards to the number rods. Our rods are medium sized so these numbers were a bit too big so I pulled out a smaller set for future use.

The next day, I put the Number Rods in random order and then asked him to find each length in random order, so I'd say "find 5 for me". He did surprisingly well with this despite being really distracted. He was using those tires to help him find each piece. As he identified the piece, we labeled it with the number symbol.

Finally I presented the Spindle Box activity. This is a box divided into 10 compartments labeled 0 - 9. There are then 45 "spindles" provided, in our case wood dowels. One spindle is placed in the 1 box, 2 in the 2 box, etc until all of the spindles are gone. While the Number Rods taught numbers by varying length so the child could feel that 10 is bigger than 1, this activity teaches that 10 ones combine to make a group of 10, which is also larger than a group of 2 or 3. An added lesson is the compartment labeled 0 where the child learns that nothing is placed in that box because zero means none.

Unfortunately, I did not read this lesson in the album before presenting it. (I thought I knew better). I instructed him to count the pieces as he placed them one at a time. He kept wanting to pick up a bunch of them and got frustrated when I said he had to do just one. After reading the album I now know he was supposed to pick them all up together, count them, feel them as a group and THEN place them in the right compartment. So now I need to present this again. Oops.

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